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One Year Anniversary
?This week will be the first anniversary of me and my family taking over the campground. I had RV’ed a handful of times in California, where we used to live, where I got the idea that owning and operating a campground could be a fun way of live.
This first year we learned a lot about how a campground works and how to operate and run one.
The previous owners built a great campground with modern facilities, plenty of large pull through sites, all with electricity, water, sewage, and cable TV. Most sites have 50Amp as well as 30Amp and there is WiFi. We strive to maintain their vision for our campground and expand on it.
Where we are in Kentucky the winters are not as cold as further north, and the average is one foot of snow per winter. Not enough snow to do any snow sports. Therefor we are open all year and we have a number of long term guests who stay at the campground through the winter. Once you learn how to live in an RV in the winter, there isn’t much to it. Since there is no owner's home on the campground, I immediately had to get an RV to live in. In the winter you learn to check the propane level daily, until you get a bigger propane tank.
While the WiFi may have been adequate 10 years ago when it was installed, recent WiFi developments have resulted in a 10x increase in volume and speed in many areas of the country. Our WiFi provider has brought fiber optic into the RV park and it is being installed as I write this. The enhancements to our WiFi should be significant. When the park is full and everybody watches Netflix at night the demand on our WiFi network is huge. We expect the improvements to be able to accommodate it.
During Covid lockdown, activities were severely reduced. Now that most Covid restrictions have been lifted, we are back to having activities. Charlene is our event coordinator. Some of the activities she has been organizing include Ice Cream socials on Fridays, and food trucks on the weekends. We have had a renaissance fair, 4th of July fireworks with 3 live bands and other activities. The swimming pool has been very popular during these warm months. Our mini Golf has been repainted. We have added a huge new jumping pad which has proven very popular, in addition to the pedal kart trail for kids.
Last year we learned that Halloween is a big thing in Kentucky and nearby West Virginia, so we invested $5000 in a haunted trail with scary props and actors. This year we will be having halloween events again.
I have identified over 40 local activities in our local counties. Although we haven’t had a chance to check them all out, there are beautiful lakes nearby, golf courses, caves, fun theme parks etc. You will find them all in the video below. Diamond Links Golf course is very close and they have a great Grill which delivers food to the campground. There are other great restaurants within 15 minutes. Last winter Malibu Jacks opened one of their indoor theme parks nearby. It includes rides, a laser park, mini golf, arcade games, and a bowling alley.
Additionally Rush Off ATV park is about 12 miles from us. This ATV park is huge with about 7000 acres. Hunting season is starting and we have many guests who stay here just for that.
The cattle rancher next to our campground built a meat processing plant with a Deli. It is about 200 yards from the lower level with great steaks and other meats at great prices.
Besides RV sites, the previous owners had built 4 nice cabins. All our cabins have linen and bathrooms and showers. Two of them have kitchens as well. They have outdoor fire rings and some have gas grills. We have added two RV’s that can be rented as well. One of them can sleep 4 adults and several children. The other can sleep three adults or 2 adults and 2 children.
While it is fun to figure out how to create a great experience for our guests, things aren’t always as it seems, as things can break down. In March we had a big water leak. The city water pressure is much higher than what we want in the park. However the pressure regulator had failed (it is not supposed to fail) and it took a few days to get a replacement part. The lawn mower also died around the same time, and you can’t get a new John Deere lawn mower for at least half a year. At least, not the model that we needed. We had to buy another lawn mower while the old one took a few months to get repaired. Our campground consists of 50 acres and many of those have grass. And then the gas prices doubled in mid March, which caused a large number of cancellations. But gas prices have come down again and everything may be going back to normal.
KOA is a franchise. Each campground is independently owned. There are over 500 KOA campgrounds in the USA and Canada. Each campground is unique. We have to meet certain standards which guarantee the quality of your experience. All of this we learned throughout the past year. KOA campground owners get along great with each other and like to help each other out. We have learned this over the past year and their help has been very useful. We also learn from each other what the guest (you) wants.
Bob Twaalfhoven and family, and the crew at
Ashland/Huntington West KOA.