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Adventure Stories

Assateague Island Dreaming

Ron: The rule is that you can’t sleep on the beach. To be on the beach you have to be active. You can have a campfire with a friend or whatever but you have to be awake and active. And to stay overnight in the bull pen you have to be in a camper that’s self contained.

TCM: How does someone new to Assateague Island learn the rules?

Ron: The rules are on the web. Basically, you have to have four-wheel drive, no duallies, and have shovels and tow ropes. You can’t stay in the bull pen past 9:00 pm if you’re not self-contained. There are a lot of rules.

TCM: Why the rule about no duallies?

Ron: I don’t know why or for what reason it’s a rule but they’re never going to change it. Some people put a single rear wheel on their rear duallies with a 10” rim.

TCM: What about using Ricksons and 19.5 tires?

Ron: Skip Bosley, a full timer and truck camper, ran his truck with Ricksons with no air and got stuck on the beach. So Ricksons don’t work. The sand is just way too loose on Assateague.

TCM: Do all these rules bother you?

Ron: We love the rules because we don’t want a lot of people in there just partying. But don’t get me wrong, we party in the bull pen!

TCM: Do the National Park Rangers bother you?

Ron: You’ll see a Ranger a couple times a night. Sometimes they hassle you but they’re just doing their job. Usually they’ll say that we’re being too loud.

TCM: Do you see a lot of the same people every weekend?

Ron: Usually you will see the same people. Pretty much every weekend you’ll see 75 to 100 truck campers in the bull pen grouped by friends and families. We’re there three out of four weekends a month. It’s like leaving the world behind. There’s hardly any cell phone reception. And you don’t have to leave that island for anything. It’s a big party and family atmosphere. You don’t have to worry about your kids wondering off. It’s so laid back.

TCM: What does it cost to camp on Assateague?

Ron: The annual pass for getting on the island is $20 a year. Then the Over-Sand Vehicle Permit is $75 a year. So for $95 a year I have a campsite for a whole year.

TCM: So I take it you’re into fishing.

Ron: I was actually awarded fisherman of the year. I fished all year up and down the east coast. I fished every weekend for seven weekends in a row. I got three citations.

TCM: Citations?

Ron: They’re good citations – an award printed on really nice with your name on it and a picture. You get a citation for Drum Fish over 45 pounds and Rock Fish over 40 pounds.

TCM: Where’s your wife while you’re doing all this fishing?

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