I got an email yesterday from a blog reader asking me if I had read an article on the RVtravel.com website saying that due to the dramatic increase in the number of RVers on the road these days, the spontaneous road trip is pretty much a thing of the past. The article showed pictures used in advertising by the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) showing RVers parked all alone in beautiful scenic places enjoying themselves, then a picture of a typical crowded RV park, saying this was really the norm. With all due respect to the author of that article, I’m not buying it.
For what it’s worth, people were saying the same thing when Terry and I started fulltiming way back in 1999. They warned us that there were so many baby boomers hitting the road that we would never find campgrounds. Guess what? We always did. It’s true, if you want to jump in your RV today and go to a popular place like the Oregon coast in the middle of the tourist season without a reservation, you’re probably not going to find a site in a commercial RV park. But this is not a new situation. It was the same way back when we started fulltiming. I know, because we spent our first summer on the road on the Pacific Northwest coast. It wasn’t always easy, but we always found a place to stay.
The article said that that most parks in popular snowbird areas like Florida and Arizona have restrictions not allowing anyone under 55 years old. We were both 46 when we hit the road, and it was an issue we had to deal with back then, too. But we still always found a campground when we wanted one. The article goes on to say that if you go to a popular National Park during tourist season you will be lucky to find a campsite within 20 miles of it. Right again. Just like it was way back when we started. Nothing has changed! You needed reservations way back then, and you still do today. So much for spontaneity.
You need to think outside the box. Campgrounds are not the only place to stay overnight, or even for a few days or weeks. Many, many small town city parks across the country have campgrounds, and a lot of them are free or only cost a few bucks a night. We list over a thousand of them in our Guide to Free Campgrounds and Overnight Parking Spaces. Many fairgrounds have RV parking spaces which are available at daily, weekly, and sometimes monthly rates. They may not have a swimming pool and a tennis court, but you’ll save a ton of money and they are often within a short driving distance of many attractions. So if you aren’t 55 years old yet and want to do the snowbird thing in Tucson this winter, contact the Pima County Fairgrounds RV Park. You’ll get a nice full hookup site for a lot less than any campgrounds in town, and nobody cares old you are! We’ve stayed in nice RV parks at Elks Lodges on the Oregon and Washington coasts many times in the summer at a fraction of the cost of local RV parks, and never had a problem getting a site.
And as for those advertisements that the RVIA puts out showing those RVs in those wonderful places, it’s kind of like the advertisements for the sports cars and the 4×4 trucks. Yeah, you can buy one of them, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to have some gorgeous blonde sitting next to you as you skillfully make your way around hairpin turns on some winding mountain road alongside the coast, nor will you be taking your truck to the top of some pinnacle in the middle of the desert. It’s all hype to get you to buy something, whether that something be a recreational vehicle, an expensive sports car, or a pickup that runs on testosterone instead of gasoline.
Trust me, folks, I just looked outside and the sky isn’t falling.
It’s Thursday, and you know what that means. It’s time to kick off a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Point Taken, the tenth book in my friend Ben Rehder’s excellent Blanco County mystery series. I’ve read just about all of Ben’s books, and I don’t think he could write a bad story if he tried. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.
Thought For The Day – The bumble bee flies because nobody ever told it that it is aerodynamically impossible.