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Old 08-30-2016, 07:56 AM   #43
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Adel, IA - this looks like a well kept park with recent improvements, however, notice the rr tracks, just south of I-80, not too far from the campground?

Newton, IA - from the photos this looks like it is a nice KOA just outside of town, but again notice the rr tracks that run right through the town of Newton?

Waterloo, IA - this park looks well maintained, however it is across the street from a water park and notice the rr tracks that run parallel to I-380 and the rail siding at I-380 and S Marnan Rd?

I again submit a majority of KOA were built at old rr construction campgrounds, that is why they are so close to rr tracks. Jalan's post supports that position.
The tracks "near" the Adel location are 4 miles south of campground with a freeway in between at 2 miles. The tracks are completely irrelevant to the campground.

The Newton KOA is 6 miles outside of town where the tracks are. This campground sits on the freeway. Railroad noise is not the concern here.

You frame the waterpark at the Waterloo KOA as a negative. It isn't "next to a waterpark." The waterpark is the KOA. It's part of the name and an advertised feature. The railroad tracks are again, over a mile away with a freeway and a casino in between. Once again, completely irrelevant.

You've reached a conclusion here that is pretty far reaching. If you're going to consider railroad tracks that are 4-6 miles away as examples of campgrounds "built at old railroad construction campgrounds" then I'm not sure what campground in the US would be safe from that criticism.
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Old 08-30-2016, 08:26 AM   #44
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The tracks "near" the Adel location are 4 miles south of campground with a freeway in between at 2 miles. The tracks are completely irrelevant to the campground.

The Newton KOA is 6 miles outside of town where the tracks are. This campground sits on the freeway. Railroad noise is not the concern here.

You frame the waterpark at the Waterloo KOA as a negative. It isn't "next to a waterpark." The waterpark is the KOA. It's part of the name and an advertised feature. The railroad tracks are again, over a mile away with a freeway and a casino in between. Once again, completely irrelevant.

You've reached a conclusion here that is pretty far reaching. If you're going to consider railroad tracks that are 4-6 miles away as examples of campgrounds "built at old railroad construction campgrounds" then I'm not sure what campground in the US would be safe from that criticism.

I completely agree with you, KOA's are for some reason built near rr tracks and if you read my original posting you would see that the main issue is the whistles at 2 AM, those certainly are heard for miles. Check out other KOA's you will find a majority are close to rr tracks.
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Old 08-30-2016, 10:16 AM   #45
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What I have a problem with is the generalizations. There are nearly 500 KOA's and I wonder how many people have stayed at more than 5% of them. Has anyone really looked at the proximity of 500 KOA's to railroad tracks to support those generalizations? That's like saying too many Good Sam campgrounds are too close to highways. It's anecdotal at best.

Train whistles are regulated to a maximum of 110dB. Sound at a distance can be estimated using the inverse square law. At 1 mile, a 110dB train whistle is 52dB. That's if you're outside. That's less than conversational speech. Inside, that's easily convered up by a radio, a fan or an air conditioner. At 4 miles like the KOA examplesmentioned above, the whistle is 39dB (outside). That's the sound level of your living room or an active library. No way that is waking anyone up inside a RV.

There are lots of reasons why to like or not to like various campgrounds. That's everyone's personal decision. Trains tracks at 4 miles away isn't a reason that can be supported by physics however.
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Old 08-30-2016, 10:37 AM   #46
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There's a campground in Durango, Colorado that has the train running right through the campground. People purposely go there to hear and see the train and experience its black smoke. It's difficult to get a site in the park in the summer.

We lived across the lake from a train and the sound carrying across the water was soothing and not even noticed unless you purposely listened to it.
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Old 08-30-2016, 06:29 PM   #47
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What I have a problem with is the generalizations. There are nearly 500 KOA's and I wonder how many people have stayed at more than 5% of them. Has anyone really looked at the proximity of 500 KOA's to railroad tracks to support those generalizations? That's like saying too many Good Sam campgrounds are too close to highways. It's anecdotal at best.

Train whistles are regulated to a maximum of 110dB. Sound at a distance can be estimated using the inverse square law. At 1 mile, a 110dB train whistle is 52dB. That's if you're outside. That's less than conversational speech. Inside, that's easily convered up by a radio, a fan or an air conditioner. At 4 miles like the KOA examplesmentioned above, the whistle is 39dB (outside). That's the sound level of your living room or an active library. No way that is waking anyone up inside a RV.

There are lots of reasons why to like or not to like various campgrounds. That's everyone's personal decision. Trains tracks at 4 miles away isn't a reason that can be supported by physics however.

Jalan, the nice part of this forum is that everyone does not have to accept what one person feels is relevant or anecdotal, this forum encourages other points of view, allowing individuals to make an informed decision, thus assisting them in determining what is important to them. This forum is designed to help readers to make an informed decision.

As to your wondering ".... how many people have stayed at more than 5% of them", in my opinion a large number, in fact I will bet a majority, of IRV2 readers have stayed at more than 25 KOA's, I know I have, from one coast to the other. That is how I came to the opinion that many of those KOA's are located close enough to railroad tracks that train whistles can be heard inside a class A coach, and in fact are, in my opinion, in some cases very loud.

Just one note, "... the inverse square law" does not take other factors into consideration. For example humidity affects the density of the local air, in a more humid environment the air is denser, thus sound carries further, lower humidity, sound will not travel as far. Additionally, the direction and velocity of the wind has a large affect on sound.

