Then I spent the night at Barton Park, about 30 min east of Portland. The elderly camp host was that strange mix of friendliness and generational racism. His directions to my site were to find the "two Orientals" next to me. "They have kids, but seem pretty quiet." To be honest, that's how I found the site, because the numbers were misleading.
The locale was lovely, with treed sites and singing birds.
And now I understand why people hate camping.
I had the neighbours from hell on the other side of me, a group of four friends and their misbehaving offspring. By 2 am I was having murderous rages that threatened to bubble over.
First faux pas: They had quite a large campsite, yet set their tent up about 18 inches from mine. Their inflatable boats and other toys occupied the spacious part on the other side of the site, with no neighbours further on.
Second faux pas: The children, ranging from 3-8, were left to their own devices, shrieking and running through all three campsites. I had no problem with this, and was going to befriend them and keep us all occupied. But once the childless friend mentioned how bratty they were (his words), the parents starting shrieking and swearing. Divorced Dad (tm) was the worst. His 3-year old got an earful, consisting of "You know your mother would be in a heartbeat to pick you up. Do you want to go home with her or go camping with me." She wasn't understanding what he was saying, being three, so he yelled it three times until she started bawling and saying "camping, camping."
Third faux pas: Then commenced a night of smoking, swearing, drinking, yelling. Thing one would let out a war whoop every 20 minutes or so. Thing Two started every other sentence with "mother...". Thing Three shrieked at the children. Thing Four was the country-music-playing DJ until 2 am. Volume up, volume down, song skipped, song repeated.
Being a woman traveling alone, I sucked it up and suffered. I was hoping "the Orientals" or the elderly camp host would step in. Everyone remained silent.
That was my first experience with these kinds of neighbours. I realized that camping near a city would engender this. Camping in remote areas or National Parks would not (in my experience). The humble KOA is typically full of non drinking and swearing young families and retirees with their RVs, out for a quiet weekend or en route to other similar establishments.
My Sunday night was perfect--no neighbours on either side-- and I loved Portland, but I won't dismiss the KOA the next time I'm near a city.