Jon and Gail disappear in a sea of RVs

April 17, 2011

I am not used to being insignificant. At six foot four I usually stand out in a crowd (except when I go to basketball reunions) so it is a bit of a shock to run under the radar at campsites. Gail and I are travelling in a 15 foot camper and when we pull into a campsite we are like a dingy amongst all the land yachts. RV parks are even worse. It is like we are the landing craft that some of these larger rigs use to get to shore. In fact some RVs are towing larger vehicles than ours; and who knows what is stored inside their backend garages.

Parking spaces at campsites are rated up to 60 foot pull thrus. The largest sites, for the biggest rigs, have full 100 amp power, sewer, water and cable TV hookups and (luxury on luxury) a street lamp beside the paved driveway and patio. Over in the camping section where we stay we get 30 amp power, a common water tap and bathroom and rather motley grass beside a gravel pad. In a campsite we may get a picnic table but in an RV park there is no such amenity.

You may be asking: what is the difference between a campsite and an RV park? The campsite harkens back to the early days of tenting and may have been modernized but still contains grass, trees and friendly neighbours. Where they are allowed they have firepits and BBQs on poles. A stream may run through it and there may be a picnic shelter or common gathering area. An RV park on the other hand is conveniently located in a builtup area and definitely beside a busy road. It has vast expanses of pavement conveniently marked out in spaces with yellow lines. Some bushes or other screens may separate the spaces but only at the upper end. Each space has an escalating array of utilities depending on the size and cost. The only place to meet a neighbour is in the shower room and then only the owners of dingys gather there since the larger rigs are self contained. Ah suburbia on wheels.

What surprises me the most is that these RV parks have become home for tired travellers. The flower pots, wooden stairs, porches and storage sheds mark a degree of permanence that may not just be seasonal. I met one man (in the showers) who had lived in the park in downtown Lynnville (not a snowbird destination) for nine years. He had a 35 foot fifth wheel and the rent was cheap at $350/month (it jumped up for three months in the summer). That includes all his utilities and typical condo type services. The suggestion that since his house was on wheels he could move on whenever he wanted was met with shock and disbelief that that was even possible. Suburbia on blocks.

Never-the-less, our simplicity tour does not evoke any envy (in us or others) and I just have to learn that in the RV world even a giant of a man can be insignificant in camp.

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Jon and Gail Hall

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