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by Ron
Let's Talk About Campgrounds
As I headed our motorhome east on May 25th, I knew it was time to think about campgrounds again. We were spoiled at our winter headquarters as we enjoyed all the amenities included in our long term rate. We didn't have to worry about decent voltage to our unit as well as the other hook-ups. Nor did we have to worry whether or not our big rig could maneuver into the site. We have noted that campgrounds seem to be a major concern to those contemplating full-timing. Their primary concern is cost, but some are wondering if the commercial campgrounds are a place where they really want to stay. Questions involve security, atmosphere, facilities and scenery as well as cost. 

It's true that we can not always take advantage of weekly rates, but moving every day provides opportunities for temporary overnight camping that can help reduce the nightly average. During our three weeks moving east we have camped overnight in two very nice rest areas and at a friend's place of business in Missouri. We have included six days in state parks (water & electricity) at a cost of $12 a night providing us with beautiful surroundings. Four nights in Coast to Coast campgrounds amounted to $24. We had a wonderful time in Branson, Missouri, at Treasure Island Coast to Coast Campground and were treated great. We even got discount tickets there for two terrific shows. 

In order to be close to family in Oklahoma City we took advantage of a large public park across the street and stayed in a spacious parking lot under a tree behind the tennis courts. It was so level that we didn't even put down the jacks. Most of our time was spent across the street visiting, but at night we slept peacefully in our own bed.  We didn't do this to save money, but rather for convenience. There's no doubt that four nights of free camping again brought down our nightly average. Now we are parked next to our daughter's house where the grandchildren play on our computer and we are handy for quick baby-sitting if the need arises. This campground won't be entirely free because we will be treating lots of times when we go out to eat. But we would do that anyway and besides---we want to. 

In the north and east the camping season is short and property is expensive. Because of this, commercial campgrounds may target a certain clientele out of necessity. Some try to provide an entertainment atmosphere to attract weekend families. You may find Yogi Bear, game rooms, pools, playgrounds, miniature golf, go-carts, etc. These are things that the full-time could probably do without, yet they are included in the cost. Others (particularly urban campgrounds) may attract permanent residents. Often times these parks tend to deteriorate and are not always attractive. For these reasons we prefer public parks and membership parks when possible. There are exceptions. This Saturday we will stay at a KOA park in order to be near a family graduation open house. It will fit into the overall budget. 

As you can see there are many different camping scenarios and it can be fun to improvise. If something doesn't work out---remember---our house has wheels. 

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