From one S.D. to the Next…Lessons Learned

I bid a sad farewell to the Sonoran Desert with a lump in my throat, and drove over the hills and through the woods to meet up with my posse at the Viejas Casino in Alpine, CA, where we would overnight and descend en masse on San Diego the following day.

Leaving Viejas with Debbie and Kimbopolo

Leaving Viejas with Debbie and Kimbopolo

Beware of those California drivers passing on the right.  Oh wait!

Beware of those California drivers passing on the right. Oh wait!

Our last synchronized move before hitting the interstate...

Our last synchronized move before hitting the interstate…

Leaving the serenity of a place like the Sonoran Desert for the 8th largest city in our nation, San Diego, there has to be trouble on the horizon, right?  One does not go from a week of solitude to shooting the gap on I-5 without some form of cultural whiplash.  Unfortunately, in my case, it came in waves.

Let me just get this out, so I can move on to telling you about the cool scenes of San Diego.  I have in the past been accused of being “Pollyanna” or “writing fiction,” so it is my intent to share not only the beauty, but the beast.  Everyone says the redeeming quality of the Mission Bay RV Park in San Diego is all about “location, location, location.”  Well, for me, that was offset by “location within the location.”

We manage to squeeze in a Happy Hour.  L to R, Kimbopolo, Debbie, Lifes Little Adventurers Jim & Gayle, and Brenda from Island Girl Walkabout.

We manage to squeeze in a Happy Hour. L to R, Kimbopolo, Debbie, Lifes Little Adventurers Jim & Gayle, and Brenda from Island Girl Walkabout.

Even the palm trees are populated!

Even the palm trees are populated!

Let me just be clear in saying none of this was the fault of the park.  In fact, they went out of their way to accommodate me when I found myself surrounded on all four sides by RVs bulging at the seams with screamers.   I knew I was in trouble when the giant 5th wheel pulled in beside me the Saturday before Easter Sunday.  The first thing I saw come bounding out of the door was two young tots in frilly pink dresses.  The second thing I saw was the side bay door open, unleashing what looked like a Toys-R-Us truck over turned.  Add that to the fiberglass box pulsing with rappers on the other side of me in a rig so tall I couldn’t see the sky, and I had my own version of “I. Can’t. Breathe!”  Had it not been for the kind woman Kat at the front desk, I am certain I would have sped out of the gate with my power cord and water hose dangling…

Spring Break Hell added to the glee, as bicycles, tricycles, scooters, skateboards, ball-toss games, basketballs, soccer balls, and remote controlled race cars all contributed to the cacophony surrounding me.  The movie “Despicable Me” played on a continuous loop on the RV’s outdoor TV screen across from me.  It was Vasa Park déjà vu all over again, without the innocence of puppies and balloon houses.  An inner city playground where kids race around the rigs as if they were cones, shouting the word “Duuuude” back and forth, as if it were a new curse word they were trying on just for the SoCal occasion.

Reason #107 why you want to wipe down your picnic table before use.

Reason #107 why you want to wipe down your picnic table before use.

Wash your soles and your cereal bowls in one setting!

Wash your soles and your cereal bowls in one setting!

But that was not the extent of my misery here.  When one checks in to the Mission Bay RV Park, they must sign a waiver that if a “hazardous waste spill” should occur, you will immediately notify the park office for a clean-up, resulting in a $50 to $200 clean-up fee.   This rule serves two purposes, one to keep the waste out of Mission Bay.   But given the close proximity of rigs spaced single-digit-feet apart, it also keeps the clean-up from splattering on your neighbor’s picnic table, brand new zero-gravity lounge chair, and bicycle.

Imagine my horror as I am laying in the bed in the early morning light, when I hear a huge splattering right beneath my bedroom window, laced with a string of curse words in a foreign language which I eventually determined to be  “Quebec-ese.”   Without gloves, he cleaned up the spill with a trash can and a chamois, and was one step away from hosing it down with his fresh water hose, when I had to open the door and shout, “STOP!  You are not allowed to do that!”   This resulted in an altercation with him insisting “I am a veddy clean puhhhson, Ma’dame!”  to me telling him “You might be clean, but your sh*t is not, and you are about to splatter it all over my stuff!!”  He refused to call the office, so I did it for him.  Needless to say, it made for a tense remainder of my stay, and a lot of whining unleashed on my friends.

