Thursday, November 30, 2023


RV Shrink: What do RV park managers and pig farmers have in common?

Dear RV Shrink:
We have spent the winter in the state parks of three states as well as many city and county parks. One common denominator we find in most parks we visit are nasty restroom and shower facilities. Are we too picky or is this just the norm? We are fairly new at this RV lifestyle and I have to say, I think twice before I venture into a park restroom. Untidy in Texas

Dear Untidy:
I hear ya. But don’t blame the park managers. They, like any pig farmer, have to deal with a lot of pigs on a daily basis. We have been at this RV traveling lifestyle many years and nothing has changed much but the growing numbers of participants.

We have many friends who own, manage and host at campgrounds across North America, and they all have horror stories. You don’t have to look far. I am currently at a beautiful State Park in Arizona. Yes, even with the Coronavirus Arizona State Parks are still open as I write this week’s column. If there was ever a time for people to be practicing sanitary cautions, it is now.

I was just talking to the ranger cleaning the restrooms. With the rest of America hoarding toilet paper, someone here unrolled all the paper in the Women’s bathroom and piled it into the toilets. She says they do all types of unspeakable things in the shower stalls, trash the fixtures, and break and scratch the mirrors.

We were out for a hike this morning and found another common deposit. Dog droppings. I don’t mean dog droppings that people have failed to pick up, I mean dog droppings that people have picked up, deposited in a plastic bag, then left the bag along the trail because they didn’t want to carry it. Why not just leave the droppings on the ground? Why package it up if you are not going to properly dispose of it?

Did I ever mention to you that we have eight billion people on the planet? If even a small percentage of them are stupid it can run into huge numbers. If anyone reading this has done any of the things I have mentioned above, you’re one of them.

Unfortunately, the rest of us have to deal with the whack jobs who mingle among us. If they all had to carry a sign, like Jeff Foxworthy suggests, we would know who they were and could avoid them. But life is not that cut and dried.

Just know that most of the RVers you meet, and camp near, are normal, friendly and worth meeting. Continue to be suspect when visiting restrooms, or make a practice to use only the one you have wheels under.

—Keep Smilin’, Richard Mallery a.k.a. Dr. R.V. Shrink

Can’t get enough of the Shrink? Read his e-books, including Book 2 in his two-book series: Dr. R.V. Shrink: Everything you ever wanted to know about the RV Lifestyle but were afraid to ask or check out his other e-books.




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Steve (@guest_171973)
1 year ago

One great state park is near the villages in fla … griffin sp . Showers great

Skip (@guest_103243)
3 years ago

For dog poop an old or new fanny pack works great. Toss in a dryer sheet. It’s the destruction of property that pi_ses me off. I think every man and women needs to do a 4 year stent in the military upon departure of high school to learn respect for others and others property and the consequences if you don’t. And that might of changed been retired for almost 30 years.

DW/ND (@guest_103233)
3 years ago

Some years ago now, ND closed many rest areas and dump stations. The rest areas were vandalized so bad – broken mirrors, toilets and on and on; they either closed and abandoned the sites or hired guards 24 hrs a day. Also, the dump stations were shut-down because of the cost of pumping the septic tanks and the distances to travel to do so. Travel safe – stay safe!

Snayte (@guest_72735)
3 years ago

Bill Engval did the sign bit.

Rory R (@guest_72709)
3 years ago

That article on Park restrooms is the reason I only use my own bathrooms on the road. It is also the reason that a dry bath, large enough to be comfortable in was high on our list of must haves. We used to be dependent on the shower facilities, but after some bad experiences, we made sure we cut that cord, no more dependence on Park facilities for showers or laundry…

Bill & Judy Frank (@guest_72602)
3 years ago

Amen brother! Common sense is no longer common. People are now entitled and exempt from doing anything other than what they want, at someone else’s expense but want all the rights and privileges afforded to those of use who have earned them.
You make a mess, clean it up. Your dog poops, clean it up and properly dispose of it. Don’t litter, leave your campsite cleaner than when you found it. Show some respect to your fellow human beings. Be ever mindful, you can’t fix ‘Stupid’. For those who fit into that category……………

Rob (@guest_72322)
3 years ago

I realized long ago that the problem with stupid people is that they just don’t know they are stupid. They think they are just as smart as the rest of us or maybe even smarter!!!

