Our Experience with Thousand Trails

I was very skeptical about buying a membership with Thousand Trails (TT) as I wasn’t sure we would actually get our money’s worth. One thing I learned right away is to read the fine print. Make sure you know exactly what you are getting into.  I understood that I was only buying certain zones, but one of the things I didn’t realize was that you couldn’t book more than 60 days out. I had bought our membership in May in hopes that I could start booking for our big trip north well in advance. Instead I had to wait until 60 days prior to the first day of my stay at each place I wanted to stay at.  In the end, it didn’t seem to be a problem as I was able to make a reservation for each place I wanted to be at once I reached the 60-day prior mark. However, it wasn’t until we got to the first Thousand Trails park that we booked that we found out that even with a reservation, it doesn’t mean they will have a spot for you. What’s the purpose in making a reservation, if there not going to have a spot? In all our months of RVing we have never run into this problem as it makes sense that if you make a reservation you expect to have a site waiting for you.

The first TT we attempted to go to was Gateway to Cape Cod RV Campground located at 90 Stevens Road, Rochester, MA. It was our first experience and the worse. The first thing we learned was when you arrive at a TT park, you get to choose your campsite. That is, if you can find one. Driving around looking for a site is not something we have ever had to do as all campgrounds/resorts we have visited always direct us to where we are to go even if I have picked our site out online, the host still directs us as to where to go and how to get there. The host at Gateway was of no help and very rude. She didn’t even have a clue as to which sites might be available. Just said drive around until you find something and then come tell me where you are. I’m sorry but this is not the way to manage a campground. After this experience I was ready to cancel our membership and never recommend them to anyone. This is when we discovered that even though we had a reservation made for over 60 days, it didn’t guarantee us a site upon arrival. Luckily we were able to find another campground to stay at; however, it ended up costing us $200. 

Our second TT was at Sturbridge RV Resort located at 19 Mashapaug Rd in Sturbridge, MA, which wasn’t too far from Rochester. Our experience was better as far as the campground having space available, but the spaces were so close together we couldn’t even open our awning. If we had, it would have touched our neighbor’s RV who had come in on the same day we had. They were supposed to stay for 10 days, but they left the next day, which I assume was due to lack of site space. There ended up being a water leak at our door on day two and they didn’t even consider fixing it until the day we were to leave. They wanted us to leave by 9:00 am so they could get started, but I’m pretty sure check out was not until noon. I understand the leak needed to be fixed, but we had already been inconvenienced with lack of space and having to walk through water, so what would another hour or two hurt.

The third TT was at Timothy Lake North at 6837 Timothy Lake Road, E Stroudsburg, PA. As for the ranger, she was great. She told me several sites that were opened and showed me how to get to them.  As for space, well let’s just say it was much better than the last place; however, the grounds needed a lot of care. They were trimming trees and cutting grass near the check-in, laundry, pool and up front areas, but they failed to manicure the rest of the property.  We parked on an end site in a pull-through only to discover that we would have to back up to get out as we couldn’t make the turn to the right pulling a fifth wheel and the entrance/exit to the left was blocked off.

We finally made it to our fourth TT park in Lebanon, PA at Hershey RV & Camping Resort located at 493 S Mt Pleasant Road and found the best park of all.  Not only was the ranger full of information and a breath of fresh air, but everyone else we have had contact with during our stay was as well. Our stay was during Labor Day weekend for eight nights and being that we were arriving on Friday before the holiday, we were afraid there wouldn’t be any spots available. However, we arrived right before noon and luckily there were several. We lucked out with a spot that no one can park behind or in front of us, so we are more than happy with our site. There is so much to do here to entertain yourself, from a pool and spa, to tennis and volleyball courts and so much more. Our only complaint is the Wi-Fi, which when it worked was very slow. Liking this place makes coming back to this area a big possibility in the future.

If you’re considering purchasing a membership to Thousand Trails make sure you read every word of the contract before you obligate yourself. If I had known then what I know now, I would not have bought the membership and because of the issues we had in the beginning I will not renew when the times comes.

 

A Couple Weeks in Pennyslvania

After we completed our visit through the New England states we spent a couple of weeks in Pennsylvania. Our first stop was only for a couple of days in the Pocono area so we could visit the Pocono NASCAR track. At some point we plan on chasing NASCAR all over the country to see the races live, but in the meantime we’ll keep visiting the tracks along the way. We actually got to ride in a pace car from the fan store to the track for a tour. 

NASCAR Pace Car

NASCAR Pace Car

On days that the track is not hot, they actually take you on the track, but unfortunately the track was being used on the day we visited. At this particular track you can drive a stock car by yourself around the track. They put you through a training session before they put you in the car, but then your strapped in and able to drive as fast as you want to go. Our tour guide said an 84-year-old lady had done it and went 135 MPH around the track. Neither of us participated in this activity, but it was tempting and something we might give into in the future. I mean why not what have you got to lose?

More pics from our trip to the Pocono Raceway…

amw_9749

amw_9753

amw_9757

amw_9759

amw_9762

amw_9767

From here we headed to Lancaster county. I was looking to see some Amish country and more. We took a day to head to Lancaster where we went on a buggy ride that took us through farmland, a working farm and more. We both enjoyed the tour and wished it had actually been longer. If you ever get a chance to go, do yourself a favor and do the private ride, so you don’t have to share your time with others as some people are not always polite during events like this and when you pay money for something, if your like me, you want to get your money’s worth, which means I like to hear the tour guide talk, not the others on the tour.amw_9782

amw_9790

At the farm, we stopped and got to walk through several of the barns, one being where the calves are stored once removed from their momma. Some were barely a month old. As you can see from the pics below, they were completely adorable. The next barn was the milking barn, which had all the milk cows. The milk cows produce as much as 10 gallons of milk per day. The Amish use a machine on the udders to gather the milk, which goes into a big vat that houses the milk until the trucks show up to get it and take to the factory for further processing. The cows are only given an hour of outside time per day.amw_9793

amw_9794

amw_9799

amw_9806

In addition to the cows, we saw chickens, mules and miniature horses. The children attach a wagon to the miniature horses to be pulled around. One of the things that sets an Amish property apart from others is the long clothesline in the yard. I miss having an outside clothesline as when I was growing up that was the only way we dried clothes. 

amw_9795

amw_9809

amw_9828

I put the pics below in black and white as it gives them that ole’ time look and reminds me of days gone by.

amw_9810

amw_9814

amw_9819

Chocolate World

We spent a day at Hershey’s Chocolate World. We were thinking the tour would be more of a behind the scenes type of tour, instead it’s a narrated ride telling you how things are done. There are several types of tours you can do as well as a trolley ride through Hershey; however, we opted to spend money on gifts for the grandkids, no chocolate, but something just as good.

amw_9857

We spent time looking at covered bridges, the farmlands and just resting up for the rest of our journey. Overall it was a great stay and one that I could do again. From here we head back to Ohio to pick up the new RV before getting back on our journey in Washington DC and then down the eastern coastline.