(November 2015) During the winter Dinosaur National Monument offers free camping to folks, so I often use it as a stop-over when I’m in that part of the country. On this trip I’d come from Wyoming, and had been driving through snow storms, hail, rain and you-name-it. Even at Dinosaur the weather was bad, but fortunately it cleared up enough for me to have a camp fire.
The campground was empty, so I chose the best spot which had a view of Split Mountain, and was right by the river. I was enjoying the sound of the water, the call of an owl, the crackle of the fire. Bats were my companion as they snatched up various bugs drawn to the glow of the fire. It was sooooo peaceful and relaxing and I was feeling the tension of driving in bad weather release from my shoulders, but then someone else came into the campground just as I was walking over to the pit toilet. I waved and smiled, but when I came back I was perplexed to see that they were setting up in the spot right next to mine.
I don’t know why people do that, but it happens a lot. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve camped in a huge, empty, campground with 20 or 30 empty sites available, and they choose the site right next to mine. Sometimes I’ve moved (I recall one time I moved because of the crying baby, barking dog, and screaming toddler) but on this night I had my fire already going, so I couldn’t move. I decided to just ignore them and hoped they would be quiet.
But then they started their generator; and just like that my peaceful evening alone was completely ruined.
I tried very hard to ignore the noise, but it was so overwhelming it was impossible. Gone were all the sounds of nature, gone was the relaxed mood, instead I found myself gritting my teeth and stabbing at the fire angrily. I was contemplating going over to say something, but was hesitant because whenever I’ve done that in the past it’s never had good results, but as I started to put a plan together I noticed the guy was heading over to my camp.
He had a purposeful stride with slightly bowed legs like he’d ridden a horse much of his life, along with cowboy work boots and hat. His face was wizened and had a big smile. He was about half way to my fire, when he paused, and looked back at his rig with his head cocked, then he took a few more steps so that we were in talking range. “I was coming to chat, but I just realized how loud that generator is. Is it bothering you?”
I was stunned, but jumped on the chance to say something. I told him that is was a little bothersome, but wasn’t as bad as some generators and that I’d heard worse. The man then shook his head, and said “Well, I’ll see what I can do about it.” He then tipped his hat, and strode away. A few minutes later I saw his wife putting away the step and climbing into the passenger seat, and low and behold they drove away and parked all the way down at the far end of the campground.
Wowser! I was stunned beyond belief. This was the FIRST time I’d ever seen someone using a generator be this considerate. In the past, whenever I’ve said anything to a person running a generator, they have usually pointed out their right to run it, how long they will run it for, the hours they are allowed to run it, and then usually run it to the very last second AND get their neighbor to start up theirs as well just to prove how privileged they are. Usually they have their generator set on the back side of their vehicle as far away from themselves as they can get it, which is usually closer to me, and the list of thoughtless and selfish acts goes on (don’t get me going).
But this couple actually thought about me! I was completely blown away, and oh so very grateful. They were now far enough away that the sound of the river drowned out the tiny hum coming from their generator, and my peaceful evening returned. I figured I’d give them a big hug and thank you in the morning, but they left before I woke up.
Since then I’ve thought a lot about that night, and I keep seeing that man stopping midway between our campsites and cocking his head, and I wonder if he just was not aware how much the sound carries, and didn’t think about it until he heard what it was like for me. And I wonder if this is the case for many generator users. Perhaps they think that they are the only ones that hear it, that the sound is right by them and doesn’t travel far. Perhaps, because they are usually all cooped up inside their cozy little home, they have no idea how loud it is to other people. I mean some of these owners never take a step outside their vehicle, let alone their camp site. I know that many just don’t give a hoot, and think they have the right to everything (what about the right to silence), but now I wonder if a few, just a handful, are just unaware. I like to think that maybe, just maybe, there are a few generator users out there that would be more considerate if they only knew…
On that note I want to leave you with a short poem written by a fellow Nomad by the name of Randy…I know you’ll enjoy this, Randy is quite the character.
Until we meet again,
Hoping that more people will install solar panels and only use their generators in emergencies.
Roxy ~ A Nomad for Nature