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Question for Escapees Members


rving4us

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I have been on this forum for many years and have acquired a wealth of information, but I have a question. I would first like to state that I am in NO way implying that Escapees are not worth joining. I just try and think things out before spending money and want to make sure I will use the services often enough to justify the cost. Please understand this.

My questions, Other than what the web site states what are the most important benefits? Are there enough full service rv parks from east to west that you use? (we are not into boondocking) do you have to drive out of the way to find the parks or are they reasonably close to major highways?

I guess what I'm asking is for you Ladies and Gentlemen that have been long term member to convince me that I'm doing the right thing by joining. I have the credit card in hand just waiting on you.

Thanks so much,

Cary

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We rarely use the parks. Nothing against them but they are not where my jobs are. I still work but also full time. We are members first for the mail service and after we found out how helpful the organization is for full timers we would stay members even if we stopped full timing. There mail service is top notch.

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We have been members of Escapees for 12 years or so. We originally joined for the mail service and because Escapees was an easy way for us to re-establish Texas residency when we owned no property in Texas. We are no longer full-timing, but still use the mail service when traveling. We continue to be members not only for the mail service and magazine, but also to support Escapees advocate efforts in support of rv-ers. Along the way, we have stayed in several Escapees-related rv parks that happened to be somewhat along the way in our travels. We have stayed in Escapee parks in Texas, Alabama, Missouri, and New Mexico; and have received a discount because we were Escapee members from several other parks around the country.

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Good morning, Cary.

 

I believe an excellent reason for joining Escapees is one you stated yourself: "I have been on this forum for many years and have acquired a wealth of information..." A portion of the membership fees supports the forums, which deliver, in my humble opinion, the absolute best source of information on the Internet for RV'ers.

 

Regards,

 

Michael

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I have not yet been to a Rainbow Park or SKP park yet but even driving back from picking up our fifth wheel we stopped at on of the 1,000 or so parks that offer a discount due to Escapees. It doesnt take long to cover the fee to join Escapees. I would belong to Escapees just for the magazine and access to info but, especially if you are not going to boondock, seems to me Passport America and Escapees pay for themselves very quickly if you re fultiming.

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... Are there enough full service rv parks from east to west that you use? (we are not into boondocking) do you have to drive out of the way to find the parks or are they reasonably close to major highways?...

These are valid questions for trying to justify any campground membership on solely a cost versus savings basis. Not many parks offer the membership discounts on weekly or monthly stays. So, how you plan to travel may affect how long it will take to recoup membership fees or how much you will benefit. Now that the Escapees owned parks are open to non-members (albeit at a higher cost); that is not as big a factor as when they were members only. Not sure if all the Coops are open to non-members or not.

 

Only you know where you plan to travel. You can compare the locations of Escapee and affilitate parks using the online map with those of Passport America. In my experience, I have not encountered an Escapees 50% discount park that was not also a Passport America Park, there may be some. Passport Americaq has considerably more participating parks. There are a number of ways to get a 10% discount at a lot of parks that are not affiliated with Escapees, so in many cases the savings difference is between a 15% Escapees discount or 10% discount.

 

When traveling between destinations, I try to limit the distance from my route for an overnight stay to between five and ten miles one way as this adds the cost of 1-2 gallons of fuel to the daily costs.

 

The current discount membership of $39.99 for the first year versus the regular price of $70.00 for the first year will certainly make it easier to recoup the membership cost. In my mind, the other benefits of membership already discussed are more important than the recouping of the membership fee.

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The current cost of membership is $39.95. You can't even join Passport America for that price (PA is $44 per year).

 

However, if the ONLY reason you're considering joining the Escapees is for the parks, I don't know that *I* would join just for that reason. As stated, non-members can stay at the Rainbow Parks, although they pay more. As far as I know, non-members can't stay at a Co-op park unless they are guests of a member. There are RV parks that give discounts to Escapees (15% - 50%), but Passport America offers 50% off at over 1900 campgrounds.

 

If you're interested in joining any of the BOFs, taking part in Chapter get togethers, or going to an Escapade, HOP, or other Escapees get together, then a membership is well worth it. And, as Michael mentioned, part of the cost of membership goes to support these forums.

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Cary, your question is very valid and I read some excellent responses thus far. I believe that the best are those who state their reasons for belonging, as I don't see it as the job of members to sell for the management, but the fact that members respond in a positive way is, in my opinion, one indication that there are good reasons for becoming a member. I highly doubt that there are many club organizations which would be worth the cost to one who believes that you must receive some monetary savings to offset the cost, dollar for dollar. Those who feel that way seldom stay in any such club for long as most clubs have more purpose than just saving a few dollars.

