Friday, May 9, 2008

Arrrgh! KOA

We are at the KOA in Albuquerque, NM (map).

As I have documented here previously, we dislike KOAs for many reasons. We chose this stop because they have free WiFi, and I needed Internet access last night and this morning with less delay than our satellite connection, to participate in an AT&T Webmeeting teleconference.

I have to say, KOA has once again conformed to our extremely negative expectations.

For starters, the web site advertises a current rate for back-in sites at $29. When we checked in, we were told no $29 sites were available, and we paid a whopping $46 (plus tax, which made it $51) for this pull-through with water and 50-amp electricity. After we got squared away, we realized the place is completely empty -- we and perhaps one other rig were the only overnight guests. There appear to be a few seasonals, and many, many unoccupied rigs with "For Sale" signs in the windows. I'm certain they could have found us a cheaper site if they wanted to, but it looks like bait-and-switch is their standard modus operandi.

The free WiFi turned out to be almost worthless as well. Lower bandwidth than our satellite (although less delay), and it would unceremoniously throw us off and make us log back in again every few minutes. (The service is provided by Tengo and requires a user ID and password, which they hand you at check-in.) After my conference calls, I gave up -- we're using the satellite now.

They advertise a convenience store on premise, but they don't carry even the most basic items, such as milk. I had to walk half a mile to the Circle-K. And they advertise an indoor hot tub, but it closes at 7:30pm -- I wasn't even off the phone until 7:15. (We did partake this morning, and it was disappointing -- not very hot, and the jets were unusable.) To top it all off, it's right next to the freeway, with the associated urban-freeway traffic noise.

On the plus side, it was convenient to our route, and there is an Olive Garden just a mile away, so we walked there for dinner last night.

Yesterday's drive was quite scenic, traveling through the various Spanish land grants along the Salt Mission trail. We stopped in the Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument visitor center in Mountainair, and had a nice lunch across the street at the historic Shaffer Hotel. The visitor center gave us directions and advice to get Odyssey in to one of the old mission sites along the trail, Quarai, which was a worthwhile stop. We walked the half mile trail through the extensive and impressive ruins of the old pueblo and mission.

We had planned to spend two nights here in Albuquerque, but there is no way I'm giving KOA another fifty bucks. Instead, we'll make our planned stops at Best Buy and REI in Odyssey, and continue on to the Sandia Casino and Resort on the north side of the city, where parking is free and there appear to be a number of nice restaurants to boot.


  1. Ooooh, I hate KOAs too! I'd rather sleep at WalMart than give them my money.

    As far as WiFi on the road goes, I wouldn't be able to handle it. We love our Motosat dish and even though it's spendy, we couldn't live and work on the road without it.

    If you're going south and heading near Hwy 60, be sure to point yourselves West and eat at the Pie-O-Neer in Pie Town. Incredible food, and free camping across the street.

    Hope to hook up with you some day, you two seem like a lotta fun.

    Jim, Rene & Jerry

  2. Hello Sean and Louise.

    Our experience at KOA's has been a little different. I think we have stayed at about 5 of them in 12 months. All were very pleasant and not near $50 a night, wow! As I recall, maybe $25-$35 at the most.

    If fact, we had such a good experience at KOA's that we signed up for their discount card. They are nice to stay in for one night, not a week.

    I never worry about campground internet connections, I have my Verizon PC card and I get connected everywhere at anytime in the US (so far). It just works for us. I found campground wifi systems to be very slow and knock you off line like you mentioned.

    Happy Travels, currently we are in New Orleans at the French Quarter RV park (nice and close to the Quarter!).


  3. The Holiday Casino at San Felipi,about 25 miles north of Albuquerque on I-25) was a free dump and pull thru E/W for $10/night. Didn't eat theres so can not comment on the restaurant in the casino


Share your comments on this post! We currently allow anyone to comment without registering. If you choose to use the "anonymous" option, please add your name or nickname to the bottom of your comment, within the main comment box. Getting feedback signed simply "anonymous" is kind of like having strangers shout things at us on the street: a bit disconcerting. Thanks!