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After reading that title, you’re probably thinking… Gordon Ramsay is doing a show on campgrounds and RV resorts now? No, not yet anyways (although if you do, Gordon, I would be happy to give you a list of campgrounds in need of your help!). But anyone who has done a bit of RVing has encountered a campground or two that truly is a nightmare.
Sometimes it is the campground itself – such as the location. Maybe it’s like the one we recently visited in Mississippi. The one that advertised Southern charm, yet neglected to mention it was located at the end of an airport runway. Or the one in Texas that bragged on being the place to get plenty of rest only it didn’t say that you had to sleep during the day, because the campground was located beside railroad tracks that were active at night.
Even if the location is ideal, sometimes it is the condition of the campground that is a nightmare. Like the campground in Pennsylvania that had water pressure drop to 20 (and the managers said that was completely safe!) or the one in Alabama that was as high as 120 and the majority of Campers had busted hoses…or the one in Florida where you had to “share” your cable with other campsites… or another in Florida where the WiFi “hotspot” is actually under a tree in the middle of the RV park… But those are nothing compared to the parks that have advertised on-site security or gates where we have had even bolted-down items stolen – from license plates to our main electrical cord!
And don’t even get me started on the whole “Big Rig Friendly” terminology! Most campgrounds and RV parks have really taken advantage of this phrase, misleading those RVers with truly Big Rigs into situations that require backing-up and even scraping their RV or poles and trees.
Although sometimes it is the staff members who make your campground visit a nightmare. Like the time we stopped at a campground in Virginia and politely asked the clerk for a Big Rig pull-thru for the night. She said people like us needed to “just go to a truck stop”… so we did! Ha! And the so-called RV resort in Texas where we were told to move twice and then given a site we couldn’t even plug in our electric cord. And the staff member told us that he didn’t care if we couldn’t plug in, we were still getting charged extra for 50 amp service! Or the staff member at a RV park in Maryland who started screaming at us that we were going to “jackknife” as we turned around to leave their park. I wish I would have taken a video of the maniac screaming at us. I’m sure that would have gone viral!
And recently we have learned that even though the folks appear friendly, they aren’t necessarily! Like the RV resort in Alabama where the folks welcome you with popcorn and a newspaper… only to talk about you on the radio as soon as you leave the office. We had turned our radios on in order to communicate directions (back-in site) and surprise, surprise… the folks were talking about us and a few other check-ins… and not in a good way! Unfortunately, since then, we have found that many parks use their radios to complain about the guests. From whining about having to fill propane bottles (Duh! Isn’t that your job?!) to talking about putting the guests on “troubled” sites intentionally because they don’t like them… we have been hearing it all the last couple months!
Now, some campgrounds you may never even get to. Either the directions are wrong or the staff member on the phone can’t give you directions. We are still looking for a campground in North Carolina… maybe it moved South? And that can be a nightmare, especially if you end up backing down some curvy, mountain road in the middle of the night… and, yes, that’s been done with this rig a few times before!
Sometimes it is the campground guests that make it a nightmare. I will admit, sometimes it isn’t the guest’s fault, especially when campsites are so close together. It is hard to be quiet when your slides are on-top of each other. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to be a good neighbor. Like the woman in Washington who wanted to know what antenna TV channels we got. Instead of coming over to our site and knocking on our door… she opened her slide-window, took a cane and pounded on our door. Imagine our surprise when we answered the door to see a cane poking out a window at us. Close neighbor, yes… good neighbor, no. Or the folks in Virginia who parked their golf cart under our master bedroom slide because they were, well, frankly, morons.
And, don’t get me started on… oh, heck, why not? Yes, let me get started on that! Perhaps someone can explain it to me. Why is it that some Campers with outside TVs and radios leave them on (and loudly) when they are gone for the day? If it is for security, then lock your RV door! If anything, people know you are gone and will take your TV or radio! Duh! It just makes you a lousy and stupid neighbor. (Although, I will applaud a few RV parks that will even go to the extreme of turning off your electrical breaker if you leave an outdoor TV or radio on unattended.) I’m not saying you need to be library-quiet during your campground stay, but at least be respectful of your neighbors.
I must say, that even though we have been to hundreds of campgrounds – from dry camps to high-end RV resorts – there is not one that is perfect. There will always be something left to grumble about – whether it is the park’s condition, the staff or other Campers. But after all these years, we have learned to take the bad with the good. So try to stay a Happy Camper and, remember, if you visit a RV park in Maryland and a maniac starts screaming at you – get it on video!
Catch the first book in my new Campground Mystery series, A ‘Class A’ Stash, before the second book in the series, The Propane Game comes out later this summer! Get $10 off one copy of A ‘Class A’ Stash by using the coupon code SHARING10 at checkout! But hurry, this offer ends May 2, 2013*. Softcover edition of this new campground mystery is only $11.59… so $10 off is a steal of a deal!
*$10 off code and deadline according to information provided by publishing company
It has been several weeks since I last posted at TMN… so you know the wheels have been rolling!
Celebrate Spring! This year National Park Week is celebrated April 20th-28th. Park entrance fees will be waived from April 22nd to April 26th. From National Junior Ranger Day (April 20th) to Volunteer Day (April 27th) there will be something to do at your local park.
So dust off the old back pack and hiking boots and take advantage of National Park Week this April!
