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Old 02-26-2013, 03:54 PM   #1
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Escapees RV Parks

As newbies to RV-ing, we decided to tour some of the parks within a 2-3 hr radius of our home north of Houston. Arrived at Escapees Rainbow's End outside Livingston, TX. after lunch. In a previous post, someone said the park was a little tired and they were being kind. It has quite a bit of age on it and most of the rigs are older and poorly maintained. The rig next to us has two dogs who are home alone and have barked the 3 hr we've been here. Don't feel like packing up and moving to another site but cannot enjoy sitting outside because they continually bark. They have scared our dog so much he doesn't want to leave the coach. Walked the park and saw many rundown cabins, lots of trash, etc. We were interested in possibly buying or leasing a campsite, but will scratch this from our list. Rate for non-members was $27. They have no television access if you do not have a dish and wi-fi is additional $3 per day. Guess you truly do get what you pay for. P.S. short-term spaces are along a state highway....lots of road noise.
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Old 02-26-2013, 04:02 PM   #2
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You have provided an excellent review of the campground; I encourage you to post it on RV Park Reviews :: Home so more people can read it. Reviews posted in these forums are useful, but RVParkReviews is a clearing house used by many RVers.
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Old 02-26-2013, 05:08 PM   #3
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There aren't cabins at Rainbows End, but there are homes, etc built on private land that is in between the two sections. Sorry about the barking dogs, but they will take care of it if you report it, or you could just sit and complain here. Yes, some of the rigs are older, but the park is primarily for members and we don't discriminate based on age. Also, some rigs you see might be on private lots, which Escapees doesn't control. This is primarily for members who want an economical place to stay, not into all of the amenities of private campgrounds.

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Old 02-26-2013, 05:12 PM   #4
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We are fulltimers and Rainbow's End is definitely our favorite RV park. It's, by far, the friendliest park we've ever stayed at. We stayed there for the winter two years ago and made many friends while there. We still meet up with some of them during our travels. I don't recall ever seeing trashy sites when we were there.

There are three different sections there for RVs. Nobody likes being next to barking dogs no matter what park you are in. There is no reason to let that ruin your stay. Perhaps you could walk around and find a spot that you would like better.
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Old 02-26-2013, 05:57 PM   #5
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IMHO the OP's review of the park is not much different from the last several reviews posted on RVParkReviews.com. Rather than being defensive, maybe Escapees members ought to think about how their facilities present to non-members. A couple of the reviewers noted that they were less likely to join Escapees now that they had seen this park. That doesn't sound like a good growth strategy for the organization.
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Old 02-26-2013, 06:05 PM   #6
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Maybe part of the problem is that these parks are primarily for members, a lot of whom fulltime rather than going camping. It is a different mind set. I wonder if part of their dislike of older rigs included rigs at the CARE center and that they probably don't understand what that is all about.

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Old 02-26-2013, 06:42 PM   #7
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Barbara, Rainbow's End may be a nice place for YOU but it would appear that visitors are not impressed. You claim that the older rigs are on private lots but, no matter who owns the lot, if it is in the park and looks like pooh then it detracts from the look of the park. Are there no deed type restrictions on the privately owned lots? Are they allowed to deteriorate to the point where it makes the rest of the park look junkie? If the people there are all retired fulltimers, or using the CARE system and thus a dwindling number, who will support the park if the next generation doesn't come because the place looks like trash?
You can defend the honor of your favorite park all you want, but without addressing the concerns of the visitors, your favorite park is doomed.
If my dealings with the management there are any indication, then the place is already doomed. The management is cliquish and if you don't follow their made up rules and complain about one of their family members then you are simply shut out. If the family doesn't "see" an issue then that issue must not exist. Until Escapees is run like a real business rather than a family dictatorship, there will be little growth and even less future.
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Old 02-26-2013, 07:20 PM   #8
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Barbara, Rainbow's End may be a nice place for YOU but it would appear that visitors are not impressed. You claim that the older rigs are on private lots but, no matter who owns the lot, if it is in the park and looks like pooh then it detracts from the look of the park. Are there no deed type restrictions on the privately owned lots? Are they allowed to deteriorate to the point where it makes the rest of the park look junkie? If the people there are all retired fulltimers, or using the CARE system and thus a dwindling number, who will support the park if the next generation doesn't come because the place looks like trash?
You can defend the honor of your favorite park all you want, but without addressing the concerns of the visitors, your favorite park is doomed.
If my dealings with the management there are any indication, then the place is already doomed. The management is cliquish and if you don't follow their made up rules and complain about one of their family members then you are simply shut out. If the family doesn't "see" an issue then that issue must not exist. Until Escapees is run like a real business rather than a family dictatorship, there will be little growth and even less future.
Obviously you have a problem with Escapees. I take it you are not a member, or you had a run in with one of the family members.. Rainbows End is where the company headquarters are, a company that start as a mail forwarding business and added campgrounds as they went along. Most people come to Rainbows End to get their new Drivers Licenses, registration, etc. it is not a destination park, but a members park. If the OP wanted a fancy place for their "coach" they should have stayed in the metro Houston area. How do you expect that the RV park would have control over the private lots? The private lots are not in the park, they are on private and between the different sections of the park. Deed restrictions, we're talking East Texas rural area. The park caters to members, that surprises you? Then don't stay there. No one is forcing you to. What 'made up' rule is out of the pale? Every park we've been to has rules. BTW, most people join Escapees without ever being in Livingston. Almost every RV Park we've been at have highway or railroad noise. And when they first started they were away from the road, so less noise. Plus the road is used more every year.

