Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Locked Out

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
I am so mad I could spit. My husband said I should write to you and vent. I think I should write to you so that I can warn other campers of this possible circumstance. We were visiting Patagonia Lake State Park in Arizona. Like many State Parks around the country, Patagonia has a gate that closes at night. When you register, most parks give you a gate code for entering after hours. At Patagonia Lake the gate was a long way back from the entrance station and the campground loops. It was a sliding gate and very inconspicuous. We never gave it much thought. We had been to other Arizona State Parks with no gates. We met friends from home for dinner in town one night. When we returned to the campground at 11 pm the gate was closed. There was no one around to let us in. We were never told about a curfew. It was in the information we received when we entered the park, but we never read it. I just think it is important enough that park employees should give people a verbal warning that the park gate closes at 10 pm and there is no way in after that time, except to park your vehicle outside the gate and walk all the way into the camping area in the dark. When we finally made it home I needed a stiff drink just to get to sleep. A gate code would be a much better idea, in my opinion. When I made the suggestion in the morning, I was told the park brochure explained all the park rules.
--Locked and Loaded in Lodi

Dear Loaded:
The majority of gated parks do have a code, which makes perfect sense. I have no idea why this park would have a gate without a code. It is close to the border of Mexico and maybe there is a reason I am not aware of. No matter the case, I agree a verbal warning of awareness to every campground guest only makes sense. Some people for various health reasons would not be able to walk that distance. One thing you might try in the future would be several code combinations if there is a key pad. I have done this a couple times in Florida State Parks when I have left my code information back at the motorhome. Not wanting to walk a mile in the dark I tried 911, 411 etc... Most gates have an easy access code for local emergency personnel to access the park. Often they end in 11. Sometimes people do slide in behind paying guests when a gate opens. If the park has had problems in the past it may be the reason for the aggressive gate policy they have set. Because it is so unusual, I would think a verbal explanation to each and every camper should be mandatory. I know you’ll drink to that.
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just read the "instructions" in the brochure. That's what it is for. Why is it always somebody else's fault?!!

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with the previous comment. As stated, it is detailed in the brochure received when entering. Why must the worker tell them verbally. Since there was no gate code, they did not have it when they left yet admit to seeing the gate. A prudent person would have ask for the code and would them been told at that time there is none. People need to be responsible for their actions. The brochure is given to campers to read.

Anonymous said...

That has happened to me before too but fortunately I was with a group and there were others who drove up to the gate to get us. I have also spent the night outside a State Park who closed their gate a little early and I arrived a little late. That was a nightmare for me as a single female. Read the brochure carefully as they will warn you about gates closure times and be aware that they mean it.

Anonymous said...

You wanna bet "loaded" reads the park rules from now on - - NA.

Anonymous said...

If your RV is on fire or if you need an ambulance.. What happens then? I fully agree they should have read all the info but I do see a problem here...

Anonymous said...

I've got admit, reading the material given to you seems to be a no-brainer. A verbal, or posted warning would be nice but obviously you can't depend on it.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Anonymous...it pays to read brochures and handout...particularly rules. I have NO sympathy for Locked and Loaded in Lodi.

Anonymous said...

Exactly right. So you needed a drink when you took a long stroll in the dark. Next time read the instuctions and take a flashlight and lay off the booze.

Anonymous said...

So, it's their fault. Next time take a flashlight Einstein and lay off the booze.

Anonymous said...

Ditto, listen to the parks rules and stop drinking, Next time bring a flashlight, Einstein.

Ron Lane said...

The gate was installed primarily for security. Having a gate that is code operated defeats the security the gate is intended for. "Piggy-backing" behind someone who has the code is very simple, especially at night and someone walking in dark clothes! The gate is obviously there for your protection. I agree with previous poster...read the park's brochure! Don't blame your laziness on someone else.

Anonymous said...

If this happened to me I'd be too embarrassed to tell anyone. I agree with the above comment, don't blame others for your oversight.

Anonymous said...

