Friday, November 18, 2011

Good morning... and goodby... and a little campground rant!

Good morning, Lake Pleasant!

Beautiful Lake Pleasant sunrise.

Good morning, Katie!

Come on, Mom!  I haven't even washed my face yet.

Every time we leave a really great campground, it's kind of sad - like saying goodbye to a friend.  We could stay longer, but I'm trying to be very frugal, especially since I've done some pretty expensive additions to The Palms:

Back-up camera
Roof vent covers
Truck Battery
Coach batteries - 12v (2)
Nikon Camera (that counts!)
Coach batteries again - 6v (2)
LED light bulbs throughout (next week)
Catalytic heater (next week)
Solar (next week)

The total is adding up, but I think the cost will be well worth it.

Here's the pre-rant:

When I pull into a campground, whether private or public, I never know if it's going to be a "hit" or a "miss."  Sometimes the campground is out of the way, but if it's a hit and the price is right, then we stay for a couple of weeks.

One thing I don't care for with campgrounds is the hope that the one we're heading toward will be a good place, especially since I'm new at this and haven't seen any of these campgrounds before, and when I go out of the way to drive to one, it's a dump and they want $25/night.  Or I just don't like the look of it, or the area it's in.  I've wasted time and gas going out of our way, just to turn around and continue on.  The on-line photos aren't always current, and the reviews are sometimes conflicting.  Of course, I see more of the area that way, but that's not always a good thing if it's getting late and I'm tired of driving.

Once I have the solar/heater installed, it will be easier and more comfortable for us to just pull off the road into free dispersed boondocking spots that are available nearby.  They will have the same wonderful views, or plants, or animals, or water nearby, but they will be free.  I was told yesterday that some RVers stay "across the street," free, for a few days, then come over here and pay for one night, recharge everything, take a long shower in the restroom shower facility, dump their tanks, fill their clean water tanks, then go back "across the street" until they need to come back for another night.  That sounds really nice to me.

Even if I'm in a Walmart or rest area for the night, not having to run my generator so much will be a real plus.

Okay, here's the rant (I haven't ranted for a while):

When I do end up at a winner campground and/or campsite, I feel like I have to reserve the site for a week or two or I might lose it. If I'm not locked in and paid for, I might not be able to extend in the same site.  And I completely understand that. If I asked for two days, they give me a site that's open for two days, and it may be reserved by another camper on the third day. If I pay for two days, someone might reserve it on-line, then I have to move if I want to extend my stay in that campground and I lose the site, and if the campground is crowded, I might be out of luck completely.

I've even paid in cash for a site for a number of days, then after the first day was asked to move to another one because someone reserved MY site on-line.  The camp host just got the on-line reservation report, and although he said there were no future reservations on the site and I'd paid cash, he later said the on-line reservation took precedence. It's kind of confusing the way the different campgrounds work their reservations.  I've even visited a campground, picked out my site for a two-week stay, then when I came back a few days later to check in, I was told they moved me to another site.

This probably wouldn't be a problem for RVers who have gone back to the same places and know where they want to be, make reservations in advance, and know exactly what they are getting. I know many of you do that and it works really well.  But for a first-timer, I'm never sure what's going to happen.  If I pay for a week or two in advance, and want to leave early, I lose the fees I've paid for the nights not used. I understand that the campground can't refund fees, they are in business, but sometimes I feel like I'm stuck when I want to move on.  And if I don't pay in advance for a period of time, then I want to stay, I might not have that option.

Do I sound like I'm whining??   Sorry about that.  I haven't whined for quite a while, and I needed that!  Sometimes it's a relief to just get it out, you know?

I'm thinking I'll have a lot more control over our destiny if I am completely self contained for longer periods, and after next week that should be the case.  If I'm in an area that allows a 14 day stay for dispersed camping, I'll pick my spot, stay 14 days then move on.  Or, if I decide it's not a good spot after a day or two, I can move on and not lose my paid up reservation.  And when I want to stay a while in a campground, I can still do that, too.

The Palms is an awesome rig.  Very simple and sweet.  And she's about to prove, with solar and a catalytic heater, just how very sweet.  I can't wait.

On a lighter note, this guy just flew over us - what a cool way to get around - wouldn't you love to fly one of these?

