Here’s a question from a reader of RVtravel.com about boondocking.
Earlier this week I was traveling through the San Juan Mountains. The Matterhorn campground was full so I went a little farther down the road and found an apparent boondocking location at Lizard Head Pass. There were 10 or so campers there, mostly in trailers and one car. All had about 100 – 150 yards between them. I found a location with about the same distance from my neighbors and settled in. An hour or so before dark a couple in a pickup truck pulled in and parked about 10 yards from me. To my dismay they started setting up camp while blasting their radio. The radio stayed on until they went to bed. For fear of some sort of altercation, I said nothing and did nothing other than close the blinds.
Is it appropriate to say or do anything in a case like this? If so what? My takeaway was next time I’ll park right in the middle of a space and spread out lawn chairs and anything else in a wide circle around me to take up as much space as possible. Thanks. —Bill D.
Alas, you’ve discovered one of the rare downsides to boondocking. Since boondocking offers the option of where you would like to park your RV on public land, it also means that others can choose that option also. Fortunately, since most boondockers (but not all, obviously) enjoy camping with lots of space around them, the situation that you describe doesn’t happen often, but it has happened to me a few times. And your solution would require quite a large circle to keep noisy neighbors far enough away, which is not always practical.
There are essentially three pragmatic options: (1) With a big smile on your face, walk over to the new campers – preferably before they get set up – and (politely) explain that the reason you are camped where you are is because you like your quiet privacy and would they mind moving a little farther away, out of sound range; (2) Put up with their noise and proximity; or (3) Move to a new location well away from them.
The (1) option is the most preferable but doesn’t always succeed. Don’t push the issue since an altercation could be the result if the new campers are not receptive and understanding. The (2) option for me, I found difficult, especially when the noise (usually accompanied by copious amounts of alcohol consumption) increases as time passes – which it likely will. The (3) option, though at first seeming like the least desirable one, usually turns out to be the best in hindsight. It’s better than fuming all night as the noise continues, or the likelihood of an argument if the new campers turn out to be belligerent or headed for a night of raucous partying.
But use your best judgment. My wife and I camped one night when on the road on the shores of a reservoir and while we were having dinner another RV showed up and parked just a few yards away from us. My fuming began. However, it turned out to be an elderly couple that liked camping by the reservoir but were afraid if they were the only ones there, and would we mind if they camped next to us. What could I say. And we didn’t see or hear from them the rest of the night – at least they didn’t camp right in the middle of our view.
Do you have a question for Bob? Email him at bob.rvtravel (at) gmail.com .