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Old 11-07-2016, 08:22 AM   #1
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Exclamation Punkin Chunkin in Delaware

I had always said that once I got my rig, I was going to the World Championship Punkin Chunkin in Delaware. For me, that's a 3000 mile round trip, so 2 full days driving each way (since I am not retired, I have to take off from work, and due to project scheduling I can ill afford to take 2 full weeks off, so no puttering around to get there - Intersate 70 at 75 all the way).

Now, the chunk itself is great - highly recommended. Bring something to sit on that you can easily move, as it takes pretty much all day to fire all the machines (there were over a hundred machines there), and you will be doing a lot of "move 20 feet, sit down and wait for them to prepare, they are on the clock stand up, whoosh! OK, move 20 feet..." (and the occasional "!&$#*) INCOMING PUMPKIN RUN!") There are lots of food vendors so lunch is not a problem.

However.....

The chunk offers camping on site. For somebody who owns an RV it may seem like a natural thing to plan on camping - you can just walk back to the rig anytime you feel like it, like when you find you forget your sunscreen, or whatever. Sure, the "campground" is just another part of the corn field - no electric, no water, no sewer, just somewhat level ground covered in old corn stalks, but that's part of what camping is about.

What the web site will not tell you is that the camping has become a place for people to show up with professional level sound systems and be as loud as possible. I am not "that guy" who complains that he can hear your music next door. These people (and there were multiple rigs all over doing this) are running their music so loud that inside my rig several sites over, their music was louder than my rig's stereo could go. This was loud enough that I would have had to shout to be heard inside my rig. This was loud enough that I couldn't hear my neighbor's generator running. I half expected Hotblack Desiato and Disaster Area to crash a large black starship into the sun. And if you think thing quieted down at 11PM, you are off by at least an hour the wrong way. I spoke with several people around me who had been at the Chunk multiple times. They all said that this was par for the course, and that it was getting worse every year.

I complained to the people running it several times. At best, the people doing this would turn their music down until the Chunking folks left, and then turn it right back up and add a notch. The guy running the place was totally uninterested in actually handling the problem - "it's Punkin Chunkin", "I have lots of people wanting to be in the noisy areas", "It will be quite time in a couple of hours and they'll turn it down then", "I run a park with 1000 sites and this is OK". Sorry, I know somebody with multiple parks of over a thousand sites each, and if somebody were that loud at any of his sites they would get one warning, and then they are leaving. Basically, the guy running the camping side of things just wants to stand there and collect money, not deal with any problems.

The second night after multiple complaints I got fed up. I broke camp, and told them that I was done and that I wanted a refund on my unused nights. I also told them that since I was unsure if I was going to be able to find camping nearby, and therefor unsure if I was going to be able to attend, that I was canceling the other 2 days of my tickets - so I drove 2 days out for 1 day at the Chunk. Their mismanagement of the camping ruined my trip.

I plan on writing to the event and informing them of my experience. If they want to run a party (excuse me, "PARRRR-TAAAY WHOOOOOO") site, then they should note that CLEARLY on their web site, and suggest that anybody who doesn't want to have to wear earplugs in their rig camp at on of the nearby state parks (I was able to find one about 15 miles away and get it - water and power, dump station, and quiet - had I known, I would have not canceled my tickets).

I may one day go to the Chunk again - if so, I will NOT plan on camping there; I will camp at one of the state parks nearby. I value my hearing too highly.
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Old 11-07-2016, 08:38 AM   #2
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You've covered the beauty and the curse of Sportsmobiles (or any camper van, etc.). They are unbeatable for having the comforts of home right up close to the event, whether it be a concert, race, punkin' chunk, dog show, whatever. There are often problems with being that close though as you have stated. Sportsmobiles are also great for having the comforts of home further away from crowds than most can get, which is what I use mine for.

Sorry it didn't work out

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Old 11-07-2016, 08:39 AM   #3
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Bummer. Attending has been on my To-Do list for a long time, and while I have a high tolerance level, I have a low tolerance level for that kind of behavior from 'campers'.

Camping used to be about getting away from it all, not bringing it all with you to a quiet location and acting worse than you do at home.


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Old 11-07-2016, 08:56 AM   #4
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I raced dirtbikes for years. Loud, dirty events with lots of field camping. I have a high tolerance too. That's why I want a capable, self sufficient vehicle so I can be a field or two over from the noise. Punkin' Chunkin' specifically will always be a TV show for me. It's pretty cool stuff actually!
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Old 11-07-2016, 04:33 PM   #5
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I've always wanted to go, too, but just haven't gotten around to it yet. Thankfully it's only 1.5 hours or so from me, so I can do a day trip. But I have heard it's kinda crazy. I should have gone in the early years when I first heard of it.
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Old 11-07-2016, 04:50 PM   #6
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I suppose I should be thankful I wasn't there Sunday, when the cannon exploded. That was a bad business.
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Old 11-08-2016, 06:25 AM   #7
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For anyone interested:

2 hurt, 1 critically, after Punkin Chunkin explosion in Delaware
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Old 11-08-2016, 07:00 AM   #8
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We went this past weekend and parked the SMB in the tailgating area. Even here we found the loud speakers way too loud like in the spectators area. That being said we do have a good time, this is our third Chunk and plan on leaving a comment on the speaker volume.
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Old 11-08-2016, 08:36 AM   #9
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To be fair: loudspeakers run by the event, in the tailgating area, I could accept being loud. I expect the tailgating area to be a party - that's pretty much the definition of tailgating.
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