Sunday, October 17, 2021


Dear RV parks: Do you purposely set me up for driving disasters?

Dear RV park owners,
Why, why, why (!!) do you put things in campgrounds right where I’m trying to turn my RV that are completely out of my line of sight? Is there some conspiracy between the RV parts suppliers, RV insurance companies, and the campgrounds? 

Every RVer here knows exactly what I’m going on about. Rocks. Stumps. Power pedestals. Water spigots.

In so many RV campgrounds it seems there are things that are well below where I can see them that pose an imminent danger to either my RV or tow vehicle. 

For example, I was recently staying at an RV park that was best suited to small RVs. There were the usual pedestals and other obstacles in my site, which I walked before backing. But there were also boulders on the other side of the street for some reason that were just low enough that I couldn’t see them no matter what. 

So, my solution here was to move a bit, get out, and then move some more, lest I leave a permanent reminder on my pickup truck that the RV park owner in question had it out for nice paint and wrinkle-free fenders. 

I’m really surprised I’ve never seen anything even in social media forums about this. But it’s something that bugs me almost any time I check into a new park. There’s that rock or those posts in the ground and they always have some paint transfer on them. 

Now, I’m fortunate in that I’m really, really good at backing up. Where my RV sits when it’s at our home is down a long driveway and then it has to be navigated around a sharp 90° bend. I’m not trying to brag, but I can usually make this target by myself in one shot. But I also don’t have anything below the sightline of my truck that’s going to leave a reminder of that time I didn’t make the turn. 

This RV park marked the low-lying items with easy-to-see reflective poles.


If you share my feelings about this, there are actually a few solutions to the issue.

I always encourage anyone, even if you have a great co-pilot, to walk the place where you’re going. They should, and you should too, keep an eye out for rocks, stumps or anything else that could leave a mark on the truck or trailer. 

I also use this opportunity to plug in my power protector so I can determine if the power at the site is worth my backing into anyway. 

If there is a particular nuisance item that might represent a challenge to get around, one of the options might be to take those tennis ball markers that you can get for aiding in hitching up a trailer and place those where they extend into your line of sight. Usually, you don’t have to put more than the two that come in the package to let you know where the obstacles are. 

Another way to handle this is to take note of where the obstacles are and put red solo cups right before the place where you might contact the obstacle. While you’ll still not be able to see the item, the sound of a red solo cup meeting its demise is pretty distinct and certainly a much better sound than sheet metal (or fiberglass) against a rock. 

I also have some cones that we bring with us that can denote those annoying out-of-site items. But the cups are my favorite just for the sound they make. 

I have been to many RV parks where I watch folks backing in and just wait for “that sound.” More often than not they don’t want my assistance and then won’t look me in the eye after they’ve hit something at the site. 

Easy solution 

What would really make me happy is if RV parks invested in golf flags and put them as site markers rather than things that were below your line of sight in an RV. The flags could even have your site number on them. They would also help you find the site, especially at larger parks. 

A flag at the pedestal would also help show where that was for a lot of reasons, including the parks likely having to replace far fewer of these. As it is now, I challenge you to go to any RV park and not find at least one pedestal that’s been the loser at a game of RV fender contact. 

Another option is portable golf flags. I found sets of these on Amazon that were under $25, which is certainly far less expensive than resolving any unplanned contact. These flags are also portable and compact and, should you choose to do a bit of digging, you could bury the cup that comes with them and practice some putting. 

No matter what, in the hundreds of RV parks that I’ve been to as I traverse this wonderful land, it’s the minority that doesn’t have something that’s going to cause damage to the unsuspecting RVer. I could excuse this if some RVs were skateboards or something like that, but the fact that all RVs are larger vehicles with blind spots makes me wonder why RV parks haven’t done something other than creating the most hazardous situation a paint job could possibly encounter. 

And let’s not even talk about seeing people knock the ends of their black tanks off. Yikes. 



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Gaines B
21 hours ago

Another idea would be those driveway markers with the round red reflector on them. You can get them at the dollar store.

11 days ago

Lots of nasty comments! Why? I wish I was as perfect as some of these commenters.

I appreciate the author’s observations. I have always wondered at why a camp owner/operator places rock boulders around the turns. Maybe the TTs and the 5ers can easily see and navigate these, but in my DP, these can be very tough to see (especially in the front when backing or tight turning). Thanks again for the article. I am not sure I want to see a campground full of golf flags (lol), but sometimes these owners don’t take into account what these 45′ rigs need to safely back into these spaces.

RV Staff (@rvstaff)
11 days ago
Reply to  Nick

Hi, Nick. Thank you for your thoughtful comments. If you think the ones in there are nasty, you should have seen the ones I trashed. 😯 Take care. 🙂 –Diane

Donald N Wright
17 days ago

So, the naughty campground owners and park rangers decided to use rocks instead of concrete curbs, and do not have ten foot tall spring loaded pillars in bright paint for connections? Are you demanding movable trees that won’t touch your RV, but will move to shade it from the sun? Nasty folks use boulders and logs to keep you on the road and in your rented site, and not in a ditch or grassy area ! As for your free roaming dogs whose waste you do not clean up, I hope someone returns the waste to your campsite.

