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About ToddF

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    Senior Member

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  • Location
    Burnsville, MN
  • Interests
    Biking, Half Timer, Bichon Frise fan

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  1. Just arrived in Flagler Beach Florida (S of Jacksonville) and will spend 3 weeks in Florida before working our way West to Gulf Shores State Park, Travelers World in San Antonio, and Arizona. Transient by nature so just upgraded my Thousand Trails zone pass to an Elite contract which has 9 home parks in Florida on the contract as I want to spend much more time in Florida testing the waters. With the Trails Collection add on, I'll have a huge selection of parks I can move through "park to park" in the sunbelt states. Not interested in boondocking except maybe for a few days inbetween parks. Initial impression of this area is that it is AMAZING!
  2. I had a search in progress throughout this whole process that included ebay and I found one of those "hidden gems" I was hoping for. Confirmed by Thousand Trails and purchase completed via ebay, I found an Elite membership with a Florida Max Pass that transfers. TT can withdraw the "bonus parks" with 30 days notice but in practice has never done so that Becky at TT knows of. So I got the Full Elite Membership with 6 additional parks in Florida, and will be able to stay 21 days, park to park, etc. I wanted more snowbird parks (not with the Trails Collection restrictions) and luckily found them. I paid a premium to get these parks.
  3. Campgroundmembershipoutlet.com turns out to be a great resource and I have decided to purchase through them. They serve as a clearing house and whatever fee is built into the price they quote, it is worth it to me. Very knowledgeable on all the different contracts and options and informative about what the nuances are between contracts. My expectation of "bonus parks" turns out not to be realistic, after all this research, I don't think there are contracts with permanent bonus parks built into the pool of available parks. But after doing more research, I am satisfied with the 86 or so parks that come with the Full elite membership, which is the one I have settled on. Buying on the resale market, brings the price down from the stratosphere and the worst case scenario is you can walk away from it after only 1 year of paying dues. Best case is of course to get many years of enjoyment from the membership and transfer it to a family member later on or sell it at the end.
  4. The Trails Collection is such a valuable benefit, I'd be reluctant to let it lapse. There is always the possibility they will close it to new campers and roll it over for existing participants. If I don't find a great lifetime contract, I'll let my 4 year contract rollover automatically (automatic renewal for 1 year at a time from here on out)...here is how that will look based on current published pricing... 1st Zone $585 2nd Zone $ 54 TC $214 Total $853 / 12 $71.08 per month (Right now I am paying $51.89 with the 4 year Hershey deal). (You can only do that once). One thing I really like about the current arrangement is that it will be year to year with no lifetime commitment. Also, the 7 days out forces me to explore state parks, do a little boondocking etc.
  5. They offer 3 different lifetime memberships now ranging from "Basic Elite" to the "Ultimate Odyssey". But they no longer offer "bonus parks" with their new memberships. The TT basic menu of parks only has 1 park in AZ and 3 in FL, one of which is Peace River and not a good location as far as I am concerned. You can add the Trails Collection (TC) and get access to over 100 parks (many very good parks in FL, TX, and AZ) but one can accomplish that with just a zone pass. Unless a membership turns up with "Bonus parks" written into the contract, maybe I'm better off staying with the Zone pass + TC. The TC is offered on a "limited basis" so there is no guarantee that program is going to continue in the future. What got me even thinking about a lifetime membership is my desire to spend more than 14 days on the Jersey Shore without having to move and do the 7 days out. It's $50+ night down here to camp at any of the other private campgrounds and they're not as nice as Lake and Shore on Ocean View. I'm 5 miles from Sea Isle City and 10 from Avalon - 2 wonderful beach towns. The park has everything one could want. I grew up coming to the Jersey shore as a child, so the area has a strong appeal to me. A permanent site at Lake and Shore is over $6,000 annually!
  6. Yes, also reaching out to campgroundmembership outlet..I'm conducting a broad search, hoping to uncover a hidden gem. (Some of the contracts have very desirable features). Also using ebay and craigslist. Have been camping in TT since Fall '16 when I signed up for the zone pass, then added the Trails Collection. They have conservatively saved me $4,000 over this 4 year period (projection as the 4th year starts on Oct 1, 2020). If the right deal comes along, I'm looking for a longer term commitment.
  7. 120 Booking window minimum 21 Days Park to Park minimum Must include the following parks: Lake and Shore (Seaville NJ) Timothy Lake South (East Stroudsburg PA) Orlando (Clermont FL) 3 additional parks in FL and/or AZ. Todd Fogelberg (I am at Lake and Shore now) Bonus parks can't expire after 5 years. Don't need cabins, RPI, or ability to will membership.
  8. We are based in the Twin Cities and enjoy Minnesota and the surrounding states from early May - Labor Day. We spend a lot of time on the North Shore (Lake Superior) and down in the Driftless Zone (Lanesboro, Root River Trail). I also do a lot of biking around the lakes and other paved bike trails in the Twin Cities metro area. And we enjoy the shopping, arts, sports venues, dining, parks, farmer's markets, fairs etc of this region. We have indoor storage in MN where the RV rests out of the elements during the time we are in our town home. Indoor storage is hard to find, but not impossible. Our town home lends itself to "lock and go" so we can go anytime..except during tax season when we work FT. Our low real estate taxes, maintenance fees, and utilities give us little financial incentive to look at full-timing, although one can't help consider the option given the number of folks who enthusiastically embrace it. It is not for us. We recenty sold our lake home, embracing the RV life style on a "half-time" basis. We much prefer the RV and lifestyle compared to a fixed vacation home. By traveling south later in the year, we shorten our winters. But we return in late Dec (early January this go around) for the tax season which we start in early to mid January. So we've learned how to winterize on the road, typically when we cross the TX/OK line and spend a night in a motel en route back to MN. Last year we got back and the RV into storage before the first snow flakes so no trouble. Not looking forward to driving in snow but it's possible with our time line, and we'll deal with it when it comes. We learned how to winterize the rig ourselves which eliminates the need for an RV service appt. Most campgrounds have storage areas for the time you would be back in MN. Also, lots of storage lots and other facilities especially down in the larger snowbird destinations like Mesa etc. We do sometimes fly home and try to position ourselves in cities that Sun Country services, as their fares are very low and they allow one way tickets on short notice. Orlando, Harlingen, and Mesa are 3 good places to be if you need to fly home to MSP.
  9. Yes, all fulltimers beware. The IRS is out looking for you. LOL (Because they have nothing better to do.)
  10. ToddF

