Feb 202010

All fulltime RVers have experienced it. We will be talking to somebody about our life on the road, and invariably they will ask us where our favorite place in the country is. We always reply that just as we could not choose which one of our children is our favorite, it would be just as impossible to choose just one favorite location. But, we sure can tell you some our least favorite places!

While this list reflects just our impression, and we know RVers that love some of the same places we dislike, here are our Top (or actually Bottom) Ten, in no particular order.

1. The Rio Grande Valley in Texas – Most RVers just refer to it as “The Valley,” a stretch of land that begins down in southwest Texas at Brownsville, and stretches north past Mission. This is a popular snowbird roost, where you can find RV parks in every price range, and with every kind (or lack of) amenity. A lot of people love it, but to us it was just crowded, lacking in scenic beauty, and unappealing in every way. What grass there is was full of thorns that stab your feet, and the general RVer population is so old that people joke that “every time you hear an ambulance siren, another RV site just became available.”  

2. West Texas – Just because you drove north out of the Rio Grande Valley doesn’t mean you’ve entered the land of milk and honey. West Texas is endless miles of boring scenery, road kill, and not much else.

3. Chicago, Illinois – We’ll drive 75 miles out of our way to avoid Interstates 80 and 90 through Chicago, and have, many times. The traffic is always hectic, and it has some of the most aggressive drivers in the world.

4. Utah – How can I dislike an entire state? Well, easy… it is Utah, after all! Yes, there are some beautiful places, such as Zion National Park, but overall, my impression of the Beehive State is pretty negative. I remember a trip to Saint George years ago, when Miss Terry cut her arm on a broken rack in a supermarket. When she went up to the Customer Service counter to get something to contain the bleeding, the manager and his staff were more worried about who was going to pay for the paper towels than they were about the woman bleeding all over their store. Things like that leave a permanent bad taste in my mouth.

5. Southern California – With the possible exception of the coastline at La Jolla, I’d have no problem if we gave the rest of California, south of Pismo Beach, back to Mexico. It truly is the land of quakes and flakes.

6. Montgomery, Alabama – When we visited Montgomery a few years ago to gather some stories for the Gypsy Journal, we were amazed at how consistently rude so many people were. At the Rosa Parks Museum and Dr. Martin Luther King’s house, now a memorial to the Civil Rights movement, the people on duty absolutely refused to allow us to even take the standard tour of their facilities once we told them that we were there to do a feature story for our publication. We managed to get a few stories in Montgomery, but we would have loved to hang around longer and cover all that the city has to offer. But, we kept hitting brick walls at too many of the places we wanted to write about.

7. El Paso, Texas – I lived in El Paso for a short time as a kid, and I didn’t like it then. Time has done nothing to change my mind. Traffic is always terrible, the city has no aesthetic charm, and I would not be comfortable staying anywherin the city overnight. However, if you like truck stops, fast food restaurants, strip clubs, and rundown strip malls, your opinion may be different than mine.

8. Billings, Montana – Even before a local campground owner convinced the city to ban overnight RV parking (a move that was quickly rescinded when RVers from across the nation let the city fathers know that we would all boycott their town), I have not liked Billings. We have stopped there several times, and received anywhere from poor to rude service in restaurants, shops, and even motels when we were traveling without our motorhome.

9. Houston, Texas – This is another big city with nothing to offer except heavy traffic and rude drivers. It’s always a pleasure to be driving away from Houston, instead of toward it, and it’s even better when we can avoid the city all together.     

10. Lewiston, Idaho – While the surrounding area is beautiful, with some of the most impressive scenery in the West, we found Lewiston to be a dumpy little town, with the nauseating smell of the local paper mill permeating the air.

Okay, that’s my list of my 10 Least Favorite Places. What about you? What are some of the places you have visited and are in no hurry to get back to, and why?

While I was working on this list, which I admit some may find to be a bit negative, Bad Nick was on a roll, putting together a fun little Bad Nick Blog post titled I Need Therapy. Check it out and leave a comment.

Thought For The Day – Worrying works! 90 percent of the things I worry about never happen.

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Nick Russell

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

  22 Responses to “Ten Least Favorite Places”

  1. Nick I agree with you about the Rio Grande, I was there one winter took a bus tour into Mexico and got food poisoning so bad I ended up in the hospital of 5 days. I asked the campground I was staying at to check on me when I was feeling so lousy, never saw them. Thank goodness some fellow Canadians took me to the hospital. When I got back to the motorhome and went to the office to stay longer (no choice) I told them I thought it was pretty bad when no one had any compassion and why didn’t they check on me. One guy in the office said “We are not babysitters”. It was a Coast to Coast resort and even they didn’t do anything when I complained so I will never go back there again. Far too cold, wind blows all the time and the two dust storms that I was in put the icing on the cake.

