'Campmuters' Create New Camping Niche
With his feet up and a smile on his face, John Podina takes in the lake in suburban Detroit, the birds and the smell of someone else's dinner.
After a hard day's work as a plumbing inspector for the city of Livonia, Mich., Podina puts in 90 minutes on the road, but he doesn't go to his home in Milford. He goes to his home away from home — a 35-foot RV parked from May through September on Lot 106 in Groveland Oaks County Park in Holly, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Podina, 58, and his wife, Carolyn, spend their summers 'campmuting,' as it's called — living at the campground while commuting to work.
Campmuting is becoming more popular as people look to save money and still enjoy summer activities, said Timothy DeWitt, executive director for the Michigan Association of Recreation Vehicles and Campgrounds.
"People have invested in their RVs, they like the lifestyle and they want to do it full-time," DeWitt said.
The Podinas visit their Milford home to do laundry and pay bills.
They've have had some famous neighbors: One year during the Buick Open, golfer John Daly stayed a few campsites down.
"We love the peace and quiet," said Carolyn Podina, 59. "Some people spend $1,000 or $2,000 on a week's trip to the beach or a cruise. But we come here."
Parks offer workers the joys of summer
Officials with Oakland County Parks are hoping that more families — especially those with young children — will take up campmuting as an alternative to vacations.
The county already draws a devoted band of empty nesters who spend the summer months living in their RVs while commuting to jobs.
But those with kids at home can "stay in the park and commute back and forth to work while the rest of the family enjoys swimming and the rest of the amenities the parks have to offer," said Boyd Brokenshaw, park supervisor. "Those opportunities are out there for families to come out and enjoy."
There are about a dozen campmuters in Addison Oaks and Groveland Oaks county parks and dozens more at a handful of private campgrounds across the state, though officials do not keep statistics.