Click on this one for a close-up.  It's kind of funny, looks like ET with a parachute!  :)

Well, it's time to move on down the road and see what's next. If it's something blog worthy, I'll post again today.  If not, we'll see you next time.  (We're being serenaded by burros braying as I'm publishing this - so cool!) 

From Me and My Dog, have a great Friday, everyone!  :)


  1. Sounds to me like some of those campgrounds are jerking you around because they think they can. If they told you the site was yours for a certain period of time then they should stick to that. Let the new campers be told they will be in another site. I guess I'd demand my money back [since they've rented the site to someone else & won't be out any] and move on somewhere else. And let them know you'll be posting to the review sites about how they do business. But that's just me.

  2. There is so much beautiful BLM land to camp on in Arizona that I would never pay for a campground unless I absolutely needed to. Once you get up and running with your solar will be good to go...or stay as the case may be. It is gorgeous around Yuma and Quartzsite in the early spring...the Ocotillo's are a sight to behold. Then as it gets warmer come on up to Prescott...there is tons of forest service land that the camping is free also....

  3. An honest campground owner will not collect twice on the same site. I've been refunded money if it's a campground where it's fairly certain that the site will be filled. IMO, with 24 hour notice, the campground should be obligated to return your money.

    I once was in a campground and was surprised when I went to the office to see if the next night was available. They said, well you're leaving, tomorrow. It must have taken me an hour to explain to them that I lease a site for a night not for days. It makes a difference. If you check in on a Sunday and want to stay 8 days and they count it by days, you have to leave on Sunday. If they figure it right, you should have the site until Monday. They almost had me convinced that I was wrong until I asked them whether when they made reservations for a hotel room whether they made it for the day for for the night. Sounds foolish, but I actually believed them and moved - can't remember whether it was the 1st week or the 2nd, but it nagged me enough to politely take them to task.

    I just bought a 2000eu Honda generator so I will be doing more BLM camping, etc.

  4. Well, that's what I get for not proofreading. I apologize.

    I asked them when they made reservations for a hotel room whether they made them for the days or for the nights. Sounds foolish, but I actually believed them and moved - can't remember whether it was the 1st week or the 2nd, but it nagged me enough to politely take them to task.

  5. I'm glad you are going with the heater & solar energy. Will be interesting to read on once you get it all set & tested out. I understand your rant too. Hopefully, you will have all you need for the Palm's soon & you won't have to invest any more big bucks into her!

  6. Solar sounds so liberating. Some day we will do that too I'm sure, but for now we are just learning to drive.

  7. You're entitled to a rant once in a while just like the rest of us (tee-hee). The Palms seems to be such a good fit for you and Katie and I bet it will be even better when you get the solar and heater installed. Good luck.

  8. Im happy to see you are getting solar, a whole new world will open up for you!

    We trekked through Kansas to get to a PA campground that was a total disappointment! It said swimming and hiking etc.. and there was only this grassy knoll with a stick. Only one other camper was there in a 1970's built trailer. We drove on.
    We had however, gone out of our way to get there, what a waste of gas. I wrote PA on that one advising that they don't have HALF of what the PA book said.
    They should have paid ME to camp there!


  9. This reservation business is getting a little agrivating. Like someone else said if you paid up front and someone else reserved online to bad for them. How can you hold a double booking like that. It was just fine when it was first come first served. Its all about the money for the reservations they are now charging.
    Yes solor will give you more freedom.
    And its your blog whine all you want. :)

  10. I have to get two vent covers and as both of these vents have fans, well those are the really expensive kind !!! OUCH

  11. We have run into that no refund policy, which I find to be ridiculous. What business does not issue refunds nowadays? I mean I am just asking. I can rant about that. They do not issue refunds because they do not want to. The same debit card machine that runs that charge, can run the credit. When campgrounds have competition, like Walmart does, they will figure this out.

    Enjoy your posts.

  12. I agree with all of your frustration about the campgrounds, its always a gamble. I usually pick out a few in an area, in case I don't like the looks of one. I'm hoping to do a solar upgrade, also.

  13. Sounds to me like some of those campgrounds are jerking you around because they think they can. If they told you the site was yours for a certain period of time then they should stick to that. Let the new campers be told they will be in another site.


Thank you for your comments - we LOVE them!