All the ads for RVs in the outdoors magazines show happy families cavorting around their house on wheels, with pristine woods surrounding them, and no other people to be seen.
But when I went to the Thermopolis rodeo a few years ago, I had to set up my little 10-foot, 1968 Aristocrat in an RV park, rather than some beautiful, secluded, lakeside camping spot. And the weirdness started immediately.
Before I’d even finished hooking up the water and electricity, the lady in the space next to me started up a conversation. I was busy, so I wasn’t terribly talkative. That didn’t seem to bother her, though. When she realized I wasn’t holding up my end of the conversation, she just went on without me. She sat there five feet away, talking, laughing, asking herself questions, and providing the answers. When she got bored with that, she started talking to her dog, but he went and hid under her truck. Then she turned her attention to her cat, but the cat ran off when she let it out of its crate. Then she continued her conversation with her lunch, and when she finished eating it, she started talking to a mail-order catalog.
I had a built-in excuse to escape, though, because I had to go take pictures of the rodeo. So I excused myself and headed out. I shot the rodeo, then came back well after dark to the camper. I figured my eccentric neighbor would be long asleep from her hard day of talking. No such luck. She started talking to me again, but I told her I needed to get inside my trailer and get to work. She seemed to take it well, but then she cranked the oldies country station on her stereo and blared it until the RV park owner came around and told her she needed to turn it off.
It was not the introduction to RVing the recreational vehicle industry would like you to see, and for good reason. It was enough to make me sell the camper not long after I got home from that trip. From now on, I’ll do my camping in a tent, far away from other humans – especially the weird ones.