    Arizona Good Deal!

    Thousand Trails might be an option. Buy a zone pass and add the trails collection. You'll have access to about 20 parks in FL and 30 parks in AZ for up to 14 days at a time. (Then 7 days out). Only a few have a nightly surcharge. Is there anyone out there doing this? How does it go Jan-Mar? (No trouble Sept - Dec). I like the 7 days out because I can move around and visit state parks, boondock for a night here or there, and try other private and public campgrounds. And there is no up front fee to "join" like there is with the lifetime memberships. There are folks on those who move from park to park within the TT system every 21 or 28 days. If they use the Trails collection, the same rules apply...14 days in 7 days out of a TC park.
  11. Part of the "fun" is the challenge...not unlike learning to play golf or ride a bicycle. Certainly don't give up!
  12. ToddF

    Arizona Good Deal!

    I enjoy the "pre-season"...all the parks are half empty. Very laid back. At this price, a few bucks for utilities is fine with me. I'm also planning to spend some time at Saguaro, in Benson. A wonderful place! It will be interesting to see if the proposed new housing development (huge) goes in and what affect it has on that area.
  13. I'm looking ahead to 2020 and considering spending my "winter" in Cal Am parks if they run their special again next year. (My winter in AZ is the last few months of the year as I have to return to MN for tax season). For anyone interested, it is advertised on their website for 2019...stay in any of their parks for $995 + Utilities for 4 months (Sept 3-Dec 31). This strikes me as a very good deal. (I won't have my zone pass or trails collection to fall back on next year as I plan to let them expire on Sept 30, 2020). ($1,295 for a 2nd group of parks that are a little more upscale). I'm thinking of a month in Yuma, a month in Tucson, a month in Casa Grande, and a month in Mesa next year. It would give me a chance to try something different than Thousand Trails, that I've been camping in since Oct '16. And "try on for size" parks that I might like to stay in for the entire winter once I retire. I've been to Florida and the RGV and settled on Arizona as my preferred choice to beat the cold and snow. I love mountains! http://www.cal-am.com/specials/
  14. I have a new found appreciation for the RV lifestyle after studying the timeshare option for a week. I confess to never having stayed in one. But I ran into an escapee (online) who uses them extensively, have a tax client who bought 2, and so I thought, check it out! The more I researched, the more I realized that the RV was a good choice for ME. As you all already know, the RV takes me where ever I want to go. Big cities. Small towns. And everything in between. For anyone interested, here is a link to the timeshare user group. They got a little mad at me when I pointed out some faults I saw in the timeshare phenomena, I'm sure they work well for some folks. For those very limited occasions when I'm not using the RV for travel, hotels work just fine for me. Maybe a good option for fulltimers who need a break from the RV or want to go exotic places only reachable by air. (Always buy on the secondary market). tug2.net I like my RV.
  15. Wow, Brian and Barb's blog is filled with great info on TT and a 2019 update that shocks me if it's true. No more zone pass sales after 2019? (That means I'll have to come up with a Plan B). We were camping primarily in the Fall (Sept-Dec) so parks are never full. Makes it so easy to make reservations and the atmosphere is more laid back. We've been as far North as Wells Maine (a really nice park with great staff) and as far South as Punta Gorda (Trails Collection (TC) add on). The park in Punta Gorda is absolutely beautiful. Only stayed there a few nights to get a feel for the area, but the TC add on allowed a free stay. Our average nightly cost has been in the $15-$25 night range taking into account the $425 zone pass fee + $199 (now $214) TC add on. It will be interesting to see what transpires when our zone pass contract expires in Sept 2020. I like the TT system and will buy a lifetime membership if I have to. I am aware of the resale market so will need to "shop around" before buying. When you buy direct from TT, you pay a lot as Barb and Brian point out. But you might get more parks then you would on an older contract.
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