Cleaning sh*t with a chamois.  Note, taken out my bedroom window.  That is my picnic table in the corner of photo.

Cleaning sh*t with a chamois. Note, taken out my bedroom window. That is my picnic table in the corner of photo.

"Attention Park Team members:  Clean-up on Aisle #189!"

“Attention Park Team members: Clean-up on Aisle #189!”

Bring in the Haz-Mat Crew

Bring in the Haz-Mat Crew

I watched him dump a second time, two days later.  This time, the wife came out to hold the sewer hose on one end, while he held on the other…neither of them wearing rubber gloves, and both handling the water spigot and fresh water hose interchangeably during the process.

The lessons I learned in all of this?  1.)  Never fail to spray down the fresh water spigot with Lysol before you hook up.  2.) Wipe down your picnic table with a Clorox wipe before using it.  3.) And think twice before you prepay two weeks in an RV Park with no refund policy again.

This post, brought to you by the Holy Trinity of Cleanliness, Clorox, Lysol, and Mr. Clean…

Now that I got that off my chest, I would love to show you the more pleasing sights of San Diego.  Coming up, my five part photo-journalistic series on the “San Diego Scenes…And Beer!”

Full Moon over Mission Bay

Full Moon over Mission Bay

47 thoughts on “From one S.D. to the Next…Lessons Learned

    • John, they told us all the families typically stayed at Campland, but due to Easter, Easter Week (Semana Santa) and Spring Break, Campland was filled to capacity. So we were the playground overflow. 😉

    • Judy — It was pret-ty P U indeed! I was grateful for the clean-up crew! Thanks for stopping by the blog! Hope you are staying warm over there. Where did our California sunshine go?

  1. Boy, did you do a masterful job chronicling the hazards – both biological and social – of an RV ‘resort ‘. The photos of our caravan are priceless! Thank you.

    • Kim, you should have seen the “Condos on Wheels” rally that ramped up behind your site right after you left. There was another Winnie View who complained about them to security. LOL!

  2. OMG, that guy cleaning up his “crap” with a chamois and no gloves is unbelievable. Thank goodness the park sent someone over to clean it up properly. Now I see why you needed lots of beer after your experience at Mission Bay. 😉

  3. With a small rig, I always ask for an end site in an RV park. They are usually shorter, so big rigs don’t fit and you only have one neighbor and not on your patio side.

    • Teri — Mission Bay is on to our tricks….they charge a “premium” for all end sites. I asked, but it would have cost me another $60 a week! Another thing I also learned is in this large RV Park, they tend to stick us smaller rigs on the row together, which means I ended up in the midst of the rentals. The park was near walking distance to SeaWorld, so there were a LOT of rentals!

  4. We’re glad you toughed it out and stayed! The beer definitely helped, didn’t it? And I enjoyed your written account of the dump debacle even though I had already heard the oral version in real time!

    • Gayle — Yes, the beer definitely helped, as did yours and Jim’s laughter. Sorry you had to hear the minute by minute running commentary, but glad I had someone there to help me through the freak-out. haha!

  5. Hope your post: 1). Keeps the turkeys and frogs hopping down the road. 2). Makes them drive faster while passing through. 3). Inspires more alfresco massage in the ‘hood!
    Waiting anxiously for your “view finder” impressions!
    p.s. the state beach campgrounds aloha is not far away.

    • Rand, be careful what you wish for, or I will post more alfresco massage pictures. It was the large, shirtless man’s turn next. LOL!

    • Sherry, I do love the people, but I also love my money. 😉 I prepaid two weeks there, and they do not give refunds. I just couldn’t walk away from it, considering it was the most expensive place I have stayed since I have been out west…but thanks to Jim, Gayle, Jim, Allison, Kim and Debbie, and a whole lotta beer, I made the best of it…

  6. I hope you got to see some beautiful things in San Diego. I lived there for a couple of years in the early 90’s and have never been back. It would be a really nice place if there weren’t so many people there!!!

