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Old 04-08-2009, 12:07 PM   #1
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The Glory Years--guess we missed 'em

We are spending two weeks at one of the "prime resorts" of a major membership system. We spent another two weeks at another one recently. As I look around, I see infrastructure that was in its prime a good 20 years ago. The swimming pool heater is DNF temporarily (as was the one at the last place). Plaster is chipped off the pool deck. The sites are weedy and need more rock or gravel. Picnic tables, if they exist, are splintered and shaky. The road pavement is crumbled and more gravel than asphalt. The clubhouse is pretty old and plain. The bathrooms and laundry are just adequate. If Good Sam was to rate many of these places, I would guess 5's for most amenities.

It looks like we got to the game a few years past the prime. I can't be too critical because I can only imagine what the expense versus income battle is for the owners. The management at most of the places we go are doing their best, it seems, and we appreciate the host of volunteer staff that make so much of the places work as well as they do.

I know there are still lots of true "five-star" places, but the cost is a factor when spending more than a few nights at a place. My main message here is that when you spend your money for a place to park (whether a top resort or on a membership) you have to accept the realities of the conditions that exist. The sad thing is the prospect of things getting better does not seem promising.
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Old 04-08-2009, 01:49 PM   #2
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We fulltimed for four years from 1997 until 2001. We belonged to one of the groups where you had a membership and that allowed you to stay at other member parks for 2 weeks at a time. Was it worth the money, yes. Were all the parks nice then, no. It may be worse now, but the quality of the parks varied substantially back then. The best two stories were as follows. A park in Oregon was very samll with small lots and right on the main road. Did not seem bad until about midnight when the whole motorhome started to shake, we thought it was going to damage the jacks. Then we heard the noice and train whistle, reminded me of the old Ricky and Lucy show skit. Scared the poop out of us. The second was in Nevada, again, vary small place about 15 sites. WHen dark came, and we pulled the front curtains, a stange red glow appeared and overtook the motorhome. Went out side to sell the huge sign for the "House of Ill Repute" right across the street. Truckers came off the highway all night long blowing their air horns to announce their arrival.

Times may be tough, but some things never change!
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Old 04-08-2009, 02:50 PM   #3
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Same around here,a lot of the older CGs are going downhill in look but not cost.However there are several new ones that are great and at least 2 I would rate 10.We also have some very nice COE CGs in NC,VA and SC.We might have missed the glory years,but I still think these are the good old days.
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Old 04-09-2009, 10:28 AM   #4
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Folks; its all down hill from now on; resesion is killing most privet parks, State local, forest camps C.O.E. you name it; they are either closeing or cutting back, two of the C.O.E. parks that we have visit every year for the past 20 years have closed. Four of the forest service parks that we visit in Florida have closed. its not good folks; for those with deep pockets there is the full service parks that charge an arm and a leg seem to be doing ok.
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Old 04-09-2009, 10:43 AM   #5
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We also belong to a national resort chain CtC. We knew when we payed for our membership that not all CG's were the same. CtC has other CG that are associates, this helps with the number of places thru-out the country we can stay at.
Like the other posts state we have been awaken in the middle of the night by different things, trains being the # 1 reason.
What we do now is try to Goggle Earth all the CG's we will be staying at and yes it does help. As far as the condition of the Campground we worry about the one thing that could really hurt us. Electric. We ask when was the last time it was inspected and I look at the electrical box and conections before I hook up my surge protection and where they get their water from and can we see the last results for the water.
We stayed at 1 CG [not a member resort] in upper New York State, that after reading the report would not have used the water for watering the lawn. The county health department told them they had 1 year to tie into the city water and sewer systems and to advise their customers not to use the water for drinking until it was boiled. Don't know if it was their spetic or the Lake or both that was causing the problem. The CG is located on the mainland within walking distance to their beach on Lake Ontario.
Just stayed the night, good thing we are self-contianed.
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Old 04-10-2009, 10:57 AM   #6
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We belong to RPI, C2C, PA, GS, KOA and the rest of the alphabet. We have hit nice ones and dumps in each.

Problem is, some of the nicest have had slum-like appearance and some of the worst were showplaces. I found that the http://www.rvparkreviews.com/ site gives pretty current valid info. Be aware to look at the dates of the ratings. If all shown are more than 1 year old, you might avoid if possible.

AS to RRs. Most RV parks are near roads/freeways and people. That seems to be the same as RR tracks. BTW, I enjoy the sound of a DISTANT choo-choo. But I am odd.

Along those lines, we stayed at a park in Grants/Milan NM. We were about 200' from one of the busiest switchyards IN THE WORLD. That was a bit much.

In any event, you pays you money and you takes you chances. All in all, I have been satisfied with the discount CG memberships and they have paid for themselves.
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Old 04-10-2009, 02:22 PM   #7
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Quote"
We belong to RPI, C2C, PA, GS, KOA and the rest of the alphabet. We have hit nice ones and dumps in each.

Question?
If you belong to all these timeshares; wouldn't it be less expensive to just make reservations?
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Old 04-11-2009, 11:49 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by robert h View Post
Quote"
We belong to RPI, C2C, PA, GS, KOA and the rest of the alphabet. We have hit nice ones and dumps in each.

Question?
If you belong to all these timeshares; wouldn't it be less expensive to just make reservations?
They are NOT timeshares. They are discount camp sites. RPI and C2C are $10/night, PA is 50% normally, GS and KOA offer 10% discount. And we do make reservations.

Over the 5 years we have been doing this, our average cost/night is about $19.00, including membership costs, over 1013 nights. We do NOT Wal-Mart, Truck Stop, Cracker Barrel or rest stop camp or overnight. They do include the free camping at my sister's farm and friend's homes. I do include dry camping at Quartzsite and mountain/desert weekends with the kids.

I should point out, we do not necessarily need or want resorts. I will not stop at a CG that looks unsafe or is too undesirable (only happened once). We rely heavily on RVParkReviews- http://www.rvparkreviews.com/ . We stop to have a place to call base camp (eat/sleep). We use these places to allow us to roam the area, seeking out the local flavor, beauty and POIs! Our average length of stay is 3.8 days.

Our favorite place is White Sulphur Springs, MT (home park for RPI and C2C). We have been in 49 states and 5 Canadian Provinces/Territories.
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Old 04-11-2009, 01:05 PM   #9
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We have spent 243 nights at membership campgrounds since joining in 2004 for an average cost of $5.60 per night, not including electric add-on when charged. The utility fees only recently were tacked on and vary from .13/kwh for metered use up to $5/night flat fee. We feel our original membership cost and yearly dues have been recovered if we consider our costs against $20/night for camping, which doesn't get you in many places any more.

We have spent three months in different regular campgrounds by "reservation" where our average monthly rent was $485 plus utilities. Two of the places were about equivalent in condition to what we are seeing in the membership parks--past prime and needing a lot of remodeling. We will be going to a nicer place in Yuma next year that will cost us $560/month. So, the membership parks still seem competitive as long as they don't degrade more and we well keep the memberships active.

We still see the sales efforts going on at the home parks. I guess that is a necessary part of the business like a modified Ponzi scheme to keep cash flow going.
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Old 04-12-2009, 11:29 AM   #10
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We also belong to the alphabet soup of CG memberships and likewise have discovered the frequently poor conditions. IF we were only on vacation it may be acceptable to pay the $35 plus fees per night charge at the resorts and nice camps. However, we are on a fixed income and we have to endure. It really dissappoints me to discover most state parks and state campgrounds are extremely costly. Several charge nightly fees, plus the daily enterence fees. Indeed, it seemed we missed the prime years to full time.

Regardless, I refuse to stay at a Walmart and would only do it under extreme duress, or emergency. Last year the Walmart count was ZERO. With the supposed poor economy the high dollar campgrounds and resorts still seem to stay busy, and hence the rates at these nice places will most likely will not decrease. In fact, they will likely continue the upward climb and hence, I guess you won't be seeing me any time soon at those expensive places.
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Old 04-13-2009, 04:29 PM   #11
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It is up to us as RVers to complain to when we find unacceptable conditions. What we do is ask to speak to the owner/manager, than go off to the side and talk to them about what in our humble opinon is wrong and if we have a anwser to correct the problem let them know. It's amazing how many times we get the anwser, we are aware of the problem and it is on the list to be fixed.
If it is a safety issue we want to know when it will be fixed and question if it is going to take more than 24 hours.
We DO NOT MAKE A SCENE as that will get us no where, but we do then let the CG association know. If bad enough will request a refund from the CG. If they will not, we leave, than we request the parent association for a refund.
About a year ago there was some one from Passport America on iRV2 that if you had a problem they would e-mail you for information. The parent associations needs us to renew membership so they can make money. Remember they have alot more power over CG than we do.
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Old 04-13-2009, 06:43 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by read & learn View Post
It is up to us as RVers to complain to when we find unacceptable conditions. What we do is ask to speak to the owner/manager, than go off to the side and talk to them about what in our humble opinon is wrong and if we have a anwser to correct the problem let them know. It's amazing how many times we get the anwser, we are aware of the problem and it is on the list to be fixed.
If it is a safety issue we want to know when it will be fixed and question if it is going to take more than 24 hours.
We DO NOT MAKE A SCENE as that will get us no where, but we do then let the CG association know. If bad enough will request a refund from the CG. If they will not, we leave, than we request the parent association for a refund.
About a year ago there was some one from Passport America on iRV2 that if you had a problem they would e-mail you for information. The parent associations needs us to renew membership so they can make money. Remember they have alot more power over CG than we do.
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