Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Campground Host Post

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:

We have been traveling for several years and notice so many parks using more and more volunteers. I don't think the state and national park system could function without them anymore. I am having a problem with information breakdown as the corps of volunteers grow. I tell my husband they are dropping their standards with their dropping budgets. Young and old alike are in positions that require a knowledge of the areas we visit, rules and regulations and safety issues. Many do not seem to grasp the skills to fulfill their responsibilities. My husband thinks I am being too critical. We had to walk six extra miles on a recent backpacking trip because a volunteer in the backcountry office failed to mention a road closing. My feet were talking to me so I think I have the right to let my mouth speak to him. I volunteered not to make a scene. I didn't want to embarrass my husband, but I feel silence could get the next backpackers in trouble. Please give me some advice on how to adjust my voice control button.
--Blisters at Bowman Lake

Dear Blisters:
Think of the less informed volunteers as the "Farm Team." You always need to be developing new talent and that is what the park system is doing. Many new National Park Rangers start as volunteers. Everyone starts out "green" as a volunteer at some point. In your life I am sure you have been the "newbie/greenhorn/wet-behind-the-ears/new-kid-on-the-block/first-timer." It's not always pretty but eventually you become a pro. There are exceptions. The Detroit Lions come to mind. In most cases, volunteers in training are fast learners, efficient, responsible and motivated. Let's face it, they are not in it for the money. I applaud all volunteers and appreciate the fact that without them the budget strapped park system would be a shambles. So whenever you get upset with a volunteer, think like a musket loader. I mean, don't go off half-cocked, keep your powder dry, stand straight as a ramrod, don't be a flash in the pan, and remember the volunteer can't learn everything, lock, stock and barrel, the first day.
--Keep Smilin', Dr. R.V. Shrink

Saturday, August 13, 2011

RV Alarmed Couple

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
I found last week’s session very interesting. We too find generators annoying and always opt for generator free campground loops when available. Our unit has a generator but we find it annoying even when we have to run it. We would never consider running it around other campers who are enjoying a quiet camping outing. My concern is yet another new sound annoyance we have started noticing lately. Car alarms. I think many newer model cars come standard with car alarms. Campers with unfamiliar rentals or new vehicles get into them at all hours of the night and you hear loud honking until they finally figure out what button to push. By that time they have already pushed all my husband’s buttons. He tells them all what he thinks. The problem is, I’m the only one that can hear him. I tell him it solves nothing and upsets me. Should I just let him vent and ignore it or work on this issue until he goes deaf?
Horny in Havre, MT

Dear Horny:
I’m all ears. It is annoying and a growing problem. The ironic thing is, car alarms are so common, we are now programmed to think, “What an idiot,” instead of “Oh, someone is breaking into a car.” It is noise pollution pure and simple. I don’t think your husband is going to go out at dark-thirty in the morning and catch the offender. Besides, this person already feels like a jerk. If it’s a real Yosemite “break-in” he could be eaten by a bear. If he isn’t already deaf I am going to assume he wasn’t at Woodstock, so get him some ear plugs. You could also start taking him to Bob Dylan concerts. I did, and I lost a good share of the hearing I had left. Plus, as a side note, Bob can’t remember how his songs go anymore. Time will heal everything. Just be patient and appreciate the fact that there are actually a few people who have read their owner’s manual.
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

RV sound check

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
We were recently camping in Yellowstone in one of our favorite, usually quiet campgrounds. Unfortunately, we ended up next to a lovely couple with a very noisy generator. I don’t think it even had a muffler. During the summer season it is combat camping and moving was not an option. We were lucky to get the spot we had. Our real dilemma was that we liked these people very much and could not bring ourselves to complain about the noise. They seemed to be having a problem keeping their batteries charged. My husband hinted around that we have solar panels but they seemed happy with the old generator in the back of their pickup. Should we have just come right out with our grievance or suffer in silence as we did?
--Double Digit Decibel in Dubois

Dear Double Digit:
First a few thoughts that might help you avoid the problem in the future. Most campgrounds do allow generators but most now offer loops that are generator free. Also generator users should be following the quiet hour rules. Many campgrounds now post hours that generators can be operated. If you have neighbors that are not following these guidelines you have every right to voice your protest to the individual or campground host. When you end up stuck in a situation like you experienced in Yellowstone and you have nice neighbors that are following generator use rules, you might consider a hike or ranger program during the hours they are charging. When forming a relationship with noisy campground neighbors, absence makes the heart grow fonder. This scenario is becoming less of an issue as the newest generation of generators are whisper quiet, solar panels continue to drop in price and more RV manufacturers are beginning to offer panels on new model rigs. A noisy generator does not annoy many boomer campers. They lost their hearing years ago at Woodstock. "Wish you could have been there."
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink

Thursday, August 4, 2011

RV on the level

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
We had a mini disaster while traveling recently in our older motorhome. My husband is always saying we need automatic levelers. Presently we use plastic levelers we drive up on. We were at a nice city park in Montana for the night and up on levelers on the passenger side only. I was boiling coffee on the stove and told my husband to let me know when he was coming off the leveling blocks so I could hold the coffee pot. Less than a minute later he rolled off without a word. The wooden stove cover fell, knocking the boiling coffee to the new tile floor. As we were busy wiping up hot coffee, we didn’t notice the wooden stove cover on fire. We threw the whole thing out the door and opened all the windows and vents. I blame it on my husband’s CRS (Can’t Remember Stuff), he blames it on levelers. So what’s your opinion, do we need to spend two grand on levelers or a brain transplant?
--Decaffeinated in Denver

Dear Decaffeinated:
I would hold off on the brain transplant. We’ve all been there. I recently talked about a check list, but not everything can be guaranteed with a list. Your husband might have been busy doing other things and listening but not hearing. Many new rigs come with levelers, and they are a great convenience. Adding them can be pricey so everyone has be make their own decision on value. Plastic levelers are less convenient but work very adequately. If this type of communication glitch happens often, you need more than an easy system to level your rig. If it was an isolated incident I would chalk it up (no pun intended) to experience and buy a new stove top cover that latches to the wall. Don’t be too hard on your husband, the next time things go to pot it might be your fault and you won’t want him flipping his lid.
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink