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Old 08-19-2013, 10:00 PM   #169
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OK, I was going to leave this thread alone... but I can't believe how long this has dragged on...

First, why all the KOA bashing! KOAs are franchises, private franchises... We have stayed at KOAs that were first class resorts and we have stayed at KOAs that were "armpits"... I don't condemn all KOAs just like I don't condemn all RV parks when I pick a "sucky" one... Who is holding a gun to your head and forcing these folks to stay in any particular park... be it a KOA or any other park? If it's too expensive move on, if its just overnight find a Wal-Mart... and what about "planning ahead" and picking a park that meets your needs (amenities and price)...

I use Good Sam "park finder", I look at the ratings and I look at the price... if they don't match I continue looking...

Come on folks, no one is forcing you to stay at any particular park... it was your decision to stay at the park and pay the cost so why are you complaining now?
Because sometimes, there isn't as much choice as you infer.

We had a breakdown of both the MH and our toad within a couple of hours of one another on the same day. There was no planning for what happened after that. On our original plan we would have been hundreds of miles from the place that took advantage of our plight.

Just like the business gets to charge whatever it wants to charge, I as a consumer, get to share that situation with other consumers. My attitude is the opposite - if you don't want bad reviews of your services, don't do things to cause people to feel the need to create them.

I just got done sending out 3 letters written specifically to businesses that provided excellent services to us on our recent trip. I've posted accolades for them on line, too. I wanted to personally thank them for how they handled us and to share my experiences with others. I will also, if the situation warrants, post bad reviews and comments when I get lousy service.

Sometimes, the bad experiences are a pattern, not isolated incidents. We had such a run of bad experiences at KOAs a few years ago. The facilities were very run down and the staff members were rude. Things like that you often cannot always find out in advance. I'm happy to say that all of the recent KOAs where we have stayed have not had those problems and we have had good experiences. I believe it was complaints from people like me that caused some of those changes. That is the way it is supposed to work.

I just had two towing experiences. One was terrific. They were the ones that sent me a survey which I returned with a very high rating. The other towing experience was lousy. I'm cancelling my membership with that group. They didn't bother sending me a survey. To me, that speaks volumes about why their service was lousy. They don't care. Other consumers need to have that information.
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Old 08-20-2013, 09:34 AM   #170
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We use the Allstays app for the iPad. Most parks are listed, and enough data is there to aid researching facilities, prices, etc at the parks. While at a park, I try to enter a rating comment on the app as well. Hopefully if enough personal evaluations show up, they will help other RVers. I love to view parks with the satellite maps. That's how I make the decision on maneuverability for a big rig. Believing the words "big rig friendly" in advertising brochures is not always accurate.
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Old 08-20-2013, 02:11 PM   #171
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I just pulled into the KOA in New Bern, NC. The charge for a basic site with 50 amp service is $60.00 per day. That isn稚 acceptable to me. We planned to stay for two days, but the fees made us elect a single day only because we were here and stuck.

We checked another KOA in Wilmington, NC for the next night. That fee is $65.00 per night.

Enough is enough! I値l not pay those fees. These rates are destroying the RV experience. Walmart is the only option, and how long will that last?

I致e been RVing since the 1950痴. Now it is ending quite a pity!

Wil
It seems as if most posts in this thread, including the OP, are talking about a night or two on the road, not a weeks vacation in an RV Resort, KOA or not.

When we bought our first of five motorhomes, we never even considered staying in an RV Park, RV Resort or a Campground. Not once, it just didn't come up. We were looking for a self-contained vehicle that we could travel in and spend a night here and there. "Here" and "There" being a pull-out along a highway, a spot along a river, some clearing in a forest, Wal-Mart, whatever. Just a place to cook dinner, watch a movie, get some sleep.

It puzzles me that we seem to be the only ones that do this? Still, after more than 20 years, a campground is almost never in our travel plans. It's not the money, though apparently we have saved thousands over the years. It's the convenience. No reservations, no waiting in line, no nosy neighbors, no time frame, no hassles. Just peace and quiet.

I can't comprehend the comments that some folks are making regarding being dissatisfied with where they stay, or that they can't get reservations in a busy area or at a busy time, or that it costs too much. We never even think about those things. There is always somewhere to park an RV that is near where you want to be for a night or two.

Why someone wouldn't take advantage of these quiet, out of the way places is beyond my comprehension.
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Old 08-20-2013, 02:19 PM   #172
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Why someone wouldn't take advantage of these quiet, out of the way places is beyond my comprehension.
We are rarely dissatisfied with anyplace we stay... but we always stay in RV Parks or CGs of some sort. We're not comfortable simply parking our 40DP just anywhere for the night and like the (perceived) security and hook ups of a park. We've never found that the drive to an overnight CG is an "inconvenience".