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Old 02-26-2013, 08:38 PM   #9
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Obviously you have a problem with Escapees. I take it you are not a member, or you had a run in with one of the family members.. Rainbows End is where the company headquarters are, a company that start as a mail forwarding business and added campgrounds as they went along. Most people come to Rainbows End to get their new Drivers Licenses, registration, etc. it is not a destination park, but a members park. If the OP wanted a fancy place for their "coach" they should have stayed in the metro Houston area. How do you expect that the RV park would have control over the private lots? The private lots are not in the park, they are on private and between the different sections of the park. Deed restrictions, we're talking East Texas rural area. The park caters to members, that surprises you? Then don't stay there. No one is forcing you to. What 'made up' rule is out of the pale? Every park we've been to has rules. BTW, most people join Escapees without ever being in Livingston. Almost every RV Park we've been at have highway or railroad noise. And when they first started they were away from the road, so less noise. Plus the road is used more every year.

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Hold on folks! I didn't mean to engage a battle. We came to Rainbow's End at the suggestion of someone on this blog and are checking out membership parks to possibly lease or buy. Actually, the search began with a classified ad for a permanent residence that's for sale, which led us ultimately to this website. With that being said, I will agree that I would not consider making any investment here. The place we looked at was neat and clean, but stuff around it was rough and poorly maintained. Deed restrictions are used to protect everyone's investment, and they are apparently lacking here. It's unfortunate that we must resort to rules & regs, but some people just have different standards.

The lot we stayed on is no frills, of course. But I would expect a picnic table in far better condition. Also, every park we have stayed in has offered free wi-fi and some kind of TV service. $3/day is chump change but it's the principle. Surprised they don't charge for utilities, if that's the case.

We met some very nice folks since my original post, and we have no clue if their rigs are "tired" nor do we care. However, if I was going to invest more than $150K for a 1000 sf frame home with a lean-to garage, I would hope my "neighborhood" was a little more attractive with better services and maintenance.

Barbara, I'm sorry if you were offended. Of course you enjoy the park. I was merely providing an honest review for anyone who might consider staying here but might be as disappointed as we have been.

Remember, diversity is what makes us all unique. Happy Trails!
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Old 02-26-2013, 09:18 PM   #10
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Hold on folks! I didn't mean to engage a battle. We came to Rainbow's End at the suggestion of someone on this blog and are checking out membership parks to possibly lease or buy. Actually, the search began with a classified ad for a permanent residence that's for sale, which led us ultimately to this website. With that being said, I will agree that I would not consider making any investment here. The place we looked at was neat and clean, but stuff around it was rough and poorly maintained. Deed restrictions are used to protect everyone's investment, and they are apparently lacking here. It's unfortunate that we must resort to rules & regs, but some people just have different standards.

The lot we stayed on is no frills, of course. But I would expect a picnic table in far better condition. Also, every park we have stayed in has offered free wi-fi and some kind of TV service. $3/day is chump change but it's the principle. Surprised they don't charge for utilities, if that's the case.

