By Chuck Woodbury
For people like me, who have traveled by RV for decades, RVing today is not as much fun. I was reminded of this in a letter last week from a reader named Paul. There are so many RVs these days, it’s often a chore to find a campsite. Until about five years ago, I never made a campground reservation, never needed to. Now, I make them most often, typically after a lot of time and research.
Gail and I were driving south on California Route 99 the other day. We passed a huge RV dealer. There must have been 400, 500 or more RVs on the lot. Next door, Camping World was selling hundreds more. “Those RVs will be taking up campsites this summer,” I complained to Gail.
Now, the letter from Paul:
My wife and I have been RVing for 15 years and gone to many places we never would have been able to without the RV. But the fun is over. There are just too many people getting into it. Like you have written, the campgrounds are too crowded, loud trucks going and coming all the time, golf carts on the go, having to make reservations way ahead of time. After our last outing as I was unloading the camper I realized I didn’t want to do it anymore, and my wife agreed. So we sold our motorhome. I believe that sooner or later humans ruin everything they touch and now it’s happening to the RV industry.
I know how Paul feels. I’ll just add that the RV parks that do have room in peak season are often poorly maintained or crammed tight. The good ones book up fast.
I took the photo to the right of a KOA in Miles City, Montana, last summer. Not only was it crowded, the campfire smoke was worse than a bad Los Angeles smog. For this you pay $40-$45 (or more) a night!
Now, there is so much more to this story, including why, when commercial RV parks are filled, many primitive public campgrounds are mostly unoccupied (a subject for another time). But the fact is, with 400,000 new RVs being sold each year and very few new campsites being created, finding a good place to stay is harder than ever, and it takes away some of the fun of a trip.