Tuesday May 1st 2018
Today was a repeat of yesterday in many ways. The weather just as beautiful and my motivation level for tourist activities was just as low.
I spent much of the day researching places to stay and booking a few. I’ve ranted before about not liking the need to make reservations. Some of that is caused by the number of people competing for a limited number of sites in a particular area and some is caused by the need for decent access for my size rig. Being a solo traveler also complicates the process. I can’t really make a lot of calls while on the road to check availability. Navigation to the campground is also easier if I can research the route ahead of time.
This campground is a nice place to stay for an overnight up to a few days. Since it’s a KOA franchise campground its basic rate appears high in comparison to other campgrounds, but it suites my needs for several reasons. First you know that a certain level of amenities and quality is required by the KOA organization. That cuts down on the research on the campgrounds suitability a little. There can still be issues, but your odds are better. Perhaps the most valuable characteristics of KOAs are there online presence. It is easy to learn about the campground on the internet and the online reservation tool is one of the best I’ve used. Those items are worth a couple of extra dollars on the nightly rate. When you make use of a KOA Value Card the rate is reduced my ten percent and you earn points good toward future stays. Once factored into the nightly cost, the rate is only a couple of dollars higher than comparable parks in the area.
In destination areas I prefer to stay at state parks or other public parks. They take even more research to identify. First, there are fewer parks to chose from and more people trying to stay at them. The second issue is access for my RV. Many parks in this category haven’t been updated to fully support larger RVs. I also need an electric hookup for a stay of more than a night or two. Many state parks are more focused on tent camping. To fully research these parks I need to use the online review sites.
The RV park review sites like RV Park Reviews are often difficult to interpret. You have to deal with the standard problem of reporting the negative not the positive that most review sites exhibit then you end up reading between the lines. What were the reviewers needs and what were the reviewers expectations relative to my needs and expectations. In the long run I find the review sites more valuable as a source of possible places to stay and as a barometer of how often people stay there.
The bottom line is that unless I’ve seen the place for myself, it’s a gamble. When I return to an area I find myself returning to the campgrounds I know. The longer I live this lifestyle and the more areas I travel in the less research I may have to complete.