TravelingMan (@guest_72281)
3 years ago

Most public places (whether an RV park or not) are desecrated by pigs. How many sporting events have you been to? What about movie theaters? Have you ever worked in the school district? I have…

The question is WHY are people the way they are? I would like to see their house. What kind of upbringing did they get?

I will say that all it takes is ONE person. Once that happens, no one else has respect for the facilities any more.

I will also say that to a point (unlike most), the DW and I will efforts when we go to an unpleasant RR to do what we can (like picking up the ton of paper in the floor from those lazy B’s that can’t seem to make it into the toilet or trashcan). We’re not too proud. We know where are roots come from. Your welcome… We do have our limits for sure. I’m not going to clean up after a real disgusting pig. But that makes it tough for us to want to use that RR as well. At that point, someone needs to call Dalworth Cleaning Company and have the whole place power-washed and decontaminated. We’ll usually move on to the next one since we don’t carry enough PPE for that)!

If everyone did just a simple bend-over and pick up that piece of paper that they dropped, it would inspire others to maybe act in kind. There is no sense in standing on the toilet to evacuate a number 2 and get it all over the lid. And guy’s when it’s a room for Men and Women, pick the D__ lid up. You thoughtless and lazy SOB’s.

That restroom is for your use. Respect it. Do your part and clean up after yourself you disgusting animal.

Sally (@guest_72277)
3 years ago

The only time we didn’t clean up a mess in the bathroom that our handicapped son made was when he cut his finger on a stop sign and cut the artery in his finger. He thought he could go in the bathroom and wash it and it would be ok. I didn’t know about it until he came to the campsite with someone helping him and was covered with blood. We flew to the the nearest ER and got him stitches…only 3. When we got back the ranger came and asked us if everything was ok. He said he followed the blood from the stop sign to the bathroom only to think someone dressed a deer in there for the amount of blood he saw. He closed the bathroom and it got cleaned and disinfected. He followed the blood from there to out campsite but we were not there. When i told what had happened he said he knew that our son was hurt and he was concerned. Everything turned out ok but I felt bad about the mess!

Sally (@guest_72278)
3 years ago
Reply to  Sally

They have raised the stop sign above bicycle height so it can’t happen again.

Tumbleweed (@guest_72236)
3 years ago

The problem isn’t just with people who are slobs. Some intentionally destroy and make messes. My sole experience as a campground host was at a very small forest service campground in northern AZ that was managed by an outside company. People not only smeared feces on the walls of the outhouse, but also TWICE threw the wastebasket into the “toilet”, where some unlucky employee had to fish it out.

The management was also poor. They wouldn’t drain the holding tank when it desperately needed draining because their contract specified they only needed to drain it twice a year. But it was so full at that point that the outhouse reeked horribly and there was a definite danger of a backsplash on your rump when you used the toilet. The manager didn’t relent and have it drained until I said I would no longer clean the outhouse because it was a health disaster.

Sink Jaxon (@guest_72226)
3 years ago

If there’s a dump station, I’m usin’ my OWN shower. Also, whatever campground I’m in I’ll check the shower (if there is one). If I don’t feel comfortable touching the shower walls, I won’t use it. Sidenote; I’ve stayed at quite a few KOA’s in my travels and it’s rare to find a dirty shower. The cleanest one I’ve ever seen was the KOA El Reno West, Calumet, OK right off I40. I luxuriated in that one! But I’ll usually use my own (always conservatively), that also puts more water in the gray tank to flush out my slinky when dumping.

