I just love how I feel when we’re RVing: relaxed and free from worry. At least that’s how I felt until last night’s campfire conversation. Several folks voiced the same concern: Is it safe to RV?
Frank began, “We left our last RV camp two days early. Neighbors on both sides of us constantly argued about politics, social issues, and personal rights. We were afraid things might escalate and we didn’t want to wait and see what might happen.” Yikes!
My family has a rule: When we camp, sensitive topics are off-limits. Not all RVers share this conversation guideline, and how you handle the situation can be a bit tricky at times.
If an “off limits” topic is introduced, you can reply with a general statement like, “There are many opinions about that. I’m glad we can take a break from it when we camp.” Then redirect the conversation to a more neutral ground with, “We’ve been RVing for several years. How long have you had your RV? What’s your favorite trip so far?” Getting folks to talk about themselves and their RVing experiences will usually turn a potentially virulent topic into one that keeps everyone’s blood pressure in check.
If, like Frank, you feel threatened or unsafe, you may need to avoid conversations like these or move on down the road.
“Weekends are the worst for us,” Kari offered. “Especially holiday weekends. It seems like some folks know no limits when it comes to partying. It can go on all night, and we can’t sleep because of all the racket! I’m afraid someone might stumble into our campsite by mistake.”
“Are you sure you weren’t camping in a ‘Loud Campground’?” my husband wanted to know. Yes, there are campgrounds specifically designated as “Loud Campgrounds.” We should know. We accidentally stayed in one! A few years ago, the adults in our family camped along the Huzzah River in Missouri. We arrived late on Friday and planned to float the river on Saturday. The guys were also hoping to fish for smallmouth bass.
At the time, we didn’t realize that one side of the campground was officially designated as a “Loud Campground.” The other side of the campground was “Family Friendly.” Soon after we went to bed, the partying escalated to epic noise levels. A few loud, alcohol-induced arguments developed, but fortunately fizzled out. By the time we finally got to sleep, the sun was peeking over the horizon.
Our sleepless night taught us a good lesson: Always ask about quiet time rules. And don’t be afraid to call and voice your concerns if the rules are abused. If the campground management refuses to help, and you feel threatened or in danger, call the police.
RVers with firearms
Our state, Missouri, has open carry laws regarding firearms. Seeing a fellow camper openly “carrying” seemed odd to some folks around the campfire. Mike thought it was strange, too. “Why bring your firearm to a campground?” he wondered. “It makes me nervous. I plan to steer clear of him.”
All of the gun owners I personally know are highly trained and very responsible. They are also very, very careful when it comes to their firearms. That said, if you feel uncomfortable or threatened in any way, you may ask to be moved to a different campsite or find another campground altogether.
And anyone traveling with a firearm should have this book.
A few campers complained about drones. “They buzz around our RV and sometimes hover overhead, too. It frightens the kids, and I wonder, could they be taking videos or pictures of us?”
Relatively new to the camping scene, drones are showing up on more and more campgrounds. One guy said he liked to bring his drone when he RVed because the wide-open spaces allowed him to perfect his flying skills.
I wouldn’t be surprised if campgrounds soon disallowed drones because of complaints. Or perhaps some parks will provide designated areas specifically for drone use.
The campers around the fire universally said they just want to hear nature’s sounds.
Dangers getting there?
One gal said her biggest fear when RVing is her drive to the campground. “So many folks are new to RVing. It’s obvious that the vast majority do not take the time to practice driving their new, big rig before taking it out on the highway. It’s scary to follow, pass, or meet them on the road. I shudder to think about it!”
Perhaps dealers should more forcefully suggest that new RV owners practice maneuvering their rigs before hitting the highways. Better yet, dealers could offer a complete safety course for new RVers—one that included driving tips.
RV park or mobile home park?
A few people mentioned feeling uncomfortable in campgrounds that were also mobile home parks. “I don’t like it,” Steve complained. “If you want to be a campground, be a true campground. Mobile home parks traditionally house lower-income folks, people down on their luck, and even squatters. I just don’t feel comfortable in those places.”
“All people need a place to live,” Kay protested.
In our experience, the mobile homes were in a separate section of the RV park. That way, permanent residents who left for work early didn’t wake RVers. In the same way, RVers didn’t interfere with the mobile home folks. We’ve never felt uncomfortable. But if you do, ask when making reservations or choose to reserve a spot elsewhere.
Do you ever feel afraid when RVing? Let us know in the comments or over on my forum.