If you’ve ever seen an ad for the Canadian wilderness, it would typically feature a family roasting marshmallows by the campfire at a lakeside tent site. This is the fantasy. The reality, unfortunately, is that this scene of serenity is often obliterated by a massive RV in the neighbouring campsite running their generator. This was the case for us at Purden Lake Provincial Park east of Prince George.
We were enjoying the second of two days at our site when a monster 40 foot RV from the 1970s arrived late in the afternoon, coughing and spitting, and struggled its way into the site next to us. Goodbye birdsong.
Now don’t get us wrong, we’re not exactly camping purists anymore. MaBel has all the bells and whistles including a relatively quiet and efficient propane generator. The difference with us is we rely almost exclusively on solar power and have only run the generator a total of .4 engine hours, or 24 minutes, in 44 days of travel (most of which was testing it out).
So after the behemoth next door got into place and levelled (which took about 30 mins), it was only another hour before it turned on its generator. WTF?! They’ve only just arrived and they’re already running the damned generator? Not only was it horrifically loud, but it obviously needed maintenance as it sounded as rough as the aging RV’s untuned engine. Fortunately this episode only lasted about 20 minutes. But just as we were about to sit down to our BBQ dinner a little later (see below), they fired the bloody thing up again. This time it ran from 6:30 to 8pm. So instead of dining at the picnic table to the deafening roar of the sputtering generator, including the not-so-sweet aroma of diesel fumes, we moved into our RV to eat and turned up the country music (it was still loud inside).
After dinner, we returned outside for a campfire. We sat there, perturbed, until the clock reached 8:05 (most provincial parks, annoyingly, allow generator use from 6-8pm). Papa Bear then marched over and banged on the door of the rickety bus. A friendly fellow popped his head out and was greeted by: ‘Can you turn the engine off – it’s insanely loud and you’re only allowed to run it until 8 o’clock?’ The fellow was apologetic and replied, ‘Oh sorry, we were just watching a movie.’
Un-freaking-believable! These nitwits drive their ark of an RV all the way to a provincial park, get it maneuvered into a tight campsite, then retreat inside to watch a flipping movie – powered by the devil of all generators. Why wouldn’t they just go to an RV site with power or better yet, stay home and watch Netflix?
All this to say, we’re really looking forward to getting off the grid and away from congested camping areas during summer months. We’re also hoping that campers start to realize the benefits of solar technology and get off their reliance on diesel juice. There’s something profoundly wrong with running a fuel powered engine to watch TV in the woods. Come on people, get in the groove!
(Editor’s note: while Papa Bear had a short but somewhat stern conversation with the neighbour, it was a much better option than letting Mama Bear go over for a chat – something about the smouldering piece of firewood she was waving in their direction…)