RVing freeloaders?

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Ron

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Why would any RVer want to stay at a campground that has the attitude of Judy Barns owner of the Yellowstone River Campground in Billings, Mt. ?One of her comments to the city councel in objection to any consideration to do away with the no camping except in licensed campgrounds was " many of the people writing to complain are ?escapees? from Livingston, TX who are fulltime RVers with no fixed address who live free in RVs. These people drain their tanks into storm drains and along roadways and dump their trash in other peoples receptacles."

If that is what she thinks of RVers then she is in the wrong business. ?More details of the Billings councel meeting can be found at:
http://ci.billings.mt.us/Online/PDF/Government/minutes/WSMINUTES_2005_08_15.pdf

No way would we stay at a campground harboring such hostilities against a group of her potential customers.

 

Betty Brewer

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Ron said:
No way would we stay at a campground harboring such hostilities against a group of her potential customers.

Ron, the thing is , I have the same hostilities as Judy Barnes when it comes to the infractions she mentioned. ?Does this mean , you would not stay at my place or tell others not to stay with me or not go out to eat with me? ?:D

Betty Brewer
 

Tom

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That seems to be an outrageous description of the RVing community Ron. The person making that comment has probably read about the few folks who abuse the hospitality of WalMart and have given all RVers a bad reputation.
 

Ron

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I would have the same hostilities against a person doing the things Judy mentioned and would probably be the first to turn them in.  However, Judy Barns has accused you, us, and every other Escapee of these things which is libel.  She has no first hand knowledge of her accusations obviously or she would have never accused all of the Escapees of these infractions.  As for the KOA the majority of RV'ers are not freeloaders.  I just don't approve of their tactics to force us to do business with them nor do I like being accused of the infractions Judy Barns has accused us of.


Do you as an Escapee member like being accused of the infractions that Judy Barns has accused you of?
 

BruceinFL

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Preaching to the choir won't do any good. Has anyone submitted a rebuttal in writing to the Billings City Council?
 
M

MTRancher

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Bilings is the headquarters for KOA, is it any surprise they would be against allowing people to stay in parking lots? Not only does the campground miss out on the overnight fees, but most of them have little stores which lose revenue also.
I'm not the least bit surprise KOA and 'Judy' used slang terms to try to get their point across; KOA has a big stake and wants to create a precedence. The point most places are missing is in many towns you can't get a spot unless you have made reservations, and for many with an RV, the sole idea is to travel to wherever, whenever. The key to fighting this is to show average availability vs lot counts, but I doubt anyone is going to go to bat for the RV'rs with that much work involved.
It's just a shame that KOA and the Billings campgrounds have decided to make an minor issue with a few bad apples into a major revenue push.
 

John From Detroit

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Ron said:
I am in the process of writing a letter to the Billings City council and will probably put in the mail by Monday.?

Ron, when you send that letter to Bililngs, either send me their address (or procedure if other than snail mail) or use this post to sign my name to it.

I would like to point out a few thigns too... Mostly

1: Sometimes you just can't make it to a campground and need to stop for the night. Eariler I used the example of a leg of a trip taking much longer than planned resulting in exhaustion. but a better example might be the CHECK ENGINE or CHECK TRANSMISSION light.. You get off, get secure, find a service center tomorrow AM (or even later today) and get there 1st thing in AM.

2: Sometimes, as others pointed out, the local KOA, Jellystone, or other campgrounds seem to be well populated with NO VACANCY signs (use those terms, most city council members have had occasion to look for a hotel room) and it's no fun driving all over (your choice of creation or, you know where's half acher) trying to find the one and only campground which has a bit of very unfirendly overflow lot left for you to park in.

As for the Illegal activities Judy cites (Such as dumping in a storm drain).  Well.  Yes, like all groups there are a few and I mean few, RVers who have bad manners.

I mean, even politicians have the occasional bad apple... Examples include US congressmen who wrote bad checks (Big scandel a few years back) A City Councilman in another city (Battle Creek Michigan) Arrested for shoplifting of all things (A known klepto, This was in the early 70's, He shoplifted at K-Mart (Where I worked) and Mac makes NO exceptions when it comes to prosicute)  if memory serves.