PJ Nyvall (@guest_72221)
3 years ago

I live in a 55 plus park, with a tough board of directors and full time maintenance service.
We keep our community clean, bathrooms clean and spotless and a Rule book to back up
what we brag about.

Richard Chabrajez (@guest_72195)
3 years ago

While the author doesn’t specifically state, I would think that most of these issues occur in State, and family (as opposed to age specific) campgrounds. Before reading this article, it never occurred to me that might be a key factor in why some parks have an over 55 age requirement. Maybe, by that age, the “Darwin rule” has some effect.

Diane Mc (@guest_72192)
3 years ago

Precisely why we bought a motorhome, so we wouldn’t have to deal with what you describe. With that said, not everyone is as fortunate to be able to afford something self contained that offers enough space to use the on board facilities. Our friends who owned a travel trailer, their bathroom was small. The husband was over 6 feet tall and his wife about 5’ 9”. They used the park facilities and I can understand why. We always took it for granted about using your own facilities, we are 5’7” & 5”, but many RV’s weren’t made for tall/larger folks. It happens to work for us. Our friends could not fit in our shower.

Abe Loughin (@guest_72119)
3 years ago

My line of thinking may be wrong but here goes. Most of today’s rvs have full facilities on board. The water heaters are capable of supplying enough hot water to get clean. I just can’t get my head around why someone would slogg across a campground, use facilities that one has no idea who or what may be lurking there then hike back to their RV, probably working up at least a minor sweat, only to have to put the toiletries away. When you can use your own shower, dry off and dress in absolute privacy and air conditioning. Just my opinion, end of rant. Thank you and good night.

James LaGasse (@guest_72075)
3 years ago

We stayed at one state park for a week, there were only 3 others staying there and the same dirty diaper that was in the bathroom trash can was there when we left. We used our porta potty and pump up sprayer for our entire stay. Our small trailer doesn’t have holding tanks and most state parks don’t have sewer. We try to shower after the bathrooms have been cleaned but that isn’t always possible, When the bathrooms are filthy we use a pump up sprayer and wet down, soap up and rinse off. We can both shower with 3 to 4 gallons of water a I can catch it in a container and dispose of it properly. This is most useful in many National Parks and Forests which many have no facilities other than toilet and sink.

Chuck B (@guest_72031)
3 years ago

I can’t understand the need to have to use the parks restrooms for most RVers. We always use our own. We know it will be clean, we know where everything is, we know there will always be toilet paper, We know the toilet will not be overflowing, we don’t have to carry anything with us to take a shower and we don’t have to deal with the issues described above. That’s one of the reasons we travel in our RV. Chuck

littleleftie (@guest_72028)
3 years ago

We have a camper without a bathroom so we use the park facilities. In our experience, the majority of people are respectful. In the past 15 years, we have only come upon very few facilities that were unusable. The vast majority have been good to excellent. I agree, it isn’t that the park owners or rangers aren’t doing a good job—it is the other campers. I live by the motto that I will make things better wherever I am, so if I see a mess, I clean it up if I can. Or at the very least, I inform the office.
Because of our choice to pick a trailer without a bathroom, we do have a portapottie hidden away …in case of emergencies or bathrooms too gross to use. Haven’t had to put it into service yet.

Ralph Pinney (@guest_72027)
3 years ago

I agree with your point that there are trashy people out there and they often leave a mess behind them wherever they go. However, I agree with Untidy. There are a lot of parks (state parks and private parks) that have horrible restrooms. Uncleaned for days. Serious mold. Etc., etc. We have been full timing for over a year now and I’d say that the vast majority of nasty restrooms are not due to trashy campers. Rather, they are just nasty to begin with.
Stay safe.

Brian Healy (@guest_72020)
3 years ago

I sometimes bag my dogs poop and leave it off the side of a walking path and pick it up when walk back past it.

TravelingMan (@guest_72283)
3 years ago
Reply to  Brian Healy

Put it in your pocket! It’s YOUR D__ animal.

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