Growing up in an RV Park

“The River Rue
“offers quiet beauty to campers traveling through the back roads of Eastern Washington”

I grew up in an R.V. park. Not a trailer park, an R.V. park.
R.V., as in Recreational Vehicle, not mobile home.

Just so we are clear. This is a very important distinction, especially to me. An R.V. Park is for camping, vacation, family fun. A trailer park conjures up images (not always fair or accurate) of poor unintelligent people living in dirty trailers on a sectioned lot with a couple three-legged dogs running around.

Located in Washington State one mile from Lake Roosevelt, fourteen miles from the nearest town, two hours from the nearest place worth being, five hours from Seattle. Weekend fun was a keg in a field if you were popular enough to be invited (which most of the time I was not). I began working for my parents at the age of three and stopped at the age of twenty. What can a three-year old do you might ask? Well in my (and my sisterís) case we picked up trash for a penny a piece and received a nickel for each pop can. By the time I left, I was running the place when my parents were gone, and was the second ranking employee (my mom was the first).

I have a lot of stories from growing up in an RV park. I donít know if they are interesting to anyone but me, Iíd like to think they are. Of course, we all like to think our lives are interesting. So, in order to intrigue you, I give you ìThe life-threatening situation involving my dad and drug addled campers!î

To understand my story, and anything else I ever tell, you need to know two things.

1. My parents are very conservative and fairly religious. They belong to that mythical breed known as ìRepublicans who have no money.î

2. My dad is a very brown Puerto Rican and my mom is as white as you can get with out being an albino. (This isnít particularly important for this story, but will be good to know if you continue reading my prose).

The campground isnít large, only about 10 to 20 acres. At the time of the incident, there was only about 32 R.V. sites and 21 tent sites. The campground was full, so it was probably a holiday weekend. I want to say 4th of July. It was hot, topping out at one hundred degrees in the shade at the height of the day, and dropping to about seventy or so at night. I donít know much about sociology, but I do know that if you jam people together in such rabid heat, even if they are on vacation, crazy shit starts to happen.

It started off as a typical weekend with just a few complaints about noise after quiet hours. Thatís normal; people stay up late and are having fun around a campfire. They are on vacation, so no big deal.
Another complaint was ìEncroachment upon fellow camperís space.î Still normal. People like to spread out, and others can get very territorial about the space they have rented.

Another complaint was ìUrinating on the foliage.î Not unusual among hicks, but definitely frowned upon. Especially when there is a restroom just a few yards away.

Then the kicker complaint rolled in. Report of a female seated on the swing, swinging, wearing only a T-shirt and displaying her ìnether regionsî (actual wording in complaint book) to several frightened children. When asked to clothe both halves of her body, the woman stared blankly and asked ìwhy?î After all, it was early in the morning, why would anyone be up? She couldnít grasp the concept that people got up early to go fishing, often with their kids, and did not appreciate her little swinging peep show.

As I mentioned before, my dad is Puerto Rican and must exude some sort of Hippie ëtranquiloí vibe, because in order to placate him the man offered him a joint. Huge mistake!!! Did I mention my parents are religious conservatives? They barely tolerate drinking in the park, and that is only when the drinkers are polite and donít get drunk. Iím sure youíve heard of Latin tempers, well my dad has one. He doesnít lose it very often, but when he does, it is best not to be around.

He asked the exhibitionist woman and her husband to leave, but they refused. They had paid for the week thank you very much.

Fuming from indignation, my dad told my sister and me to get inside and stay there.
Now what to do? Call the police?? If they were even in town, it would take them twenty minutes to get there. If they were out on patrol it could take longer. Things would escalate by that time.

Then came the report from another camper that ìthe man who urinated on the greeneryî is sharpening a knife because he said he is ëpreparing for his next visit from ìthat spic.íî

Fortuitously, the camper delivering the report was an off-duty state trooper, who happened to be vacationing with his family. He reported that there were two reserve officers camping as well.
Shot gun in hand, and police in tow, dad approached the man sharpening his knife and firmly asked that they vacate the premises. Finally, after much cussing and threats of legal repercussions (they wanted their money back), they tossed their gear into their pickup truck and sped off.

But at the edge of the driveway, they stopped. A penis emerged from the passenger window, and a golden arc descended toward the ground. The driver (obviously not familiar with some basic concepts) hit a tree, spraying urine back into the truck and, I assume, all over the passenger. They take off swearing down the highway with unsecured articles flying off the back of the vehicle.

My dad came back in, returned the shotgun to its place under the bed and told us we could go on back outside.

October 2nd, 2003 by