Good Sam campgrounds

Now, most of you are pretty good campers. You’re quiet, respectful, and don’t aim your headlights at my bedroom window. And for this, I am thankful.

However, there are a few of you who, well, could use a refresher course in campground behavior. Remember, I hate the sin, love the sinner, so I haven’t written you folks off yet. Rededicate yourself to abiding by the (mostly) unwritten yet binding social contract of RV life, and maybe I’ll reciprocate the next time you knock on my door asking for a cup of sugar. Really, who am I to deny anyone their pie?

Consider the following a list of the worst breaches of campground etiquette. Avoid these and you’re back in my good graces. Continue down the dark path and no pie for you. Remember, this is your chance to change.

In case you were sick in science class that day, cigarette butts are non-biodegradable, at least in the lifetimes of me and my children. It then stands to reason that flicking them all over the campsite won’t rid us of the problem. Pick ’em up, put’ em in a container, and haul them to the dumpster.

Also, glass doesn’t go in the campfire. You’re not doing the environment or the poor sap occupying the site after you any favors by sticking beer bottles in there. Three words: RE-CY-CLE.

While we’re on the subject of trash, this is not the Marriott. Some campgrounds do come around to collect bundled garbage, but most do not. Again, most do not, so take refuse with you and place it in the dumpster. And when there’s aluminum, newspaper, and glass to deal with, again, three words: RE-CY-CLE.

Certainly, we all know the shortest distance between two points is indeed a straight line. As someone who’s lived his life trying to do the least amount possible, this axiom is dear to me. But the campground is no place to exercise (the key word here being ‘exercise’) this theory, since this practice means cutting through countless campsites, family picnics, Frisbee games, and swimming pools to get to the bathroom. Take the path, walk the street, rent a hot air balloon if you need to, just don’t cut through. It’s intrusive and rude; no matter how bad you have to use the restroom. Besides, attempt this fete at night, and you’re bound to decapitate yourself on a clothesline, which brings us to our next point.

Do you really need to hang that clothesline? Will the 75 cents for the dryer sink the vacation budget? Believe me, no one wants their view interrupted by your skivvies. Washing the RV is another no-no. Most campgrounds strictly forbid this practice, yet there’s that guy who just can’t stop himself from lathering up the motorhome. Black streaks are a pain, but wait until you get home where you can use your water, submerge your yard, and anger your neighbors.

Noise. Need I say more? The slamming of the doors, the excessive idling of the engines, the shouting matches over the picnic table has got to stop. For those Johnny Come Latelys or early-risers in the crowd, please be extra vigilant not to wake baby in the next RV. Or his parents.

I love pets and you love pets. On that, we can agree. However, not everyone is a card-carrying member of the pet-loving community. And every time we fail to pick up after our pooches, let our Siamese cats run wild, or coop up the family iguana inside the RV where she retaliates by inundating the campground with hissing noises, we lose that much more goodwill for the animal kingdom. Soon, Mr. and Mrs. Campground Owner will have enough of the complaints and give the old heave-ho to the pet-loving crowd. And then where will my beagle sleep?

On behalf of the hard-working campground owners, here are few more, ahem, suggestions. If you’re coming in late and leaving early, don’t stiff the campground out of their payment. That’s what the late-night registration box is for. If you’re going to confirm a reservation, then be kind enough to cancel it as well, if you’re not coming. Tell the kids not to turn the showers on in the bathroom and run away, which as it turns out is the justification for those awful pay showers (although I think this may be an urban myth).

And follow the rules. If it says no campfires, don’t build one. If the RV park asks for quiet hours after 10 p.m., don’t dig out the bongos. A 10 mph speed limit means this ain’t Lemans; parking the rig in the no parking zone usually means the rest to us can’t get by.

And you know what that means? No pie for you!

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