Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Ellsworth AFB Famcamp, Box Elder SD

Stay Date:  Sept 2016

Our Rating:  Bad – 5

We've found in our travels that many military campgrounds are an afterthought to MWR when it comes to management, and after two visits this year we've had it confirmed here. Our first visit earlier this year, we never saw the host during a three week stay. This time, we were assigned a site when making the phone reservation, only to find out after we had arrived and set up (no one answered the host phone) that we had to move for a "long term camper" in spite of there being many empty sites. We moved and watched as the site we moved from was occupied for one night and then was vacant. In addition to having to move for no reason other then incompetent scheduling, the price of $28/night with no weekly or monthly rate is unreasonable for a military location of this average quality. We've found better locations in the Rapid City area for less, which removes Ellsworth as a military benefit.  Overpriced at $28/night.  Ellsworth AFB Famcamp

Cedar Shore Resort, Oacoma SD

Stay Date:  Sept 2016

Our Rating:  UGLY!!!! – 3

Cedar Shore1We were disappointed to find that unlike the description on the web site, this park is a below average campground instead of a "resort". Check in was in a small office where we noticed that the single washer/dryer were too dirty to use. Cedar Shore2We were assigned a pull-thru site that faced uphill and was sloped to the point of being unable to level without raising the rear wheels off of the ground. Sites are dirt with ragged grass and small trees. We watched as two other RVs gave up trying to get level and drove around to find a site they could use. Cedar Shore3Also frustrating was to see the empty pull-thru sites facing the river that were reasonably level and that sat empty. Cable TV was basic eleven channels and fuzzy analog. WiFi was weak and would not connect. At this nightly rate we expected at least average service and were disappointed. Probably a good spot to stay long-term, as the back-in sites were paved and level, but for the short term there are better options.  A rip off at $42/night  Cedar Shore Resort

Camp America, Salem SD

Stay Date:  Sept 2016

Our Rating:  GOOD –7

Campground AmericaWe arrived on a crowded holiday weekend to find our reserved pull-thu site was occupied and unavailable; however, the very friendly and helpful manager closed the office to personally guide us into a site that allowed us to keep our tow vehicle attached. Campground America2Older, small park with tight turns on the interior gravel roads, but level gravel sites and lots of trees and grass. Hookups were OK, and although no cable, OTA received 10 channels and we found an open spot to use our tripod satellite mount.Campground America3 Verizon cell/data were good, and the park WiFi was intermittent due to the large number of people in the park. Very quiet at night due to location well off the Interestate, but still convenient to access.  $31/Night  Camp America

Randall Creek Recreation Area, Pickstown SD

Stay Date:  Sept 2016

Our Rating:  GOOD – 8

Randall CreekThis is a large recreation area along the banks of the Missouri River just below Randall Dam. Paved interior roads wind through trees and some turns can be tight. Some paved sites, many gravel are generally large and well spaced. Randall Creek3Most sites are shaded, and there are large areas of grass, hiking next door at Fort Randall NP, and access points for fishing in the river. Each site has a picnic table and fire ring, and firewood is available in the park. Very popular with fisherman and reservations are a must since the check-in booth is seldom open, but web site has photos of each site. Randall Creek2No OTA TV but most sites have access to the TV satellites. Verizon cell service was good but data was slow. Large dump station and water available near restrooms. Without an annual State Park pass, an additional fee of $6 per vehicle is charged. Noisy and busy during the weekend, but very quiet during the week.  Camping plus entry fee results in $25/night.  Randall Creek Recreation Area.

Area Tips:  Fort Randall National Historic Site adjacent to the park is worth a visit.  Up the road, the Fort Randall Casino is a nice place to play the slots or have a bite to eat. 

Crystal Springs RV Park, Ellendale MN

Stay Date:  Aug 2016

Our Rating:  GOOD – 8

Crystal Springs1Beautifully laid out park, with back-in sites on the lake. Gravel interior roads and large, level gravel sites. Convenient hookups, good WiFi, and Verizon cell/data were strong. Crystal Springs3Good OTA TV and clear shot to satellites. Although not far from the interstate, large trees and landscaping kept noise to a minimum. Beware that are no signs to the park; the dirt entry road is just past the northbound exit road of I-35; you'll parallel the interstate south for .5 miles to the park entrance. Crystal Springs2Call on arrival since there is no office; someone will come by to collect the fee (check or cash). Lots of nice grass, plenty of space between sites, and a beautiful lake to fish. A great place to spend time.  Reasonably priced at $30/night.  Crystal Springs RV Park

Jackpot Junction RV Park, Morton MN

Stay Date:  Aug 2016

Our Rating:  GOOD – 9

Jackpot Junction1We enjoyed our three-day stay here. Enter the casino loop & park just short of the park. Go to the player's club first and get a card to reduce the price to $25/night. Jackpot Junction2Then to the "tours" window to pay and get a site. We found the tours and campground host to be very friendly and helpful. The park is well laid out and easy to enter. Paved interior roads with large, level concrete pads and a patio with built-in table and a fire ring with grill. Grass covered spacious sites and solid hookups. Jackpot Junction3The cable was extensive and very clear, and there are no obstructions to the satellites. The WiFi was slow to moderate throughout our stay, and Verizon cell/data was good. No bathroom facilities at the park except porta-johns although plans are in the works to build a restroom/shower area. Overall, a pleasant stay - quiet, dark at night, and reasonably priced.  Jackpot Junction RV Park

Area Tips:  The Charles Lindberg museum and home are worth a visit in the nearby town of Redwood Falls. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Camp Ripley National Guard Post, MN

Stay Date:  Aug 2016

Our Rating:  GOOD – 9

Camp Ripley1Quiet, heavily treed, with huge sites spaced well apart, this park is a perfect getaway. Level, wide concrete pads, 50A power and water, with a convenient dump station at the exit. Camp Ripley2Fire rings and free firewood, large table, a short walk to the Mississippi River. Good WiFi, acceptable Verizon cell/data, and while there is no cable or clear area for satellites, we received nine OTA channels. Camp Ripley3Very quiet post, and except for the mosquitoes, a perfect place to spend a day or two.  An added bonus was the laundries – four large ones on base and all free. Camp Ripley4 A bargain at $17/night  Camp Ripley NG Post