Saturday, September 30, 2023


The rude couple in the campsite next door

By Chuck Woodbury

My motorhome to the left, my neighbor’s to the right.

Sometimes you run into the perfect storm. I am not talking about running into one on the ocean, but in an RV park. It happened to me in Kingman, Arizona.

Gail and I had stopped for two nights. We chose the KOA because it was the only decent place to stay with hookups that had room for us. Maybe we should have just stayed at the local Wal-Mart, where I saw a couple of dozen RVers holed up. They didn’t pay a penny to stay.

Typical with KOA, the sites were packed close together, which contributed to the perfect storm. Here’s why:

The local Wal-Mart offered more space between RVs than my site at the KOA, and for free. No wonder so many RVers stay there.

First, our next door neighbors had created a nice campsite — awning with a screen to transform the area into very pleasant enclosed porch. They had laid out carpet and set up folding chairs facing the outdoor TV.

They started watching the TV at about 10 a.m., and continued most of the day and evening. Even when they went inside for hours at a time, the TV remained on. Shortly after we arrived, I asked the man to turn down the volume. He seemed surprised, but obliged. But I could still easily hear it from inside my RV.

The man smoked cigars off and on all day. This, of course, made my motorhome smell like a cigar.

These light were on all day and night. 

THE COUPLE HAD LIT UP THEIR SITE with a string of green lights on the ground completely around their RV. They never turned them off, even when they were asleep. The lights were bright. Gail and I had to close our windows at night or pretended we were in a sleazy motel.

Now, the couple had every right to watch their outdoor TV and to illuminate their campsite with bright lights. And he had every right to smoke his cigars. But to do so in a campground without regard to close-by neighbors, well, that’s just plain rude.

This sort of experience is not uncommon. It’s a big reason many RVers turn to boondocking, away from the crowds, where light is from the stars and the smell is sagebrush or pine.

Chuck Woodbury
Chuck Woodbury
I'm the founder and publisher of I've been a writer and publisher for most of my adult life, and spent a total of at least a half-dozen years of that time traveling the USA and Canada in a motorhome.


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John T
3 years ago

As Full Time RVers and work-campers, my wife and I spend a lot of time stationary from one campground to another.
I can tell you why rules are not enforced , it’s because of the internet. You see , campground owners and managers are so afraid to get a bad review today that they don’t want to offend anyone. I have never seen one single person at any big name ” franchise” campgrounds get thrown out for their bad behavior. Instead when you complain to the manager they look up the persons site and say: ” Oh , well they’re leaving tomorrow, or the next day” so we won’t have to deal with them anymore. I have heard and seen this over & over.

John T
3 years ago

I spent the day yesterday listening to a neighbors dog bark all afternoon. They locked their dogs in their RV and took off for the afternoon, and their dogs barked non stop ( and they know their dogs bark while they’re away ). When they came back I told them their dogs barked the whole time they were gone and referred them to the campground rules which state:” We encourage you to board your pet if you are away for the day. local pet care provider contacts are available at camp store. Pets under distress while owners are away are cause for emergency action”
Right away the neighbor played the tough guy and started saying: ” If someone goes in my camper to get my dogs while I’m away it will be the last thing they do”! ( and proceeded to make a huge fuss over it )
You see , this is how narcissistic people act. Instead of owning up to their mistake and apologizing , they try to turn the tables on you for their own rude behavior.

Ted Denman
3 years ago

Here is my personal thought on CG Rules. If I’m signing any piece of paper that states any CG Rule on it , I first ask the “Host” if they are enforced. If there is ANY hesitation, I refuse to sign. If I’m asked to leave, so what. If the CG is privately owned, they know I will give them a very poor media review. If they are a franchise, I’ll contact the franchise. “Rules are Rules”.

Tony Sauer
3 years ago

Chuck, it is pretty awful when you have neighbors like that who think only about themselves and not how their actions impact others. One caveat, we were camped in an Arizona County Park a few weeks ago, which had hookups. At night we noticed about a third of the RVs had those LED string lights, which made it seem like Christmas and didn’t bode well for stargazing. What we learned after finding mice in our motorhome is that the LED string lights seem to repel rodents. At least that is what the camp host told us. So, annoying as those lights are, they might serve a purpose in an area where rodents are problematic. The smelly cigar and outside TV blaring, not so much.

Mark B
3 years ago

I’ve had a motorhome for 2 years. Old bones grew too tired to lay near cold, damp ground and sometimes get soaked in the tent.

Picture tenting next to the yahoo smoking the cigar. There are no windows to close.
Imagine having to listen to their TV, whether you are in the tent or sitting peacefully outside.
Bright lights? There are no shades to pull in a tent.

Those people are a tenter’s worst nightmare. Now that I’m in a motorhome, they are just obnoxious.

3 years ago

So when boondocking are you always able to stay more than 1/2 mile away from the jerks that can’t live without running their generator? It seems that it is getting harder to do as time goes on and human decency vanishes.

Captn John
3 years ago

Let your lights glare, day/night shades take care of that. Should be a rule kids are on a leash

3 years ago

We agree with Chuck. Our pet peeves – loud outdoor music or TV audio and bright lights. If I can see it or hear it in my RV it is too much light or too much volume.