    • Reta, I don’t think I knew you ever lived in SD? I agree it is a nice place. My assessment is, since the weather is so perfect, everyone is outdoors, so it seems even more crowded than it is!

  7. I laughed out loud when you used the word “Screamers” as that is the exact term we use when we see these little wonders running through the park. You certainly got a taste of everything horrible about staying in a crowded park. But now you can fully appreciate your quite times in the future!

  8. Oh, Suzanne, I am aching from laughing! You are such a wonderful writer:) I am so sorry you had such a horrible experience at Mission Bay. Easter weekend can be a nightmare. We had that children, bicycles, skates, soccer balls, yelling kids and parents while we were at Zion River RV Resort outside Zion. It was a nightmare and we couldn’t wait to leave.

    We have never had anyone dump all over the ground!! And he was from Quebec which has some of the most unfriendly people ever. So glad you called the office.

    What is up with the almost nude person on the picnic table…yuck!!

    So glad there are so many breweries in SD to help you through:)

    • Pam — Sad to hear even in a place as beautiful as Zion, the screamers can ruin it. It seems like the parents just unleash the heathens, hole up in the rig, and hope they return sometime after dark. I am already starting to worry about where to hide out for Memorial Day… I did have a couple of Belching Beaver Peanut Butter Stouts in your name to ease my pain, though. 😉

    • Tom, I hear the neighbors at 7 Feathers are all a bunch of winos! 😉 Have a glass of Abacela Viognier for me, please.

  9. Note to self…..Easter weekend is a mighty fine time to boondock. What a fine opportunity for an outdoor movie projected on your Rv. A couple come to mind, RV and National Lampoons Summer Vacation. Since I can’t afford the rates at this fun place, I haven’t seen anything yet that would make me want to hang out there.

    • Karen, I have about decided that any time is a mighty fine time to boondock! I have to admit, the location was primo, but 700 other people obviously thought so too. It wasn’t the park as much as it was the people!

    • Lisa — I forgot to include the part about the guy behind me who had a party every night past “Quiet Hour,” and then got up at 8am the next morning and crushed all the aluminum cans from the night before by stomping on them….

  10. OOOOO–how nasty—now Mark has me really thinking, we usually avoid RV park potlucks and buffet restaurants but now I will avoid them even more!! You are a saint to endure that kind of a zoo for TWO weeks!!

  11. Thanks for the best laugh that I have had all week!?

    Can you imagine how many times that homme has provided that level of entertainment on his way from Quebec to San Diego.

    And he has yet to go back home.

    Maybe he is there to motivate us into staying as “wannabees”! giggle…

    • Allen, don’t be discouraged as a wannabee. You should see the place where I am now, in Jojoba Hills, near Temecula, CA. I have a landscaped patio with a view, and seating for 10 in my site. 😉

  12. Just from the pictures I’d say they should PAY people to stay there instead of the other way around. Just looks like a big parking lot.

  13. One more lesson learned: Never rent a motorhome. You never know how the fresh water hose was last used.

    As for the Neanderthals with the mostly naked sun screener lying on the table, they will surely be wondering why they have food poisoning after dinner is consumed later.

  14. I told you it would be bad. San Diego needs a great RV park. Loved the details on wiping down the picnic table and the the water connection…..very very important now and on my to do list.

  15. soooo hilarious, but my head is shaking no, no, no!!! Someday when we connect with you on some backroad, we will tell you one of our favorite camp host “dump” stories: “hey, dude, don’t worry, I’m a vegetarian….”
    If you drive north via the Central coast, let us know!!

  16. Just started following your blog. You write exceptionally well. The dump horror story could easily happen to any of us RVers. All it takes is some weakness /cracks in the hose connection. I replace my sewer hose yearly, make sure the connection is solid at each end before I pull that black handle slowly, and pray that everything stays in the hose. It’s the one RV tasks that I approach with extreme caution. And its a reminder to always carry a spray bottle of water and bleach mixture to spray down the water spigot before you connect. You never know what has happened at the site you just occupied. Safe travels.
    J. Dawg

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