Just different strokes.

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Old 08-20-2013, 08:10 PM   #173
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It seems as if most posts in this thread, including the OP, are talking about a night or two on the road, not a weeks vacation in an RV Resort, KOA or not.

When we bought our first of five motorhomes, we never even considered staying in an RV Park, RV Resort or a Campground. Not once, it just didn't come up. We were looking for a self-contained vehicle that we could travel in and spend a night here and there. "Here" and "There" being a pull-out along a highway, a spot along a river, some clearing in a forest, Wal-Mart, whatever. Just a place to cook dinner, watch a movie, get some sleep.

It puzzles me that we seem to be the only ones that do this? Still, after more than 20 years, a campground is almost never in our travel plans. It's not the money, though apparently we have saved thousands over the years. It's the convenience. No reservations, no waiting in line, no nosy neighbors, no time frame, no hassles. Just peace and quiet.

I can't comprehend the comments that some folks are making regarding being dissatisfied with where they stay, or that they can't get reservations in a busy area or at a busy time, or that it costs too much. We never even think about those things. There is always somewhere to park an RV that is near where you want to be for a night or two.

Why someone wouldn't take advantage of these quiet, out of the way places is beyond my comprehension.
Campgrounds, like many other services, make offers about what they can provide. Many of the complaints are above those offers versus the costs associated.

Perhaps you have a different set of standards but I have great difficulty in finding places to even temporarily put our 36 foot RV. We are almost 56 feet long with our toad so we don't just pull off the road any place. We belong to Passport America and find that some to the CGs associated with them are a real adventure to find and, sometimes, an even greater adventure to get into.

We had a limited time with our granddaughter on our recent trip. Our goal was to show her the sights around Rapid City and to stop a couple of specific places getting there. That meant making a specific amount of mileage on very specific days. For example, we left the Grand Island KOA with the goal of reaching the Badlands that night. There were not a lot of alternatives along the way. I'm sure that we are not alone. Even retired people like us have constraints when traveling. Campgrounds are supposed to offer a secure place to park overnight with a variable set of amenities, depending on exactly what you are looking for. My wife and I never would have considered access to a swimming people an important thing but after you have driven 400 miles with a 9 year old over 2 lines roads and need a place for her to blow off steam, your priorities can change - a lot.

I've always considered the beauty of having an RV to be the variety of things that you can do with it. If you are into concrete slab parking, there are places for that. If you prefer wooded areas like State Parks, you can do that, too. If you want to park it at a relative's house (local restrictions not withstanding) you can do that as well. If you RV is small enough and your are clever enough to find places to park without CGs, more power to you. We know that there are lists of free or almost free spots but have not had any success with those locations yet.

When I pay for something, I expect that payment that I make to match the value that I receive. Maybe that is just me. We only make reservations for places where it will be extremely difficult to find a place to put our RV. Mostly, there are not a lot of choices in those locations. While others liked it, the Mystic Seaport CG (CT) sucked for the value that they provided me versus their costs. However, they were the only game in town. That doesn't mean that I have to like it or keep quiet about my dislike. By contrast, Cherry Hill CG (near D.C) was fabulous for roughly the same rate.
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Old 08-20-2013, 10:28 PM   #174
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Very well said. :iagree
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Old 08-21-2013, 06:04 AM   #175
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It puzzles me that we seem to be the only ones that do this? Still, after more than 20 years, a campground is almost never in our travel plans. It's not the money, though apparently we have saved thousands over the years. It's the convenience. No reservations, no waiting in line, no nosy neighbors, no time frame, no hassles. Just peace and quiet.
You're not the only one. We see RVs of all kinds in parking lots in our travels. They're there spending the night. We avoid CGs if possible when on the road. As far as I'm concerned, they're only good to stop for a night to dump the tanks, take on fresh water, do laundry and take long hot showers. We have suffered through what you say... the screaming kids, yapping dogs, smokey fires and whap whap whap of corn-hole/bean-bag games. Not something you want to hear when road weary and just wanting to eat, relax and hit the sack.

We will stay at COEs and State Parks thought because the sites are almost always large, spaced apart and wooded enough to give some privacy and are a noise and smoke buffer. But these are destinations, not overnight stops.

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I can't comprehend the comments that some folks are making regarding being dissatisfied with where they stay, or that they can't get reservations in a busy area or at a busy time, or that it costs too much. We never even think about those things. There is always somewhere to park an RV that is near where you want to be for a night or two.
Not always... the east coast is pretty built up with a lot of rules to keep the poor from living in cheap RVs. I guess they'd rather these people live in boxes and under rag-piles in doorways and alleys. Most of the land is fenced/posted or no overnight parking is allowed. It's hard to stealth park when in an RV. Van conversions are easier to "hide." I know, we had one a few years back. We were lucky in one small upstate NY town. It was getting late, we were tired and suddenly found a closed decrepit old diner just off an old 2-lane road. We pulled in and were not bothered all night. The small town slept around us. There was probably no police force in the town. The next morning we gave them our business for breakfast which was surprisingly good and inexpensive.