 

So, how you plan to travel may affect how long it will take to recoup membership fees or how much you will benefit. Now that the Escapees owned parks are open to non-members (albeit at a higher cost); that is not as big a factor as when they were members only.

I am not quite sure when this all began, but we joined in 1998 because of our experience when we spent the night in an Escapee park as non-members, so it was before that time. We found that staying in one of the Rainbow Parks and taking part in an event there played a major role in our decision to join. For us, the mail service was the reason that we were looking at becoming Escapees, but once we joined we very quickly discovered that their magazine was the first one we had ever subscribed to which we read every bit of each issue. That magazine quickly became our #1 reason for staying on as members before we went fulltime in 2000. Park discounts are nice, but I doubt that feature alone would keep many of us as members. The co-op parks are not open to nonmembers, or at least none that I know of are so that really isn't an issue.

 

Remember that as you look at the website you see less than half of what we do as members. There would be little benefit to membership if everything were available to the public. Things like the on line archive of magazine issues, park reviews and many other features. In addition there are the Escapee gatherings of special interest groups, area chapters, and the annual Escapade. There is a new jobs area and there are now 3 options for a domicile available to members. There is a company store for club related merchandise and the listing of commercial members and endorsed businesses. The new website is still in the development stages and there are numerous new features that will be coming shortly.

 

We believe that by far the best part of the membership to us is the people who we meet and make connection with as we travel. When we first went on the road we were Escapees because of the mail service and the magazine but at that time we had met very few members and didn't fully appreciate what being a member means. About two years into our fulltime experience we were campground hosts at a county park in Washington state when I noticed a group of 4 RVs with Escapee stickers arrive an I remarked to Pam that we would have to drop by and introduce ourselves. Apparently they had noticed the SKP sticker on our RV as about 3 pm there was a knock on our door and we were invited to attend the 4 pm SKP social hour to be held under the awning of the RV in site #31. We went and the result was that we have steadily become more active in the organization with each passing year since that day in 2002. I could share other stories about our growth into this group of wonderful people, but it would require too much space for this thread and some might even find parts of it difficult to believe. The short version is that Kay & Joe Peterson are/were two of the most caring people who have ever passed through our lives and Cathy & Budd Carr have worked very hard to keep that tradition as alive today as it was when under the guidance of the founders! Those who join but never really become involved in depth are missing what to us is the very most important part of the Escapee experience. If it is only about saving money with no desire for the human aspects of the group, then I would tell you that it should only be a business transaction, but do so knowing that you will have missed the very important side of what might have been!

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I joined first in 1978 or 79. I kept our membership for the 7 years we fulltimed and then for several years after we came off the road. If you are on the road it is best for mail service and for a place for a Texas domicile address and the benefits of an income tax free state. In addition having a domicile gives you a place to exercise your citizen duty to vote by absentee ballot. We found the magazine while fulltiming a valuable addition to our required reading. We had Kaye's wonderful articles and lots of new ideas and content about serious RVing.

 

Funny you should ask about the park system because they follow the Southern Route perfectly for us and then when you get to the West Coast they are zig zags and on up North to the SKP CoOp in Chimicum on the north part of the Washington peninsula. We are military retirees and much of the time we had, between the Military FamCamps and the SKP parks and CoOps, we only stayed overnight enroute to the next destination at regular parks only once in awhile. Or when in Alaska or Canada/Mexico. However the discount for SKP members was used many times too even in Alaska!

 

We tried to stay at every Escapee park and managed to only miss one or two west of the Mississippi. We never RV'd East of the Mississippi, as we both had enough of congested areas, and both lived in most of those states as Military brats or as military ourselves for 27 years anyway. We are only here in Louisiana until our remaining parents are gone. But hitch itch got us and we got another fiver for this driver. I have so many friends in Escapees both online and off that I enjoy the sharing of tech and mechanical and RV subjects on lifestyle here.

 

Try them for a year. BTW, we belonged to SKPs only. For us, all the "discount" park and time share systems had nothing as we had no kids for the family themed parks, nor wanted to jump through membership hoops and rules similar to sky mile redemption in some cases. They didn't offer us any savings from our investigating. We even dropped the Good Sam club after a few months seeing it not do more than SKPs discounts.

 

Safe Travels!