Gary J Hironimus
17 days ago

Interesting. I’ve been RVing for 32 years. And in all that time, I’ve hit only 1 post at the corner of an RV camping space. Perhaps the writer should learn to drive a bit better, or stop driving an RV. Maybe hotels are more his style.

Bob P
18 days ago

I adjust my mirrors so I have visual reference to what’s immediately behind my trailer. When I pre walk the site I make mental notes of how far apart obstacles are, I know the width and height of my unit and I know if I’m going to clear on my viewing side I’ll clear on the blind side. If I have to do a blind side back G.O.A.L.(get out and look) many times, it’s cheaper than hearing crunch. If you can’t remember GOAL decals are sold at most truck stops to put on your mirrors. The biggest problem I see with trailers is the pilot doesn’t know which way to turn the steering wheel to turn the trailer in the proper way. To make matters worse the shorter the distance between the rear tires of the tow vehicle and the trailer axles the quicker any movement of the steering wheel makes the trailer turn. It’s easier to back a 53’ semi trailer than a UHaul.

12 days ago
Reply to  Bob P

LOL… I drove semi 24 yrs. I back up the RV as if you were going forward. But Please don’t make me back up a 8 foot U haul… It goes every direction but where it is intended to..

18 days ago

Yeah and sewer connections 12” off the ground.

2019 Montana 5er
2019 Ram dually

Tommy Molnar
19 days ago

Wow. Soooo many useless comments, from soooo many pro-fessional RV jockeys.

21 days ago

So sad to see the lack of civility that seems to have become so pronounced in the last four years. Many need to go back under the rock they crawled out from.

21 days ago

I just wish parks private and public would keep their trees trimmed up to at least 15ft. along roads and spaces. Taking out an A/C shroud or tearing a nice long hole in a $10K EPDM roof is not my idea of a good time. Unless you carry a 13’6″ pole with you it’s often pretty hard to judge the height of overhanging branches.

20 days ago
Reply to  Daycruiser

My biggest peeve. “Look up”

11 days ago
Reply to  Daycruiser

I agree. I usually carry a pole saw, but most parks won’t let me use it.

21 days ago

If you can’t drive it don’t by it

Craig Bringhurst
21 days ago

Really! Perhaps you may want to avoid rustic or rural campgrounds and stick to those asphalt parking lots

21 days ago

Wow! Overreacting to a guy just giving a few tips? Why?

Amy S Bobula
21 days ago

Sell the RV and go find a hotel. The joys of nature are obviously too much for you.

21 days ago
Reply to  Amy S Bobula

The guys just giving a few tips, calm down.

Scott chilcote
21 days ago

I suggest you either learn to drive or hire someone to do your driving

21 days ago
Reply to  Scott chilcote

Really? We are all new at this at some point and could use a few tips. Grow up

Gary J Hironimus
17 days ago
Reply to  Tony Barthel

I’ll take that challenge. I’ve been RVing for 32 years, and have only hit 1 single low post at a campsite. I back a 20′ enclosed trailer with a 30′ class A into a narrow parking space onto my property every single time I go out.

As others have said; if you can’t drive it to don’t buy it. At the very least, don’t write articles blaming your lack of skills on campground owners.

ella Lewis
21 days ago

Work at the State Park for 10 years. The Campers park over areas where water lines are under ground and pressure on the old pipes start to leak. The rocks in place keeps this from happening.
Then we have closed this area from camping. They usually do care about the grass area or someone Camping site
So the State Parks puts logs or rocks in place to help the park with this issue.

21 days ago

Thank you! Your suggestions would be helpful even if you are helping someone back up. Might save a Marriott partnership lol. After 6 years, one back bumper repair, and too many scrapes or dings, my husband a pretty good team. He backs and I spot. However, you can’t be in 2 places at the same time 🙄

21 days ago

In my experience, the “obstacles” are never in the spot the RV is supposed to drive thru or park in. If you hit something, you are a lousy driver.

Phil davy
21 days ago
Reply to  Clint

Ah no, you’re just a troll, in my experience.

21 days ago
Reply to  Clint

You obviously don’t back up a trailer by that comment.

21 days ago

Just for a laugh, true story. My father in law hit a large rock damaging the front right corner of his class a motorhome when trying to back into his drive way. Where was the rock, it was in the neighbors front yard across the street. At least 6 feet into the yard off the driveway. Just when you think something is impossible someone does it.

Richard Chabrajez
21 days ago

We’re a big 5ver. We find the most over used campground phrase is ” we git rigs yer size in here all the time “. A 45ft 5ver is at least 60ft with the truck. We carry soccer cones, reflector rods, walkies and good ole’ communication.

And way too much “well sh-t, now we know not to do THAT again!”

21 days ago

I’ve found that a yellow extension cord can be helpful when backing into a difficult site. It’s hard for me to judge the trailer’s angle if the site doesn’t have a distinct boundary. The yellow cord becomes my boundary line.

21 days ago

Our 2017 Rockwood mini lite 2504s has a delaminated front on it. The black moldings on all four corners cracked and fell apart two years ago. We bought new ones and fixed it with sealant but these bubbles started. Awful. Forest River said they would not fix it because warranty was off. $1700 to fix if we take it to their factory. Terrible. No more Rockwoods☹️

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