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Why someone wouldn't take advantage of these quiet, out of the way places is beyond my comprehension.
Mine too... when such places are available.
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Old 08-21-2013, 06:54 AM   #176
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I like KOAs. Some are fantastic, most are pleasant, and at very least all I have visited are consistent. The 50 amp power works well, many have cable, the pool is clean, the office is friendly. Since they are a franchise the owner/operator has a real interest in the property. The staff are clean and friendly, and are paid on a regular basis. I'm sure there are significant insurance costs, upkeep costs, taxes, and expenses. Although $60 may seem high, it is competitive with most quality parks out west, especially ones in locations I wish to travel through. California State parks are now charging $60 per day and many have no hookups or limited hookups and are not maintained nearly as well as private parks.
JMHO
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Which CA State Parks are you staying at? I just spent two weeks touring northern CA and paid $35 for an RV site in about 8 different state parks. They were all exactly the same.
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Old 08-21-2013, 08:33 AM   #177
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I can't comprehend the comments that some folks are making regarding being dissatisfied with where they stay, or that they can't get reservations in a busy area or at a busy time, or that it costs too much. We never even think about those things. There is always somewhere to park an RV that is near where you want to be for a night or two.
We do a fair share of dry camp boondocking ourselves but thats not always an option. Out in the country there are often places to pull off. In AZ there's plenty of areas to camp in the forest but most are down dirt roads not always a good choice with a large trailer. I'm not much for the parking lot camping style myself such as truck stops, walmart etc.

Where would you stay near the beach in San Diego for free?
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Old 08-21-2013, 11:31 AM   #178
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We do a fair share of dry camp boondocking ourselves but thats not always an option. Out in the country there are often places to pull off. In AZ there's plenty of areas to camp in the forest but most are down dirt roads not always a good choice with a large trailer. I'm not much for the parking lot camping style myself such as truck stops, walmart etc.

Where would you stay near the beach in San Diego for free?
I'm not sure what you mean by "near" but I assume there must be a church, boys club, YMCA, or an RV dealer near the beach, maybe a gas station. We've parked in all those places. My favorite would the the RV dealer. Just drive in after they are closed and stealth park in plain sight! Or, sometimes I ask in advance.

If you mean on the beach, then I suppose it would have to be an RV resort and I avoid those places like the plague.

I like RanCarr's suggestion of near a closed business, like a diner, especially decrepit. Those are my favorite places to eat breakfast!

Like RickO suggested, different strokes. If you're not comfortable parking for the night in a parking lot, or if you feel you need some type of perceived security, then I don't know what to say, but it it's just for the night, I'm there! That is the reason we chose this form of travel.
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Old 08-21-2013, 12:52 PM   #179
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I'm not sure what you mean by "near" but I assume there must be a church, boys club, YMCA, or an RV dealer near the beach, maybe a gas station. We've parked in all those places. My favorite would the the RV dealer. Just drive in after they are closed and stealth park in plain sight! Or, sometimes I ask in advance.

If you mean on the beach, then I suppose it would have to be an RV resort and I avoid those places like the plague.

I like RanCarr's suggestion of near a closed business, like a diner, especially decrepit. Those are my favorite places to eat breakfast!

Like RickO suggested, different strokes. If you're not comfortable parking for the night in a parking lot, or if you feel you need some type of perceived security, then I don't know what to say, but it it's just for the night, I'm there! That is the reason we chose this form of travel.
Interesting. Have you never had problems with local law enforcement or the business owners of places that you stopped? I can certainly see how a church parking lot might be a good option if you have the right sized RV.

It is one thing to park overnight some place but how do you handle the daylight hours? Most of the times that we go somewhere, we have something that we want to see. We have a toad that lets us get into tight places but that still leaves a problem with what to do with the RV. Let me give you a great example.

On our last trip, We were traveling I-35 North. There is a great little town called Linsborg, KS. They have an old flour mill that we would like to have shown to our granddaughter. Neither their parking lot nor the parking lots of any of the surrounding area could have handled our RV. There was a Passport America CG right off the highway and we might have been able to negotiate with the manager there to give us a little longer than the normal 11am checkout to tour the museum and then get back and leave. Unfortunately, the description of the park didn't do it justice and the description of the park miles away highly overrated it, leading us to make the wrong decision. We ended up not seeing the museum because of the RV parking issue. During our drive through of the town with our toad, I liked for some of the same options that you mentioned - churches, closed businesses, etc. I couldn't find a single place that I thought would have worked.

