Saving Money On an RV Road Trip

Knowing where to cut costs, save money, and be more efficient in your travels is the key to staying within your travel budget.

Fleetwood Providence Diesel Pusher parked at a Canyon de Chelly National Park (Arizona) view point  © Rex Vogel, all rights
Fleetwood Providence Diesel Pusher parked at a Canyon de Chelly National Park (Arizona) view point © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Following are some tips that will help you save money while still enjoying all the fun, freedom, and flexibility that RVing has to offer:

Before You Go

Check tire pressure regularly; improperly inflated tires means more money for fuel. Under-inflated tires can increase fuel consumption by up to 4 percent, according to International Energy Agency. Proper inflation also reduces the incidence of tire failure.

Preventative measures and maintenance will reduce the risk of problems. Preparatory activities should occupy your to-do list prior to any RV trip. It’s important to make sure that all of “the little things” are in place and working properly. While it does take time, it’s far better to be prepared than face an unanticipated malfunction that sabotages your road trip.

Inspect all the belts and hoses for cracking. Check your headlights, turn signals, and tires. Take a look at all your hitch and towing equipment. Check fire extinguisherssmoke alarm, and carbon monoxide detector. Taking a few precautionary measure before you hit the road could help to avoid a mechanical breakdown.

Check the weight on your loaded RV. Keeping the rig to the recommended weight will save on both maintenance costs and fuel.

Anyone who has listened to John Denver sing about country roads and the Blue Ridge Mountains can easily imagine the transcendent beauty of Shenandoah National Park.
Anyone who has listened to John Denver sing about country roads and the Blue Ridge Mountains can easily imagine the transcendent beauty of Shenandoah National Park. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Buy your groceries and supplies at a regular store in your town and use coupons whenever possible. Purchasing items at a camp store or convenience store is crazy expensive. You pay a premium for convenience.

When planning your trip, check out the Chamber of Commerce websites for areas you plan to visit. Call or email to request an information packet by mail. Not only will these info packets have plenty of brochures and information on various local attractions, they often include discount coupons. If you’re on the road just stop in.

If you belong to the AAA, ask about discounts on restaurants, museums, theme parks, fairs, and special events.

Reduce Campground Costs

Camp closer to home. Remember, you’re always on vacation at the campsite, even if it’s only an hour drive from home.

When camping with your RV, commercial campgrounds can take a big bite out of your wallet. You can often find better deals at public campgrounds operated by small towns or counties.

Join a membership campground system such as Thousand Trails.

A powerful and inspiring landscape, Grand Canyon overwhelms our senses through its immense size. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
A powerful and inspiring landscape, Grand Canyon overwhelms our senses through its immense size. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Join a camping discount club such as Passport America or Happy Camper.

Consider staying for free or nearly free on federal BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land.

Take advantage of free overnight parking, offered by Wal-Mart, Sam’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Kmart, and some Flying J Truck Stops. It’s also a good idea to know the state towing laws to avoid tickets or towing.

Many Casinos allow free overnight RV parking. A few Casinos require that you be a customer in order to park. There are some Casinos that allow no overnight parking, or require that you park at their adjoining RV campground at their customary nightly rates. You will also find a few Casinos that offer free RV dump stations, and even a few that offer RV hookups on site.

Stay longer in one place. Many RV parks are vacation destinations in their own right, offering something for everyone—swimming pools, playgrounds, game rooms, boating, fishing, nature trails, planned activities and more.

A block east of Santa Fe Plaza is St. Francis Cathedral, named for Santa Fe’s patron saint, St. Francis of Assisi. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
A block east of Santa Fe Plaza is St. Francis Cathedral, named for Santa Fe’s patron saint, St. Francis of Assisi. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Having a written budget is essential to getting your finances under control. If you do not have a written budget it is hard to know if you are living within your means and saving enough money for your long term goals like purchasing a new recreational vehicle.

Worth Pondering…

Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery.

—Charles Dickens, David Copperfield, 1849

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Escapees Partners With Boondockers Welcome

RVers looking for an overnight place to park other than a Walmart, truck stop, or casino, now have another option, thanks to a new partnership between the Escapees club and Boondockers Welcome.

Boondockers-Welcome-logo-216x145Boondockers Welcome is providing Escapees members with a special discount to join their program and a resource to help RVers connect with other RVers who have a location for people to dry-camp for the night.

It might be in their driveway or a field on their farm. The view may be of amber waves of grain or of the McDonald’s parking lot, but it will be a free place to park where RVers don’t have to worry about idling truck engines, security, or that dreaded knock on the window at 2 a.m., according to an Escapees news release.

Boondockers Welcome offers an online community to make new friends and save money while RVers see the world from a local’s perspective.

RVers will have access to fellow members, be able to correspond with them securely, and accept their invitation to spend a night (or two) parked on their property.

Ideally, RVers will return the favor, extending a similar invitation to other travelers. But even if RVers don’t have a place to offer in return, they’ll be able to take advantage of the hospitality of others, saving hundreds of dollars in campground fees.

Escapees LogoA host membership costs $19.95 per year or $44.95 for three years.

A guest-only membership is $24.95 per year or $59.95 for three years.

Use coupon code 5OFF4SKP to save $5 off any Boondockers Welcome membership.

Use coupon code GIVE52CARE and Boondockers Welcome will donate $5 to the Escapees CARE Center.

Details

Escapees RV Club

Address: 100 Rainbow Drive, Livingston, TX 77351

Phone: (936) 327-8873 or (888) 757-2582 (toll free)

Website: www.escapees.com

Boondockers Welcome

Website: www.boondockerswelcome.com

Worth Pondering…

To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter… to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird’s nest or a wildflower in spring — these are some of the rewards of the simple life.

—John Burroughs

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Top 10 Safety & Security Tips for RV Casino Parking

Numerous RVs are attracted to casino parking lots for their free overnight parking.

RV Park at Rolling Hills Casino, Corning, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
RV Park at Rolling Hills Casino, Corning, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

RVers looking for a place to boondock soon discover there aren’t places that allow free overnight parking. Most states discourage overnight parking at interstate rest areas, shopping malls ask RVs to leave at the end of the business day, and some 24-hour supercenters have posted “No Overnight Parking” signs. You can usually stay overnight at a truck stop, but their parking areas tend to be crowded and noisy with diesel engines running throughout the day and night.

Casino parking lots, on the other hand, are hospitable. Casinos welcome adult campers since they know they will likely receive additional business. RVers, in return, will enjoy a quiet, safe parking spot to rest for the night without being hassled. Since most casinos are open 24/7, security personnel are on duty throughout the night.

Following are the top 10 safety and security tips for free RV casino parking:

1. After you pull into the parking lot, check with security to verify that you can stay overnight in the parking lot and ask where they want you to park.

2. Limit your free overnight parking to a single 24-hour period. Some casinos will allow longer stays, upon request.

3. If there is no designated area for large vehicles, park on the perimeter of the lot. Do not take up spaces intended for cars. Casinos in crowded urban areas may not have space to accommodate RVs. Be sure to obtain permission before you park.

RV Park at Rolling Hills Casino, Corning, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
RV Park at Rolling Hills Casino, Corning, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

4. Do not abuse the property owner’s hospitality. During our travels we have observed RVers who act as if they own the place and put out their awning, barbecue grill, table, and chairs. A parking lot is not a campground. Do not look like your are establishing residence! If there is adequate space, it’s OK to extend a slideout, but restrict your activities to the inside of your RV.

5. Do not leave your RV unattended overnight or for any extended period of time. This may seem like simple, common sense advice, but you’d be surprised at how many folks park their expensive units in a parking lot and then go off to visit friends for a few days. If you are inconsiderate enough to do this don’t be surprised upon your return to find your unattended vehicle has been towed away.

6. Be a good neighbor. Be considerate of others with your TV, music, and generator.

7. Keep your area clean. Pick up any trash you see whether it is yours or not. Leave the area cleaner than the way you found it.

8. Use common sense and common courtesy with your pets.

9. If the casino has a fee-pay campground as part of the facility, it is essential to check with security to inquire about your options for staying overnight. Some casinos will allow you to stay in the parking lot anyway. But there are a number of casinos that require you to pull into their campground if you want to stay for the night.

10. Give the casino your business. If you don’t gamble a lot, that’s OK. Casinos usually provide quality food in their restaurants, cafes, and buffets. Some have live entertainment, movie theater, retail shops, and spa facilities.

Boondocking at a casino is comfortable. You have your home with you so you can either walk or take the shuttle bus to and from the casino. If you participate in the gaming, you can play shorter and more relaxing gaming sessions with breaks in between. If you are averse to crowds, you can play at odd hours and avoid peak play times. And for couples, when one wants to play cards or slots and the other doesn’t, there’s no problem.

Boondocking at a casino is convenient. Casinos are located all over the country; many within a mile or two of an interstate exit.

Casino Camping by Jane Kenny
Casino Camping by Jane Kenny

RV-friendly casinos are listed in the popular guide, Casino Camping A Guide to RV-Friendly Casinos from Roundabout Publications. The new revised 2015 edition is now available from Camping World stores across the US, CampingWorld.com, and Amazon.com.

Written by Jane Kenny, Casino Camping A Guide to RV-Friendly Casinos features detailed information, locator maps, and directions to hundreds of casinos in 32 states. Learn which casinos have an RV park and which ones allow free overnight parking.

RV parks at casinos are popular among RVers because they offer modern, upscale facilities at reasonable rates. Boondockers seek casinos for a quiet, safe place to park.

And, of course, there’s the obvious benefit, boondocking at RV-Friendly casinos is free!

Worth Pondering…

I like to think of the world as a sort of a casino, except the house doesn’t have the advantage. If you’re smart, you have an advantage. It behooves you to place a lot of bets.

—Evan Williams

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RV Travel: The Road To Savings

The recently released Campfire Canvass survey of RV owners conducted by Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) indicated that more than 20 million Americans will travel in RVs throughout the summer months, heading to our country’s 16,000-plus campgrounds, and enjoying time outdoors with family and friends.

Considering the RV lifestyle? Try renting before laying down the cash. Camping in a rental unit at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Considering the RV lifestyle? Try renting before laying down the cash. Camping in a rental unit at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

According to the new survey, 66 percent of RV owners intend to use their RVs more this summer than they did last year, and 28 percent will use theirs the same amount. Just 4 percent said they’ll use their RVs less.

RV ownership is at an all-time high because it provides families with a comfortable and cost-effective means to get away and spend quality time together.

RVs roll travel, accommodations, and meals into one and for less than you might think.

In fact, an RV vacation can cost a family of four up to 59 percent less than other forms of travel. Extra storage space means saving on equipment rentals, too, as you can bring along the bikes, skis, kayaks, golf clubs, ATVs, and all the other toys. And when you travel with everything, including the kitchen sink, you save on food expenses. Food becomes a bargain because you not dependent on eating out at pricey restaurants every night or relying on unhealthy fast food.

Not only do RV parks and campgrounds offer much cheaper rates than hotels and motels but you won’t have to worry about lost reservations, delayed or canceled flights, and room downgrades.

But I don’t need to tell you that! I’m preaching to the converted. Right? If you’re reading Vogel Talks RVing you already own an RV or are a RV wanna-be!

Cut campground costs by joining a camping discount club such as Passport America. Camped at Riverbend RV Park, a Passport America park in Luling, Texas. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Cut campground costs by joining a camping discount club such as Passport America. Camped at Riverbend RV Park, a Passport America park in Luling, Texas. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Saving money on unnecessary spending frees up bucks for other things. While an RV is one of the biggest investments we can make, the ways we can save when camping with our RVs, are almost limitless.

Following are some tips that will help you save money while still enjoying all the fun, freedom, and flexibility that RVing has to offer:

When planning your trip, check out the Chamber of Commerce websites for areas you plan to visit. Call or email to request an information packet by mail. Not only will these info packets have plenty of brochures and information on various local attractions, they often include discount coupons. If you’re on the road just stop in.

If you belong to the AAA, ask about discounts on restaurants, museums, theme parks, fairs, and special events.

Cut campground costs. Camp closer to home. Remember, you’re always on vacation at the campsite, even if it’s only an hour drive from home.

Cut campground costs. When camping with your RV, commercial campgrounds can take a big bite out of your wallet. You can often find better deals at public campgrounds operated by small towns or counties.

Cut campground costs. Join a membership campground system.

Cut campground costs. Join a camping discount club such as Passport America or Happy Camper.

Cut campground costs. Consider staying for free or nearly free on nearby federal BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land.

Camping and canoeing at Laura S. Walker State Park in Georgia. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Camping and canoeing at Laura S. Walker State Park in Georgia. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Cut campground costs. Many Casinos allow free overnight RV parking. A few Casinos require that you be a customer in order to park. There are some Casinos that allow no overnight parking, or require that you park at their adjoining RV campground at their customary nightly rates. You will also find a few Casinos that offer free RV dump stations, and even a few that a full-service RV park.

Cut campground costs. Stay longer in one place. Many RV parks are vacation destinations in their own right, offering something for everyone—swimming pools, playgrounds, game rooms, boating, fishing, nature trails, planned activities and more.

Having a written budget is essential to getting your finances under control. If you do not have a written budget it is hard to know if you are living within your means and saving enough money for your long term goals like purchasing a recreational vehicle.

Worth Pondering…

Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery.

—Charles Dickens, David Copperfield, 1849

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Good Sam Names Top RV Parks for Golfers

More and more RVers are adding golf clubs to their list of “must bring” items.

golfSince 1980, the number of golfers in the United States has grown by 50 percent, with more than 30 million enthusiasts hitting the links. Many of these golfers travel the country in RVs, often mapping out their vacations around prime golf destinations, according to a Good Sam news release.

To help recreational vehicle enthusiasts find the best fairways and greens, the editors and consultants of the Good Sam RV Travel Guide and Campground Directory have compiled a list of the top RV Parks for golfers. Boasting RV parks from across North America, the list is tailored for RV travelers seeking campgrounds that feature golf courses on their property or are located near world-class golf courses.

The Good Sam RV Travel Guide’s top RV parks for golfers are:

Motorcoach Country Club, Indio, California

Sands RV & Golf Resort, Desert Hot Springs, California

Coastal Georgia RV Resort © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Coastal Georgia RV Resort © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Lakes RV & Golf Resort, Chowchilla, California

Crystal Lake RV Resort, Naples, Florida

Signature Motorcoach Resort At Naples, Naples, Florida

The Glades RV Resort, La Belle, Florida

Coastal Georgia RV Resort, Brunswick, Georgia

Coushatta Casino Resort, Kinder, Louisiana

Paragon Casino Resort, Marksville, Louisiana

Little River Casino RV Park, Manistee, Michigan

Fairmont RV Park & Campground, Anaconda, Montana

Seven Feathers RV Resort, Canyonville, Oregon

Oak Plantation Campground, Charleston, South Carolina

Alderwood RV Resort, Spokane, Washington

Lake Pleasant RV Park, Bothell, Washington

Links for RV Travelers

RVers can find a variety of golfing experiences as they travel.

At Oak Plantation Campground in Charleston, South Carolina, guests are a short drive from several world-class courses, including Kiawah Island Golf Resort, site of the 2012 PGA Championship.

At other RV parks, the first hole’s tee box is just a short walk from guests’ doorsteps. Sands RV & Golf Resort in Palm Springs, California, features an exclusive course only for guests and owners. The course winds through the property and features lush landscaping, devious sand traps, and lavish water hazards. Campground staff also can arrange reservations to some of Palm Springs’ world-famous links, including PGA West and Mission Hills Resort.

Good Sam Guide

Good Sam RV Travel Guide & Campground Screen-Shot-2012-12-17-at-9.11.15-AMRV travelers can find more information about RV parks for golfers in the 2013 Good Sam RV Travel Guide and Campground Directory, which combines two of the RV industry’s most popular and respected brands—the Trailer Life Directory and Woodall’s Campground Directory—into one comprehensive volume.

The guide contains detailed information more than 14,000 RV parks across North America; each campground is personally inspected and rated by the Good Sam’s consultant teams. The guide also includes lifestyle features, regional trip guides, and essential travel facts.

Readers can get vital tech tips, learn about must-see points of interest in all of North America’s states and provinces, follow a meal and fitness planner, and get Road Ready with a special products section.

Also included are guides to RV-related state laws and information needed for trouble-free trips into Canada and Mexico. For more information about the 2013 Good Sam RV Travel Guide and Campground Directory, click on www.goodsamcamping.com

Worth Pondering…

Do not wait; the time will never be right.

—Napoleon Hill

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New Casino RV Park Opens in Michigan

The Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan recently celebrated the grand opening of the Soaring Eagle Hideaway RV Park.

The property features 67 RV sites each 50 feet in length with water, sewer, and 30-amp electricity service, concrete pads, fire pits, grill, picnic tables, and free Wi-Fi access.

The campground is situated on a 25-acre lake that’s fully stocked for fishing.

Visitors also can enjoy a clubhouse, walking trails, laundry facilities, and a playground.

The Horizon Construction Group, based out of Madison, Wisconsin, was hired as the general contractor for the project in conjunction with the construction of the Soaring Eagle Waterpark and Hotel.

Soaring Eagle Hideaway RV Park

Access to the Soaring Eagle Waterpark and Hotels pool, club house, steam room, hot tub, sauna, fitness center, Nbakade Restaurant, and Cyber Quest arcade is also available (indoor waterpark admission not included).

Free shuttle service is available to the Soaring Eagle Waterpark and Hotel, Waabooz Run Golf Course, the Green Suites, Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort, and the Ziibiwing Center of Anishinabe Culture and Lifeways.

A house designed by architect Alden B. Dow has been converted into a registration office, camp store, and guest activity area.

Other amenities include a walking trail, laundry facilities, pet area, beach, horseshoes, volleyball, park fire pit, pavilion with picnic area, activity, library, game room, sitting room with fireplace, and deck overlooking lake.

Details

Soaring Eagle Hideaway RV Park

Address: 5050 E. Airport Road, Mt. Pleasant, MI 48858 (Exit143 on U.S. 127)

Phone: (989) 817-4800 or (888) 7EAGLE7 (toll free)

Rates: $29 (April)-$49 (July-August); $218.40 weekly; $819 monthly; $1,000 seasonal (May-September); all rates subject to taxes and fees

Website: soaringeaglehideaway.com

Worth Pondering…
As the traveler who has once been from home is wiser than he who has never left his own doorstep, so a knowledge of one other culture should sharpen our ability to scrutinize more steadily, to appreciate more lovingly, our own.

—Margaret Mead

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2012 Trailer Life RV Parks & Campground Directory Now Available

Trailer Life publications, publisher of the most comprehensive and reliable directories for RV parks, campgrounds, and services, recently released its 2012 Trailer Life RV Parks & Campgrounds Directory.

Recognized as the number one preferred campground directory by RVers in North America, the Trailer Life Directory is the “Bible” for RVers on the road, according to a news release. It is the official directory of the Good Sam Club, the world’s largest RV owners’ organization, and includes all Good Sam discount locations.

The new Directory provides expanded listings for more than 12,000 RV parks and 900,000 RV sites, including locations with Internet access, updated campground fees, and other easy-to-use information.

For 2012, the Trailer Life Directory celebrates its 40th anniversary, and commemorates the occasion with a special section highlighting RV history and looking toward the RV future.

Also new in the 2012 edition are RV coupons for savings on-the-go, RV Troubleshooting Tips and Tricks, and Bilingual Parks At-A-Glance, which points out parks that support foreign language needs.

“We strive to provide RVers and campers with the most updated travel tools to make visiting parks and campgrounds easy and accessible. The Trailer Life Directory and its new features help travelers keep up with changes to routes, campgrounds and services,” said Ann Emerson, Vice President and Publisher.

“We are excited about the 40th Anniversary of the Trailer Life Directory and bringing it to our loyal readers.”

In conjunction with the release of the new 2012 Directory, Trailer Life Publications has also released North America’s top 100 Good Sam Parks. This year, 33 parks scored a coveted 30 out of 30 points under the highly regarded Triple Rating System.

The Springs at Borrego RV Resort & Golf Course, Borrego Springs, California. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Trailer Life Directory’s exclusive Triple Rating System is the industry standard and is trusted by travelers across North America to provide them with accurate, unbiased information.

Each year, trained Trailer Life representatives inspect and rate all private parks and campgrounds based on completeness of facilities, visual appeal, and other key factors. The thoroughness of the inspection process provides campers and RVers with the assurance that Parks will always meet their expectations, whether it’s a first-time visit or if they have been back year after year.

2012 Top 100 Good Sam Parks with Perfect Ratings

Alabama: Bella Terra of Gulf Shores, Foley

Alabama: Lake Osprey RV Country Club, Elberta

Alabama: Windemere Cove RV Resort, Langston

Alabama: Heritage Motorcoach Resort & Marina, Orange Beach

Arkansas: Catherine’s Landing, an RVC Outdoor Destination, Hot Springs

Arizona: Rincon Country East RV Resort, Tucson

Arizona: Distant Drums RV Resort, Foley, Camp Verde

California: The Springs at Borrego RV Resort & Golf Course, Borrego Springs

California: Jackson Rancheria RV Park, Jackson

California: The Lakes RV & Golf Resort, Chowchilla

California: Premier RV Resorts-Redding, Redding

Florida: Williston Crossing RV Resort, Williston

Louisiana: Cajun Palms RV Resort, Henderson

Louisiana: Paragon Casino RV Resort, Marksville

Michigan: Little River Casino RV Park, Manistee

Michigan: Duck Creek RV Resort, Muskegon

Michigan: Silver Creek RV Resort, Mears

Minnesota: Grand Casino Hinckley RV Resort, Hinckley

Nevada: Las Vegas Motorcoach Resort, Las Vegas

Nevada: Las Vegas RV Resort, Las Vegas

New York: The Villages at Turning Stone, Verona

Ohio: Evergreen Park RV Resort, Mt Eaton

Oregon: Seven Feathers RV Resort, Canyonville

Oregon: Pheasant Ridge RV Resort, Wilsonville

Quebec: Camping La Cle des Champs RV Resort, St-Philppe

Quebec: Camping Alouette, St Mathieu Beloeil

Quebec: Du Village Bromont RV Resort, Bromont

Texas: Bentsen Palm Village RV Resort, Mission

Camping at Bentsen Palm Village RV Resort in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Texas: K.E. Bushman’s Camp, Tyler

Texas: Mill Creek Ranch RV & Cottage Resort, Canton

Texas: Fernbrook Park, Longview

Texas: North Shore RV Resort, Onalaska

Texas: Rayford Crossing RV Resort, The Woodlands

Details

Trailer Life Directory

The Trailer Life Directory and website are part of the Good Sam Family of publications and services devoted to enhancing the lifestyle of recreational-vehicle (RV) enthusiasts. The Trailer Life Directory, known as “The Ultimate RV Travel Resource” is the official Directory of the Good Sam Club.

Website: TrailerLifeDirectory.com

Related

Worth Pondering…

RVing and imagination—both take you anywhere you want to be.

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Tri-State Casino Plans to Add RV Park

Located in the Tri-State district where the Oklahoma, Missouri, and Kansas state borders meet, Downstream Casino Resort is expanding further into the Missouri side of its property with a RV park, and a 24-hour gas station, convenience, and liquor store.

Downstream C-Store and RV Park Complex will expand further into Missouri. (Credit: Downstream Casino Resort)

Downstream Development Authority, on behalf of the Quapaw Tribe, opened Phase I of the resort in July 2008. The casino employs about 1,050 team members, IndianCountryTodayMedia.com reported.

The new complex, slated to open in March, is expected to boost the Joplin, Missouri, regional economy with construction work and about 20 new permanent jobs. Downstream added 40 new jobs earlier this year when it opened its child care, and learning center on the Oklahoma side of the resort.

“One of these days we would like to expand on the Kansas side too,” said John Berrey, chairman of the Downstream Development Authority. “We have always planned that Downstream would be a hub for economic development and creating good jobs in the Tri-State region.”

Rendering of the Downstream gas station, convenience and liquor store. (Credit: Downstream Casino Resort)

The C-store complex will occupy about 10 acres across from Downstream’s main entrance. Plans also call for 40 RV camping sites with utility hook-ups and a shower and laundry building; at least 22 parking spaces for semi tractor-trailer trucks; four diesel fuel pumps and six gasoline pumps; and an 8,000-square-foot convenience and liquor store with an outdoor dining area and drive-through window. The gas station will likely be branded under one of the popular national brand names, said Downstream General Manager Steven Drewes in a press release.

“We are finalizing many of the details this week while the land is being cleared and prepared, and construction should begin next month,” Drewes said. “We should be ready to open in March.”

Details

Downstream Casino Resort

Website: downstreamcasino.com

Quapaw Tribe

Address: 5681 South 630 Road, Quapaw, OK 74363

Website: quapawtribe.com

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Wisconsin Casino Opens RV Park

The Ho-chunk Casino in Baraboo, Wisconsin officially unveiled the Ho-Chunk Hoiusa Cinuk RV Park to the public October 1, and is just one part of expansion plans that include a water park and an addition to the casino/convention center.

Those present included casino managers, representatives of the Ho-Chunk Nation legislature, Baraboo-area business owners, and Green Bay Packers veteran LeRoy Butler.

Located on the north side of the casino property, Ho-Chunk Hoiusa Cinuk RV Park features space for 49 RVs, including 21 spaces designed for year-round use. Amenities include wireless Internet access, fire pits and picnic tables, sewer, water and 24-hour security patrols, reports the Baraboo News Republic.

Casino Executive Manager Jones Funmaker said the casino has always had visitors who arrived in their RVs and stayed in the casino’s parking lot. The new RV park is simply a way to accommodate a new group of customers and attract more of them.

“It seemed to make business sense, ‘hey, can we charge them to park?'” he said.

Funmaker said the casino plans to add much more to the casino/convention center property. Plans include a water park, expansion of the hotel, and expansion of the casino.

“We have all these things on the drawing board, but we went with the water park first because that is the draw, then we’ll build the hotel to house them,” he said. “Then the other things will fall in place.”

See the unique rock formations of the Wisconsin Dells. (Credit: redriverpak.wordpress.com)

Expansion of facilities at the casino/convention center benefits business for the Baraboo area as a whole, said Deb Bauer, executive director of the Baraboo Chamber of Commerce.

“Ho-Chunk continues to boost the economy of the Baraboo area by creating jobs and developing more services to bring more people in and boost our tourism dollar,” she said. “It’s wonderful for the Baraboo area.”

Rep. John Holst, who represents the Baraboo/Madison area in the Ho-Chunk Nation’s legislature, said the expansion of the casino is part of an effort to improve the economic strength of the tribe. But it is also something that should benefit the surrounding non-Indian community.

“We are glad to be part of the community. We are part of the community,” Holst said. “We will always be part of the community.”

Details

Ho-Chunk Hoiusa Cinuk RV Park

Location: In the heart of scenic Wisconsin Dells-Baraboo; take Highway 12 Bypass, Exit 214

Address: S3214 County Road BD, Baraboo, Wisconsin 53913

Phone: (800) 746-2486 ext. 7988

Website: ho-chunkgaming.com

Worth Pondering…

But do not ask me where I am heading,

As I travel in this limitless world

Where every step I take is my home.

—Eihei Dogen

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Tips for Choosing RV Parks/Campgrounds

Choices for RV parks and campgrounds include luxurious RV resorts, activity-filled family destinations, 55+ parks, secluded natural settings, and basic parks conveniently located for an overnight stay. Prices also run the gamut.

Campsite at Devil’s Garden Campground in Arches National Park. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

There is a variety of campgrounds, each offering different amenities and activities. These include private RV parks; casino camping; membership parks; national, state, and county park campgrounds; Army Corps of Engineers parks; national and state forest campgrounds; and service club facilities.

Consider Your Needs

What are the best tips for choosing a campground and campsite that you and your family will love?

Nothing can make or break your RV trip like choosing a campground not suited to your family’s needs and interests. When selecting a park, think about your camping style and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you camping with a young family?
  • Are you an active couple looking for outdoor adventures?
  • Are you snowbirds who enjoy on-site activities and the opportunity to meet new friends?
  • How large is your RV?
  • What amenities do you require? Full hook-ups? 30- or 50-amp electric service?
  • Are you looking for a rural or urban setting?
  • What is your nightly/weekly/monthly camping budget?
  • Do you travel with pets?

Locating and Researching Campgrounds

Bay Colony RV Resort, Dickinson, Texas (located between Houston and Galveston). © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The photos on the RV park website and brochure look amazing. Too bad they didn’t show the busy railroad tracks 50 feet away, the biker club next door, or the “shopping plaza under construction” sign.

Whether you plan to stay one night, a weekend, a week, or longer, there are campgrounds throughout the U.S. and Canada to meet your needs. All are unique. No two parks are the same. Each campground will provide something a little different.

There are numerous ways to locate and research campgrounds. A good place to begin is a campground directory such as Woodall’s or Trailer Life Directory.

Ratings help you select the appropriate park for your particular needs and interests. Keep in mind that the final ratings are a composite of several different areas of interest.

Woodall’s assigns two ratings to each privately owned campground/RV park. One rating is assigned to the facilities at the park—sites, roads, service buildings, restrooms, and hookups. A separate recreation rating is also assigned. Both facilities and recreation ratings range from 1 W to 5 W with 5 W being the best.

Trailer Life Directory uses a triple-rating system—completeness of facilities, cleanliness and physical characteristics of restrooms and showers, and visual appearance and environmental quality. All three ratings are on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the best. Less than one percent of parks or campgrounds receive a rating of 10. Campgrounds with a 10/10/10 rating have more facilities, are better maintained, and are more visually appealing than 5/5/5-rated campgrounds.

Camping at Catalina State Park, near Tucson, Arizona.© Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Contact the Campground

Contact the campground and ask specific questions about their policies and their park. Questions to ask include:

  • Rental rates (nightly, weekly, monthly per your needs) including taxes? Any discounts available?
  • Availability of Wi-Fi and cable TV?
  • What is included in the above rate—full hook-ups, 20-30-50-amp electric service, Wi-Fi, cable TV?
  • What are the park’s amenities—club house/activity room, pool, spa, rest room and shower facilities, laundry?
  • Is the park big-rig friendly? Length and width of sites?
  • Are sites relatively level?
  • Do the sites have concrete pads, grass, gravel, or dirt?
  • Will I have difficulty obtaining a satellite TV signal?
  • What is your pet policy? Restrictions on certain dogs breeds?
  • What is your reservation policy? Is a credit card required to hold a site? If so, is it processed immediately?
  • What is your cancellation policy?
  • What are your office hours? Check-in procedure for late arrivals?
  • Make note of the name of the person you talked to.

Note: This is the first of a two-part series on Selecting an RV Park/Campground

Part 2: Selecting a Campground/Campsite Checklist

Worth Pondering…

But do not ask me where I am heading,

As I travel in this limitless world

Where every step I take is my home.

—Eihei Dogen

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