Aug 012016

I guess because they don’t have enough to worry about with things like wars and natural disasters and politics, people are involved in a big debate going on online about the future availability of campgrounds and how hard it is becoming to find a last-minute campsite in many areas.

Some blame long-term seasonal campers, others bemoan the fact that so many places are filling up with park models, and there are half a dozen other reasons why we should all believe that we will never find a place to camp again. Greg Gerber talked about this in a recent post in the RV Daily Report, RV Industry Death Spiral – Part 5: Campgrounds losing capacity. With all due respect to Greg and all of the doom and gloom prognosticators out there, nonsense!

I’m sorry, I really don’t see what the fuss is all about. When we started fulltiming 17 years ago, I heard the same doom and gloom predictions. People said that as more and more baby boomers retired and hit the road, nobody was going to be able to find a place to camp anymore. We haven’t found that to be true at all. We have never had a problem finding a site, including in Florida or Arizona during the wintertime when all the snowbirds are there.

Last summer we spent 14 weeks on the Oregon and Washington coasts and we had a full hookup 50 amp site every night. Yes, we made our reservations well in advance for our time there.

We spent about the same amount of time in Florida this past winter, and again we made reservations in advance. And again, we had a 50 amp full hookup site every night.

In early June we left Florida and traveled to northern Indiana, with a stop in Alabama along the way to see my son and his wife for a week. We did not make reservations and we still had no problems finding a place.

“Yes,” those with a permanent gray cloud hanging over their head will say, “but I don’t want to do that! I don’t want to plan ahead like that. Campgrounds should keep a few sites open all the time for travelers who arrive without a reservation.”

I’m sorry, but if you expect to pull into a campground at the last minute on a holiday weekend or during the middle of the summertime (or the middle of the winter in the sunbelt), and you can’t find a place to park, that’s nobody’s fault but your own.

Plan ahead a little bit, folks. The world doesn’t revolve around you, and if a campground owner has a site to rent, he’s going to rent it, not keep it available in case you decide to show up unannounced. And if he did, and it was the last site, what about the fellow that pulls in behind you? If you want that site, call ahead. What’s so hard to understand about that?

While we make reservations in peak areas during peak periods, the rest of the time we don’t bother. We travel midweek and get where were going by Thursday, so we don’t have to compete with the weekend warriors for a campsite. And we know there are a lot of places where we can camp besides campgrounds. Do your homework, and learn about the other opportunities available. There are many small town parks with RV hookups, there are Corps of Engineers campgrounds, there are fairgrounds with RV hookups, if you are a remember the Elks or Moose or VFW, many lodges and posts have RV parking available, and there is dry camping on BLM land if you are out west. Really, there’s no shortage of campgrounds, so relax and stop getting all worked up about nothing.

But I guess if you just need to worry about something, that’s your right. As for me, I’m too busy enjoying the RV lifestyle to waste any time with all of that. Here under my awning, the sky isn’t falling.

Congratulations Carol Zack, winner of our drawing for an audiobook of Crazy Days in Big Lake, the third book in my Big Lake mystery series. We had 114 entries this time around. Stay tuned, a new contest starts soon!

Thought For The Day – The noisiest drum has nothing in it but air.

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Nick Russell

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  10 Responses to “The Sky Isn’t Falling”

  1. Right on as always, Nick. ‘You ‘da MAN!’

  2. We’ve been so relaxed lately that I’m starting to worry about having nothing to worry about! 😉

  3. People seem to forget that as we age, we also become to infirmed to travel/camp, or we die. I am amazed at the # of “baby boomers” my age that are dying. Such is the circle of life.

  4. We have noticed the increase of seasonals, weekenders and workers using CGs. In the past we were able to just find a CG but now we have to make more reservations as camping and living in CGs is on the increase. However, with just a little more planning we can find a place to stay.
    The price of CGs is on the increase as is everything else. So budgeting your finances is important to maintain this lifestyle. We are now in the NE and the CGs are very expensive ($30 on up). Many are $50 and up per night. So this is an increasing concern for individuals on fixed incomes.

  5. Amen!

  6. When I read your first paragraph I was thinking what you wrote later in your blog. We are currently working at a Corps of Engineers cg. We have about 15 sites with 50 amp, the rest are 30 amp. Every week we get calls on Thursday or Friday wanting 50 amp for their 40 foot MH. Those sites are always booked first. I am amazed that even on major holidays they call at the last minute and can’t believe we don’t have a space for them. It’s not just the millenials (sp?) that think they are so entitled. I always tell them they can manage on 30 amp. They usually get huffy and hang up.
    It’s my humble opinion that the amount of people rv’ing is about the same all the time. There are retired people that get ill or just stop, or people that find it’s not for them, or something else happens that they sell the rv and stay home. The number of rv’s sold has increased since the recession but that doesn’t mean there are more rv’rs. We’ve been fulltime for 10 years. We usually work 1/2 the year and travel 1/2. We’ve gone from CA to the east coast and all the way up to Niagra Falls and back. We have relatives in MT and go the northern route every few years. No problems finding campgrounds.
    The past 3 years we’ve gone to Tucson for 4 months and stay at the Voyager. The Voyager refuses reservations when they reach a certain number of reservations. Every year there are plenty of sites to rent but they say they are full. We don’t understand it and the corporation that owns it certainly won’t say why they do that. We have never had a problem getting a site anywhere, even on major holidays, when we plan ahead.

  7. No one goes to those campgrounds any more, they are to full.

  8. Amen. I don’t see it as worry I see it as entitlement. The younger generation want what they want and they want it 30 sec before they ask. We are just now encountering the reservation thing but then again small parks with out amentities are fine with me.

  9. Well,
    2 years ago I couldn’t get a Reservation in Mesa at the first 2 parks I desired for the First week in March (2 months in advance), and the Park we could find a Reservation at with over 1000 sites had maybe 20 available and we got shoehorned between and across from Park Models that took us at least 45 minutes to squeeze our Fifth wheel in.
    On our way there in Tucson, the no Reservation Park gave their last site away just before we arrived so we had to scramble.
    In Ohio, while trying to stay near relatives, the dumpy Park we found had only a few “transient” sites available, with lots of Trailer Trash year round sites.
    I’ve been in several campgrounds of all sizes that filled up after we arrived and turned RVers away – during the week.
    Fortunately we do like to plan ahead, but I can foresee a day when last minute changes or trying to travel “carefree” could leave one in the lurch and I don’t consider Wal-Mart an alternative.

    RV parks in the Rio Grande Valley have LOTS of sites available, thanks to poor marketing, dated campgrounds, unfounded fears of Mexico, and the Canadian Dollar.

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