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Old 08-24-2016, 08:02 PM   #1
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KOA Rant

We do not camp, we travel in our motorhome. We want to be connected to the rest of the world. Very rarely do we sit out at night.

We are on the conclusion of a trip from Detroit to Seattle and home to Detroit.
It has been a good experience from a tourist point of view. We have stayed in 12 KOA "camp grounds" and 5 Good Sam Affiliated campgrounds. All of the Good Sam facilities gave us what they advertised in terms of Satellite tv and WIFi access. 2 of the KOA places gave us what they advertised. Really none of the wifi at KOA's worked after the park was full.....why bother just shut it off.

Just in case you want to know I made reservations at all the campgrounds 2 months in advance.

Sioux Falls SD was the worst. They were actually nasty about me wanting to move. They knew right away when I called to move that there were trees in the way. The next two nights the site was occupied by different people who would not have cared about the trees one way or another.

When we started our travel adventure many years ago KOA was a decent franchise. I have seen it deteriorate over the last few years to the point that they seem just not to give a care about travelers.

They will be a last choice for me from now on.
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Old 08-24-2016, 08:19 PM   #2
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I agree. When I was a kid Dad stopped at KOA's whenever he could. I followed suit for many years after until recently. We hadn't been traveling for about 10 years and in that time it seems like KOA's have fallen apart. Last year we stayed at 5 different KOA's and all were going downhill. We won't stay at one ever again. Good Sam, government parks, and other campgrounds are much better. KOA's time has come and gone.
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Old 08-24-2016, 11:38 PM   #3
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I have stayed at KOA's off and on for 10+ years, one thing I am certain of is that KOA's are former railroad construction camps. I have never stayed at one that is more than a mile from an active train track, and most of them have a whistle blowing contest from 2 - 5 AM. I will still use them if I am just stopping over night only if there isn't an alternative within 50 miles.
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Old 08-25-2016, 10:35 AM   #4
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We've been traveling in RV's for about 30 years. When first RVing we used KOA a lot but now only use them if nothing else is available.
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Old 08-25-2016, 12:09 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDaveMA View Post
I have stayed at KOA's off and on for 10+ years, one thing I am certain of is that KOA's are former railroad construction camps. I have never stayed at one that is more than a mile from an active train track, and most of them have a whistle blowing contest from 2 - 5 AM. I will still use them if I am just stopping over night only if there isn't an alternative within 50 miles.
I will remember that!! I hadn't thought about it until you mentioned it but that is so true.
The only one that wasn't like that was the one on Music City drive in Nashville TN, it was very nice.
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Old 08-25-2016, 02:52 PM   #6
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I was in NE Ohio and there wer a couple of KOAs close to where I wanted to be. I planned on a two week stay and one was booked so I couldn't go there, the other one I drove to and they wanted $650 for a two week stay! The place we stayed at was $35 per night and pay for six nights get the seventh free. That was still $420. High in my book for what was there, but better.
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Old 08-25-2016, 03:00 PM   #7
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When we travel, it's primarily a "no time frame, no schedule, no real itinerary" type of trip. We might have an ultimate destination like Yellowstone or something like that. But, on the way to anywhere we're headed at the time, we often take a look at and will stay at KOAs. Some, are very nicely maintained, the staff is courteous and very helpful and, willing to let us move to a different spot than they assigned us. Some, are not so maintained, not that helpful and, down right run down. (how about that for a play on words)

While KOAs are certainly not our top pic for spending even one night, we've had good experiences with many of them. The KOA in Richfield UT is one that comes to mind. Pretty nicely maintained, a great staff and very helpfull. That KOA is located in town and, is also located to about a zillion miles of trails for quads, Razors, motorcycles and more. They do their best to put all the "Toy" campers in one area and, the normal travelers in another area so the two don't bother each other. A good plan.

As for their proximity to train tracks etc., well, that could be but, of all the ones we've been to, in many states, they didn't have any real close proximity to those.

We've also "toured" some KOAs that, I wouldn't stay in if it was the last camp ground in that state. Many times, if an area or campground is questionable, we will park somewhere, disconnect the toad, and use the toad to just drive in a KOA or other privately owned campground and act like we have a spot already. We cruise through the camp, determine if it's for us and if it is, we'll stop at the office and reserve or, procure a spot. If it's a raggety looking place with some un-pleasent looking types around, we're out-a there.
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Old 08-26-2016, 06:39 AM   #8
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KOA Rant

Quote:
Originally Posted by pcurt23 View Post
We do not camp, we travel in our motorhome. We want to be connected to the rest of the world. Very rarely do we sit out at night.



We are on the conclusion of a trip from Detroit to Seattle and home to Detroit.

It has been a good experience from a tourist point of view. We have stayed in 12 KOA "camp grounds" and 5 Good Sam Affiliated campgrounds. All of the Good Sam facilities gave us what they advertised in terms of Satellite tv and WIFi access. 2 of the KOA places gave us what they advertised. Really none of the wifi at KOA's worked after the park was full.....why bother just shut it off.



Just in case you want to know I made reservations at all the campgrounds 2 months in advance.



Sioux Falls SD was the worst. They were actually nasty about me wanting to move. They knew right away when I called to move that there were trees in the way. The next two nights the site was occupied by different people who would not have cared about the trees one way or another.



When we started our travel adventure many years ago KOA was a decent franchise. I have seen it deteriorate over the last few years to the point that they seem just not to give a care about travelers.



They will be a last choice for me from now on.

