Reader letter: So many fumbling newbies. Where will we all stay?

14

mailboxDear Chuck,
My partner and I have just returned home to Arizona, after an 8-day trip. We couldn’t sit at home another day, so off we went, cautiously. We took enough food/drink for the duration, so no need to stop or shop along the way. Reservations were booked and paid for online. So very little interaction at most stops.

Our first observation was how few people were wearing any masks — anywhere. None of the owners/employees at RV parks we visited. That was very surprising and frankly disappointing to see. Our other observation was the number of “new” RVs that pulled in every evening with temporary tags, fresh off a dealer’s lot. It was disturbing, and yet at times comical to watch these new owners exit their new RV and have little to no idea how to attach their electric, water, sewer, cable.

We considered whether we should be good neighbors, and offer advice/help, but with COVID anxiety we kept our distance and just watched. We did help one single older lady whose fresh water tank had a bad back flow valve, and was overflowing the tank. This was also in a brand-new, higher-end RV. She was quite upset.

All of this, of course reinforced our thoughts that there are many that now see an RV as the “safer” way to travel today. As you have discussed many times recently, where will all these people stay?

It is becoming increasingly more of a hassle to travel in our RV, for sure. I have owned an RV beginning with a brand-new one in 1996, and a few more since. But frankly, I am seriously beginning to think the end may be near. Hate to say that.

Thanks to all of you at RVtravel.com — for all that you do, for all of us. Keep up the good work. —Ron H.

Dear Ron,
First, thanks for the kind words about RVtravel.com. It’s nice to know our hard work is appreciated. So … “where will all these new RVers (and those of us who have been RVing for years) stay?” That’s a darn good question. I don’t know. There is not enough room, and it will only get worse. This is a subject we will explore in the weeks and months ahead. Your comment about the “end may be near” for your RV travels is familiar. We hear it all the time. My brief response here doesn’t amount to much, but we’ll stay with the topic. We’ll try to make some sense of where we are going as RVers at a time when our ranks are growing far faster than new places to stay. —Chuck

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John D Goldsmith
1 month ago

I think a day of reckoning for the RV industry is coming and it won’t be pretty. Thanks to the pandemic, RV vacationing has become the “flavour de jour”. Dealers are sold out. Manufactures are rushing to make new units (at the expense of build quality?). Service departments are swamped. Camp grounds are packed. Caught in the middle is the RV’er, especially the newbie who’s concept of RV’ing came from colorful GoRving ads and sales hype. I wonder what will happen when expectation meets reality? Perhaps something meaningful and significant?

Up to now, RV’ing has been, more or less, a niche vacation option but that changed with the influx of so many new campers, many of whom will become angered and frustrated by the current state of affairs. If enough folks complain, perhaps some meaningful changes will occur such as tough new RV “Lemon Laws” or the construction of more state and local parks. Glass half full?

D&L
1 month ago

We are about 2/3 of the way through our trip from S. Ga to Oregon (to see son & DIL). We took our time and have spent about 1 1/2 months in the cool air of WY and MT. We were not ‘afraid’ of the China virus (yes, I know some have died, but the VAST majority of those infected have survived). We have come to realize that this will be our last trip until the over-zealous rules fade away. Too many places are closed or out-of-staters are simply not welcome. I will say that our stays in the RV parks has been fine, but we like to get out and see the area.

Don’t hate…this has been our experience.

Ellen
1 month ago

We’re in our 12th year of full-timing and have been seeing increasing numbers of new RVers in the last 4 years or so. And this year we’ve seen more RVers on the road and at the RV parks where we’ve been staying than any other time (and have heard managers and owners confirm it’s been their busiest summer since …. ever). Over the last few months we’ve had to stay in hotels a couple of times, and I can tell you it was easy to get a room, the staff members we dealt with were even more accommodating than usual, and though we took our own paranoid precautions, we felt very safe staying in these places (we always book at Hilton because they don’t allow pets and we’re allergic, so we aren’t staying in any “fleabag” places). How I wish word of the safety of hotel rooms would spread!! Maybe that would alleviate some of the sudden rush into RVing by at least some folks who are right now jumping into it.

Beth
1 month ago

It’s gotten harder and harder to get a reservation in our favorite parks. We have started making reservations a year in advance and hopefully the reservation fits into our timeframe. I feel selfish when someone, on these Facebook pages, want suggestions for RV parks in the Pacific Northwest. I find myself ignoring the question because I always want to be able to go my favorite campgrounds and not be booked out of them.

BadWolfe
1 month ago

At our last camp site, we noticed a neighbor lady who was camping alone, struggle to try and set up an old style tent. It really needed two people to steady the aluminum support arms, while a person on the other side did the same. Due to Covid, I had to require she put on a mask so that I could lend a hand. She gladly complied. My contribution was very small, as I simply lifted one side of the tents structure, while she did the same on the other side.
Still, this darn Covid thing sure is making things tougher.

David Schmidt
1 month ago

I have a gut feeling that all these new rv folks will give up in a few years with frustratuon with their new rigs and the rv lots wil be filled with used units and. Less full camp sites.

Sharon
1 month ago
Reply to  David Schmidt

I agree. There will probably be a glut of used RVs in 1 to 2 years – bargain shopping if you plan to be in the market!

Linda Hagan
1 month ago
Reply to  Sharon

Yep, I know of two couples that have put their purchase off until next year in anticipation of making a good deal on a used unit.

Mitzi Agnew Giles
1 month ago

I bought mine since I can’t backpack or even car camp anymore, and I was hoping to use my summers to search for an away-from Florida-heat and humidity summer permanent placement. I was the other side of “you don’t see Southerners retiring up north and driving slow”. 😉 Between being very ill for a couple years and DH semi retiring instead of full retiring, I haven’t been able to do much looking and find myself in my 4th summer, trapped by Florida’s heat and humidity. This summer (2020) was to have been the 60 to 90 trip across the northern plains and southern Canada, and then…pandemic. Sigh…..

JimBob
1 month ago

Go anyway. What are you waiting for?

Mark O.
1 month ago

After dealing with the crowds of “newbies” on our last 3 trips this summer we are getting a seasonal site at a park in our favorite area (Vermont/New Hampshire) for next season. Without making reservations well in advance it’s almost impossible to get into the places we’ve never had trouble getting into for decades. It is quite amusing watching all these new folks stumble around trying to set things up or leave. So far I’ve seen a guy drive off still connected to his power pedestal and another take off with his batwing antenna at full mast. Don’t know why he even had it up as the park had great cable. Oh well, they’ll learn!

mike
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark O.

Want more enjoyment of peoples, go to a popular lake resort on a sunday afternoon. Now these peoples have probable been camping all weekend, drinking, up late in the evenings and in the hot sun, and now its time to go home. Time to load the boat on the trailer…dad is tired and probable still hung over, mom/significant other/etc, is exhausted from waiting on others, kids are yelling, boat items are scattered all over the boat, food stuff is on the floor of the boat, but what the heck lets get the boat on the trailer.The boat is most likely power driven up onto the trailer, guy (most likely) jumps out, gets into his 4×4 truck and puts it in gear and powers up the driveway, now things happen, he forgets to put up the outboard trans/prop causing it to drag on the ramp, the boat slips off the trailer because someone forgot to attach the rope to the front of the boat. Running out of space now, so in my warped sense of humor it is very entertaining…especially with a beer.

Traveler
1 month ago
Reply to  mike

You learned once too.

WEB
1 month ago
Reply to  Traveler

Yup! All bought and paid for so now in retirement I too can sit back and watch ‘the show’. 🙃