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masterdrago

Campground Integrity

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I drive a motorhome and do not have a toad, so when I want to go somewhere, I have to take my whole motorhome.  People tell you to leave something outside so others know the site is occupied, but I have had maintenance people think I had left stuff and deserted my campsite, so they took what I left out and were about to toss it in the dumpster.  On the other hand, one guy picked up my hose and chased me on the way to the dump station to "return" it thinking I had forgotten it.  (This happens more often when they do not have tags on sites telling when you are leaving.)

I bought one of those yellow signs that they put out when the floor is wet.  Except I got a blank one from Amazon, and put lettering on it so people would know I was coming back.  One side says "Site Occupied" and the other says "Be Right Back."   I stick it out when i am going to the dump station or out sightseeing for the day. 

In five years of full-timing, other than the two maintenance guys who thought they were cleaning up a deserted site, I have not had anything stolen.   And I stay almost entirely in regional, state, and federal campgrounds.

I did have a furry bandit try to set up housekeeping in one of my underneath storage areas, however.  She tore up half a roll of paper toweling before I evicted her.  And I have had tenting neighbors lose food from a cooler when they did not realize how clever these bandits were at opening locks. 

Edited by Solo18

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As expensive as astronomy equipment is, it probably isn't a high robbery item because what would a robber do with it? So that may be in a little different category. That said, we have camped and RVed in many different types of rigs for 55 years and have never had one thing stolen. We almost never even lock our RV when we leave for the day or whatever unless we are in a really "iffy" area. I have heard of more than one break-in when RV's are stored somewhere and nobody is around. But loose stuff that we leave outside has never been taken.

 

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We've never had anything taken from us in the four years we've been FT. Of course, we don't have as much stuff outside as most people. If weather is predicted to be nice we may have two folding chairs outside (folded up and leaning against the coach when not in use), and the mat is generally out (comes in when the wind picks up). If I make burnt offerings the grill will stay out overnight to cool, then is put away the next morning.

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So from the responses I'm seeing here, RV people and Astronomy people are "Good People". Clearly if one stays near an overcrowded city, interlopers might pass through and pick up something left out of value. We are getting closer to making a decision on which 5r to buy and I'm learning a ton from this as well as other forums on the subject. It is good that folks are willing to share.

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You may be interested in visiting a place that we stopped about 15 years ago, as it kind of answers some of your questions as well as being one of those places that you really should see.  If you travel west on US60 from Socorro, NM (we have long preferred travel via the US routes where you see much more) you will pass through some very interesting country but the most important stop for one such as yourself is the National Radio Observatory VLA which is one of the world's largest radio telescopes. But the key point of this story is to illustrate the sort of people who are both RV users and interested in astronomy. While I believe that it is manned by a staff today, when we stopped there in 2003 we not only found the tour completely self-guided with nobody even paying much attention to visitors, but the gift shop was on an honor system with a slotted box for you to put money or checks into to pay for any souvenirs that you wished to buy. And this was not just cheap items either, as there was a small selection of things like sweatshirts and ball caps which you picked out and then paid for in the honor box. We spent several hours there and the only people we spoke with were those from two other visiting RV's. Reading the website it seems that the visitor center today is staffed, but to our surprise, at that time everything was on the honor system.  I just happened to see the ballcap in my collection which I bought there and it reminded me of that amazing place!

Edited by Kirk Wood

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I think the only exception to campgrounds having "good" people is a very occasional place that attracts families, kids, and groups of young people on summer weekends.  These places are usually close to cities and have tons of water activities like boating, swimming, etc.  The problems occur when these places are not well patrolled, and you might get groups drinking. 

Most of us try to avoid the busy summer weekend places when we can and look for places with a quieter reputation.  You can use http://www.rvparkreviews.com/  to check out places in advance, and if they are party places, people will tell you.  

Frankly, I doubt if any partiers will be interested in your astronomy events, so I think you are safe.  

Also, if you have any technical problems, you will find your fellow campers are very helpful.  To test this, try driving through a campground with your TV antenna up and see how many people chase you down to remind you it is up or take it off for you if it is broken, as mine once was. 

Edited by Solo18

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On 10/20/2017 at 9:19 PM, Solo18 said:

I bought one of those yellow signs that they put out when the floor is wet.  Except I got a blank one from Amazon, and put lettering on it so people would know I was coming back.  One side says "Site Occupied" and the other says "Be Right Back."   I stick it out when i am going to the dump station or out sightseeing for the day. 

At a truck stop I found a collapsible orange cone. I used a marker to write on it, "Please, don't take me. My owners will be back," I set that right in the middle of the driveway into the site. When collapsed, it fit in the pocket on my driver side door making it east to stash and retrieve.

Linda Sand

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As with boondocking, looting campgrounds is pretty low value.  I'm sure there is petty theft born of opportunity and lack of morals but not usually worth it for "pros" to be interested.  Generators are probably the biggest attraction but the risk/reward is probably pretty low.  Lock you rig, run a chain or cable through the pricey stuff and enjoy life. 

And if you're in a campground that makes you think your stuff is going to be stolen at any moment, why are you there?  Your house has wheels.  Move on.

Edited by Dan & Jen Nevada

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