Most parks have a sign that the gate is closed at a particular time. They should take the time and read the campground information. Its not the parks fault they were locked out.

Anonymous said...

If this had happened to my wife and I we would have been upset as well; with ourselves. And that would have helped us remember next time to do the responsible thing, and read the campground guidelines. If you always blame someone for your own mistakes you'll never learn. I'm also assuming this woman blames the manufactures of all the items she buys because they don't work properly because she didn't read the instructions.

walt66 said...

anonymous; having been a camp host and worked the gate in several campgrounds I must say…. you are spot on. People just too not want to take responsibility for their own actions. It's always someone else's fault.
Walt66

Ellen said...

Agree it's not the park employee's fault for not mentioning this. Since the letter writer has stayed at parks with gates before, why not have a memory-jogger list to remind them to ask whether there's a gate and if so, if there's a code; and if not, if there's a time it's closed and locked. I use a simple check-in checklist to make sure I don't forget to as -- employees talk to many more people in a day than we do, and can easily miss mentioning something to person number 20 after saying it to the first 19.

Anonymous said...

"It was in the information we received when we entered the park, but we never read it."

I have a very easy solution for you. READ THE INFORMATION YOU ARE GIVEN INSTEAD OF JUST THROWING IT AWAY!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Rules were made for patrons benefit and safety. It keeps people out that don't abide by the rules in one way or another. Looks like they work!

Jerry X Shea said...

"Need a drink" says it all. Staying out to party with friends till 11pm, says it second (let me guess, no "drunk driver check point" on that road to the RV park) - these are folks that need to read the park rules after they "set up" while they drink that "we are here, how about a class of wine? "

John Connaughton said...

While I certainly agree about reading the rules and packet when you get them from a campground, this is such a major issue I think it is reasonable that everyone checking in be also given a verbal warning that when the gate is closed, it's closed, no code, nobody to let you in, etc. And like others said, if fire or rescue had to get in there, what happens, do they have to break the gate down?

Anonymous said...

Evidently I am just as big a target as this couple for all these negative comments. If I had just checked in and needed to be someplace I wouldn't see the need to sit down and read their advertising before leaving. Should have been a BIG sign on the office door and at the exit from the park as well as verbally noted! Since I carry a 20' chain in my truck I wouldn't have had this problem and would have been glad to help the park remember to give better notice!!!!

david fitz said...

i have had 34 kidney stones over the years, we always find the closet hospital when we camp, sure would be bad, if i had an attack and couldnt get out the park, dont say call an ambulance, look at how many i had, we know the routine, just get to the ER, so yes it would help to have a code not only to get in, but to get out if needed too.

Janet Geal said...

We hardly ever stay in state parks, but when I see a gate at a regular RV park, I always ask if the gate is closed and locked at a certain time. Some brochures have all the same rules and can be annoying reading all that stuff. We do, however, research the park before we make reservations, and check out the rules on their websites. I would be terrified if I was locked out. Just saying....

Mark said...

All campgrounds should have a sign indicating the gate will be closed at a certain time. HOWEVER, it is irresponsible of the park operators to not have emergency measures to allow people to get out of the parks when necessary. I rather imagine if an emergency arose and someone couldn't get to a hospital because they were locked in, there would be a major lawsuit in the works in short order. It wouldn't matter what is in the brochure, a lawsuit would still be a major cost even if you "win". Besides, wouldn't we all prefer to help someone rather than hinder them in an emergency?

Anonymous said...

Patagonia State Park is known by many full-timers as an expensive State Park that is not very camper friendly. It is also quite near to a dicey area of Mexico known for it's high crime rate. We stayed there once and said never again. That being said, it was plainly written on the rules page that the gate closes at a certain time...period. No gate code or padlock. ALWAYS read the park rules for any park you stay in (although a lot of "park rules" seem to be "park suggestions", such as dogs on 6 ft leash, no loud noise to be heard off your campsite, specific generator hours, etc.) Try to find a camp host to follow up on enforcing any of these rules... good luck!