  2. Ditto on #9 (Houston) with all the refineries there, the air quality must be awful. Ever notice how many dead trees there are in Houston? That should tell you something. And all the huge expressways are mind boggling with crazy traffic.

    Now being from Chicago and its suburbs, I loved the city but I have to agree with you about the aggressive drivers. You always have to check twice at intersections before turning across traffic because most likely a clown will be running the red light.

  3. I realize these are your opinions, but I think you’re using too broad a brush. Finding some good among the bad is usually possible.

  4. I can understand Bad Nick getting in trouble, but Nick, you gotta know you are gonna get hammered on some of these places. For instance, I grew up in a lotta places due to my dad’s work. Then we settled in West Texas. Sometimes you have to look, but there is a lot to be said for most of it. Now, El Paso—, well –. Houston is a live a vibrant city, kept going by all those oil refineries another poster does not like. I guess her RV and cars are powered by solar, or maybe she walks?
    In another life, I worked at a synfuels plant in Colorado. I was constantly hectored by people that did not like the shale project. But, the loudest complainers wore polyester clothes, drove Big cars, used all manner of oil products, and used natural gas to power their homes. How can they be against something so passionately, yet consume the very thing you rail against?
    Anyway, I admire your pluck to name a bunch of places you don’t care for. Me, I ain’t going back to the northeast for nuthin.

  5. Wow. This is our first winter as RVers and for a while I thought we might be missing out on something good by not going to The Valley. Nearly everyone over 60 that we met was headed there so I assumed it was a cool place to be.

    However, all the reasons you cite describe why we would not want to be there. And the comment about an amubulance siren is just too funny — even if true.

    But West Texas ain’t all that bad. You just have to look past all the open air self storage places that do double duty as front yards and front porches.

  6. The Rio Grande Valley in Texas! Ugh. So glad you put this as the #1 Least Favorite Places to visit. There is nothing down there and as a matter of fact there is no valley at all!! lol We were very disappointed that we even wasted our time, money, and energy on this place.

  7. It is easy to be a critic, but when you set up a blog post like this, you’ve got to come up with something. There will always be a bad apple just about anywhere you go, but generally there is more good than bad to be found. It’s just that we tend to remember the bad easier and bad news always seems to travel at 10 times the speed of good news.

    It probably wasn’t snowing inTexas though was it! I have read somewhere that snow and Nick are not good friends.

    Have a great day and greetings from Beautiful British Columbia, home of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games.

  8. Nick,
    Sorry you don’t like the Rio Grande Valley. It is the winter home for thousands of people and if one park is not meeting your needs there are many others to visit. The prices are cheaper than Florida or Arizona and I think the people are nicer in Texas. The City of Mission puts on a party every year to thank the Winter Texans for coming. We have a lot of Branson type entertainers that tour around the Valley. After being in Arizona I have found out that I am a “Green” person. In Texas we have trees and grass where as in Arizona there was only sand and cactus. Everybody has there own preference.

  9. I love the fact that not everyone wants to go to the same spots, otherwise they’d all be overcrowded. LOL! Leaves something for everyone.

    For me, I avoid most major cities like the plague, no matter east or west. I did enjoy a HOTEL visit to the San Diego area but don’t plan on getting the RV very close. We spent a couple months in Mission and my biggest complaint was the drivers…I’ve done close to 75k miles across the country on a motorcycle (most of it on my own bike, solo) and that was the first area where I really felt unsafe and scared. Don’t ask me why, I just did. Also, not much to do other than eat & shop unless you are into the Branson type entertainment (which we are not). We prefer Yuma for a snowbird spot. The weather is gorgeous and there are lots of day trips we like.

    Will be interesting to continue reading the comments….

  10. We agree with your opinion of the RGV, we spent a month in TX in March 2007, including Brownsville & Houston. We hated that area of TX. You didn’t mention the fire ants, we ran into millions and the rv parks do nothing to get rid of them. DH looked like a contestant on Survivor, his legs were nothing but bites, trying to unhook or hook up and accidentally stepping on a fire ant mound. We would return to the hill country but nowhere else. We also agree on So Calif, except for the city of Ventura. This part of Ventura County is less populated and less crazy drivers than the rest of So Cal. Lots of open space and agriculture, produce stands by the side of the road, really quaint. We plan on spending many more winters here.

  11. 1. Kansas, too windy and too many tornadoes.
    2. Branson, too crowded and too hookey for me
    3. Florida, the northern part is too cold in the winter, and the southewrn is too expensive

  12. I agree about the Valley, went there once and never again. They must keep the Depends company in business with all the grouchy old farts there! Ditto the traffic and fire ants

  13. This is our 6th winter in the Rio Grande Valley. As far as the traffic, if you stay off of
    the main highways (US77 & 83) it is not bad. We just drove about 25 mi. from
    visiting friends and stayed on the RM roads all the way. Only came across maybe
    15 cars in all that distance. You can usually get places without using the
    highways. We do avoid the “big” cities like McAllen, etc. and we are about
    20 mi.of Harlingen. Last year it was windy – more than any of the previous 10 or
    15 years local have said. This year we had more colder weather and rain than in
    many years. But it was not SNOWING and, as someone else has said, the price is
    better that FL. or AZ for those of us that do not have big pensions. Also, we come
    here to live away from the cold North so activities in the club house are welcome
    and most of the entertainers are good – especially for just $3.00 or $4.00.
    Also, the people are friendly and welcoming to us Winter Texans. But, as the saying
    goes, that’s why they make wallpaper. And the food is great and reasonable, anything
    from seafood on So.Padre Island to Texas BBQ;s and, of course, Mexican food here
    and in nearby Mexico (Progresso). We have eaten there many times and never
    had any problems.
    So wherever you are spending the winter I hope it is warm.
    Texas has just completed (I believe) a major roadbuilding project on US.83 and
    US 77 and it is great. The frontage roads are also easy to navigate.

  14. Top Never Go Back To place for me in Quartzsite. I just don’t see the charm of sand and crowds. Number Two would be Atlanta. I get a panic attack every time we drive through there.

  15. Michigan, not the upper part. But all the rest. How stupid can police be that hassle tourist dollars. Someone yesterday said it well. Can’t fix stupid!!

    Check out my new blog. I mention you…itsalliwanttodorvtravels.blogspot.com…copy paste to google. You probably already know that. Love you guys..don’t change anything. Marie

  16. Nick, we had the same experience in Montgomery at Dr Kings house and the Rosa Parks museum. This sounds terrible, but we almost felt like we were being treated that way because we were white. We got the same feeling from some of the waitresses in restaurants. Like we were responsible for old resentments and injustices.

  17. Least favorite? How about New Orleans? Even before Katrina I didn’t like it the two times we visited. It was just too dirty and run down for us. Another palce I’ll never go back to is Oklahoma City. In fact, if we could avoid Oklahoma on our trips back and forth across the country I’d do it. I just don’t like the place. Too flat and ugly. One more would be Philadelphia. We were disappointed that we stood in a long line to see the Liberty Bell and it was so crowded that we cold not even take a picture before the people behind us were shoving us aside. We also got chewed out by a cop there because we walked up to his car parked at the curb and leaned down to the window to ask directions. He said “People get shot that way!”

  18. OK, I know we all have opinions BUT….you need to get off of I-10 or I-20 (I know you like back roads) and explore west TX sometime! There are some hidden jewels there and the people are the nicest you will meet anywhere! I was born out there and although I haven’t lived there since I was a kid, I love the vastness, the wide open plains and the neat little towns and their down-home goodness. There’s even REAL cowboys and ranchers there too!
    If you ever want a “list” of to-dos, just ask. See you in Yuma!

  19. In general – we try to find good in any place. For us – the secret is to find the right campground, at the right place and price. We avoid the crowds and try to stay away from big cities. We will drive 50 miles or more but stay out of crowded and high traffic areas.
    Even is South California (the part that was not returned yet to Mexico) we enjoy the Cleveland National Forest, and still not too far from Irvine, San Diego or Riverside.

  20. I have spent time in the Rio Grand Valley the past three winters. It is the birds and the weather that I go for. You can see birds there that are not seen anywhere else in the United States.

    I don’t like the rv parks. They all seem to charge to much unless you want to spend a month there. I like to work my way from the Brownsville area to Mission, but it is hard to find a daily rate I can afford at a park I’d want to stay at.

  21. We’ve only been to the Rio Grande Valley once, but never again! Never has there been such a vast array of OLD FARTS. When you pull in a park, the residents all stop and look, and you can just hear them say, “They’ve got dogs! Oh, I bet they let them poop all over the place, and I’ll bet they don’t pick up.” We went to an Encore Park in Harlingen, got an assigned site, and were pulling in, when the guy in the site next to us came out, yelling, “You can’t stay here! You can’t stay here!” We said, “What do you mean?” He replied, “My brother’s coming down next week, and he’s staying there.” We pointed out we’d be long gone by next week, but he continued to yell and complain. I told him to take it up with the office. Oh, and the traffic’s bad, too. The only thing worse than a crowded metropolitan area is a crowded with old farts metropolitan area!

  22. We came to the Valley for a visit this year..bird watching was high on our list ( we have not been disappointed) and to see friends (best part of the trip!)and we have found some great museums but somehow we just can’t quite get ourselves into the “park life” .
    Ron was chastised the first day for trying to actually swim in the pool….he might get the ladies hair wet!

    Drove the 5th thru Chicago, wasn’t horrible and actually really want to go back for a visit.
    To us each place is worth a visit at least once.

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