We met some very nice folks since my original post, and we have no clue if their rigs are "tired" nor do we care. However, if I was going to invest more than $150K for a 1000 sf frame home with a lean-to garage, I would hope my "neighborhood" was a little more attractive with better services and maintenance.

Barbara, I'm sorry if you were offended. Of course you enjoy the park. I was merely providing an honest review for anyone who might consider staying here but might be as disappointed as we have been.

Remember, diversity is what makes us all unique. Happy Trails!
I think you were mixing membership campgrounds like Thousand Trails, with the Escapee membership, which is very different. The company started as a mail service for fulltimers. That is still a major focus. They built the original park, near the pool area, and then some former fulltimers bought property around the edges and built houses, before the land near the road was turned into the newer park section. This happened over a number of years, and is unique to that area. And fulltimers are looking for something different than people who don't full time, but are weekenders or part timers. Fulltimers are looking for economical parks to spend some time before moving on. We don't worry about cable, we have a satellite dish. We don't worry about WiFi, we have an aircard. And we never spend that much time in a park, because we are exploring an area. They have since acquired several other RV parks that again offer reasonably priced places for members to stay as they travel.

Again, the problem seems to be a misunderstanding about it being a 'membership' park. As for the homes, again you have to remember that most of the individuals there were once fulltimers, but are now retired and can't do as much in terms of yard work, etc. as when they were younger. And there wouldn't be any services from the park to the houses or private lots.

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Old 02-26-2013, 10:29 PM   #11
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And fulltimers are looking for something different than people who don't full time, but are weekenders or part timers. Fulltimers are looking for economical parks to spend some time before moving on.
I think this is a bit of an over-generalization and could leave some people with a distorted view of full-time RVers. The term "full-term RVer" includes a broad group of individuals with many different lifestyles. Some, but by no means all, have the perspective stated above, but many of us have campground interests that are not much different from those of most other RVers. Sure, we may have satellite TV and our own washers and dryers, but we still want our surroundings to be attractive. We select the campgrounds we stay at by reading reviews on RVParkReviews; even if we aren't concerned about playgrounds and wifi we still value open space, privacy, security and other attributes valued by most RVers. You can't generalize about full-timers any more than you can about weekenders; no one can define what full-timers want or how they act.
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Old 02-27-2013, 09:30 AM   #12
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Let us just use the term "RV Park" without any use of other words. They are different, each and every RV Park. I have stayed in beautiful RV Parks, and I have stayed in RV Parks that are definitely not worth going back to.

With that said, I am an SKP member. I have not stayed at Livingston, but we have visited and toured in the TOAD. Would I stay there? Yes. Would I purchase a lot there? No, and for many different reasons. With that said, the OP posted an observation, and one that I have observed myself. Livingston SKP park would not be one of my favorite parks. However, we have stayed at beautiful SKP parks. Just this past summer we stayed at one where every lot was 55 feet wide, by 80 feet long, well maintained, very nice landscaping, and just an all-around beautiful park. And all for $118 a week. Entrance purchase(lease) fee is $10K. That is what being an SKP can get you. Please do not judge all SKP parks by one park, good or not so good.

So shop around.
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Old 02-28-2013, 08:41 PM   #13
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Well said, Wayne. We may eventually try full-timing which is one reason for the trip to Livingston SKP Rainbow's End. That, too, is why we toured the entire park and facilities. Personally, we are looking for something well maintained with amenities that interest others in our same socio-economic climate. I know there are places out there and yesterday visited The Preserve in Cleveland, TX that is under construction and will be very similar to Bella Terra in Gulf Shores, AL. We are not interested in pre-construction buy-ins so will likely pass oni The Preserve. However, it was like visiting both ends of the spectrum for us to stay at Escapees one night and The Preserve the next. BTW, the folks at The Preserve put us on a 40x80 pad made of paver stone with full hook ups. It will be first class when complete and surrounded by more nature than most can appreciate. Not knocking Escapees for those whose standards are such, but was merely leaving an honest review for anyone looking for a nice place to spend a few days, weeks or even a lifetime. Just calling it as we saw it.
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Old 03-01-2013, 08:18 AM   #14
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No problem, "roomie," just giving a perspective on it.

As you said, it is what it is.
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