KOA and all other campgrounds we have selected have always been good to us, but.... We use the Allstays ap and rvparkreviews.com
We always know the campground quality and the demeanor of the staff before we get there because of the reviews. Try the ap. It will save you from the grief.
Google Earth allows us to see the campsites and select our best site choices according to the campground site map. Truly nifty!
Wi-Fi? Some are great, most are blah. This is a fact that only has one solution.
We have a hotspot via iPhone and are never disappointed. There are many hotspot devices available.
There are many "tools" that make RVing easier. This forum has a ton of posts that may help you.
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Old 08-26-2016, 07:11 AM   #9
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Being from the Midwest, we always "knew" KOAs to be former corn fields. Flat and featureless, but close to the freeway off ramp for easy in/out overnight access.
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Old 08-26-2016, 07:15 AM   #10
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We have been fulltime on the road for 3 years. Have not stayed in a KOA a single day. Prices seem to be ridiculously high for the most part.
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Old 08-26-2016, 08:06 AM   #11
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We are on the last leg of a 10-week trip to the northeast from FL. We've stayed at 2 KOAs - 1 in Richmond ME, and 1 in Plattekill NY. Both of these were really nice, and both had excellent WiFi. (NY was terribly hard to level, but once level, the site was great.) I agree that they are hit and miss, but as mentioned, I also use review websites to determine stops, so don't usually have issues.

We stayed at the Sioux City KOA for an overnight last year and remember it being a nice place for us. We had our 5 yr. old GS with us, so lots for him to do-"free". The WiFi worked well at times, but slowed down at night. When the one at the CG fails, I use my own.

As a side note...I have been pleasantly surprised this trip that almost all of the places we've stayed have had really good to outstanding internet. I'm wondering if CGs are getting the message, or was this just an unusual trip.
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Old 08-26-2016, 10:15 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G.G. View Post
We are on the last leg of a 10-week trip to the northeast from FL. We've stayed at 2 KOAs - 1 in Richmond ME, and 1 in Plattekill NY. Both of these were really nice, and both had excellent WiFi. (NY was terribly hard to level, but once level, the site was great.) I agree that they are hit and miss, but as mentioned, I also use review websites to determine stops, so don't usually have issues.

We stayed at the Sioux City KOA for an overnight last year and remember it being a nice place for us. We had our 5 yr. old GS with us, so lots for him to do-"free". The WiFi worked well at times, but slowed down at night. When the one at the CG fails, I use my own.

As a side note...I have been pleasantly surprised this trip that almost all of the places we've stayed have had really good to outstanding internet. I'm wondering if CGs are getting the message, or was this just an unusual trip.

I think CG's are finding out that they need to have a larger back haul connection. When the CG's first installed wifi they were sold the connection by someone that did not understand how a CG works or the bandwidth requirements that are generally increasing almost daily. Since then they have found out that just being able to say they have wifi does not necessarily translate into a plus for the CG. One review that slams the wifi/internet connection can quickly turn a plus into a big minus. It is encouraging to hear that people are finding acceptable connections during the peak months. We as campers also have skin in this issue, one person streaming Netflix or Hulu can shut a CG down. The next step for CG's while increasing their back haul capacity is to throttle the bandwidth by user so everyone can at least get a piece of the pie, no matter how big that pie is. The technology is there, just look at major sporting events, there are thousands of users using wifi and their smart phones to send pictures and video. What a CG needs is only a minuscule portion of that capacity. You can not successfully back haul from a wifi network with a DSL connection, a T-1 might work, or maybe if the CG is large enough they will have to go to fiber. It is available now! Everything else being equal, would you stay at a CG that had a bad review for their wifi, or one that has a great review, just sayin, I know how I would choose.
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Old 08-26-2016, 10:45 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by FIRE UP View Post
When we travel, it's primarily a "no time frame, no schedule, no real itinerary" type of trip. We might have an ultimate destination like Yellowstone or something like that. But, on the way to anywhere we're headed at the time, we often take a look at and will stay at KOAs. Some, are very nicely maintained, the staff is courteous and very helpful and, willing to let us move to a different spot than they assigned us. Some, are not so maintained, not that helpful and, down right run down. (how about that for a play on words)

While KOAs are certainly not our top pic for spending even one night, we've had good experiences with many of them. The KOA in Richfield UT is one that comes to mind. Pretty nicely maintained, a great staff and very helpfull. That KOA is located in town and, is also located to about a zillion miles of trails for quads, Razors, motorcycles and more. They do their best to put all the "Toy" campers in one area and, the normal travelers in another area so the two don't bother each other. A good plan.

As for their proximity to train tracks etc., well, that could be but, of all the ones we've been to, in many states, they didn't have any real close proximity to those.

We've also "toured" some KOAs that, I wouldn't stay in if it was the last camp ground in that state. Many times, if an area or campground is questionable, we will park somewhere, disconnect the toad, and use the toad to just drive in a KOA or other privately owned campground and act like we have a spot already. We cruise through the camp, determine if it's for us and if it is, we'll stop at the office and reserve or, procure a spot. If it's a raggety looking place with some un-pleasent looking types around, we're out-a there.
Scott
That's exactly how we operate as well while traveling and have had the same experience with KOA's.
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Old 08-26-2016, 11:03 AM   #14
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Think about the audience KOA sells to. Today's family with children will put 4 of 5 on line internet devices per site many of whom will be trying to pull down video in some form. It will saturate the system and then some. So avoid places like that in the summer when school is out and families on the road. Either that or expect the results you get. OTOH shoulder season these places have really nice internet because they need all that summer capacity. BTDT. That is assuming they are located where they can get a connection. The people who sell broadband capacity continue to expand but that does not mean they are everywhere.
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