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Old 12-15-2015, 07:14 PM   #11
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If you want civilized camping on the way back from Chilliwack, I suggest getting a KOA membership and KOA campground guide. Our normal selection for camping is something off the beaten path and probably on some water. But on the return trip, we were trying to see the country and get home at the same time, so it often came down to how far do we want to go and where can we find a campground. The KOA guide would tell us where there was at least one campground and usually more. We ended up staying at a bunch of KOAs. We had the guide. We had the directions. We had the phone number. I think all of the KOAs we stayed at were nice. They had level sites, hookups, bathrooms, and not too many kids given it was May. If I were going back to a specific area, we'd research a bunch of campgrounds in the area, but if you are just passing through, KOA is like staying at a Holiday Inn, you can't go too wrong.

If you don't do KOA, you can probably do the same thing with a Good Sam camping guide. We had the Good Sam card which got some discounts on gas and the occasional campground, but the guide is a purchase item so I never got one.

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Old 12-15-2015, 07:22 PM   #12
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Since you are asking what people often do, here is the deal: Full hookups can be nice but they usually cost a lot more and are not available at most public campgrounds.

When going to a place such as a state park, you can go in and find the potable water spigot (which is often at the dump station or just past but there may be other water spigots here and there to fill up --- ask host if there is one), then get an electric site for your 30-amp to plug in at your campsite, then dump tanks when leaving. In other words, you have everything you get with full hookups at a site but it is not right at the site.

If you do get full hookups at a site, the dump spot will sometimes be higher than your valve ---not good, so you possibly will need the dump anyway. In any case, you are going to pay more for full hookups which are often only really good to have if staying for a while. May not need to dump if only at a place one night.

If either person is 62, can't do better than the federal Senior Pass for Army Corps of Engineers and other federal lands and there is a book on ACE campgrounds in the U.S.

Passport America will often be half price but usually only weekdays. Can't really recommend KOA as they are more than we want to pay usually and we will go to a public park in the area instead. Can't recommend the groups such as Thousand Trails for a newbie. Good Sam will only get you maybe 10% off and no telling how the campground will be.

Private campgrounds will not have the scenery that state or federal parks do nor will they have the often more spacious sites. Federal and state tend have some of the best camping locations whereas private campgrounds do not have access to such areas.

We go to a private one some of the time for the laundry or some such amenity that is rarely at public campgrounds.

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Old 12-15-2015, 07:25 PM   #13
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I was once skeptical of KOAs, but they fit a niche, and I've come to appreciate what they can provide. I prefer a nice State or National campground most of the time, but sometimes I know I'm going to want an open dog run, or a nice, clean shower, or maybe a laundromat, and KOAs are usually pretty consistent. Coming back from Wyoming two years go without a trailer (having sold it there) we stayed in KOA Kamping Kabins, and found the experience pretty nice, and certainly a notch above a Motel Six.
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Old 12-15-2015, 07:27 PM   #14
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Something else to consider, if you are traveling mainly on interstate highways, then KOA's will be prevalent, whereas most of the other cg's are on secondary roads.
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Old 12-15-2015, 07:30 PM   #15
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We used KOA's almost exclusively on our pickup trip in Nov. Mainly because they are consistently good, have full facilities and locations where needed. We've had their value card and used them for years. For most excursions, we'll go to other options and an occasional KOA, but with the pickup trip we didn't want to gamble on an unknown. The Lynden, WA KOA was quite nice after pickup. It was closed for the winter, however, they still had you pull in to whatever site you wanted and stay. We had reservations there, but never saw anyone but other campers.
On the way to Chilliwack with no trailer, we even tried one of their Kamping Kabins in Ely, NV. It was decent, but a cold run to the bathroom.
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Old 12-15-2015, 08:03 PM   #16
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If at the end of a long day on the road all we want is to overnight at someplace easy to find, so we can get going again early the next morning, we will seek out the nearest WalMart parking lot, or, if we don't care about diesel truck noise, a Flying J or similar truck haven. Also, every casino seems to have a welcome out in their parking lot. Free is always good.
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Old 12-15-2015, 08:12 PM   #17
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One of the advantages of your new Escape is that it is self contained and you can stop anyplace and enjoy a good nights rest and use your own restroom. With the double paned windows it is quiet inside. We have stopped at several rest areas and taken naps while others outside go in and out their vehicles to the restrooms or let their motors run for heat. With your Escape you have a quiet furnace and peaceful bliss.
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Old 12-15-2015, 08:24 PM   #18
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I much prefer Federal, Provincial, State and Forestry type campgrounds. They are usually in beautiful locations with lots of stuff to do.

You do not need a campground with all the amenities. Even without solar you can do multi-day stays it unserviced sites. You save money too.

I am not a fan of campgrounds like KOA. This is not to say they can't be great, or fit the bill. I have stayed at a couple that were quite nice, despite being in what is basically a parking lot for a campsite. I have also stayed at a couple where I too would just as soon be in a Walmart parking lot.

Most private campgrounds are similar to KOA though. Often chock full of amenities, but also densely populated. I just don't care for being shoehorned in beside the next camper.

I so prefer a more primitive type campsite, one in a beautiful setting, where you have moderate privacy. I am just fine with dumping on the way out, or along the road somewhere. Sure, I will use the services if provided, especially if I pay for them.

While washrooms with showers are nice, a campground with a clean outhouse is just fine too. We can sponge bath in the trailer, and even use the shower if really needed.

For every person on this site, there will be a different style of trailer camping that best suits them. All are good, because getting out and seeing things in a way that can't be beat is what it is all about.

Originally Posted by LeonW View Post
The only real chain of campgrounds I know of is KOA, and there is a wide variance in the quality of KOAs. We pulled into one KOA, looked around, and decided the Walmart Parking lot would be an I use the allstays app, and look at the reviews. I prefer campgrounds run by the Army Corps of Engineers, the bureau of land management, local, county, state and national parks. We have always had good luck with these parks, and, for the most part they are reasonably priced. If we have to do laundry we will go to a commercial campground, and sometimes location will dictate a commercial campground.
Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
Something else to consider, if you are traveling mainly on interstate highways, then KOA's will be prevalent, whereas most of the other cg's are on secondary roads.
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Old 12-15-2015, 09:15 PM   #19
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that's what so cool about this RV lifestyle, you can choose many styles of overnighting! From the relatively safe and FREE Walmart to full service parks for big $$$ it's all good. BTW- what people have said about being 'self contained' is really true. Power is power, 12v vs 110v, it doesn't really matter unless you're addicted to a micro wave . We have a pure-sine inverter that takes care of electronics. You actually don't even want to hook up and dump your black tank till you're ready to go, or do it on the way out at a dump station. nothing worse than the dreaded volcano of poo.....

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Old 12-16-2015, 09:35 AM   #20
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We returned in August from Chilliwack to Texas. In addition to site seeing our secondary objective was to visit different types of campgrounds to get a feel for the differences and what suited our style. We also did a "drive though" of several campgrounds along our route. It was amazing how discriminating we became in seeing the nuances of campgrounds after a few weeks. We visited military campgrounds (available to retired and active duty), state parks, national parks, KOA, and assorted private campgrounds for overnight stays. We carried a Good Sam card (no other memberships) and received the occasional discount. Most of our sites were reserved in advance. Check out Reserve America, they are the broker for many states and their state parks.

We too have a preference for full service sites, but as we have grown more comfortable we can go three to four days on electric and water only and dump on departure.

My suggestion is you experiment with reserved/ad hoc and various types of campgrounds on your return. All will be good experiences just different.

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