Sep 062009

I love the fulltime RV lifestyle, but I’m sure glad I don’t own a campground! If I did, I think Bad Nick would be in the morning news for throttling somebody within a week.

In our ten years on the road, we have met a lot of RV park owners, managers, and workampers, and they have shared some real horror stories with us, and we have witnessed more than a few ourselves. Most RVers are nice folks, and seem to know their way around their rig and a campsite. But there are always a few, whether through ignorance or because they are just jerks, who really make me respect the folks running the campgrounds.

Several years ago we were at an RV park in Wisconsin when a couple in a motorhome refused to be guided into their site by the staff, and then cursed and screamed at each other as they tried and failed to get their rig parked several times.

After disrupting the peace and quite of the campground for quite some time, they finally got parked and plugged in. Suddenly the man was yelling again, this time claiming that something was wrong with the campground’s electric pedestal because it had fried everything inside his RV. We had known the folks in the RV that was parked in that site previously had no problems, and they left only an hour or so earlier. But this guy was convinced that the campground owner was responsible for his problems, even though he later said the same thing had happened twice before at other campgrounds.   

Just yesterday, Bob and Gita Patel, owners of Elkhart Campground, told us about somebody who pulled in at midnight Thursday and promptly ran over the water bib on his pull-thru RV site, creating a flood. Bob had to get out of bed and make a late night repair, and the next morning the RVer was amazed that they expected him to pay for the damages!

It was just a year ago that we watched a fellow in a big motorhome, here at the same campground, drive over a large rock, well off the road, and get his rig high centered. He ignored everyone’s attempts to help him, and managed to do a lot of damage to his rig as he gunned it and finally got free. Then he expected the campground owners to pay for repairs to his rig!

Every campground has had RVers who pull in late at night, hook up to electric and water, grab a few hours sleep, and then sneak out without paying. Last year when we spent several weeks at the Casa Grande Fairgrounds in Arizona preparing for our Gypsy Gathering rally, we watched a group of five Canadian RVs come in every Friday night after the office was closed, dump their holding tanks, hook up to water and electric all weekend, and then take off late Sunday night to park at nearby truck stops and empty shopping centers where they could freeload all week. A couple of guys in the group bragged that they never paid for camping or dumping all winter long.

I have also heard workampers complaining about the nasty ways some guests leave the restrooms, showers, and laundry rooms. One exasperated woman said she and her husband had owned a bar in a college town, and the young people who came to their establishment to party never left the restrooms in such poor condition.

Another workamper told me that a guest had threatened to sue the campground under the Americans With Disabilities Act because they told her to get her dog out of the swimming pool. According to the dog’s owner, it was a service animal, but the only service they saw it performing was fetching a ball her kids repeatedly threw into the water for it to retrieve.   

These kinds of people are in the minority, of course. Most RVers are nice folks, but there are always those bad apples that spoil everything. But it would only take one or two to push Bad Nick over the edge.

Thought For The Day – I keep telling myself I’m not fat, I’m just swollen.

Register Now For Our Ohio Gypsy Gathering Rally

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  8 Responses to “Campground Cretins”

  1. Its unfortunate that when somebody witnesses behaviour like what you described with the rvers freeloading, it isn’t reported…..Canadians would be well served to watch their tails rather than piss off the Americans and not be welcome back! I think that if I were to see that, witness a fellow Canadian being disrspectful like that in a country they are visiting, I would likely try to make sure that they wouldn’t get away with it.

  2. As a disabled individual with a SD who hopes to take to fulltiming in the next three years (after a career and health detour- I’ve wanted to to ths for almost a decade now!), I’m DISGUSTED by people who fake SDs to get their pets access to places they oughtn’t be. If you hear about something like that again? Let the campground owner know they have RIGHTS- call the cops! The ADA requires access for the disabled individual, not the dog, and they’d probably have won if it went to court. (But nearly all fakers will back down when faced with the cops. And a dog in a pool is beyond the pale.)

  3. Nick, do you read “kathy’s kampground kapers” She owns a campground and blogs about it. Too often I see myself in the blogs. When you are snowbirds and causal RV’ers as we are, it is just too easy to do something dumb… wheather it is run over something, drive too fast, let the grandkids do something, etc. However, I find an apology and a little common courtesy goes a long ways.

  4. Nick:

    Thanks for directing us to Focal Wood Products. We visited Carlyle last Monday, picked out what we wanted and all items were installed Friday afternoon. Computer desk, window sills, lights over couch and dining table, trim around ceiling lights and free-standing coffee table with topper tray. We couldn’t be more pleased! TOP QUALITY !! Anyone needing GREAT wood work should see Carlyle just south and east from Nappanee. 888-546-1662.

    Oh buy the way, we told him that we read about his work in your blog.


  5. I agree that some people are either jerks or just ignorant. This morning we were awakened at 5:15 am by the owners of a late model Class A motorhome. They retracted their awning and let it slam against the side wall and then the wife proceeded to vacuum the inside for about 20 minutes. Then they slammed the outside hatches. Then they brought the car around to hook up and yelled to each other to get it lined up, etc. They didn’t appear to care that they were waking up everyone around them. I don’t know why they couldn’t have done this last night when it wasn’t quiet hours. Some people are just clueless!

  6. Nick this was such a great post… Wouldn’t you love to reach out and choke the ignoramuses that camp? Like you said there is less of them then of the respectful campers… You forgot one of my biggest peeves and that is people who walk their dogs and never pick up after them or even worse let them run loose and poop everywhere.

    I am new to your blog and have added you to my favorites… We are full timers also and currently in Arkansas…
    Have Fun & Travel Safe

  7. Then there are always the folks who decide it’s better to take a short cut walking through your campsite — even while you are sitting out eating. They usually bring their kids along to learn the tricks, and sometimes their dogs (plural) as well.

  8. I’ve worked in campgrounds for the last 9 years. You have only related some of the “mild” stories….I have dozens of stories I could tell of obnoxious people. Usually they back down pretty fast if confronted. The one thing we NEVER tolerate at all here is customers abusing the office staff. If that happens then the “guest” is down the road. Fortunately, that does not happen often.

    It is amazing what some people consider acceptable behaviour. But MOST people – probably 98% – are very nice and laid back. But if you deal with the public then there are always those who are not.

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