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Old 07-03-2010, 09:42 PM
Location: Barrington, NH!
1,217 posts, read 1,907,191 times
Reputation: 1788


First time posting in the Camping forum, but want to bounce a situation off of you folks and get your take on it.

I just spent the first two nights of the 4th of July weekend at a North Dakota Forest Service campground (not a state park) and had a bad experience with a couple of campers, but one in particular stands out.

Background - this is a small, primitive campground on a nice little lake in what North Dakota calls the Turtle Mountains. No hookups, about 15 sites. No campground host, although it is patrolled during the season (per their website). Sites are well spaced and have lots of undergrowth for privacy. Quiet hours are posted on the self registration board at the entrance to the campground, and are from 11pm to 6 am.

It's 1130 pm, and neighboring camper still has his generator running. Not the loudest I've ever heard, but not a super quiet honda or yamaha either. Low drone continues throughout the night. I'm losing my patience. Can't hear birds chirping or breeze rustling the leaves. It does slightly mute the sounds of drunk people hooting and hollering around the campfire at a different site, though.

0230 - I've had enough. I walk over to their campsite and ask them if I'm going to have to hear their generator run all night. They say "probably". I remind them of the campground quiet hours. They tell me there are no quiet hours at this campground. We agree to disagree, and I tell them (3 of them) over the loud drone of their generator that this is bu##s$!%. Maybe a few more expletives than that, I don't know - I was pretty ticked off. I walked away (there were three of them and one of me). If I stayed any longer, it might have turned into a physical altercation. I wan't going to be changing their mind anyway.

I went back to my camper - their generator is still running and it ran until it ran out of gas at about 0800. Meanwhile, it's 330 am and the idiots next to me are laughing loudly around the fire and start breaking what sound like large sticks into smaller sticks for their campfire. I get up and tell them that I shouldn't be hearing them at 0330 in the morning, remind them that the quiet hours haven't changed, and ask them to keep it down. They are nice and apologize, but don't quiet down until at least 0430. Actions speak louder than words.

Of course, there was no campground host to complain to. I did not see one ND State Forest vehicle pass through the campground the entire time we were there. There was no presence that I could see, hence no one felt the need to follow the rules.

Now I know what you're saying in your head - you should expect that on the 4th of July weekend in a campground with no hosts or rangers. Well, I can accept that to a point but the guy with the generator running ALL night has really gotten to me. That shouldn't happen at ANY time, even the 4th of July weekend. It just flabbergasts me, and I guess I'm just venting my frustration here.

I got their site number and vehicle registration, and shot off an complaint to the ND State Forest supervisor today. Not sure if I'll hear anything or not from them, but overall I felt helpless through the whole night. I wanted to be a vigilante and shut down their generator for them, but did not want to go there with my wife and 4 year old in my pop-up camper. I was not armed. We had planned on leaving today or tomorrow, but last night's events plus a finicky LP fridge that warmed my food to room temp hastened our departure. This makes me want to ditch the popup and go back to a trailer where I can be sheltered from some of the noise. But that's not why I go camping, to sit in a box and be sheltered from idiots making noise. I want to hear the birds chirping and the breeze rustling the leaves.

Water under the bridge now, but how would you have handled it?
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Old 07-03-2010, 10:17 PM
4,285 posts, read 14,420,472 times
Reputation: 3867
Confronting drunks in the middle of no where in the middle of the night is not usually a good idea.

Might have been an idea to call the Forest Service office at the time and see if a ranger patrol was handy.

Sadly, there are just enough inconsiderate jerks around to ensure that all of us eventually get the benefit of their idiocy.
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Old 07-04-2010, 01:30 PM
Location: Wyoming
9,415 posts, read 17,378,768 times
Reputation: 14073
Wow! I'm sorry your camping enjoyment was dampened by rude and inconsiderate campers.

I don't know what I'd do if I was in your situation -- probably try to ignore them, but that can be hard to do at times. I've camped next to noisy, hard-partying campers before, but they've always observed the quiet hours pretty well -- even if a half-hour or so late in doing so.

One thing you might consider is searching out quieter campgrounds. I know that sounds like giving in to the jerks, but some times it's easier to just accept facts and work with them. I don't camp at lakes for the very reason that campgrounds on them are typically noisy. I'm sure there are quiet lake campgrounds, but the odds are not with you at most lakes.

I too camped this weekend (Wed - Fri) -- in a 20-site campground -- in the Bighorn Mountains. The closest lake was a mile away, and no powered boats are allowed on it. Campers using the campground (Tie Hack), just seem to enjoy the quiet of the forest. My wife and I commented on how it seemed we were boondocking. For the most part, we couldn't see a neighbor and only heard them when they drove past in their vehicles. (Only one camper was visible from our site, and it was 100+ yards behind us.) I commented to her then that it sure beats camping at lakes. The only neighbors at Tie Hack that have ever attracted our attention have been moose and some friendly folks last year who sent their kids to our site with free firewood.

Tie Hack, site #4
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Old 07-04-2010, 01:52 PM
Location: SoCal desert
8,093 posts, read 13,223,984 times
Reputation: 14870
Originally Posted by steveusaf View Post

Water under the bridge now, but how would you have handled it?
I would have wanted to make a lot of noise, starting at 6 AM.

Bang some pots, Beethoven or Wagner or maybe the voice of Gilbert Gottfried, borrow a yapping dog, work on the truck engine that necessitated revving it over and over.

I would have wanted to, but wouldn't have had the nerve to.

That said, I have done the musical revenge bit on some neighbors who used to party until 4 AM.
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Old 07-04-2010, 07:43 PM
Location: Barrington, NH!
1,217 posts, read 1,907,191 times
Reputation: 1788
Not sure if the generator people were drunk or just ignorant. I certainly did not want a confrontation, though. Even if there were a campground host or ranger available, I'm the type of person who would want to talk to the offenders before turning them in - try to handle it at the lowest level....

WyoNewk, that looks like a nice campground. I was stationed in Cheyenne for a few years, and took a 2 week camping tour of the state, from Devils Tower across to Bighorn Canyon and Mountains to Grand Teton/Yellowstone, then finally through the Wind River Mountains. I had fond memories of the Bighorns, although I forgot what USFS campground we stayed at. I love those out of the way campgrounds, or even boondocking. I did a lot of boondocking in the Snowy Range mountains west of Laramie while I was there. I had no one bothering me during those trips. Guess I got spoiled camping in great spots like that.

Gandalara, I thought about doing all the things you said, but didn't want the other campers who did follow the rules to pay the price for one person's idiocy. Unfortunately, it would have probably woken everyone up, and that would not be cool.

Thanks for your comments....
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Old 07-05-2010, 12:22 AM
Location: Phoenix
354 posts, read 1,088,470 times
Reputation: 428
You did the best you could, there is nothing for it but to not use established camp grounds and choose places that once you are in there is no inviting place for anyone else to setup on encroaching on your space. Put some targets up.
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Old 07-06-2010, 07:40 AM
47,573 posts, read 60,604,538 times
Reputation: 22283
The nice thing with a pop up is you can usually get to the real camping places - but sometimes if you're stuck with the louder types, it's best just to chill - and relocate to another campsite further from them the next day.

Too many people like to "camp" with air conditioning, big fans, big loud televisions, but usually they're in the big RV's and you can usually set up camp away from them. People around a bonfire don't bother me, even the breaking of sticks and laughter, unless they're getting very drunk and obnoxious.
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Old 07-06-2010, 08:10 AM
Location: Texas
43,534 posts, read 52,616,956 times
Reputation: 70755
This is why I am very selective now about going out and doing things. At almost every turn, you run into these morons who don't care about anyone else or how their actions affect others. I get such little free time, I hate to risk it by exposing myself to these tooth-gnashing experiences.

I don't know, op, how I would have handled that situation. I probably would have politely said something...but I also would have known that the low likelihood that f***ers like these care or comply.

My way of dealing with it in general?
Don't travel on holidays
Don't go to opening night or weekend movies (in fact, we usually just wait till the movies come out on blu-ray - which costs the same as the tickets, anyway)
Eat dinner at 5 or 6
Vacation while school is still in session (lower rates, fewer crowds)
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Old 07-07-2010, 12:08 AM
Location: California
11,435 posts, read 17,141,328 times
Reputation: 12499
If i go camping on a holiday weekend I just expect the party people, i take earplugs with me but i just expect people making noise in these situations, On a Holiday it is best if you want to avoid this is to go to a camp with a host or one that is patroled and curfews are inforced.

A few years back I was camping on a Holiday, I knew the folks next to us were going to be loud so helped them end their night sooner by giving them a big bottle of rot gut tequila, later in the night I layed awake laughing at the sounds of them as they got sick, the next morning they left.
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Old 07-10-2010, 10:42 AM
Location: On the brink of WWIII
21,093 posts, read 23,892,293 times
Reputation: 7812
We had an annoying problem in a MI state park over the 4th.

It was drinking and swearing that would have made a sailor blush.

Unfortunately the oldest daughter started saying something to the group (15+ people) instead of going to the camp host or ranger first.

Several hours later --- after a visit from a ranger --- they did quiet down.

We were reminded why we usually pay $$ to stay at a commercial campground instead of smaller government facilities.
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