For more information and trip planning visit these sites:
Spring Break 2010 was spent camping beside the scenic Guadalupe River (Texas). The weather was beautiful and the river was loaded with rafters, kayakers and toobers. Our camp site was located right by a small falls, so we spent the majority of the time sitting in lawn chairs watching folks either quickly navigate through the falls or take a tumble in the river!
If you find yourself in Texas Hill Country and want to get your feet wet, consider spending a day on the river. Just try to keep your head above water.
More information on the Guadalupe River can be found at: http://guadaluperiver.com/ .
And this has been the lowest we’ve seen lately… actually saw $3.95 for gas and $4.33 for diesel North of I-10 in Florida a few days ago… Eek!
In 2007 we found ourselves stopping in Cashmere (WA) at the foot of the Cascade Mountains. We were actually headed for a festival in Leavenworth and, instead, spent the majority of the day in charming Cashmere.
If the name sounds familiar to you, perhaps you’ve had some candy from Aplets & Cotlets Candy Kitchen? It didn’t take us long to find our way there and view candies being made. And, of course, we tried all the free samples!
There are a handful of antique shops and malls in Cashmere. One in particular had a diner inside that offered “spirited” chili! In addition to antiques, there are several wineries in the area. However, if you are planning to visit those, I would definitely recommend more than a day-trip.
Another stop we made was the Cashmere Museum & Pioneer Village, which is a great attraction for the admission price (I see the current price is still only $4-5). There are twenty buildings on the grounds and, honestly, I wish we would have had more time to really soak up the history that day.
If you find yourself in this region, make sure you plan to stop in Cashmere… especially if you have a sweet-tooth!
More information on this area can be found at: http://cashmerechamber.org/about/
The highways were just a little stormy yesterday… So glad not to be on the road today with wind advisories and threats of rain, sleet and possible black ice!
If you haven’t thought about what to do in an emergency situation while on the road, consider some pre-planning with your family before making those travel plans. For more information on preparing for natural disasters, check out my book On the Road to Disaster.
Although it’s hard to escape flu-season, there are some things you can do to protect your family from disease while you are on the road…
Have hand sanitizer in your vehicle. Make sure you have a small bottle for each person (put it in each person’s door or the center council and mark their name on it). Each time a person gets into the vehicle, they should clean their hands. If the person handled other public items prior to getting in (such as touching a door or shopping cart), make sure he or she wipes off their door handle, door lock or window area (anywhere that is touched) with a handy-wipe. Also make sure to have a liter bag in your vehicle to dispose of dirty handy-wipes and facial tissue. We dispose of our liter bag every stop.
Have individual handy-wipes in your purse, pocket or backpack and use them! Do not rely on public restrooms to have filled soap containers or even hot water. I am surprised when I do come across a fully-stocked public restroom. If you are an RVer currently on the road, it’s best that you don’t rely on public restrooms. Use your own RV if you can get access to the bathroom with the slides in. Some RVers don’t like using their own bathroom during transit because they don’t like carrying extra water or don’t want to have anything in their holding tanks. You don’t have to have your water tank filled to use your toilet. You can use purchase hand sanitizer that requires no water to wash your hands and place a gallon (or two) jug of water in your bathroom sink to use to flush.
Another thing to avoid is eating out while you are on the road. We’re RVers – we’re self-contained! We shouldn’t rely on McDs or Flying J to feed us every hundred miles. Make some sandwiches or an easy-fix meal before you leave. Pull over at a rest area or find a parking spot wherever you fuel up and grab a bite.
One thing that bothers us is the lack of sanitation in restaurants. Ever have a sickly cashier walk over to get your fries? Ever see the cook come out of the restroom wearing his or her apron? And people licking their fingers and picking up utensils at buffets… Ekk! Keep your eyes posted for potential problems. And if you can, call them out on it. Let the manager know what you saw so they can take action – it could save someone’s life!
Most RVers do have their own cell phones and computers; however, if you don’t and have to rely on a pay phone or visit a local library to log-on, remember to use handy-wipes over the phone and number pad and the computer keyboard and mouse.
These are just a few ways to protect your family while travelling. With the spread of disease and a major flu epidemic today, this is a concern you shouldn’t take lightly.
On Christmas afternoon we found ourselves in the midst of severe weather and potential tornadoes. Instead of watching holiday movies, all eyes were on the local weather!
The RV resort lacked adequate shelter facilities, so when the tornado warning went into effect, we grabbed our hardhats (I knew that souvenir hardhat from Hoover Dam would come in handy), a couple stiff pillows and flashlights, and then made a mad dash to the Chevy Silverado. We buckled ourselves in and drove to a low ditch-area near the park entrance. Moments later we saw that other Campers had the same idea.
Fortunately the storm passed quickly over the resort; however, a park less than two miles away had a tornado touch-down. Thankfully no one was injured but several homes were destroyed.
Sometimes you have to make the best of a bad situation. Keeping alert of the weather and having a type of RV emergency plan can keep you and your family safe.
It’s time to dig out that new 2013 calendar! The first of the entrance “fee-free” days of the year is scheduled for January 21st in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. On this day entrance fees to U.S. National Parks will be waived. In addition, some other special offers may apply.
For more information and trip planning links, visit the National Park Service’s website: http://www.nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparks.htm
A friendly reminder to change your smoke detector batteries and test your carbon monoxide detectors in the RV at the first of the New Year! And if you are a Full-Timer, don’t forgot to schedule those yearly check-ups that usually get overlooked while you are on-the-road.
Hope 2013 brings you safe travels!