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    Friday, May 12, 2006

    KOA & Going Away

    Today we went to the Springfield, Missouri KOA campgrounds near Republic. We expected fun, camping, a bit of wilderness, and good conversation. Well, one out of three... Okay, it really is a horrid ratio. I will say now, that all KOAs are locally owned and operated. This means (as I was told by the other homeschooling family that was there) that not all KOAs are as bad as this one, and some are, in fact very nice in their opinion. I will also say that we are used to camping for free in wilderness. The most amenities we usually have are an outhouse in the center of the campground, a trash receptacle somewhere in the area, and a fire pit. For us, that is posh camping. Heaven forbid one has running water! *faint*

    This KOA was suburbia with fire pits! Nicely manicured, flat land, a few trees for shade and decoration. YUCK! Catering to RVers is fine, but you'd think they would have one area for tents and another for cabins, and another for RVs. Nope, they were all just mingled together for the most part. The RVs were in the center of the park, and the tent sites were scattered around the edges near the road, houses, and railroad tracks almost as an afterthought. I am totally disgusted to know that people pay a minimum of $18 per night to use a tent in these places. *shudder*

    KOAs have free WiFi internet. This one had it only near the main building. We were FAR from the main building considering how tiny this campground is. So I wandered over to a nearby campsite that had electricity and checked for signal. Bingo, we have signal! Councilor Dan (not his real name or title) pulls up in his little fume-spewing gasoline powered golf cart and tells me that some folks are going to be filling the spot I'm borrowing shortly and I will have to move when they arrive. Perfectly reasonable I think, and I agree. Fifteen minutes later, they back their trailer into the spot. Councilor Dan putts up (can these people not walk?) and tells me that these are the folks he was talking about. I start to gather my things to move to a different spot immediately, and the person using the spot tells me not to worry about it and that I can stay for a bit to finish my business. I stop packing up and set back down to work. Five minutes later, councilor Dan shows up again (still in the put put cart) and tells me to leave the spot immediately. I tell him that the fellow in the spot said it was okay for me to be there for a bit, and he orders me out NOW. *rolls eyes* So I pack up and go. It takes a real prick to not honor what the renter of a site says about who can be "visiting", especially if the other person has their own camp site elsewhere in the same campgrounds. He points vaguely in a direction containing several buildings and tells me that a "clubhouse" is over there where I can use my laptop. Like I went "camping" to be indoors on a computer! *huffs* Needless to say we packed up the computer and left the subject be. I'm trying to rationalize his actions in some way because I'm a generally nice person. I think "maybe he didn't think I had a campsite and he was trying to dissuade me from being a "freeloader", Maybe he doesn't like people with piercings", Maybe he didn't like that my hat was covered in a rainbow and he thought I was a lesbian", "maybe her recognized that I was wearing a tam and associated it with 'dirty hippies'" and they all come out in the end to "he was a raging, unreasonable, prick" no matter how I figure it. *shrug* This pretty much ruined the rest of our day.

    Add that to the fact that during the games, the preferred child of the camp owners kept declaring herself the automatic winner before the games began, and the camp owners kept reinforcing that the chubby little unathletic snot was better than all of the other kids at everything, and the day had me in fumes. We left rather than stay there to camp overnight.

    Our tiny campsite, with the cabin nextdoor.
    About 30 feet away, there are the RVs, showers, laundry room, and bathrooms. Having a bathroom so close was pleasant at least.
    The string of tiny campsites, separated for "privacy" by short patches of shrubbery.
    The stationary house trailer and yard that were about 100 feet maximum from our campsite.
    Here are the houses that were right behind our campsite. (like the back border of our campsite was that fence)
    Here is the road that was a few yards from our campsite. Note the piece of concrete culvert that is used as a fire pit. Rocks are cheaper and look better, but I guess they don't realize that. Luckily the road wasn't very busy. Busy was the railroad tracks that intersect the road and border one of the other sides of the campground, speeding trains and blaring train whistles four times in the four hours we were there. The miniscule playground area. It wouldn't need a playground if it were REAL camping.
    Littlebit had fun on the swings.
    Ladybug is happy to be participating in the scavenger hunt for corporate slaves. It asked for, amongst other, much more reasonable things like loose change; a Walmart receipt, and a map of another campground! Of course everyone in corporate America has a walmart receipt when they go camping because that was the last place they stopped for extra non-rechargeable batteries for their halogen flashlight! And every person in a KOA is so disorganized that they can't keep their cars clean, and is such a spendthrift that they pay money to go camping all the time! *snorts disgustedly* The kids happily running to take part in the games and turn in their scavenger hunt finds.
    Playing musical chairs. That's a camping game, right? There was also a hoola hoop contest (the prize for the most practiced hoola hooper was... A hoola hoop) Frisbee throwing contest (yep, you guessed it, grand prize was a Frisbee), an egg hunt (get chocolate for returning the wooden eggs, or, keep the egg _our girls kept the eggs-) and an ice cream social where every child dove into the desserts like rabid wolverines then ran off to their campsites. Not very social, but at least there was ice cream. *laugh* It was gone FAST!

    We stayed for a bit chatting with the other homeschooling family that had shown up for the free camping day. They were great people, and were the highlight of our entire KOA experience, making the day and the cash spent on gas getting there at least somewhat worthwhile. I helped them build their fire up and watched it a bit for them. The kids roasted marshmallows and hot dogs, and one of the lovely children from the highly Christian homeschooling family accidentally turned and walked towards Ladybug with a flaming stick he had been playing with in the fire. It took all of my restraint to keep from yelling "Burn the witch!" As is commonly said at our camping trips when someone pulls a flaming brand out of the fire. *laugh* Then again, I only restrained myself because usually we are camping with pagans or hippies and it's okay to be a witch and say that, whereas there, we may have seriously frightened the Christian homeschoolers we were so pleasantly conversing with. *snicker* Silly jokes aren't worth loosing potential friends over. *smile*

    Needless to say, we will NEVER go camping at a KOA EVER AGAIN, even if it IS their annual free day like it was today.

    One of our good friends is leaving tomorrow to travel with the Rainbow Family of Living Light and returning in August so he can vote for Midge Potts in the congressional primaries. So when we came back into town, we stopped at his place to say goodbye and wish him safe journeys before we went home.

    At home, we unpacked junk, and settled down for the night, when yet another good friend (I am lucky to have so many) IMed me, and came over to chat for a bit. *smile*

    Tomorrow I have all sorts of wondrous, productive things planned, none of which I will likely have any time for, but such is life. *laugh*

    [where: 5775 W Farm Road 140 Springfield, MO 65802]


    lovelife said...

    Hi I am so happy you sent me a link to your page. Wish I was as good of a mom and as a person as you are. I am happy to call you a friend in my short time on this earth.

    Anonymous said...

    Well, at least you had a good time talking/visiting with the other homeschooling family.

    Sorry that you had to deal with the jerk of a campground owner :-(


    Dana said...

    Oi, sugs. That doesn't even look like camping to ME. You might as well have been in someone's back yard!

    Don't be a stranger. You know where to find me.

    Anonymous said...

    Seems like ya had a good time :-)

    Anonymous said...

    sheesh - I hate that about "organized" campgrounds. Camping closer than I live to my neighbors? No thanks. We used to camp in the state forest - which was great - never saw anybody. Nowadays the only camping we do is to meet our friends who live on other states. Then, just cause it's a fairly inexpensive half way point.