Thursday, November 25, 2010

THE Trip, Two KOA Campgrounds

Copyright 2010, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

Now that the turkey has been devoured and you are all fat and sassy, hope you will enjoy this little offering.



This is dedicated to all our RVing friends, who will SOOOOO get the photo at the end!  Enjoy, I just know you will be ROTFLOL.

When you travel in the northern states at this time of the year, you have to take what you can get when it comes to campsites.  See, in the northern climes, many, if not MOST of the campgrounds close around October 15th, maybe the 31st.  

We wanted to stay near Springfield, and St. Louis.  We ended up in KOA Campgrounds in both cases, campgrounds that officially are closed, but allow campers in, if you ask.  Man asked.

A bit more back story which our RVing friends will all so totally understand.  See there is something called the "gotta have train tracks near the campground" syndrome.  Many campgrounds sit near railroad tracks, active tracks, some extremely active tracks.  Oh, some campgrounds you hear the trains in the distance as they rumble by, sometimes you hear the horns far off, quietly warning that they are passing through.  Some campgrounds are a bit closer to the tracks, so when a train rolls by you know it, the horns wake the sleeping dead, the trains are better at waking you than an alarm clock or an over active bladder. 

Man and I don't mind most trains, we joke, if there are train sounds, we must be in Tana, camping.  YAA!!! 

However, we have had 2 experiences that, well, are memorable. One was back around 1986 or so, when we had that new 1986 custom van.  It had an alarm, a motion detecting alarm.  The van was new, Man was anxious, he had the alarm adjusted to "SENSITIVE".  We were on our way south, driving I 75 through Ohio and Kentucky.  We would stop in a campground somewhere south of Cincinnati.   It sat on a long piece of property that laid between I 75 on one side and a double set of railroad tracks on the other.  I'll bet you know where I am going with this story, yes indeedy.  In the middle of the night, the 18-wheelers still running/rumbling hard up and down I 75 and two trains passing at the same time on the double track, set the motion detector off on the van.  Seeing that the van and the trailer were still tethered, all the lights on the trailer AND the van started blinking on and off while the noisy alarm went off as well. 

OK, that was memorable, and we learned our lesson, do not set motion detector alarms to sensitive mode if we intend on stopping here again.

But, by far the loudest, closest and scariest train/campground story took place near Galveston Texas.  We needed a safe place to get off the road for 10 hours, hopefully to grab some zzzzs.  Not paying a lot of attention to the surroundings, other than to note that, yes, there was a set of railroad tracks nearby, we paid our camping fee, backed Tana into our campsite, set up, got the dogs inside, and then a train rolled by.  The tracks were soooooo close to Tana that we felt the ground rumble and shake as the train passed.  I was sitting at my desk, looking out the back window and thought that train was going to come off the tracks and right inside Tana.  I think the tracks were 25 to 35 feet from Tana's back wall.  I hope that I am never that close to railroad tracks for an entire night ever again.  Oh, yes, it was a VERY long night.

So, back to our two KOA's so far this trip.  One is in Eureka Missouri, just 30 miles or so west of Saint Louis.  This has to be Reflection's dream campground (she says with an evil glint in her eyes), we have a highway close by, and a couple of train tracks, which are nearby, but a respectable distance (making the noise levels soothing, not irritating). AND, just 5 campsites from where Tana is parked, the Allen Cemetery!  This place has it all.  It is too expensive (but very clean and neat), the electrical has been used hard (we had to plug Tana into the service at the next site over, as our electrical service was partially burnt), but, I mean, a campground, a train, a highway AND a cemetery!  Delightful. 

In the photo below, you can see the cemetery, not the best photo, but, lookie, see, look hard, fuzzy tho it may be, there it is!

The silver on the far left of this photo is the ladder on
Tana's back side.  Right above the word "this" is a headstone.
The cemetery up there is easily sighted from our campsite.

Here is that headstone up close.
 Emily has a memorial at Find A Grave.

The other KOA was near Springfield Illinois.  We have never visited a KOA that was so far off the expressways.  This place was several miles off a decent 2 lane road.  There was a bridge you had to drive over to reach the campground, a single lane bridge.  I'll let the signs tell the rest of the story.  (Spelling and such are to be noted, but, of course.  If you cannot read the signs, click on the photo, so it opens in a larger format.)

They are right, no noise from planes, trains or highways. Quiet for sure!  And, they have the signs to brag about it!

* Train graphics courtesy of


1 comment:

Greta Koehl said...

I'm not even an RVer, and I enjoyed reading this! May have something to do with my husband's stories about traveling and camping with his dad, with campsites and motels that were often very near train tracks.