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 not long before we quit the KOA franchise system, and quite 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.
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, Phoenix 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 book about campground ownership, Renting Dirt. I also maintain this blog, which explores all aspects of RVing and the campground industry, and more recently I published Turning Dirt, which provides a step-by-step guide for anyone thinking about buying a campground—anyone, that is, undeterred by Renting Dirt who still thinks owning a campground is a swell idea. 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.
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. On summer weekends I volunteer as an engineer and conductor on the Gypsy Express, a G-16 1/5 scale train pulled by a 1947 model V-4 27-horsepower engine—another part of my campaign to convince readers I’m not entirely an old grump. Rides cost just one buck, so come on down!
P.S. And yes, I am a former Deep Springer. But that was a different life, and a different time.