Wednesday, March 25, 2015

RV campsite property rights

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
We were parking over night at a casino in Las Vegas with a group of friends. We were all headed across the parking area where other RVs were parked when a man came out of his trailer and said we were trespassing on his property. At first we thought he was kidding, but as it turned out he was very serious. Obviously, in his mind, this patch of the casino parking lot was his property and we were trespassing.

On our way back he came out to talk to us as if the first confrontation never took place. This frightened me, but everyone else just laughed it off. I was a bit nervous the rest of the night. Do you think I am being silly?

This is not normal behavior and I think living for a short period just feet from someone with a Jekyll and Hyde personality is a bit disconcerting.
--Nervous Nelly in Nevada

Dear Nelly:
There is nothing wrong with being cautious in all traveling situations. It is not uncommon to run into people with issues, especially in free camping areas. There are many people living on the fringe, many in RVs, that suffer from psychiatric disorders, substance abuse, and various addictions.

I think in most cases the right approach would be courtesy, compassion and caution. Everyone has their own threshold for patience and comfort levels in these types of encounters. If you find you are not comfortable then don’t encourage conversation, keep interactions at a minimum, or simply move on.
To paraphrase John Bradford, "There, but for the grace of God, go I." That said, you still have to determine for yourself what is provocation and what is annoyance. If you feel threatened, move on.

During a normal year on the road, camping in all types of areas, remote and urban, we have encountered a situation similar to this just a few times. Seldom are we forced to share a site with another camper, but recently at a Corps of Engineers park in Florida we could only book a combined site. As it turned out, we shared this site with a guy living in his van.

I went over, shook his hand and introduced myself as his new neighbor. He seemed as normal as me, which should have been my first clue. Soon we noticed he was talking loud to someone in a very angry voice. At first we thought he must have an ear-bud phone and he was arguing on the phone with someone. Soon we realized he was talking to himself about us. He was very polite when we talked to him, but the voice in his head was not happy sharing a site with us.

As it turned out the voice won and he moved on, but first he knocked on our door and asked if we needed anything at the store. He was going into town shopping and would be glad to pick up whatever we needed. When I told him we were all set, he started rattling off items he thought we might need...steaks, beer... I’m not sure if he or the voice wanted our money. Then he never returned.

When I talk about caution, it is not only these types of situations you have to be concerned with. RVing or not, there are people out there that want to scam you and I’m not just talking about your cell provider and your insurance company. This winter at a Yuma, AZ casino, Rvers were scammed in a “Three Card Monte” game set up by men in the free parking area. Your odds are bad enough if you go inside, why play in the parking lot!

Ninety percent of the time, free casino parking is only free if you “DON’T” go inside. If you do, you had better read the Wizard of Odds, so you know which of the sucker games are going to drain your pockets the most efficiently. Let common sense be your guide and you should be just fine.
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink


KarenInTheWoods Karen Pfundtner said...

Just last week we had a gal going door to door in the campground (after dark) asking for money to help her get a friend to Albuquerque. She was twitchy, fidgety and could not complete a sentence without starting another one. All jagged words coming from her mouth. She kept saying the sheriff told her to come to the park and knock till she could find some "nice people" to help her. We said NO and shut the door. (I would never have even OPENED the door, but my husband did against my wishes!) We were three miles from the Mexican border and you do NOT open your door at night. We called the sheriff to let them know she was in the park and panhandling. God only knows what kind of weirdo could have been waiting beside her in the dark when my hubby opened the door....arggghh!
KarenInTheWoods and Steveio
(Blog) RVing: The USA Is Our Big Backyard

Dr4Film said...

Once it is dark outside I don't open the door for anyone, even the police. I will crack a window and talk to them through the screen. There are even people disguised as police officers with fake ID. I trust no one until verified.

Mike said...

I suggest that before you open the door to someone claiming to be the police, that you call the station and verifie that a police officer is at your door.

Phoenix, AZ

Anonymous said...

Even in a parking lot, if there is room to give an RV some space I don't walk directly by their windows or door. If there is no extra space, I will walk next to the rig but avoid looking in their windows.

I cannot tell you how many times in campgrounds people have walked right up to our windows and peered inside or even tapped on the window where our cat is laying and directly past our door (inside of our normal RV camping space) instead of going through an unoccupied site or staying on roads and paths.

Walking into a occupied space inside a campground is a violation of privacy and rented space. A parking lot not so much, but give some room "if possible".

Full-timing 6 years now, we have seen some things that make you shake your head.