Our First Campground Summer

our first campground summer

I know it has been quite some time  since I have posted on Paycheck to Freedom. I think it has been almost three months actually. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to write. It’s just that I really haven’t had anything positive to write about this summer. You see, we decided to live full time in our Kit Companion this summer as we did last winter. We decided that we would stay at a campground near the lake in a little town outside of the metropolitan area where I work.

 We went to the campground, picked out our spot and moved our trailer there in mid-May. The spot we chose was at the end of a row of RV’s including A Classes, 5th Wheels, and some pull behinds. The view was awesome! Outside our door, we could see only a green field and rolling hills. Across from us was a fire pit that the owner said was a community fire pit.

We were excited to get to spend the warm summer evenings sitting by the fire watching the stars. We only had one neighbor to the back side of us and he was a construction worker, so he was gone during the day and quiet at night. The neighbor to the right of us had an older Class A. He was an older gentleman who liked things quiet. So, he was glad when he met us and we told him that we were quiet people also.

We had stayed at this campground the year before several times during the summer months as tent campers. It’s not a fancy campground by any means; about 15 RV’s can fit in the front area by the road, and there are about 10 camping spaces in the back field. There is a bathhouse, although it is in poor shape, the plumbing does work and the shower is hot.

Across the street, is a boat house on the lake that serves as the office, snack bar, and fishing supply store. The boat house must be about 40 years old with weak boards that bow as people walk across them. There are “decorations” inside that are covered with 20 years of dust and cobwebs. The retail items on the wall look like they have been there for that long as well. The packaging is collecting dust and the cardboard is disintegrating day by day.  You can also rent boats here if you want to row out on the lake and do some fishing. My husband and I are not fisher people or we would have rented a boat.

The summer started out nice, like I said. We thought we were going to like our new summer home by the lake. Then it started going south. First, the great view we had was blocked by a class C motor home  that was now sharing an RV spot with one of our already existing neighbors. So that meant no more fire pit because it was right outside his door.

We were not able to park close to our trailer anymore and were asked to move. The area we were offered had not been mowed and was overgrown with weeds. My husband took his machete out there and chopped down the tallest of the weeds so that we could park and not have to wade through them to get to the trailer.

There were campers coming and going, especially during the holiday weekends. But then there were the campers that came and never left. One family brought their entire house: dressers, tables, and chairs;they even had a vacuum cleaner. They littered the campground area with their stuff while they set up their tents and then moved all of these items into the tent.

There were two RVs that were now at the back of the campground. They were off the grid in a campsite using their very loud generators every night. I felt sorry for the other tent campers that had to listen to that all night. I am sure they did not get any sleep.

There were more and more campers that were arriving and staying for extended amounts of time. There was also another family that had set up about 30 feet from us. They had a small dog that yelped constantly all day long.  The owners would just leave it tied up and leave the campsite for the day. Their little dog would spend the day yelping and driving all the other campers crazy.

One night I came home to a tent set up right outside our door. The campers had moved our picnic table to make their camp where the owner said they could. This family had a large 8-10 person tent. They also had a canopy tent which they put a picnic table under. The group had their meals there and spent most of their time at this table. Thankfully, they were only there for two days on Memorial Day weekend.

The campground always had the faint smell of sewage, which, I don’t know, maybe that is normal at a campground, so I just ignored it for the most part. I knew it wasn’t us because we have never used our toilet or sink. We use the bathhouse, because as newbies to this, honestly, neither one of us wants to be the one that has to clean it. We also did not test our water lines when the trailer was empty like we should have. So, now that we were living in it, it would just be too much work to fix the problem if there was one. Plus, we are lazy.

Anyhow, around the middle of June, the sewage smell became intolerable. To the point that when people were walking by they were commenting on how strong it was. So my husband did some investigating and found the source. The smell was coming from our neighbor in the older Class A. His black tank had a leak and no one saw it. The puddle was hidden behind the weeds that have grown around his trailer from sitting there so long.

It was brought to the owner of the campground’s attention as well as the owner of the Class A. The owner of the Class A said that he used some Flex Seal to seal it up. The owner took his word for it and did nothing to follow up. The smell continued and my husband and I continued to complain but nothing was done. The only relief we had was the wind. It was really windy in this area most of the time and so the smell was only bad when there was little or no wind. The owner did cover it up a bit, but there is still a leak from that tank.

On top of all the other issues, the owner of the campground started selling the small space between our trailer and our back side neighbors to overnight or weekend guests. We were not hooked up to the sewer and the water that went with our site, which we paid for monthly, so he sold that space to other people. The trailers were so close to that poor construction worker that he would have to turn sideways to get between their trailer and his just to get to his front door.  This went on for the rest of the summer.

The breaking point for me was when I came home one evening and noticed that we had new neighbors again (in between us and our regular neighbor, on our utilities). I was asking my husband about them and he said,”No it’s not just new neighbors, it’s the people that had camped here before with the dog.” Silence. I did not know what to say. Apparently, this family that was so loud and obnoxious and had the dog that yipped constantly all day long every day had gone and bought themselves an RV. And the owner put them beside us. Even though there were about four other RV spaces open and available, he put them beside us. That was the last straw. We made arrangements to leave about two weeks later, packed up our stuff, and moved out.

Moving forward…

We decided to go back indoors for the winter, to get a better look at things and calm down from our terrible experience. Plus it is nice to have your own bathroom and shower. No one likes to have to walk in the middle of the night to a dirty bath house. We went with the monthly hotel option again, one of our favorites. With this option, all utilities are included; cable, WiFi, and heat. It is the same size as a studio apartment which is bigger than our 20-foot trailer, so we have room to walk around and stretch our legs. This will give us time to finish painting the trailer and making the adjustments to the interior that we have talked about all summer.

Thanks for listening to my rant, if you made it this far that is. Moving forward, I will be writing more about alternative living choices and the differences between them. I can’t really say I am a full-time RVer if I am not in my RV right now. Much of the same frugality choices apply to the different ways of living that I talk about. I hope that people find the information here useful and are able to learn from it and know that they are not alone. There are others out there that are struggling through life as well.


2 thoughts on “Our First Campground Summer

  1. Richard J Bettencourt says:

    I enjoyed reading your post well maybe I shouldn’t use the word enjoy but you must know what I mean. That was an awful experience but one that happens and hope you never go through something like that again. Keep the faith better days have to be in your future.

    • Stephanie May says:

      Thank you. I know better days are ahead. It was definitely a learning experience and one that we will remember for some time.

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