On Saturday we drove 3 hours from Bozeman to Yellowstone. We got a late start because we wanted to get some chores done before another week of vacation.
I tried booking a 40 foot site for us online. On the checkout page it said that I needed to state the size of our trailer and the size of the vehicle and it had to add up to the length of the site. If it didn’t then you should call for a reservation. Our total length is 48 feet, so I called. The lady on the phone said they hold back the longer sites for people who call in, and we were able to make a reservation at Grant Campground.
The reservation receipt said: IF EQUIPMENT SIZE IS LARGER THAN STATED IT MAY NOT BE ACCOMMODATED.
When we arrived I went to the office to check in. The Xanterra Employee called me to the window, “I can help you.”
Me: “Hi, how are you doing?”
Me: “I have a reservation” and gave him my information.
Him: “I need your credit card so I can swipe it.”
I knew from my reservation call that they would need to charge me for the second night, but still thought the way he said it was weird, but ok.
Anyway. So he finishes checking us in and we go over to our spot. It’s one of those pull up against the side of the road spots, but most of the spots have grass or something separating the spot from the road. We also seemed a bit too long for the space.
We both think the spot is terrible and potentially dangerous to be stuck out in the road, so we go back to the office.
Brian: “Hi, how are you doing?”
Brian explains what’s going on with the site and the guy kindly offers 2 other sites to us. We ask him how long one of them is and he said something like 36 or 38 feet.
I thought it was weird since the website and the person on the phone were both so strict about length, would a site that length be ok for us? Could we park our truck sideways? He didn’t really answer, but agreed that we should go over and see which site works for us.
The 30-something site was too tight for us to even back into, so we ended up going with the second site. Brian unhitched the trailer and went to report back to the office while I settled inside.
Right after Brian left, a guy in a small C-class RV pulls up next to me. The guy gets out of the RV and tells me that I’m in his spot. I told him that the guy at the office said we could park here. He asked me if I had a ticket stub that had the site number on it. I said that my husband went to the office with our stub, so I didn’t have anything with me. The conversation escalated and I told him that there wasn’t anything I could do and he should go to the office.
A few minutes later a Xanterra employee speeds to our site in a car and slams on the brakes. He jumps out and is initially friendly until he hears that my last name isn’t the last name of the other couple. I try explaining what happened, about the guy in the office and the 2 spots. The employee gets mad at me and finishes with “Never mind, I’ll just talk to your husband.”
Brian returns and tells me we have to move. I tell him about the two men yelling at me and I break down in tears. Brian can’t believe this and goes back to the office to tell them that this is unacceptable and he wants to talk to a manager. The manager told him that “everyone is on edge today because we had a child die in the park today.”
That was awful to learn, though Brian thought that it might be cause for people to act with more compassion rather than less, but what can you say after hearing that.
We ended up moving back to our first spot, but this time with an additional spot for our truck. In the end we learned that first Xanterra employee screwed up. All along he was supposed to give us the additional spot. It would have saved us 2 hours and some grief.
Fortunately, the rest our Yellowstone experience has been awesome, and there is internet here so I’ll be scheduling some posts about what we saw during our epic 12 hour day yesterday.
2013 Cost of Camping:
85 nights paid camping
167 nights free camping
252 days this year
Total spent on camping this year: $2,322.22
Daily average cost of camping: $9.22