Saturday, July 18, 2009


June 25-26, 2009

To say we got a late start would be an understatement. We were suppose to arrive at Thunderbird Lake on the 24th but I got a last minute job opportunity and ran into problems in getting away for various reasons. We could have left about dark on the24th but we hate going into a campground we don't know after dark. So we decided to try for an early get away on the 25th and still do numerous mystery shops after setting up camp.

Only things didn't go as planned then either. Three days earlier I had heard a noise in our supposedly empty #2 brooder in the big coop while checking on Elf. We had things stacked in front of the brooder so I couldn't get to it.

I did manage to see a nest of abandoned duck eggs and one lone black Muscovy duckling who had defied all odds and had hatched out with just the extreme summer heat we've been having.

I had no idea how long he'd been in there, but I knew he needed food and water so I went to get one of the guys to help me get to him. By the time Gary, my dear husband- often to be referred to as dh in the future, went to rescue him he found the little guy had climbed the hardware cloth and fell four feet to the floor. He, knowing a feathered backside was suppose to be Mama, was now following Sonya our blue Turken and her brood around.

By the end of the afternoon we had to get the little guy because Sonya didn't know what to do with a duckling and he was nearly succumbing to the heat.

Just as Elf did after one final escape to be with his Mama. We could not save Elf, but we did save Dorf, so named because of the way he walks and keeps low on his tiny feet. But we knew he needed a duck mama.

So the day we were to leave I got delayed in helping Sean, dear son=ds, trick Trudy, a white and chocolate Muscovy into adopting him. It worked, but it was time consuming. Then there were all sorts of "just one more thing to pack" items and it was nearly noon before we left town.

Our first stop was at a car dealership to cash in our rub off mailers we had received in the mail for a contest they were having. Everyone gets these things in the mail, but most do nothing with them.

These said the smallest prize was a Wal-Mart gift card. We knew they would be $5 each from past experience. We considered it the same as a mystery shop and stopped long enough to collect our $10, which we would put in the gas tank later on that day. After all $10 was worth more than $10 if you use their gift cards you get $.03 -$.05 off per gallon when you purchase gas.

So there was $10 to help pay for our travels.

When we arrived at Lake Thunderbird we quickly discovered this state park is not big on signs of any sort.

We first turned in at the South Dam campground only to find it was tent camping only. We pulled into the boat ramp area to consult the very limited map supplied by the state of Okahoma on line and found we needed to be just a few more miles down the road to the Calypso Cove boat ramp area.

When we pulled in there we again found NO SIGNS about anything. Not where to check in, not rates, not anything.

I must say the campground looked gorgeous, all brand new looking level concrete pads, nice big lantern hooks, shade trees scattered about, and then we started driving in. They need to put some serious work into the actual roads of that campground.

We drove through three times looking for a camp host, an indication if there were certain areas you parked for certain facilities whatever. Nothing, so we finally pulled into one of the pull through sites and set camp up.

While Gary was sitting up camp I threw together a lunch which we ate quickly then headed for Edmond to do a shop there. We completed it and two others before it became too late to do so.

A note I should make here, it's one I'll repeat on and off. I, not Gary, do the shops. On the ones he cannot be with me he either drops me off and I do it alone OR in the case of certain fast food ones I drop him off somewhere safe and comfortable, go do the shop and back to get him.

I am the one that is contracted to the companies, not Gary. We follow the rules exactly. There are not enough mystery shopping jobs in any one area to support two of us doing them as heavy as we do. So it's me that does them.

Gary spends his time waiting applying for jobs on line, scheduling shops for me, setting up the gps and other such jobs. He is actively busy with our "business" while I do the actual shops and follow up paperwork.

Once back at camp, around 9:00 pm we were startled by a knock at the door of the camper. It was the camp host there to collect the fees. I didn't realize it at first, but then later we realized we had been VERY over charged.

From the state park website the fees are:
Base Rate
$10.00 per night/per site

Utility Fees (where applicable)
Water Service: $2.00
Electrical Service (30 or 50 amp): $6.00
Sewer Service: $3.00

We were at a site that had NO sewer, and we had no plans of using their water, Gary had filled our fresh water tank at home to avoid the water fee. .

Therefore our fees should have been:
$10 for the base rate
6 for the electric
2 discount for senior citizen
$14 per night

We were charged: $21, after the $2 discount! We were charged a ps fee, that we later determined was a premium site fee. Only it had no sewer! We were not allowed to say no water either.

So we were charged $14 extra! I'll write the state of OK and tell them, but I figure they'll not even bother to respond.

So if you are a person camping on a shoestring BEWARE they do not go by what is on the website there and be prepared. If they start adding extra fees on, call them on it. We will in the future. She told us that they do take Good Sam's there, but that they only gave a $1 discount for it. Hmmm, and I thought Good Sam's was 10% of the total cost, hmmmm. Shouldn't that be $2.30?

Oh, and when I asked about not finding a camp host they said they always just come around AFTER 5:00 pm up to 11:00 pm to collect. You know, after you are all set up and it would be a pain the backside to move your camper off of an UNMARKED premium site. We felt it was just another ploy to get more out of the campers.

Another thing we discovered as we took our evening walk was they charge $.25 per 3 minutes to use the showers! Seriously, think about it. One man said they'd been camping there a while and they'd got it down to $.75 a night per person to get thoroughly clean, but it had really put a crimp in their budget when showering five people every night!

If you are camped at the campground you can use their dump station for free, guess that's why we got charged a sewer fee when there was none. If I remember right, sorry I didn't not write it down, it's $5 to dump if you aren't paying camping fees. But there is NO one anywhere near the dump station to pay or any signs posted that you are to pay, the price or where to pay.

The next morning we were up and going quickly, grabbing bagels from the fridge and off we went for a long and fast day of nine shops. We discovered much later that evening it should have been ten, but we had a communications problem between the two of us and one shop just flat didn't get put in the schedule.

Lucky for me I have a VERY understanding scheduler and she said not to worry about it, she had someone else who could pick it up for her the next Monday and for me to go on to Davis, where she had a LOT of shops she really needed done.

We were up late, so we slept in late. One kudos I will give this campground is you can stay until just before 5:00 pm if you want, without an extra fee.

It's a pretty campground, I'd show you photos, but they accidentally got deleted from the camera, it is limited on it's services, and it can be a bit pricey if you don't watch the fees better than we did. We'll learn. I guarantee you it won't happen to us again there.

The sites are concrete pads, level and clean each with a nice picnic table, lantern hook and campfire ring.

We left there before noon because we had three shops to do that day, along the way.

Camping fee $42 total for two nights–waaay to high for a shoe string budget.

1 comment:

  1. Jan, I'm so sorry to hear about Elf. I hope the little duckling goes on to thrive.
    I'm loving your writing though and can almost see everything you describe.