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Campground Integrity


masterdrago
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We're looking at a number of new 5th wheels to begin a life of travel. I'm just wondering what experiences folks have had or heard about concerning theft and vandalism. I've been in the astronomy community for nearly 35 years. I've gone to very large star parties for all those years. These conventions leave literally hundreds of thousands of dollars of hardware, tools, and equipment laying around in the open all week. Only one time have I ever heard of anything coming up missing from a table. What can anyone relate to rving. How different is the rv community?

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24 minutes ago, masterdrago said:

What can anyone relate to rving. How different is the rv community?

In many years of RV travel and several tours as a campground host in public parks, I can only remember very few times being that theft took place. In a state park in KS when we were hosts, we did have a long weekend with some thefts of beer from ice chests being reported. Near the end of the 4 day weekend, the rangers caught 3 teenage boys doing this and when taken to the camp they came from both dads were punishing them so it was left at that.  Another time as a host there was theft of a tent reported but that too was reported by another camper and he also knew who did it and they were caught, also kids. 

About 10 years ago we stayed in a commercial RV park in San Antonio that warned us when we checked in that they were having problems with theft from outside the park and to especially be careful of bicycles. They also provided us a place to put the bike that was locked at night if you wished. We were there for a couple of months and the park did hire a private security company to deal with the problem and I don't know how but they did catch the thieves. 

We have owned RVs for more than 30 years and those 3 incidents are the only ones that we know of. We have always left our lawn chairs and assorted other items outside even when leaving the park for the day and have never lost anything. We also use a portable power monitor that plugs into the pedestal and it isn't locked but has never been stolen in more than 15 years of using one. While I suspect that an occasional theft does happen, it is very rare. 

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7 minutes ago, richfaa said:

We have ben in hundreds of Campgrounds .IMO theft is rare  but caution should always be taken.

Yup! And we always abide by the adage that locks are meant to keep honest people honest. 

I don't know that we have ever heard of anyone getting anything stolen in an RV park. Outside the park? That is a different story. 

 

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Yellowstone; Fishing Bridge campground - someone took our yellow block levelers and small shoe matt while we were gone from our campsite - and didn't turn them in.  (The campsite looks abandoned when we take off with the truck camper)

Farewell Bend State Park - someone took our cooking timer left on the picknic bench - it was a cute little red one from Walmart (cheap).

Grand Canyon NP - witnessed the rangers investigating a watch stolen from a tent campground.

This is over a period of ten+ years.  Odds are in favor of it happening from time to time if one is exposed to other humans enough.

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We are in our 11th year full timing and never had anything stolen.  We don't lock the basement doors in campgrounds, I would rather have something taken than the doors damaged.  In our winter campground we don't lock the door when we are out, we know many of the snowbird neighbors.  I do recall campground neighbor kids trying to take a golf cart but they were chased down.  Security is something we are aware of but aren't very concerned about.  A couple times we left a campground because we didn't like the looks of the place when we saw it.     Greg

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In almost 50 years of working, camping and just plain running around on public lands. Two incidents.

1972, while working for the Forest Service in Idaho. Really out there, we saw ONE other rig in three months. There was another one out there because he stole our cooler and frozen food that was stashed in a snow bank several miles away while we were working. Since at that time the Forest Service did not have a law enforcement branch, the FBI came out of Spokane to investigate the crime. I provided crime scene photos to them. To this day it remains an unsolved crime.

About ten years ago, on opening week of fishing season a group of local kids came buy and stole the cooler full of beer from the adjacent campers in the middle of the night. 

With your astronomy gear you would have been up and probably foiled the crime!! 

I have several telescopes that I take camping with me.

Almost all the time I set up on the backside of the RV. Never know when somebody will camp next to you and leave their porch light on all night. Lots of city people out there that are afraid of the dark. I always leave the scope up, but take in my eyepieces and camera's. It is pretty difficult to move a set up telescope in the dark without somebody noticing it in the RV. Daytime, I just cover the scope with a Desert Storm cover so most people have no clue what it is.

Given all that the quality of folks camping these days is dramatically down. Last few years I have witnessed some interesting behavior in camping areas. That said, my Forest Service law enforcement friends tell me that 85% of people camping on Forest Service managed lands are carrying a gun. Maybe that is why people are so polite camping??

Anyway, be aware of that. Alchohol and guns are a bad mix. In the Forest Service, that was enough to REQUIRE Forest Service employees to back out and call law enforcement to continue the discussion.

Odds are you will be fine.

Edited by Vladimir
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In nearly 50 years of camping full or part time we once had a table cloth stolen when we left for the day in a Class C. We intended the cloth to say the site was taken but, apparently, the neighbors thought we'd checked out. They sure acted funny when we returned.

Linda Sand

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Thanks all. Hey Vladimir, I'm looking forward to getting somewhere darker than 55 miles north of Houston more often than I do now. Have spent much time in w Texas and at Ft. Griffin near Breckenridge, Tx. I'm making sure that whatever we decide on might have a huge storage area like the 2018 Montana and Solitude to stash some big aperture.

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So are you primarily visual or imaging??

I saw a modified Class C with a rear storage area at the eclipse site. Even had a "handicapped" lift that he was using to move his large DOB from the storage area. Rear of the storage area had all the telescopes and could be easily modified for a warm room. He was primarily visual.

I have a dark site complete with cabin in Washington and our RV lot in Benson is fairly dark. So I usually just take a small scope with me for traveling. I found that my 12.5 Dob just did not get the use unless I was parked for a week or more. But then I had to put it together and take apart every time.

You might want to look at getting on the wait list for one of the coop parks in Arizona or California. Most of those are very close to pretty dark skies and fairly inexpensive once you buy the lot. 

