Sunday, September 25, 2022

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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.

Solutions

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. 

##RVT1019

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Bob p
25 days ago

As drivers of RVs it is your responsibility to LEARN how to drive you rig, forward and backward! If you’ve never driven anything bigger than a Honda Civic then you need to go to a school parking lot on Saturday and learn, learn, learn. Yes campgrounds do put a lot of obstacles out, some are natural others are placed there to prevent damage to the property. I have seen numerous people who haven’t the slightest clue about off tracking or tail swing hit things in buildings, trees, etc. I don’t blame the campground owner, they are just protecting their property from the incompetence of their clients. There are many obstacles around truck loading docks but drivers negotiate around them all the time because they know how to drive their vehicles. RVers need to learn how your vehicle handles and how much room it takes to maneuver it.

Vanha Pieru
7 months ago

You tout the article about overlighting but have Several ads promoting brighter lights.

Jane dough
8 months ago

As unfortunate it is to have boulders and stumps in the way, those obstacles are there to keep disrespectful folk from tearing up the place and keeping vehicles off the grass.ja

Thomas D
10 months ago

I think it’s a law that directly across the entrance to your site there must be a lot of large brush or at least one tree. All entrances must be 90 degrees to the road rather than ,say 45 or 60 degrees. And don’t forget there is a tree or boulder preventing you from backing in all the way so you must unhitch your trailer. At least in Wisconsin state parks!

Russell Mefford
10 months ago

Spanish Trails RV Resort in Moab Utah has boulders all over the place. I hit one with the front of my truck. I didn’t see it, but certainly heard the crash. I saw no reason for any of these boulders to be placed throughout the resort. I won’t use this place again. Please remove obstacles. There are so many things to watch when parking a 5th wheel,especially after a long day on the road.

K Anderson
10 months ago

Totally agree! It’s as if many (most?) RV park managers and owners never drove, let alone had to safely park and hook up an RV at 12 midnight in the rain after an 8 hour, all day drive. My experience at the KOA in Athens, GA is a case in point. First the live-a-aboard riff raff was so thick and congested along the road to my site I had to get out and ask people to move their trucks and motorcycles. When I got to the site, it was little more than a mud puddle with an unmarked ditch on one side. No lighting, no reflectors. Only by sheer luck and the grace of god did I spot the ditch in time to navigate around it. Comments to both the local office and KOA corporate were neither addressed nor responded to. Just a simple traffic cone or reflector would have prevented what could have turned into a major accident.

Cere
10 months ago
Reply to  K Anderson

The moral of the story? Don’t push yourself. You might want to plan to leave earlier so that you can arrive while it’s still light out and there are staff on duty to assist you. Arriving at midnight is actually quite rude – and as you point out – can be dangerous. If you could just get on the road at 10am, you would make your destination by 6pm – or even better, break up the trip into 2 days of driving. It’s the old ‘plan ahea … d’ joke. FWIW, a lot of parks honor quiet hours and lock their gates at 10pm – for obvious reasons. There’s nothing worse than waking everyone up because you ran over the water line and now have to get the maintenance staff up to tamp down Old Faithful.

Last edited 10 months ago by Cere
Mike
11 months ago

These people are correct just stay home

Gaines B
11 months ago

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

Nick
11 months 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.

Admin
RV Staff(@rvstaff)
11 months 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

Bob M
25 days ago
Reply to  RV Staff

You should leave the one you trashed for us to read. We need a good laugh every now and than.

Admin
RV Staff(@rvstaff)
25 days ago
Reply to  Bob M

Ha! That was almost a year ago. And if I trashed them, they were really nasty and in no way acceptable for our family-friendly website. I’m much more lenient than the other moderators, so they must have been really bad. Have a good night, Bob. 😀 –Diane

Donald N Wright
11 months 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.

Martha
11 months ago

What a jerk

Gary J Hironimus
11 months 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
11 months 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.

Katie
11 months 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..

John
9 months ago
Reply to  Katie

Kind of embarrassing isn’t it? 48 and 53 back up much easier… short utility trailer oversteer

Bob M
25 days ago
Reply to  Bob P

I had a 10’ long dump trailer I use to back thru my basements 8’ wide door with no problem. I have a hell of a time backing up my present 6’ long dump trailer. I have some difficulty backing up my 33’ travel trailer, but getting better.

Kirk
11 months ago

Yeah and sewer connections 12” off the ground.

2019 Montana 5er
2019 Ram dually

Tommy Molnar
11 months ago

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

Glenn
11 months 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.

Nora
8 months ago
Reply to  Glenn

Amen to that

Daycruiser
11 months 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.

chris
11 months ago
Reply to  Daycruiser

My biggest peeve. “Look up”

Nick
11 months ago
Reply to  Daycruiser

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

Donna Schoolcraft
11 months ago
Reply to  Nick

We cut first, apologize later. Owners should maintain their campground and trim foliage that will damage an RV

-brent
11 months ago

ditto

Carlos
11 months ago

If you can’t drive it don’t by it

Craig Bringhurst
1 year ago

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

DDONNELLY
1 year ago

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

Craig Bringhurst
4 months ago
Reply to  DDONNELLY

RV park owner in rural campgrounds don’t “put the rocks, stumps etc. there. They are part of the rustic environment. So no, they don’t purposely put a rock in your way.
Some people complain the park “turns off Yosemite Falls” in August too.

Amy S Bobula
1 year ago

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

DDONNELLY
1 year ago
Reply to  Amy S Bobula

The guys just giving a few tips, calm down.

Scott chilcote
1 year ago

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

DDONNELLY
1 year 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
11 months 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.

Martha
11 months ago

Such a kind person. Obviously you’ve not been to Virginia Beach and you’ve seen some of the parks here you would know exactly what he’s talking about. I don’t care if you’ve been driving 50 years. It doesn’t excuse your arrogance.

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