Family Camping World
Adventures, Tips, RV Trips

Friday, March 24, 2006

Family Camping at Yogi Bear Jellystone Campground

I may be the last camper on the face of the earth with children to have discovered the joys of Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park campgrounds. But to cut myself some slack, I will also note that camping is a relatively new activity for our family.

Because we got our new trailer late in the season, we only got to go on three camping trips in before winter set in, but the last one sure whet our appetites for this spring when we can start planning more family camping trips anew.

We went to Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park Campground for their end of season, Halloween celebration and it was such a fantastic experience - despite the onset of some frigid temperatures and rain.

If you've never been to one of these places, it is like a trip right into cartoon land. There are carousel rides, train rides, movies, crafts and even a real fire engine ride for the kids. Of course, each location has many different offerings too that are designed to entice campers to try their slant on the old favorites - Yogi, Boo Boo, and Cindy Bear.
When we visited, Yogi was in hibernation for the winter, but during the summer Yogi wakes up little campers, has breakfast with them and generally makes their camping trip one for the memory books.

There are activities planned for all ages at just about every hour on the hour 7 days a week during summer months. Even during our fall visit, the activities pretty much ran non-stop. In addition to ceramic painting, pumpkin painting and gem mining, there was a haunted hayride, haunted walk - that rivaled most commercial offerings - and of course trick or treating and other Halloween themed events. They also sponsored a campsite Halloween decorating contest in four different categories and some of these campers go all out! It was so festive to see all the decorations and see so many people enjoying their camping experience.
Needless to say, we are watching the calendar for the first signs of spring so we can plan our next camping adventure with Yogi. Hope to see you there!

Ebay Started Our Family Camping Adventures

There was a time that I never would have pictured myself camping, let alone purchasing my first travel trailer on Ebay. But after a number of circumstances falling into place, that is just where I found myself in 2005, spending late nights on Ebay scouring the RV travel trailer listings.

And so the camping adventure began...

We don't exactly live in the camping capital of the world and when my family and I decided to purchase a travel trailer, we were in for quite an education. We did what I suspect most people would do, and started scanning the local classifieds, picked up the trader magazines, etc. All to no avail. Everything we looked at locally was either way overpriced or uninhabitable. Mind you, we weren't looking for a mansion on wheels, but we wanted to at least make sure that we could tow it to our driveway without falling apart.

So, that little voice inside said, Ebay! But I was a little hesitant at first because this was a large ticket item and there were the logistics of transport to consider as well. But hey, it doesn't cost a dime to look, so off we went to search Ebay.

Luckily, I have an uncle who is basically a camping and RV guru in his own right, so I can't quite claim that I did this single handedly, but for the most part, it took about two weeks before I clicked on an auction that would forever change our family's vacation adventures.
We ultimately found our "perfect" trailer, but not after swapping many emails and more photos beyond what was in the listing. But along the way, Ebay did more for us than just match us up with a seller. It matched us up with two wonderful human beings that were just as happy to have found us as buyers as we were to find them as sellers.

After the auction was complete, we arranged a pickup date that was a few weeks away - perfectly fine with the sellers because they wanted to get our new toy ready for us. Little did we know, how far these two people went to make our purchase smooth and enjoyable.
As the two weeks elapsed, the emails turned to camping advice, trials and tribulations and the wishes from the sellers that we would have as many fond camping memories as they did. Knowing that we were complete novices, these two people went so far above and beyond a seller's obligations, that they could give lessons in good service after the sale. They covered questions we didn't even know we had!

So the big day came and we took off on our road trip to go get out new baby. It was a 7 hour drive, so we also made arrangement to stay at a local hotel - which our new friends recommended based upon the ease of parking our new trailer there overnight for the first time. And until that point, being car travelers, the size of a parking lot was certainly never a concern when we booked our hotels.

When we arrived, the trailer was everything we thought it would be and more. One of those rare times that the photos didn't even do it justice. And the hospitality the sellers extended was awesome. They even had dinner waiting for us! So after our long trip and a very tasty dinner, we were taken through all the basics of hookup, awning setup, electronics, maintenance, upkeep and more! It was so refreshing to find others who go the extra mile and we were so clueless going in, they don't even know how easy they made the whole transaction on us.
So as we swap campfire stories from campground to campground, we will always have such fond memories of our largest Ebay purchase yet. And what a story to tell!

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