Not Everybody…

…is cut out to run an RV park. Full-timers who’ve travel widely have seen their share of RV park managers and even owners who really should find another line of work.

Our first experience was in Illinois, within our first week of full-time RVing, back in 2009. We were filling our fresh water tank at an RV site we’d paid for when the new owner drove up in her golf cart and demanded to know what we were doing. We explained to her we’d been boondocking a few days and needed to top off our fresh water tank (plus you never know when you might need to use your own supply because something at an RV park or campground goes awry, but we didn’t tell her that).

Later the maintenance man, who’d been work-camping there for many years, said he wasn’t coming back the next year because of her. “She’s never been RVing, doesn’t know anything about it, but thinks she can run this place,” he said. We don’t know if he stayed on the job, because we never went back.


So this past summer, after leaving Theodore Roosevelt National Park, driving more than three days to the Pacific Ocean, we were ready to start our month-long stay at an RV park in Long Beach, Washington. We’d made, and paid for, a month in advance because this was, after all, August at the ocean shore.

I won’t get into the nasty details except to say the woman-half of the owership team was sweet and welcoming. She’d kept a spot right on the oceanside for us. We could move to an even better site the next morning — one situated so our door would open on the ocean side. Ah! Paradise, right?


So the next morning, after patiently waiting for the folks in that site to pack up and move on, we re-parked there, getting our Class C level. No neighbors on the oceanside — just beach grass and the sound of gulls. No one on the other side — as a matter of fact, only one or two other RVs in the entire park. Sites were wide and open — the entire park sat on hard sand. Had we really found a hidden treasure?

Of course, you know what they say about something if it seems too good to be true.

We’d gotten our rig situated and had just started hooking up the power and sewer when the man-half of the park ownership team showed up. He copped an attitude right away. “I’m the owner,” he said. “Dick.” What made us think we could move without him there to guide us into the spot, anyway?

Well, we explained, we’ve been doing this a long time and were pretty practiced at getting the rig backed in.

This is not what the man wanted to hear. He told us we were too far out from under the trees (we didn’t want to be under trees that could leak sap on us… we’ve had our share of cleaning that gooey mess), too far over from here, too close to there. We were going to have to re-park the rig, the man said.

It wasn’t as if we were blocking any other spaces (there was plenty of room) — they weren’t marked anyway. If anything we were leaving more room for others because we like to give ourselves as much space as we can. And we’re mindful of beach grass and wildlife — no encroachment on that, either.

We told him if we were going to have to pack things up and move, we might as well move on down the road.

Fine, he said. I’ll refund the rest of your month’s rent.

The woman met us near the office entrance as we were leaving. She looked miserable. She returned every penny, including the money we’d spent for the night we stayed. We told her she needed to keep her husband away from her park guests. “I try,” she said.

We felt bad for her. No wonder the park was nearly empty in August, despite the location. They’re trying to sell the park. Any takers?


About Ellen

Fiction writer and photographer, I travel the country with my sweetheart of a husband as a "full-time RVer."
This entry was posted in Interesting Stories, RV Parks & Lifestyle and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Not Everybody…

  1. Ingrid says:

    People are interesting, aren’t they? That was part of the reason we left our work camp gig in Idaho early last year. Female owner was a sweetheart, male half not. I couldn’t believe the way he’d talk to guests let alone us. Spot on post!

    • Ellen says:

      Thanks, Ingrid. Unfortunately, this is one of those posts where I hoped people would say, “That’s the first I’ve heard of this”! Sorry to hear about your poor camp gig last year. Did it turn you off doing any more camp work or will you give it another go someplace else?

  2. What a shame you had to leave such a beautiful spot. I hope you found a good one down the road.

    • Ellen says:

      Not really…. We’d tried that place because we’d have a lousy experience at another park on the peninsula. Maybe there’s something about the isolation that gets to people out there? Safe travels to you, Beth!

  3. aelkins1 says:

    Wow, what a shame for all involved. Sounds like a frustrated micro-managing former corporate flunkie still trying to run the world his way. Where did you end up going instead?

    • Ellen says:

      I like that assessment! Or — the opposite, maybe? Someone who’s never had any responsibility but always wanted it so he can tell people what he really thinks? Next post reveals where we went next… and it wasn’t much better…. 😦 Sometimes the RVing gods are just not on our side.

  4. Karen & Ron says:

    A lot of owners and managers get very testy at the end of the season. We have years of experience on the road as well and have full timed and we had our favorite spots to stay and others we avoided for the same reason.
    The job requires a lot of people skills that some managers, owners and even staff lose at the end of the season.
    Springs can be totally different as they have not had to put up with the public to long.
    Unfortunately not all RV’ers and campers are easy to get along with as well.
    That is all part of the journey.

    • Ellen says:

      I completely agree! Sadly, this was the height of the season…. Maybe because the job I had before we came on the road was working with folks in the hospitality industry I’m particularly floored when I see people in the RV park/campground business who don’t especially like people. Or having them on their property (I’m not sure what they thought owning an RV park would be like). Like you, we have our list of places we love returning to and places we won’t wouldn’t go back to if we had to. Thanks for stopping by the blog! Safe travels!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s