And here in Detroit we had a member of the State house of repesentives caught by the Michigan State Police (Actually caught by ME) driving a stolen cadillac.

Our cheif of police, like the one in Niles Michigan, was sent to jail for fraud (I don't know the charge in Niles)

So even respected people like city council, state and national representives and police chiefs have been known to be on the wrong side of the law.

Thankfully... These politicans are in the minority.. As are the RVers who do the things Judy accused us all of.

Oh yes... I did dump today.. Proper campsite, with proper sewer hookup, and as we were heading home this noon I emptied 2 of the three holding tanks (the remaining tank only has a couple of gallons of gray water in it)
 

Ron from Big D

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Ron:

    Very unfortunate, but has the Escapees organization been contacted.  They might want to pursue a libel suit against Judy.  That would teach her to be a little more careful of her claims.

    One thing clearly overlooked in this discussion and that is: What level of service do they provide for their campground.  How is it maintained and do the campers feel safe and secure.  Are they given the courtesy expected from any business?  These are just a few items to consider.

    I typically use a campground virtually every night out on the road and only consider a freebie when locals are full, there campground is disgusting or can't take the size of my coach or do not provide the amenities that I expect while traveling.  In the case of a freebie, I always, always do some business with the establishment providing the space.  I remember both of the ladies saying they advertise.  Well!  Doesn't Wal-Mart advertise.  Seems the city does benefit there too.

    Since it is the home of KOA, I understand a little of what's going on, but I can tell you that I frequent many campgrounds better than KOA for a much lower rate.  Both of those campgrounds are on my DO NOT STAY LIST from this day forward.



 

Ron

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There has been discussions on the escapees web site on this subject.  We are pretty much like you we stay in campgrounds unless there is a reason beyond our control that we can't.  The Billings two campgrounds are on my do not visit list too. 
 

Jim Godward

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I can say from personal experience that there are no where near enough campsites in Billings or for that matter most of Montana to povide sites for RVers most of the summer season. 

We have stayed in the WM in West Billings as all were full, once we even went to dump at one and were turned away as they were full and would not let us dump unless we had a site.  We have had to park in parking lots in several MT and WA cities because of no available campsites or even campgrounds in a couple of cases.
Here in the Bozeman area, there are 3 campgrounds, 2 are a ways from town, 3+ and 4+ miles with one just in city limits.  All are fairly small and cannot provied sites for all that need them.  WM typically has as many as 20+ in their lot during the summer and all the campgrounds are full.  Now what??  Keep going??  Livingston is the same way, etc., etc.  Tonite when we passed WM, Ned counted 6 in the lot.  G

Try getting an RV site in Bozeman when the U has a ball game!!  VBG

 

John From Detroit

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Ron said:
There has been discussions on the escapees web site on this subject.  We are pretty much like you we stay in campgrounds unless there is a reason beyond our control that we can't.  The Billings two campgrounds are on my do not visit list too. 

Ron, it's way too early in the morning or late in the night as I type this...

Does this Judy work for KOA, or another campground... If she works for KOA it might be worthwhile to send them a letter too.

Personally... I tend to avoid KOA's for the reason another poster mentioned... I can find better parking for less  (KOA tends to put sights a bit too close together and a bit too narrow)... Though in honesty the campground I'm most likely to stay at while we do "weekend" camping is a converted KOA, (used to be a koa, not any more)  And they tend to cost more per feature than other independent places

So I get more for less at another campground

However Perhaps a flood of letters on KOA-HQ advising the writer feels that Judy's "Freeloader" remarks is a serious insult, and as a result we will be expressing our pleasure at being insulted by taking our business elsewhere.. Sincerly,, Mr & Mrs Camper.

Well.... Who knows.  If KOA sees income dropping... They might consider changing their official position and suggesting to Judy that she investigate alternative employment
 

Ron

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Judy Barns is the owner/operator of Yellowstone River Camp ground. Carole Linde is frome the Eastwood Estate Trailer Village which is a KOA campground.  see the link I posted on an earlier message for details of the Billings City council mtg.
 
