RV ghettos along the road

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    By Chuck Woodbury
    Gail and I drove from Tyler to Kerrville, Texas, yesterday along mostly secondary highways. We passed through Waco on the way — the big city along the route.

    koa
    Typical of what you find (file photo)

    We saw at least 15 RV parks, all right along the road, the cheapest property. I wasn’t counting, but I’d guess a half dozen were nice, most fairly new. But the others were dumps, old places, populated with what appeared to be permanent residents. They were junky, with old, beat-up trailers and motorhomes, most with old cars and trucks out front. Weeds grew everywhere. Kids’ toys, tricycles were out front, and junk all around. Blue tarps covered or partially covered dozens of RVs. I don’t know about you, but I would not want to stay at any of those places. Go ahead, call me a snob. 

    Often, older RVs, not in top shape, are home sweet home for somebody.

    When you start talking about the shortage of RV parks in America able to handle the half-million RVs being built every year, these parks are counted. But, really, most RVers would not want to stay. The residents, I suspect, are there because they need to be, living on Social Security or welfare. They’re one step away from homelessness. For them, of course, that “one step away” is a giant one, as a roof over one’s head, with a bathroom and bed is far better than sleeping on the street. The word “recreation” simply does not have a place in describing how they live.

    When the RV industry talks about the number of RV parks in America, these should not be included. They’re RV ghettos. 

    ##RVT823

     

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    Diane A.
    Guest
    Diane A.

    RE: RV Ghettos
    Having seen many of those “RV Ghettos” while traveling all over America I think that the problem comes from filthy people either running the park or lazy tennants not putting the effort in cleaning their RV.
    Personnaly I don’t see any problem with less fortunate people living in their RV, I’m happy for them and their family having a roof over their head.
    My grand mother always told us that being poor is no excuse for being filthy. I’m pretty sure that anyone, rich or poor, has water and soap in their RV.

    JIM SMITH
    Guest
    JIM SMITH

    Diane, Your grand mother was right “being poor is no excuse for being filthy”. I have read all the comments below, some make sense and others are written by , well I won’t say, it’s not nice. Some people cannot help being less fortunate and some cannot help being a little unkept. Growing up their was this one kid that was always dirty, not poor by any means, just never bathed regularly. That was the way he was raised thus he did not know any better. I guess what I am trying to say is some people are pigs with… Read more »

    Denny wagaman
    Guest
    Denny wagaman

    I am staying in a Camp Ground that used to be a dump. RV’s With blue tarps and broken down cars and trucks and trash. Never stayed there. Now that it has become a KOA the new owners have turned it around. I am here to be close to family for the holidays. I don’t blame CG’s that take on people that live ither and take care of their space and RV’s. I am concerned about the people that did live there and what happened to them. They do need a decent place to live. I pray to God that… Read more »

    Chris O'Byrne
    Guest
    Chris O'Byrne

    That makes sense. Thank you for explaining that to me and with kindness.

    Ron Haynes
    Guest
    Ron Haynes

    I think Chuck is not disparaging these RV park owners but the definition of a rv campsite. These types of permeant sites should not be counted as available for camping.

    RV Staff
    Guest

    Exactly! Chuck is very empathetic to people in these situations. His point was that these parks shouldn’t be included in the total number of parks available for traveling RVers. Thanks, Ron! —Diane at RVtravel.com.

    Peg
    Guest
    Peg

    Almost every park we’ve stayed in had some “permanent “ residents. KOAs are the exceptions. Some of the permanent areas are kept neat and clean, others not so much. It’s a relatively cheap way to live especially if you’re transient. My neighbors brought in a fifth wheel for their daughter and grandkids to live in and hooked it up to their septic system. Not very roomy but warm and safe. They keep it neat. But we live in the country so there’s no CC&Rs to keep people from living in their RVs. Only felt unsafe in one park near St.… Read more »

    Bob
    Guest
    Bob

    Suggest a few articles on what it takes to actually build and operate a new RV park. Maybe some estimates on land cost, construction costs, required amenities. Return on investment being most important part.

    Diane
    Guest
    Diane

    On our recent trip back and forth across the country, this was this past summer so it was at the end of “peak season” and we were unsure what to expect. Turns out things worked out very well. On days we needed to “make time” we had the opportunity to stay at KOA’s and Good Sams which were easily found off the highways or wondering though some really interesting small town’s. Of course we found some campgrounds were not as good as other’s and the solution was to leave. We encountered beautiful state parks and the National Parks were as… Read more »

    Chris O'Byrne
    Guest
    Chris O'Byrne

    I’m saddened by the entitled, elitist attitude. While we’re at it, let’s start complaining about those dirty homeless people who are bringing down the value of our city parks, alleys, and underpasses. Let’s not forget those single mothers who can’t keep their children looking and acting exactly the way we want them to. How about a little compassion and ideas to help instead of complaining about people who are not as blessed as we are. Or are they?

    squeakytiki
    Guest
    squeakytiki

    Thank you. My thoughts exactly.