3 years ago

Rope lights on the ground don’t bother me at all … never notice them from inside the rig, or even that much from outside. We sometimes use them to help the DW see when she lets the dogs out during the night while she is reading into the wee hours … on a timer to come on at dusk & go off in wee hours. On our own property away from anyone they are on from dusk to dawn. Rope lights are far preferable in RV parks to porch lights or “scare” lights left on all night. It is the noisy & smoky neighbors who get to me.

3 years ago

Ah yes, campground etiquette . I wonder what percentage of campgrounds enforce their own rules. And considering how almost all rules are basically the same, you would think we all would learn and obey them. Keep campsite clean, extinguish your campfire, keep your dog on a leash and pick up its poop and be quiet after 10:00 PM and don’t drive over 5 MPH around the campground. The problem is the campground owners, by not enforcing their own rules they are basically training the rude campers the rules don’t matter. Perhaps the rest of us should complain more to the campgrounds, otherwise nothing will change. Happy Trails

Captn John
3 years ago

On my way home from Al finding no available sites I drove a bit farther than i like and my wife found a KOA with a site. I preferred to go a little farther to a rest area but she said stop so— we got a spot in the sardine can for $65. How do they stay in business?

3 years ago
Reply to  Captn John

Due to the closing of the National Parks and State Parks in Florida I have stayed at a KOA in Ozark, Alabama for the last 12 nights. This KOA has concrete pads and patios. The landscaping is mowed, edged etc. There are “secret garden” Koi ponds in several areas around the campground. The best part is the staff who checks on us and helps us have grocery orders delivered. There are some really special KOA campgrounds!

Kevin Hogle
3 years ago

My suggestion has, and still is, separate areas in RV parks.

1 section allows loud music, running 4 wheelers and quads every which way, outside lights and drinking and party time.

Section 2 prohibits everything listed in section 1.

Enforce the rules.

You pick when you enter the park.

Too many thoughtless rude people.
You just have to separate them from people who don’t want all the chaos.

Ed D.
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Hogle

So what do you do when there are way more partying and loud campers and no room in the loud section but room in the quiet section? Do you think any campground would turn down money from a guaranteed renter?

3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Hogle

So how many RV parks have you run across that have enough land to separate the noisy jerks from the rest of us by a 1/2 mile or more?

3 years ago

I’m quite amazed at the comments posted. Where are all these CG’s? Why are you all afraid to make a face to face contact and state your concern? Writing and leaving an anonymous note, I’ll just crumple and 86 it! I know someone or some of you don’t like confrontation but as the saying goes, “you get what you ask for”. Also, kids aren’t the problem, it’s mom and dad for allowing the behavior. Your all adults, many of us retired and in our “prime years”, don’t be bullied, that’s unacceptable, don’t tolerate it. Last thing you want as suggested, is to go and buy stupid things like aircraft landing lights(you’ll annoy everyone in the CG) and TV-Be-Gone, OMG!

3 years ago

What everyone is saying is true – the newer folks to camping have little to no knowledge about campground etiquette. But I think the problem starts at the factory. Engineers design RVs. The irony is, most of these engineers never spent a day camping. They have designed RVs with outdoor speakers, TV’s (some have up to 4), lights that make a site appear to be in the daylight, surround sound, and most lately, as they call them, “slam lock” cargo door latches. Think of the stupidity. If you want all this, stay home.

Camping, RVing, or whatever you go to the woods for, has faded. Very little peace and quiet. And compound this with the corporations buying up campgrounds and doubling the number of sites by cutting the current ones in half. It’s a greed driven business now. Very few family owned campgrounds remain compared to 30 years ago when I began my camping hobby.

Joe Allen
3 years ago

Chuck, we see this more and more happening across the country. It didn’t start off this way, but as years go by, it seems it has gotten worse, not better! It’s the “All About Me” that has infestered some with no regards to anyone else. At least in our RV’s we can move on to another spot, rather than loose sleep over someone who could care less on how you feel or how it is effecting you! Boondocking welcome!

3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Allen

Good on you Joe, if moving on is your solution, I see it as the problem – sure does nothing to solve the ignorant {bleeped} syndrome. At some point the meek may just have to stand and fight the bully – if we don’t there soon may be NOWHERE to “move on to”

Donald N Wright
3 years ago

It’s become a problem with campground rules not being enforced by park staff. Many do not understand “leave no trace” rules, and none of them were ever in the Boy Scouts.

3 years ago

you can buy an aircraft landing light. they are about4 inches in diameter. hook it up to your battery an turn it on. in no time at all your neighbor will turn his lights off. dont run the light too long as it will drain your battery pretty quick

3 years ago

Maybe that will work, but i see it as one hell of A dangerous experiment – the perfect setup to get yourself shot – if you play this game with the wrong nut-bar.

3 years ago

TV-Be-Gone, a simple device that will turn off every single TV currently sold in the US and Canada.

3 years ago
Reply to  Tom

Great idea, I just ordered one.

3 years ago

Lights around the outside of the rv are ridiculous. The don’t shine in the owners rv they only shine in the windows of the neighbors. There are also some newer 5th wheels that have bright lights built in to the body of the rv. Time to turn these lights off!

6 years ago

Thanks to most here for reminding me why I haven’t had my TT out for over 10 years.

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