Saturday, September 15, 2012

Learning Curve

Sunset at Prado Regional Park, Chino CA
As we start our second year of RV ownership, we continue to learn new, not always pleasant lessons.

For this trip I booked two nights at the Prado Regional Park in Chino, CA.   I did my homework, looking at thing like space size, hookups, and cost.  I made my reservation online and printed out my confirmation and a campground map.

On Thursday afternoon, as we sat in the hot, non-air-conditioned waiting area of the Freightliner shop, I looked over the printout.  Strange ... up to now the parks we have stayed at had check-in times in early afternoon.  This one said no check-in before 3 PM.  No problem, it was almost 4 and our rig wasn't quite ready.

OMG ... the fine print said the Park closes at 5, but that the gate was locked at 4. Campers arriving after 4 were to call the office for an after hour code.
I looked at the clock: 3:55 PM.  I called the number and got a recording saying the office closed at 3! 

EEK, we were going to be locked out! I didn't have a code. 

What to do?  I was very upset to say the least.  Craig pointed at the door and said "go there".  It was about twelve miles away.  Fortunately the Accent wasn't hooked up.

I arrived at the park and of course the gate was locked and there was no one around.  I could not see the campground from the entrance, but I did see a couple of fishermen about a block away at the edge of the lake.  I climbed over a low fence and went to ask them if they had a code (no) and the location of the campground.  It is at the far back corner of the park!

I decided that walking in to the campground and finding the camp host was my best option.  It was very hot, close to 100F, and I was still pretty riled up.  As I approached the gate again I saw a truck heading out.  Wait! I ran across the grass and climbed the fence again.  Turned out the driver didn't know the code either.

Just then another camper pulled up to the gate and started to enter his code. 

 "Wait, wait," I yelled as I ran over to his pickup. 

I must have looked like a crazy woman!  Clutching my reservation binder I told him my situation and he gave me the code number! 

He looked a little suspicious. He asked me which space number we were in (27) and told me they were in 25.

I thanked him and explained my husband was with the RV at a repair place and I had to go back and get him.

Which I did ...

We drove back to the park, entered our code, opened the gate and drove to our spot.  

We met our neighbor, and we all laughed about "the crazy lady waving a clipboard!"  They also told us it was often very hard to get someone to answer the telephone and they usually got a code when they placed their reservation.

The lesson?  Read all of the print out!  

Have you ever been locked out of a park at 4 in the afternoon?


  1. Good grief! Thank goodness you lost that weight and can run and can climb fences. This sounds like the beginning of a sequel to the movie, RV!

  2. For us it was 6:00 p.m. in Las Vegas. And our RV was locked inside the gate with the girls. We camped at the Clark County Shooting Range and they "forgot" to give us the code. And who in Las Vegas is home by 6:00 p.m. So I had to walk (since Jim couldn't) down a pitch black road to the workcampers about a mile away, drag the out of bed so they could use their code to get us in. I as not a happy camper. Got the code the next day and let them know what we thought.

  3. We had a similar experience our first time in Desert Hot Springs. So many of those parks are members only, and we arrived after dark to find out that we couldn't get in. Finally found someone who let us spend one night, but we really didn't like it anyway and we moved quickly on the next day. Sometimes there are always surprises.

  4. Wow, that was crazy that they lock the gate so early on a Friday night when they know most people will not make it there until well after 5:00pm. Doesn't sound like they have much of a customer service focus, but you prevailed!

  5. So you can check in between 3 and 4? That's ridiculous. Can't think of the rvpark review site right now, but consider posting your experience there.

  6. Glad you got in. I guess otherwise, you'd still be responsible for the cost of that night since it was reserved? I would have been tempted to just find the nearest walmart at that point! Never panic, you still have your little house with you :-)

  7. Hope you post a campground review. Others may miss this bit of information too. A one hour window to check in is pretty small.

  8. The park I am at today has a code to get in and they have those things that chew up your tires if you try to get in on the side for exiting.

  9. We got locked out at Deer Park WA (but not until after 8pm) coming back from a cruise but only because I forgot to write down the code. I had to walk to the rig to get the numbers and then phone them to John. Its nice having security but it means I have to remember stuff and that doesn't always happen. Sounds like this parks system is seriously flawed. Hope you let them know how crazy that is.

  10. not yet we haven't and after reading your experience we probably won't be either...

  11. All I can say is WOW!! Sounds like the people who run that park have other things to do. Such a small window, you'd think they were new to owning a campground or something.

    I hope you guys have fun!


  12. All's well that ends well I guess. I tend to forget about checking in late too. It's something we're trying to remember, but usually it's on a Sunday.

  13. Never heard of a place locking out RVers, that seems like bad business to me.

  14. That's crazy! Between 3 and 4? But my guess is they do it cause they can - is it otherwise a nice park? I'll be sure to read up on those things now though - our local parks are so open I get complacent and take for granted that all are like them.
    Enjoy your well earned time there!

  15. Kind of sounds like they don't want much business. I agree about posting a review. Even if the park turns out to be nice, it should have the major flaw pointed out.


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