How do you handle those conditions?
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Old 08-21-2013, 02:45 PM   #180
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Interesting. Have you never had problems with local law enforcement or the business owners of places that you stopped? I can certainly see how a church parking lot might be a good option if you have the right sized RV.

It is one thing to park overnight some place but how do you handle the daylight hours? Most of the times that we go somewhere, we have something that we want to see. We have a toad that lets us get into tight places but that still leaves a problem with what to do with the RV. Let me give you a great example.

On our last trip, We were traveling I-35 North. There is a great little town called Linsborg, KS. They have an old flour mill that we would like to have shown to our granddaughter. Neither their parking lot nor the parking lots of any of the surrounding area could have handled our RV. There was a Passport America CG right off the highway and we might have been able to negotiate with the manager there to give us a little longer than the normal 11am checkout to tour the museum and then get back and leave. Unfortunately, the description of the park didn't do it justice and the description of the park miles away highly overrated it, leading us to make the wrong decision. We ended up not seeing the museum because of the RV parking issue. During our drive through of the town with our toad, I liked for some of the same options that you mentioned - churches, closed businesses, etc. I couldn't find a single place that I thought would have worked.

How do you handle those conditions?
We have had Class A's from 27' to a 38' Monaco. We currently have a 32' and I find it just right for getting into a lot of tight spaces. I have parallel parked it on downtown streets, just like you would a car. We don't use a toad for the very reason many folks have mentioned. Too difficult to get in and out of a lot of places.

There have been some small towns, one I remember in particular on the Washington peninsula, that can't accommodate an RV even as small as ours. They even had signs "No RV Parking." We passed it by. We thought, "oh well, their loss" but I suppose we might have lost something, also. However, as much as we would like to see everything, we have to admit, it just isn't possible no matter what you drive.

The only time we had any problem with law enforcement was on the highway side of Banks Lake, also in Washington, on the east side. There are several small RV parks, including at least one run by the Feds, in the area. We chose a pull-out with a great view of the lake but right on the highway. We had just finished dinner and it was dark. There was a knock on the door. I looked out the window and there stood a park ranger. I opened the door and he said "you can't park here." I asked why not and he said "there are signs that tell you no overnight parking," and he pointed down the rather long pull-out, at least 600 feet long, and said there was a sign right there. We had pulled in and backed up to the beginning of the parking area, which is always my practice. I don't want anyone to pull in behind me. We never saw the sign. I asked, again, why would they put up a sign like that. He said "the park owners want you to stay with them." I said "fine" and we packed up and left. Spent the night in the casino lot a couple miles back. Almost stopped there to begin with but decided to go a little further.

This brings up a pet peeve of mine. With a lot of these pull-outs or viewpoints, there are signs that say "No Overnight Parking" but if you pull in at 8:00 in the morning and stay until dark, no one cares. I don't get it. You can stay all day but not all night! Dumb.
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Old 08-21-2013, 03:29 PM   #181
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My favorite would the the RV dealer. Just drive in after they are closed and stealth park in plain sight! Or, sometimes I ask in advance.

I like RanCarr's suggestion of near a closed business, like a diner, especially decrepit. Those are my favorite places to eat breakfast!
I guess I RV for a different reason that yourself. Boondock camping in the countryside is one thing. Finding some old decrepit parking lot is not my idea of a fun relaxing stop!

As for RV dealers I have two problems with that! First, most around here are locked up at night. You won't get into the lot. Second, I don't think I'd want to park on private property without permission!
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Old 08-21-2013, 03:47 PM   #182
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Don't forget the fairgrounds of most cities and towns. They usually have RV parks associated with them for when the fair workers are there.
Here is a list of sites for campground sites that are cheap or free:
http://www.bandofboondockers.com/
http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en.html
http://www.camphalfprice.com/
http://www.escapees.com/
http://www.forestcamping.com/index.htm
http://freecampgrounds.com/
http://freecampsites.net/usa/
http://www.frugal-rv-travel.com/
http://www.fs.fed.us/
http://www.harvesthosts.com/invitation.htm
http://hasbeenthere.com/
http://www.overnightrvparking.com/
http://www.recreation.gov/
http://rvthereyetdirectory.com/
http://www.seeya-downtheroad.com/InformationPage/ThisLand.html
http://www.uscampgrounds.info/
http://www.gypsyjournal.net/Unfriendly.html
http://msstreets.com/2011/04/12/poi-megafile-rv-unfriendly/
http://www.radiobrandy.com/RV-Unfriendly.html
Nice List!!
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