M

MTRancher

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While individual campground owners need to realize RV'rs won't stand for loss of campsite freedom; the corporate franchisers need to come to terms also. They can pressure their franchisees not to rock the boat with ordinances that take away RV'rs freedoms.

Here's a few of the names at KOA Headquarters

Mike Gast
Director of Communications
Kampgrounds of America, Inc.
Ph. 406-254-7509
Email: [email protected]

              Kampgrounds of America Corporate Offices
              PO Box 30558
              Billings, MT 59114-0558

              406-248-7444  telephone
              406-248-7414  fax

    Chief ExecutiveOfficer:        Arthur M. Peterson

    Chief FinancialOfficer:        Harry Cuff

    Public Relations Contact:        Annette Murray
 

blueblood

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James Godward said:
I can say from personal experience that there are no where near enough campsites in Billings or for that matter most of Montana to povide sites for RVers most of the summer season.?

We have stayed in the WM in West Billings as all were full, once we even went to dump at one and were turned away as they were full and would not let us dump unless we had a site.? We have had to park in parking lots in several MT and WA cities because of no available campsites or even campgrounds in a couple of cases.
Here in the Bozeman area, there are 3 campgrounds, 2 are a ways from town, 3+ and 4+ miles with one just in city limits.? All are fairly small and cannot provied sites for all that need them.? WM typically has as many as 20+ in their lot during the summer and all the campgrounds are full.? Now what??? Keep going??? Livingston is the same way, etc., etc.? Tonite when we passed WM, Ned counted 6 in the lot.? G

Try getting an RV site in Bozeman when the U has a ball game!!? VBG

Campgrounds south of Livingston, such as Yellowstone's Edge (18 mi s) , which is very nice, are seldom booked to capacity in my experience but you may not be referring to that sort of distance.  Of course, no WM in Livingston either.
 

BernieD

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I sent the following email to the Mayor of Billings this morning:

Mayor Tooley

Someone just brought the minutes of your 8/15/05 City Council
meeting to my attention and I was astounded by the comments made by
Judy Barnes of the Yellowstone River Campground. I have traveled in
my RVs over 100,000 miles across the US, Canada and Mexico in the
last 7 years and have never once seen anyone *ANYONE* performing
any of the desecrations described by her. On point:

1. The county surrounding Tucson, AZ attempted to finance the
baseball stadium with an RV bed tax and wound up losing so much
revenue due to RVers bypassing Tucson that the county had to cut
the tax in half to attract RVers again.

2. I would venture to say that most of the RVers staying at the
Wal*Mart spend more money in that store than the camping fees
charged by MS. Barnes. That brings more to the community than her
misguided campground.

3. RVers bring revenue 12 months a year, if you don't chase them
away.

4. Good, honest people from across the country belong to Escapees.
Their RVs are not free, many costing well into 6 figures. At
today's fuel prices, refueling is a significant expense. A lot of
those fuel dollars of those RVers you are targeting are spent at
Billings gas stations.  There is a strong internet communication
system among RVers and when someone disparages them, like Ms.
Barnes, that information gets disseminated very quickly. Ask Ms.
Barnes to prove her claims of dumping, she is crying FIRE in a
crowded theater.

5. RVers that usually stop at Wal*Marts are passing thru. They are
looking for a fast and easy place to rest for the night and usually
wind up spending more money inside the store shopping than the
local campground fees. Local campgrounds do not usually provide an
easy, quick and inexpensive overnight camping environment. The
owners are usually their own worst enemies.

You can be sure that the number of people who will refuse to stop
in Billings if the ordinance is passed, and many more who will
refuse to stop at Ms. Barnes campground. That will have a
significant impact on your future economy.
 

Tom

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Bernie and anyone else who wrote to Billings officials,

Did you receive a reply to, or even an acknowledgement of, your email or letter?
 

Ron

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Tom said:
Bernie and anyone else who wrote to Billings officials,

Did you receive a reply to, or even an acknowledgement of, your email or letter?

Not yet but when we arrive in Yuma I will be sending the same letter again but will also copy some of the larger businesses that we would normally visit while in Montana.  I will also request that Judy Barnes withdraw her accusations at the next City Council meeting and apologize.

 
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