Why You Need to Make Sure You Dry Camp in Safe Areas

If you are a person who likes to dry camp (or is thinking of doing so), you need to make sure that the spot you choose is a safe one.  Otherwise, you could run into serious and dangerous problems.

When you are inside of your coach it is easy to get lulled into a sense of false security, but the truth is that the walls are thin, and when dry camping, you usually are alone.

You don't know who is outside of those walls and may not realize that just one bullet shot into the bedroom area could kill you.

My husband and I used to feel that way, until one night we made a near fatal mistake.

Angry Native Americans Can Be Dangerous

Some Info We Could Have Used

It is always a good idea to do some homework about the places you plan to visit during your travels.  In our case, it would have helped tremendously to know more in depth information about the people who took part in The Battle of the Little Big Horn so that we could have a better understanding of the depth of the hard feelings that had been created.

This book explores these issues, so if you are planning a trip to the Western US, you would do well to read it. 

I sure wish we had.

The Indian Wars Continue to This Day

In fact, we made two mistakes.
  1. The first was to assume we would be safe without first checking to see if in fact we were.
  2. The second was to never give one thought to the fact that we were in a different culture, and one where feelings of hatred towards the white man went deep due to the Indian Wars.
After all, we were parked on reservation lands not far from where the Battle of the Little Big Horn took place!

When you are vacationing and having fun, you simply do not think about such things, but the truth is that when you're on the road, danger lurks in every corner, so it pays to be vigilant.

Here's what happened.

Our Visit to A Crow Agency Casino

Years ago my husband and I found ourselves on the Crow Agency Reservation in Southeastern Montana.

We had planned to do some dry camping in their casino parking lot because it was our experience that such places were safe places due to the fact that there was always 24/7 security and people came and went at all hours.

In this case, we were wrong.

If things had turned out differently, I might not even be here to share this story with you.

How the Story Begins

We were traveling in a small truck camper.

This meant that in order to get from the cab of the truck to the living quarters, we had to exit our vehicle and enter the RV through a door in the back.

We were headed South out of Lewistown, Montana, where we had stopped for a few days to visit friends.

We knew that there was a gaming facility at Crow Agency, and since it was late in the day, we decided to dry camp in their parking lot.

When we arrived, we  were surprised to see that there was nothing but the casino in the general area.

There was no town, no stores, no houses...nothing!

Nonetheless, we felt we had a secure place to stay for the night and were well stocked with food and water.

Red Flags Rose Everywhere!

As is our norm, we decided to do a little gaming, thinking that whatever money we lost would help the tribe and kind of pay them back for allowing us to stay in their lot overnight.

Our problem started almost as soon as we entered.

We were the only white people there, and nobody was smiling. Not only were they not smiling, they were giving us some very ugly looks.

What we had forgotten was that it really hadn't been many years since the Indian Wars had taken place, so there were still hard feelings.

This was something we had only seen in movies, but there was nothing fictional about what was going on here.

It wasn't long before we decided to head back to the RV because things inside the little casino were becoming uncomfortable.

No Wagons, Just Us!

When my husband and I exited the building, there were a number of young, drunk Native Americans standing near their pickup trucks.

The looks they gave us were not warm and inviting.

We climbed into the camper thinking that once we were out of sight, they'd forget about us.

At this point, all we wanted to do was get some sleep.

Shortly after we had crawled into bed, we heard engines roaring and a lot of yelling and whooping.

The angry Indians were driving their trucks or riding in the beds and had started circling our camper, hooting and yelling obscenities.

There were no security guards anywhere in site, so our concerns grew rapidly.

We realized that this situation could turn ugly very quickly and, even though we had a pistol with us, we did not want the situation to escalate to the point where we would have to use it.

In those old Western movies, people would circle their wagons when Indians attacked, but there were no wagons in this situation, just the two of us.

The Getaway

It was obvious that we could not stay put because to do so would be dangerous.

We needed a plan.

The problem, of course, was that we would have to exit the camper to get to the truck so that we'd be able to escape.

We dressed quickly, and my husband made sure the pistol was loaded.

The Indian kids were circling wide around us, so we waited until their trucks had pulled towards the far end of the lot, quickly ran to the cab of our truck and drove away.

We worried that the young people would follow us, but they did not.

The Rest of the Story

We didn't realize how dark it was until we started driving. There were no lights anywhere, and the night was pitch black. There were not even any stars to light our way.

We could not see any stores of any kind or any place where we might be able to get some help. It was a very scary situation.

We couldn't go back, we did not know what was ahead and we didn't dare stop. So, even though we were dead tired, we just drove on.

Hours later we came upon a well lit and secure truck stop, and that is where we spent the rest of the night.

I can honestly tell you that nothing ever looked so good to us as that truck stop did that night.

Always Be Alert to Potential Danger When Traveling

There have been very few times during our RVing where we have found ourselves in dangerous situations like this one, and we were very happy to have escaped without harm to ourselves or our equipment.

This was one adventure neither of us would ever want to relive, and it served as a warning to us to be more careful in the future. 

You, my readers, should pay attention to it, as well.

Our story is a perfect example of how easy it is for people who are traveling in unknown territory can get into trouble. It is especially upsetting because we are experienced RV travelers who always try to take great care in the things we do.

Thus, if we had problems, imagine what can happen to people who do not have our background!

Our scary night on the Crow Indian Reservation was a good lesson, and one we never forgot, 

We hope nobody reading this will ever have a similar problem, and know that avoiding one will greatly depend on people's ability to keep an eye out for danger and make sure that if they dry camp, they do so safely.

The Battle of The Little Big Horn