Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
Visiting Seattle, Washington, we found the RV camping options wanting. We finally picked the one closest to our daughter’s home and ferry terminal. Like the rest, this one was basically a parking lot with as many RVs jammed into it as possible. To make it resemble a parking lot it even came with dozens of floodlights that lit up the whole area. My husband ended up duct taping black garbage bags over the bedroom windows and vents just to keep the light out during the night. Our rig looked like it had been in an accident. Not only did we pay dearly to stay in this poor excuse for an RV park, but the manager complained about our garbage bag-covered windows and said we would have to remove them. We have just started RVing. Is this what we can expect living this lifestyle? --Half Lit in Ferryland
Dear Half Lit:
Urban RVing, you will find, is often cramped and costly. It’s all about the cost of real estate. You will learn new tricks the more you travel. Let me give you one for the next time you sleep under a floodlight. If your eyelids don’t do the job, go to Walmart and buy an eye mask. It’s kind of fun. You will think you are sleeping with the Lone Ranger. It will save on garbage bags and duct tape. Camping near a big city will often involve noise pollution, light pollution, air pollution and every other kind of pollution you can think of. It’s simple math: multiply numbers-divide resources. If you do not have to be close to family, hospital, or some event, consider staying farther out of town and commuting in. You will find it much quieter the more rural you get.
If you haven’t already discovered online resources, start by reading campground reviews. They will give you a much more accurate description of what to expect than the creative marketing presentation of a campground website. A website can make an asphalt parking lot campground sound like Shangri-La.
If you spend some time and effort, you can often find a fellow RVer online who lives in the area and will be more than happy to share some insight on where to stay and where to avoid. Try some of the RV forums to present your questions.
Don’t get discouraged. You will find your favorite little safe harbors to drop anchor. You just need to get more experience under your belt and more miles under your land yacht.
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink