There are a lot of people who will tell you I’ve been a pain in the ass as long as they’ve known me. They could be on to something.
Take that picture at the left, for example. It’s cropped down from a group shot that was taken at a KOA convention at least five years ago, not long before we quit the KOA franchise system and a few years before we sold the campground itself. Ever since then I’ve been pretty critical of KOA in particular and the campground industry overall, but I kind of like the picture because it makes me look all cheery instead of the grumpy old sourpuss I’ve become. Something about attracting more flies (that’s you, dear reader) with honey than with vinegar.
In truth, however, I’ve come by my jaundice honestly, having spent nearly 30 years in the newspaper industry and another 10 in organized labor–two fields of human endeavor, you may have noticed, that are floundering on the edge of extinction. Some of the newspapers for which I reported don’t even exist any more (The Port Jefferson Record, the Phoenix Gazette and, for all reasonable journalistic purposes, New Times) and two (The Wall Street Journal and Barron’s) are owned by Rupert Murdoch, which almost qualifies as a living death. As for organized labor? Ironically, the most successful unions today are those that look out for people already making a lot of money, like baseball players. And film stars. Newspaper reporters just got it all wrong.
Still, the temptation to poke at vested interests with a verbal harpoon is not easily vanquished. Nor is the urge to natter on about those few things I actually know something about, which is how I came to write and self-publish a first book about campground ownership, Renting Dirt. I also started this blog, because everyone said I needed to have a blog to promote my book, and while I’m skeptical that it has worked that way, it has kept me engaged with the industry. More recently, I’ve started on a second book that is intended as a more practical, step-by-step guide for anyone who read Renting Dirt and still refuses to believe that owning a campground may not be a healthy life choice. If you’re going to chase that dream anyway, you might as well be prepared with something more than the superficial guidelines others have dished out. The tentative working title is Renting Dirt 2.0, but I may just go with Buying Dirt.
Meanwhile, my wife, Carin, and I live in Staunton, Virginia, just a few miles from the campground that we once owned and within spitting distance of our two grandsons, Anthony and Matthew. Thus far, no spitting has been involved.