Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
I’m married to a guy they call “Wild Bill.” Trust me, there is a reason for that nickname. Recently we drove our motorhome to Florida, arriving late on the Keys. We tried to find a camping spot at John Pennekamp State Park. It was dark, and the campground gate was already shut and locked. We drove in when the gate went up as a registered camper who had the combination went in. After a quick swing through the campground, and seeing no open spaces, "Wild Bill" decided we should just camp in the marina parking lot for the night and register in the morning. As it turns out they call that “defrauding the inkeeper” down here. We were rudely awakened at seven in the morning, issued a ticket for $80.00 and denied access to Florida State parks for six months. Don’t you think that is a little extreme? I know we crossed the line, but we were tired, willing to pay, and just wanted a safe place to spend the night.
--Busted for Boondocking
I have said many times in this column, “there is no more boondocking in Florida". Someone is constantly trying, and all the excuses have been used. You are what they call an example. They want you to tell your experience to everyone you run into. Florida is not the land of walk-ins. I would bet Pennekamp State Park is totally booked for the next four months. I would also bet there were signs that said, “No Overnight Parking” in the marina parking lot. Just a guess on my part. I had not heard of the no camping in Florida State Parks for six months penalty before, but it does get your attention. Head for the Everglades National Park, Okeechobee Corps of Engineers and North Florida National Forest campgrounds. Keep your nose clean, I don’t know what national campgrounds do when you break the rules, but I hear Federal prisons are much nicer than State.
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink