Thursday, August 27, 2015

El Reno West KOA Campground - El Reno, Oklahoma

The 2015 KOA Campground Directory claims that KOA campgrounds exceed your expectations at every KOA. It also states, "Each KOA campground provides a unique camping experience. Yet there's always large tent and RV sties."

Somewhere in KOA's corporate headquarters are the minimum standards for franchise campgrounds operated under the KOA banner. We have camped in three KOA campgrounds and were disappointed twice. I am starting to wonder how stringent those standards are and how well they are enforced.

We were heading home from the Wally Byam Caravan Club International's rally in Farmington, New Mexico. After a fun stop at the Cadallac Ranch near Amarillo, we were getting tired of being on the road in the late afternoon and we found the El Reno West KOA Campground using the AllStays app on our iPhones. A quick call confirmed that they had room for Rosie, our 25 foot Airstream trailer, that night.

At the Cadillac Ranch RV Park

Entrance to the Cadillac Ranch

The Cadillacs

Another view of the Cadillacs

Rosie parked at the Cadillac Ranch

Rosie at the Cadillac Ranch

Finding this campground isn't easy. You end up driving through a couple of retail parking lots to access the road leading to the park. As we finally turned on the road to the park, the skys opened up with one of the biggest storms we have ever been in with Rosie. The rain was pouring down and our iPhones were alerting us that heavy storms were in the area and to expect flash floods. We pulled up to the registration building and talked to the person on duty using our phones. It was simply raining too hard to open the door on our truck and to walk into the office.

Rain as we headed to the KOA campground

The person on duty said we could drive over to a specific site then return to register once the storm passed. We found the site and sat in the truck watching the storm.

There was a retaining wall immediately behind our site and water was gushing between the rocks all along this wall. We noticed that the water level in our site was inching up on Rosie's wheels.

As we sat in the truck and watched the rain fall and the water level rise in the park, we talked about how close together the camping sites were in that park. I doubt that we would be able to extend Rosie's awning because our site was right up next to our neighbor's. We commented that we have seen trailer storage lots where there was more room between campers.

It didn't take long for us to start looking at our weather apps and AllStays to find another campground about 30 minutes down the road. Just that quick, we decided that we would not be staying at a disappointing KOA that night and pulled out.

The road leading to the campground was starting to flood. Having traveled that road 20 minutes earlier, I was familar with some reference points on the road and determined that the water, while rising, was passable. It probably would not be so in another 10 minutes.

We are not sure what this park had to offer because we left before it flooded. Our decision to leave was based on the rising water in our site, the water pouring through the retaining wall and the campers were jammed so close together in that park. Also, the camping fee was out of proportion of what the park really offered. There would have been a huge bout with "buyer's remorse" had we spent the night in this park.

The person who wrote the line about large tent and RV sites in the current KOA directory may need to get out of the office and camp in a few of their campgrounds. Either that or we define "large" vastly different.

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