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Old 01-31-2010, 12:17 PM   #1
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Reserve America

I recently made a reservation thru Reserve America for Hunting Island State Park in SC. I made it very clear that I had a 34' trailer and that I wanted a site that would accomodate that size and also have room to navigate my TV and rig into the site. We arrived at 6 PM as the park was closing and it was already dark due to traffic being backed up on I95 South. The ranger did not take the time to see if the site was satisfactory for my rig and the person who booked it with Reserve America did not choose a site that could work. As I meandered through the park in the dark looking for the site I was assigned I knew that it was a huge mistake. The site was impossible as the trees were so thick next to the road and the site itself, there was no way you could manuever the back in. I have been backing trailers for years and am pretty proficient at it. I did find a site that was vacant and pulled in hoping no one would be coming in later with reservations for that site. We made notes on the map the next day of sites that would work for us in the future. My point is, how can you make a reservation for a state or national park with Reserve America if you are not familiar with the campground and already know what sites will work? I am reluctant to use Reserve America again and go to a state/national park I've not scouted in advance.
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Old 01-31-2010, 12:33 PM   #2
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I went to their online site through reserve america and noted that they give length of site and length of vehicle and whether it is pull through or back in.
Funny that a 90 foot long pull through site will only take a 45 foot vehicle.
I always look at the site map and make a determination of whether I can back in or not.
Usually a site in a bend of the road is much easier to get into. You are already angled the right way before you start to reverse.
Or pick a site like #18. That should be an easy one.
Al
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Old 01-31-2010, 12:55 PM   #3
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Did you make your reservations by phone? or on website?
If by phone, I can imagine the person forgetting what size you told them.
All the campgrounds I have reserved thru them have good details of the maximum size equipment that can be used....sun or shade etc.
Reserve America is kinda like Ebay...you gotta learn the tricks.
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Old 01-31-2010, 12:57 PM   #4
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I was assigned Site 195 which according to the description on the map would accomodate my rig. However, the sites were very narrow as was the road and heavily wooded and while the site was long enough there was not enough room to back into because of the limited space to maneuver. I agree that looking at the map now, there are other sites that would have been much better, but there were not that many sites available the week after Christmas. I chose to go futher south thinking it would be warmer. We usually go to the Outer Banks of NC. It was jsut as cold in SC anyway so if I choose to camp the week after Christmas again, I will go much futher south. In the future, I will not have confidence in Reserve America because they aren't familiar with the campground either. They are just looking at the same information I am online which in this case is misleading because of the density of the trees.
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Old 01-31-2010, 01:01 PM   #5
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You were 'assigned' a campsite ?
We select our own from the descriptions and what we want to near, or far away from.
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Old 01-31-2010, 01:26 PM   #6
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I use Reserve America (we have a choice?) I also look up the park in Google Earth and see if I can tell where I am going to end up. I used Reserve America for a site in a Virginia state park, the site we chose intially was unavailable for the length of stay so we were reassigned to a site that you would have been hard pressed to get a pup tent on , much less a 26'+ popup (when open) with a side slide. Fortunately there were other sites open that we were able to choose from that were more suitable. Unfortunately it is not a perfect system, but it is what we have to work with.

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Old 01-31-2010, 01:41 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klattu View Post
You were 'assigned' a campsite ?
We select our own from the descriptions and what we want to near, or far away from.
I thought talking with someone might give me an edge on clarity but that proved to be a mistake. I think Google Earth is a good idea. Actually I'm just trying to learn how to use it. Part of the "tricks" I'll put in my playbook for reserving with Reserve America. I wish it were possible to talk with someone on the site itself who could make a reservation based on your specs, etc like good private campgrounds.
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Old 01-31-2010, 02:00 PM   #8
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In a pinch we have called the Ranger shack if we are not familiar with the Campground.

Last season one of our favorite campgrounds closed due to the budget crisis.
It took many attempts to finally reach the Ranger station on one of the other State DEC grounds on the same Lake, well worth it though.
It is 'kinda a bummer that in the NYS DEC grounds you must reserve your site thru Reserve America. We tried to extend our stay last year in person, no way, had to call RA.
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Old 01-31-2010, 04:08 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
I also look up the park in Google Earth and see if I can tell where I am going to end up.
I need to start messing around with Google Earth more, I seem to forget about it being such a useful tool. Thanks for the reminder.

Carol
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Old 01-31-2010, 06:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klattu View Post
Reserve America is kinda like Ebay...you gotta learn the tricks.
One trick is not to do your research by clicking on reserve america with a range of time to see sites and how booked park is, latter when you actually do go on to make reservations, first info will still be in system, so double check what you get back as confirmation. When I got to the campground no reservations, but attendant was smart enough to back track and find I did have reservations a month earlier and I didn't show. It was a weekday and there was room and I had another cc which they accepted as they wouldn't take the original one. No refunds, no transfers just pay for new reservation. Took Discover 8 months to correct, after a dozen calls I will get a credit next month.
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Old 01-31-2010, 06:47 PM   #11
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You really do not have too much of a choice in using reserve america as most state parks are using that system, and unless you just want to show up and take your chances than you have to go thru them. Thats the only system I use and yes some sites have been a challenge with my 28' but than thats why I did not go any bigger, as I was told by many dealers that state and fed. sites are small and tight. even at 28' there are palced we can't go
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Old 01-31-2010, 07:08 PM   #12
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there is NO substitute for having been IN the park once already, when it comes to understanding site issues...

but IF the info is correct, RA lists the site in question as 50ft x 70 ft....

clearly large enough for a 34 (slide) and tow beast...

it's probably a site regularly used by 5th wheels too (i fully understand backing a 34 is different)

often if there is a TREE or some other obstruction ON the site that info is noted at RA...

but roadways and parking angles and back up space isn't and wouldn't be RELIABLE anyway...
________

backing UP after dark is always tricky even with LOTS of flashlights...

clearance always seems tighter at night, hazards more hidden, more plentiful and so on...

i recently back into a side after dark (solo) and it took 45 minutes just to get INTO the space, not counting the time to get PERFECTly set...

the roadway and angle and clearance and OVERhangs all seemed WAY TOO TIGHT...

next day in daylight it was clear that WAY more space was available for backing...

daylight, i estimate it would have only taken 42 minutes to back in...

cheers
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Old 01-31-2010, 07:19 PM   #13
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May I suggest another idea?

How about finding a second, smaller Airstream for use at unfamiliar parks, when you are unsure if your 34' Airstream will fit in a site?
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Old 01-31-2010, 10:40 PM   #14
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Another option, when you have plenty of lead time, is to post a question here on the forums and see if anyone is familiar with a particular campsite... they can usually tell you if the roads are full of potholes or if there are lots of overhanging trees if they have been there in the past year!
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