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We joined Escapees after discovering this forum but before we hit the road full-time because we wanted to support the organization that supported us. We never used their mail service but did stay at many Escapee owned and co-op parks as well as use their discount at other parks. But we joined to support the organization that supports RVers.

 

Linda Sand

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...I am not quite sure when this all began, but we joined in 1998 because of our experience when we spent the night in an Escapee park as non-members, so it was before that time....The co-op parks are not open to nonmembers, or at least none that I know of are so that really isn't an issue...

I have no idea when Escapees opened the Rainbow Parks to non-members, but I do know that up until a couple of years ago, websites like RV Park Reviews listed them as members only parks. It was like pulling teeth to get RV Park Reviews or Escapees to do anything about it and I gave up. In fact as of a few minutes ago, RV Park Reviews still lists Rainbows End as:

"Rainbow's End (Escapees Only) Livingston, Texas"

 

As for the co-op parks being for members only not being an issue as to whether to join Escapees or not, I would think that if they are in places where one wants to go and one wants to stay at them, that would be a strong positive in favor of becoming an Escapees member.

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As stated above at least two times, the magazine is more then worth the yearly dues. I still work

full time and my RVing is limited by that fact This forum is better then the other one that I am active on, by far.

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As stated above at least two times, the magazine is more then worth the yearly dues. I still work

full time and my RVing is limited by that fact

There will always be those who have a need to criticize those things which they choose not to be a part of. There are very few if any social groups which one could justify joining based upon direct savings of money and those who look at it in that way probably are wise not to join as they likely would not be happy nor fit in well. You really can't put a dollar value on things like knowing CARE is there if you need it and certainly not if weighed against the cost of dues and your probability of ever needing it. It is also impossible to put a dollar value on the social aspects of groups like Escapees or any other group or club, but to those of us who participate it has great value. There is also a significant value in the tips that you get from the magazine and it's educational articles which save money or headaches for members but really can't be quantified to a dollar value. For some the option to become a part of one of the co-op parks is comforting, even if they never choose to join one, but a nonmember isn't likely to have any way to expresses that in dollars either. Your membership also gives you access to a long list of educational services such as the RVer's Boot Camp, which nonmembers do not have. Most of all, it makes you a part of the Escapee family, as I mentioned in post #9.

 

Escapees is not an organization like Passport America and Happy Campers are discount sales groups which charge for members and supply nothing but a list of discount parks. Although Escapee's have a similar listing that is by no means the reason that they exist nor is it a primary purpose of membership, just an additional benefit, which comes with no additional cost. If you only want to find campground discounts as one post here implied, then my thought is that you will be disappointed.What they are is a support organization for those who travel extensively in RVs or who are seeking to learn more about the RV lifestyle and a community of like minded folks.

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Thanks to everyone. These were some of the most heartfelt, honest opinions we have experienced in a long time. It no doubt reinforces the reason we started rving back in 1974. Not sure if the web site will accept our application over the weekend, but come Monday morning Escapees will have our membership application.

Looking forward to becoming part of your family.

Thanks again for the advice on the forum and any future questions we might have.

God Bless and safe travels.

Cary & Toni

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Welcome to the club! We originally joined because of the forum, felt it was well worth supporting. We have used the parks a number of times and it is always nice to be welcomed home, a mush different feeling from commercial parks.

 

We attended our first Escapade before we joined, but it is a better experience as a member. You won't regret your decision, it's nice to "belong".

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One of the most important "hidden" benefits of Escapees is their role as advocates for the RVer, especially the Full-Time RVers. They are forever standing up for RVers both in Polk County, which is important for those of us that utilize the mail services, etc; but also on a National basis to prevent cities and states from adversely affecting our Lifestyle. I know of no other group that supports us in this manner.

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If asked I will always tell folks who are full timers or are planning to become full timers that Escapees is a great source of information. To me a owners forum is the most valuable as the members all have the same brand RV and common interest. we participate in three forums Escapees, Montana Owners forum and RV net(not so much) and find all of them to be helpful at one time or another.

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We joined because as a former business owner I know the expenses associated with this type of forum. My dues to Escapees may help cover part of these expenses and I have already benefited from the great answers to my questions from the brain trust. Just my thoughts, kinda like "dancing with the one who brought you". Have fun and safe travels!

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I joined to use the parks (which I have used and love), but discovered that the PEOPLE are the greatest thing about being an Escapees member. Hanging out with fellow Escapees as I travel around the country is the best!

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