All reserveable campground, a new trend? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-19-2016, 09:41 AM   #1
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All reserveable campground, a new trend?

On a recent trip west we ran into the "all reserevable" campground where all sites must be reserved through a centralized location. No payment would be accepted at the campground. Same day reservations were not charged a reservation fee. North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota have all adopted this model. In North Dakota at an Army Core campground we found the same thing. No one there. No iron ranger. Just instructions and a location labelled " cell phone hot spot". Later a ranger came by to check on folks. When questioned he said he could not take cash. The only way sites could be had was by following the procedure. Folks without a credit card had to go into town to get a prepaid card.

I don't like giving my credit card number to someone over the phone. I prefer to use cash for these types of transactions. Replacing a credit card on the road would be a real hassle as would buying gas without one. Raz
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Old 09-19-2016, 11:35 AM   #2
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Our Washington State parks aren't (yet) that way but usually all except a few sites are reservable- one or two drive-up FCFS sites, the rest CAN be reserved up to nine months in advance. I'd rather everything could be reserved because I don't like the idea of going somewhere and finding out the campground is full. But I get your complaint- if you don't know in advance or don't want to use a credit card, it's an extra hassle. You could get a prepaid card (or a few) to use for that purpose, I guess.
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Old 09-20-2016, 09:49 AM   #3
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Our Washington State parks aren't (yet) that way but usually all except a few sites are reservable- one or two drive-up FCFS sites, the rest CAN be reserved up to nine months in advance. I'd rather everything could be reserved because I don't like the idea of going somewhere and finding out the campground is full. But I get your complaint- if you don't know in advance or don't want to use a credit card, it's an extra hassle. You could get a prepaid card (or a few) to use for that purpose, I guess.
We have never reserved a camp site until we visited the west coast. Being retired we can camp when things are less crowded. We usually take a long trip in the fall. This year we went early to avoid snow in the rockies.

To stay on the Oregon coast required a reservation. Perhaps it was the weather which was very sunny. Perhaps that's how it always is?

As far as the Dakota's, there are lots of nice Forrest service campgrounds that were happy to let us in without reservations and at half price!
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Old 09-20-2016, 11:16 AM   #4
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Oregon coast is a high-demand area these days. If you don't want to worry about reservations, the Washington National Forests without services (or with very few, sometimes not even a trash can or stack toilet) are usually walk-in during the week and usually have one or more sites available every day.


We're still learning about what and where and when, but so far we can usually find reservations since we're going mid-week. We haven't been without a trip of some kind each month since Peanut got out of rehab July 2nd. Most months two trips. We already have a reservation for next year for a Maryhill gathering, and hope to make many more before too many more months have passed.


We go ahead and use our credit card online, but I've been doing it for years and "mostly" have had no trouble with it, even sometimes extra good things have happened, like finding out I have insurance of one kind or another where I get refunded total amounts when anything went wrong. Mostly.


I hear your concerns, though. Would highly recommend you go to your bank and buy yourself a small supply of prepaid cards. It costs some, usually, but would make up for the inconvenience in having to head back into town to get one!


When Paul took a train trip entirely around the USA, he got enough pre-paid cards to last him the whole time, and stashed them carefully among his luggage and wallet. Each AM he took out enough cards for the day. Have to admit, he WATCHED his luggage carefully--but you have to do the same with cash.


He also took very old clothing and discarded it as he travelled, so he came home a lot lighter than he started. Kind of a weird concept, and he didn't look his best around America, but looking a little poor and seedy kept him from ever being targeted as a rich mark. And he appreciated the toting getting easier as he went and got more worn out. He even left one travel bag en route, the one that cost 50 cents at a yard sale specifically for his train trip.
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Old 09-20-2016, 11:28 AM   #5
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It very likely will be the way many facilities go for handling money. There has been a big cutback on funding for parks in this last decade and this way they can save hiring more people.

I rather deal with cell phone payment than having a facility closed altogether because of not enough funding to hire staff. The unfortunate trend we were seeing was to simply close campgrounds, maybe this will help prevent more of them from closing.
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Old 09-20-2016, 11:50 AM   #6
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Plan ahead? A schedule?

I haven't worn a wrist watch since the first day of retirement, and I usually don't have a cell phone in my pocket, either! I usually don't know what I'm going to today, let alone next week or nine months from now.

I think I'm best suited for boondocking, and I've been researching where this is available. I'm not finding much info for Washington; thinking it's like the secret fishing hole.

Raz - thank you so much for sharing your recent trip!!!!
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Old 09-20-2016, 11:54 AM   #7
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Smart phones are changing our lives more than seems obvious.
The same day reservation really amounts to a walk-in with an app!
There is talk about dropping MP3 ports in cars and I have noticed that nearly all new bicycle electronics now require a Smart phone interface.
Progress?... or just reality.
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Old 09-20-2016, 12:49 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raz View Post
On a recent trip west we ran into the "all reserevable" campground where all sites must be reserved through a centralized location. No payment would be accepted at the campground. Same day reservations were not charged a reservation fee. North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota have all adopted this model. In North Dakota at an Army Core campground we found the same thing. No one there. No iron ranger. Just instructions and a location labelled " cell phone hot spot". Later a ranger came by to check on folks. When questioned he said he could not take cash. The only way sites could be had was by following the procedure. Folks without a credit card had to go into town to get a prepaid card.

I don't like giving my credit card number to someone over the phone. I prefer to use cash for these types of transactions. Replacing a credit card on the road would be a real hassle as would buying gas without one. Raz

This is a growing trend, particularly at state & federal campgrounds, using Reserve America, a proprietary state system or rec.gov for federal campgrounds. In a few cases you can make a reservation (and pay a reservation fee) at the campground entrance station, but many have dropped that option & require on line reservations. I've found a few that require on line reservations, but the on line system will not take reservations less than 2 days forward, making "walk ins" impossible.

One possibility I wouldn't mind at other places was at Death Valley National Park - a kiosk that took your credit card.

Another is to request a separate credit card just for campgrounds/gas/etc from your bank with a low limit. If you have to replace it you will still have your regular card.
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Old 09-20-2016, 01:20 PM   #9
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I don't like giving my credit card number to someone over the phone. I prefer to use cash for these types of transactions. Replacing a credit card on the road would be a real hassle as would buying gas without one. Raz
I use my credit card a lot, for just about everything I can. I pay it off very month and use the points for goodies. That said, one week before a two-week trip a last month my CC got hacked and shut down. Happens about once a year or so and is usually no more than an aggravation, the cost of doing bidness I figure. They overnighted me a new card and all was well but I thought "what if that had happened next week up the road?". So, live and learn, new plan. Carry enough cash to finish trip (I already had reservations).
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Old 09-20-2016, 01:58 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Raz View Post
On a recent trip west we ran into the "all reserevable" campground where all sites must be reserved through a centralized location. No payment would be accepted at the campground. Same day reservations were not charged a reservation fee. North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota have all adopted this model. In North Dakota at an Army Core campground we found the same thing. No one there. No iron ranger. Just instructions and a location labelled " cell phone hot spot". Later a ranger came by to check on folks. When questioned he said he could not take cash. The only way sites could be had was by following the procedure. Folks without a credit card had to go into town to get a prepaid card.

I don't like giving my credit card number to someone over the phone. I prefer to use cash for these types of transactions. Replacing a credit card on the road would be a real hassle as would buying gas without one. Raz
Very irksome. I would think that that would possibly be a peak season situation, however, they may not be open up there in winter due to weather to need iron Rangers (boxes to deposit money). Rangers do not ever take money that I know. There would possibly be camp hosts who function as gate attendants. In the off season elsewhere, Army Corps is very dependent upon iron Rangers.

The two-day in advance situation is common but we have also come across being able to reserve that day, that minute, which is also a problem. If you go in and set up, you could then be told that someone reserved on the Internet a few minutes before. That is one bad way of doing it also. So you must reserve before setting up in that case.

Usually Army Corps will take money from walk-ins. Your info is not a good development.
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Old 09-20-2016, 02:30 PM   #11
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Here in NY you can drive up and pay if a site is available at most state parks, but I find that the reserve America online reservation system trashes the ability to do so. If you're not online well in advance of your trip booking a site, Just fahgettaboutit. They're all taken.

It's tough. When working throughout the year I'm not always thinking OK, it's the 20th and 9 months from now I want to go camping in June, so hang out with my CC and book a site before someone else does. Furthermore, this camping season I had to cancel some 9 month old reservations as things came up. When I tried this summer to book a shorter stay that fit in with my work schedule, there was nothing to be had.

Technology. Is it good or bad? Progress or not? I dunno about that one. Sure can be frustrating.

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Old 09-20-2016, 03:08 PM   #12
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Kathlene wrote:

"He also took very old clothing and discarded it as he travelled, so he came home a lot lighter than he started. Kind of a weird concept, and he didn't look his best around America, but looking a little poor and seedy kept him from ever being targeted as a rich mark. And he appreciated the toting getting easier as he went and got more worn out. He even left one travel bag en route, the one that cost 50 cents at a yard sale specifically for his train trip."

Reminds me of Jack Reacher, kind of in reverse.
I've been cultivating that "poor and seedy" look for years now.

Triker: Try this site:
https://freecampsites.net/

I don't like the reservation system very much, but I see the need for it, especially in the very popular campgrounds. I, too, used the automated credit card kiosk at Death Valley, and I found it to be very convenient and simple. I think that will be the future for a lot of larger campgrounds. I don't mind.

Gordon
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Old 09-20-2016, 03:12 PM   #13
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It's tough. When working throughout the year I'm not always thinking OK, it's the 20th and 9 months from now I want to go camping in June, so hang out with my CC and book a site before someone else does. Furthermore, this camping season I had to cancel some 9 month old reservations as things came up. When I tried this summer to book a shorter stay that fit in with my work schedule, there was nothing to be had.
And now we pay a penalty if we cancel that 9 month old reservation.
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Old 09-20-2016, 03:15 PM   #14
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Online booking for camping.

I just want to add that although not tech savvy , I just booked my first camp ground.
It was for the egg-camper get together at Scodack Island state park in N.Y.
I couldn't get a site on the loop with electric as they were all booked but did manage to get one close to the action.
As this will be my first such gathering I'm looking forward to it. And 3 days of boondocking....
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