Snowbirds - Winter 2006 travel blog

We are in our last campground of the trip - worth the $11 we paid for it. It's so cold here, they havn't turned the water on yet for the season. The bathhouse is also locked. Luckily we have everything we need in our RV.

Whenever it's time for me to choose where we are spending the night, I start with my bible, an almost three inch thick reference book. The descriptions are often rather terse and an inexperienced RV traveler might not necessarily understand what the lingo implies. One type of campground that is consistent throughout the entire US is the KOA franchise. You've probably seen them advertised as you travel down the road. They have a distinctive yellow logo and the main building is almost always an A frame. You can count on spacious sites, wi fi availability probably for a fee, playground facilities for the kiddies, a bath house so clean you could eat off the floor, and a price 30% - 50% higher than the next campground down the road. When we were still tent camping, we would treat ourselves to a KOA every few days for a luxurious shower, but now that we travel with our house, it's really not necessary.

When we are piling on the miles as we did today, I look for a campground as close to the expressway as possible. That means we can hear the cars whizzing by and also are often treated to the whistle of trains passing nearby as well. But the easy off and easy on and the pull through sites so we don't have to unhitch, make these spots attractive for quick overnights.

When we're going to stay somewhere for a while, the campground amenities and proximity to sights and nature are much more important. State parks often fit the bill. They are located in special places, but not so special that they are designated as national parks. They also have spacious campsites, surrounded by trees and and bushes, and can give you the feeling that you are in the woods all alone. Sometimes rangers lead hikes or give campfire talks. Rings for campfires and picnic tables are a given. State parks can appear to be economical, but they often tack on a daily user fee which can make them fairly expensive, but not in the KOA category.

Campgrounds for those over 55 are common in the warmest parts of the country. You might recall we spent a month in one at the beginning of this trip. They are expensive if you stay for just a few days, but offer monthly or multi-monthly deals that are a real bargain. They boast activities, clubhouses, and facilities that can make it easy for a camper never to leave the grounds.

Tomorrow we should be camping in our driveway. I will appreciate my washer/dryer, the increased water flow of our shower, and spacious countertops in the kitchen. But you can be sure that after we've had some time to catch up with local friends and family, the travel bug will bite and I will be paging through my bible again.

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