By Dave Solberg
ver the years I have met thousands of RVers at campgrounds, rallies and shows across the country. Some of my fondest memories come from when I traveled the country for Winnebago. For three years I was on the road, training dealers on the features and benefits of their new products. I would take a new prototype out for 4-8 weeks, usually it was a 36’ or larger RV. I’d put on about 10,000 miles each trip, then sell the RV as a demo, then get another one. I’d spend nights in either campgrounds or big box store parking lots before it was the “in” thing to do. My favorite part? Meeting other RVers.
I met the most wonderful people who were “living the dream” and exploring the country. They were always eager to share their adventures with me. For the most part, RVers are a special breed. They’ll usually always jump in to help you back up, level your rig, or even with maintenance or repair projects.
Sometimes, I would take my clothes down to the laundry, put them in the washing machine, and go back to my rig. Later, after they finished drying, I’d return to the laundry and find them on the table… folded! That’s the kind of people you meet at the campground. (Now my wife accuses me of waiting until someone folds them; however, that is not always true!)
Visiting campgrounds for pics
I’m writing this on the 4th of July, Independence Day. I went down to the local state park campground here in Clear Lake, Iowa, to get some pictures to freshen up my photo library. I have more than 1,500 photos and graphics, but you can never have enough (right?). The 4th of July in Clear Lake, IA, is THE best time to get a photo of just about anything you want at the state campground, as it is packed with every type of RV you can imagine.
I often go there to take photos since they are royalty-free and in a great setting. First, I usually stop at the DNR station on my way in to let them know I will be taking photos. I found out years ago it is not a good idea to just drive through a campground or any public area and just start taking photos! It raises a lot of interest and speculation. The park ranger here, Josh, is great and even lets us shoot content for The RV Repair Club when it’s not busy. If Josh isn’t here, I always go to the campground host.
An unexpected encounter
I pull up to the host’s spot where I find a beautiful 36’ Tiffin. I interrupt the campground host, who is relaxing in a chair under the awning in 90-degree, 100 percent Iowa humidity. And that’s when I meet Peggy, a full-time RVer, traveling solo, towing an SUV, and a daily reader of RVtravel.com! In fact, the reason she is hosting at this campground is because she had read an article posted on RVtravel.com about the need for campground hosts—especially in Iowa! Last year she did a fantasy tour of more than 7,000 miles and read the article afterward and contacted the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Josh latched on to her immediately, and the rest is history. Well, maybe not yet… but it will be.
In addition to her campground host responsibilities, she also noticed the campground was short-staffed and volunteered to mow and trim the lawn and landscaping. She was eventually put on the DNR payroll (although it’s barely above a volunteer’s pay grade). She loves it.
As I have always said, I meet the most fantastic people at the campground, and Peggy is at the top of the list.
I invite you to comment, ask questions, and provide input on topics that we can get Peggy involved in from a camp host and full-time RVer perspective. I know we can learn from her experience and benefit from her enthusiasm for RVing.
Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and the author of the “RV Handbook.”
Read more from Dave here.
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