When are you going to start traveling??

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Been RVing since 1974. Only two incidents and both involved unlocked bikes. We only buy cheap or yard sale bikes. Years ago at Myrtle Beach, SC. in a commercial park, my bike turned up missing one morning. So I started to walk the park and it is huge. A guy stopped me and said "looks like you are looking for something". I said, "yep a bike". He said "go down to the crossover to the beach, I just walked past there and there several bike leaning on the crossover". Sure enough there it was. The only other time was at the park we were in Yuma for years. My bike came up AWOL one morning. So with all the pranks and tricks we would do to one another I figured one of the many characters took it. But after a week, it never did come back, and everybody knew it was missing. Funny thing was, it was absolutely the worst bike in the park. We mostly stay in public parks and other than those two times that's been it.

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We have been RVing since 1984 and fulltime and hosting for 4.5 years.  There has been very little thief anywhere.  BUT, I do not provide the opporitunity for casual thieves.  Expensive items like generators, bikes and gas grills are cable locked to the RV,

We have seen a few petty thief items reported.  The one thing we have had stolen as a host was our firewood which was stacked near the fire ring and covered with a tarp.  They tossed the tarp aside and took half the wood.  The wood sales station was about 50 feet from our wood stash.

So my advice is to keep expensive items chained or out of site.  We also keep the truck and RV locked and lockers locked.

Ken

 

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Those "hairy thieves" are wimps in most cases.In most cases, they are afraid of the noise made by beating pots and pans against each other. Then again, you might get one that is fearless.

In any case, don't mess with  the ones with small ears and a hump on the back. They are real cranky!!

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8 hours ago, Vladimir said:

Those "hairy thieves" are wimps in most cases.In most cases, they are afraid of the noise made by beating pots and pans against each other. Then again, you might get one that is fearless.

In any case, don't mess with  the ones with small ears and a hump on the back. They are real cranky!!

When the thieves (two black bears) are between me and any viable "noisemakers", and I'm in an area where a black bear had killed a young child just a year or so ago at the time, I didn't feel it prudent to attract their attention.

Edited by Dutch_12078
clarity
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20 hours ago, Dutch_12078 said:

In 70+ years of camping/RV'ing the only items we've lost were taken by little furry masked bandits or large hairy thieves wearing bear skin coats.

Oh, we did have a loaf of raisin bread stolen by the little furry masked thieves when Dave left it on the picnic table's bench. His sister found the wrapper in the woods the next day.

Another time, when we were canoe camping, during the night their relatives ripped open our campmates styrofoam cooler--not a noise I ever want to hear again.

The bear that walked into camp was not bothered at all by Dave banging a spoon on a pot. When the bear went to check out the other campsites we checked out, too. So we didn't lose anything to him but we learned later he did steal three packs that night.

But all that happened before we went full time and all of them happened in state campgrounds not commercial ones.

Linda Sand

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You folks are helping to bring back some very old memories ...

I recall a time at High Banks Lake , tent camping . Oreo cookies left on the table , just out side the flap . DW wanted to use the outhouse and the fire had been put out a while before . It was nice and quiet until she stepped out and was confronted by Rocky Raccoon laying claim to the Oreo's and making sure everyone around knew it . Back in the tent in a split second and , somehow , she'd temporarily forgotten about the outhouse .  

I laughed and told her how to use the flashlight in those situations , but she wasn't about to go out again until I had 'secured' the area . 

Good memories , Thanks . ;)

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We had some wild hogs break into a cooler that had pancake mix in Davis Mtns State Park while tent camping. That was one big mess. Hey Vladimir, I'm a visual guy. Have built all my scopes 4.25", 2) 8"f7, 10"f/5.6, 13"f4.5, and a 24"f/5.6. Not the mirrors, but the drives and mounts. I mainly watch meteor showers and wife does Iridium flares. Did the eclipse from east Missouri. Keep tabs on comets and Jupiter mutual events and grazing occultations. Plan to get the 5r after November but may wait til show 7th of February. It looks as if rving is mostly safe if common sense is followed. One guy locally had a running generator cable locked stolen in just several minutes while he was away.

In 1987 we had a mobile home near Terlingua out in the real boonies just a couple of miles north of the Chisos Mountains broken into by travelers on foot. The must have only stayed the night but did not do any damage other than leave all their trash inside the kitchen. We had a windmill, 2 500gl propane tanks, 2 Serville reefers, swamp cooler, solar panel and huge batteries. They took nothing.

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We recently spent some time at Tyler State Park in TX and there is a major population of raccoons there and they are also very bold. People seem to want to feed the cute critters and then wonder why the critters become bold and aggressive. Most wild animals do not have the ability to know the difference between some kind soul who feeds them and people as a food source. I remember the bears in Yellowstone Park back in the 60's when begging was not discouraged and some parks have raccoons that are getting just as bold. An angry, aggressive, raccoon can be a dangerous animal to both pets and people as well as property. 

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Raccoons that are aggressive are a serious threat to your health.  I used to run coons as a teen.  I had a serious scare due to them at Shelby Forest SP near Memphis once. I was surrounded by 5 of them in the dark wanting to be fed since people had been feeding them.  Not fun at all since I could not easily distingush them in the dark but could tell they werer right at my feet and one even scratched on my pant leg to get my attention. They have seriously sharp teeth and claws and have the ability to hold on.  They can easily carry rabies also.  Some years ago I had a bear trying to crawl in the window with me hitting it in the face.  I can't prove it but I truly believe this happened due to folks feeding them.  Sorry if I got so worked up  but I have had personal first hand experience.

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