I encourage you to continue providing readers with specific data to help them better understand generalizations, hopefully enabling them to make a more informed decision.
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Old 08-30-2016, 07:16 PM   #48
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That is how I came to the opinion that many of those KOA's are located close enough to railroad tracks that train whistles can be heard inside a class A coach, and in fact are, in my opinion, in some cases very loud.
KOA was started in 1962. It build some parks and established parks joined. If you were going to place a park it would be where the business sense of where people want to stay and land cost. Did KOA say let's build our park near a rail road and hope people come? No. There are 480 KOAs in the USA and Canada. If they are located close enough to railroad tracks that train whistles can be heard inside a class A coach then many other non KOAs are probably nearby.
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Old 08-30-2016, 07:27 PM   #49
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We spent a week at the South Padre KOA last January and are going back for a month this winter.
We spent nine days at the Boston/Cape Cod KOA over the Fourth of July, we'll never go there again. Rude guests, small sites with fire rings right next to the neighboring site, no enforcement of quiet time, not a pleasant stay.
I like KOA if I'm trying to cover distance and just staying one night. They generally have decent pull through sites to get into and out off without needing to do the toad.
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Old 08-30-2016, 07:32 PM   #50
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KOA is the last place I stay, a last resort. Some are nice, most are average or below. They all are usually overpriced. Just stayed at the one in Flagstaff and won't go back. Also seeing a lot of campgrounds that used to be KOA's. Could KOA have seen its best days?
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Old 08-30-2016, 07:44 PM   #51
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KOA Rant

I like trains. A lot.

In fact I bought a caboose - 1929 Pennsylvania RR "wagon top". In my wayward youth, I used to operate ( engineer) them (Alco only, please) on a local short line.

Oh, and you can see engine 1013 I used to operate in the Movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles. (I even hit a car once at a crossing - but I had the ROW!!!!)


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Old 08-30-2016, 07:57 PM   #52
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KOA is the last place I stay, a last resort. Some are nice, most are average or below. They all are usually overpriced. Just stayed at the one in Flagstaff and won't go back. Also seeing a lot of campgrounds that used to be KOA's. Could KOA have seen its best days?
I agree they are overpriced and I only stay there if there isn't another option. Usually, there are just too many children and as others have said some unpleasant campers.

Licencees come and go. I think KOAs will be around for a long while RVing is growing and people need a place to park.
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Old 08-31-2016, 01:43 AM   #53
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KOA Rant

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......I again submit a majority of KOA were built at old rr construction campgrounds, that is why they are so close to rr tracks. Jalan's post supports that position.

Doc, your logic is reversed, and not supported by the history if KOA development.
Within a few years of startup in '62 KOA was predominantly in the franchise business. Your premise above implies a concerted operational policy that would have KOA building some 200 campgrounds in specifically selected former RR camp locations. To this day KOA has not constructed 200 campgrounds-- in any locations!
In the early days when KOA did build a few campgrounds the main site selection criterion was simple: convenient to travel routes. In many parts of the country main roadways followed close to railroads because railroads- quite logically- usually ran a direct route from one major town to the next. This happened because across most of the Midwest prairie states the RR predated both the roads AND the towns. Settlers established towns, and often located them near the RR to enhance the likelihood of successful commerce. Later road builders ran their roads from one center of commerce to the next, and that put their road right beside--- the RR that started it all.
In hilly or mountainous areas major roads follow RR because both of them need a route that will minimize excessive grades. The RR was there first and chose the river valleys as their best option. Road builders agreed.
Campground builders did not go en mass in search of mythically cheap former RR property. They located along well-travelled roads which for reasons totally unrelated to campgrounds were often fairly close to a railroad.


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Old 08-31-2016, 06:55 AM   #54
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FWIW I will buy the idea that a lot of KOA's are near RR tracks for the simple reason that roads are near RR tracks. Depending on when the part of the country we are talking about was settled the roads or the RailRoads picked the best route then the highways more or less paralleled the other one getting between population centers. The land really picked the route a lot of the time. Campground grew up convenient to the highways so they also got the Railroads. Me, I like the sound of a passing train at 3 AM. It's security that the world is working OK. ;-)
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Old 08-31-2016, 10:40 PM   #55
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I agree totally with JFXG and nothermark about KoA locations and RRs. I'm not sure what the distance was between railroad camps while building new rail sections. In some cases the old RR camps stayed put to become new towns along the tracks. I assume many other RR camps where left to grow over and be forgotten. I doubt that many if any of the original RR camps remained vacant land in these new towns until KoAs started to be built many years later. The camp itself would have been the first land used since it was already cleared and had some level of development done.

Hey, many people live well within hearing distance of RR tracks and even more near loud highways. I figure if you want quite you need to get totally away from developments and other people, do some real camping. I consider our RV to be a house on wheels not camping. Others will disagree, but that's my opinion. I grew up and still love tent camping and back backing in to the wilderness areas of this great land.

I too love a train's whistle. It's the neighbor's generator and loud music I can't stand.
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Old 09-01-2016, 12:48 AM   #56
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We have a different take on RV/camping at the KOA or for that fact any
RV campground.

1. We not there for the wifi. So if we have it to add a picture to facebook or a email to family great. If not wifi not a big deal to us. Yes I do agree come
9 pm the wifi in most camp grounds can be slow or non useable.

2. When we find a camp ground, koa or private, we look at the rv review sites and do our research.

3. Since good trees is important to us, we look at google maps or google earth and look at the sites.

4. Call the KOA or private camp and ask the hard questions that is important to us.

We have stayed and many KOA camp grounds, which are all private owned and run. We have had really good experiences and will continuing
to go to them in the future.

I do agree I seen some sites online which seem to be undesirable for our
family for a week stay. But I personally do the research and have had great results 98% of the time.
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