    Tina GAllagher
    Guest
    Tina GAllagher

    Your comment is more eloquent than mine. While these parks could enact rules to get people to at least wash the exterior of their rigs, “older” RV’s should not be blasted just because they’re old. On a budget, it’s EXPENSIVE to paint, replace windows and so forth for any RV. You are right about belongings strewn about and trash. I’ve seen snobby, high-priced parks with trashier people than “poor” ones. there’s a variety of things that can be done to help these parks, and treating them like lepers isn’t it.

    Gene Bjerke
    Guest
    Gene Bjerke

    We stayed in a campground in Jackson, TN, that had a building labeled “Laundry,” but no bathroom. The laundry shack did have a small room with a bathtub. It was not a place we would normally seek out, but it was better than the ghetto we first went to and it did have cable. That is what interested us, since we were about to run into Hurricane Harvey. We stayed inside with the shades drawn and watched the Weather Channel most of the night, trying to see which way to jump to avoid torrential rains. In the end, Harvey chased… Read more »

    J French
    Guest
    J French

    My primary residence is in Louisiana which may be the “Home” of the RV Ghetto’s you describe since these are very numerous but very seldom advertised as campgrounds. Almost every town has at least 1 & they are generally occupied by seasonal workers, longterm workers such as in the Casino’s, working widows too young with no kids to draw on husbands SS or permanent residents who work jobs in the lower income scale, not Welfare since these qualify for free or greatly supplemented housing. However most of the non-resort, non-State or Federal campgrounds in Louisiana will also have a limited… Read more »

    Chuck
    Guest
    Chuck

    I’m not understanding what I’m reading here. Why the complaining? A park owner choses to cater to a specific clientele and his park is full or almost full. You don’t like the park simply move on to another one. Economics 101 goes over supply and demand pretty well. Apparently there is a demand for these parks. I personally would not stay in one but then I won’t stay at a high class resort either. In fact my rig is a 2004 model and I’m remodeling a 1985 model so I couldn’t stay in a high class resort if I wanted… Read more »

    Bob Godfrey
    Guest
    Bob Godfrey

    We too have been in parks such as those mentioned in this article and I think one of the problems that contribute to the appearance of a park is the trend of parks today to not permit anyone to wash their vehicles. Although we own an 18 year old rig, we often get compliments at how good it looks for it’s age (can’t say that about me though) but it has become increasingly difficult to find a park that will allow one to “clean up their act” anymore. I used to wash (monthly) and wax (yearly) once we stayed for… Read more »

    Larry
    Guest
    Larry

    I stopped at one of those places once for an overnight stay. It was just as you described. But in addition the residents had extension cords running all over the place from the junction boxes, and these were not high quality heavy guage. A real fire hazard. It was late and I needed to sleep but was happy to pull out in the morning.

    Alaska Traveler
    Guest
    Alaska Traveler

    We are full timers that travel back and forth around the states up to Alaska and back. We occasionally stop at the “RV Ghettos” if there is no other available. The only places we have a difficult time finding a place for the night is in West Texas due to oil workers and Alaska, due to summer everyone wants to be out and about! One delightful “RV Ghetto” was in Louisianna off I-10. The man that helped us into the space was Cajun. I kept him talking for 5 minutes and wished he’d stay longer. What a wonderful accent he… Read more »

    Joe Shamp
    Guest
    Joe Shamp

    In addition, sites such as Good Sam, Woodall and Allstays should identify these places for what they are in their listings if they are going to list them at all. Maybe a different kind of rating system.

    Dee
    Guest
    Dee

    I totally agree with you Chuck! I have pulled into some of these places and after driving through pulled out and spent a night at Walmart rather then spend a night in one of these places. It is a very bad reflection to people who have never seen the area or need to stop between locations . I personally felt very unsafe!!

    Neil...aka..neil
    Guest
    Neil...aka..neil

    Desperate times call for desperate action. RV park owners who let this happen to their business are the real parties who need lecturing. They’re just happy to have sites full year round coming as close to their business model as they can. In reality, decorum rules with expulsion consiquences can really motivate RVrs who have let the appearance and or upkeep of their own property as well as the property of the campground faulter, to bring it up to a minimum standard. Also, time limits on a at least a portion of the available sites can keep the year round… Read more »