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  • J.F. Rowan

Not even a kiss on the cheek?

Looks great doesn't it? Well, a picture may be worth a 1000 words, but in this case there are a few paragraphs missing.

Stagecoach SP., Steamboat Springs, CO

“SP” stands for “State Park”. But in this instance, if I were a person who liked to swear while he wrote, it would stand for something entirely different.

Our departure from Steamboat Springs late in the day left us with very few options as to where to stay overnight, so Stagecoach State Park seemed like our only option. Boon-docking seemed unobtainable.

Great looking site right? Well, it was for about an hour.

Here’s the story in a medium to large nutshell. We arrived at the gate. The SP gate person told us where and what sites were available. So, we drove around the park and picked a site that WAS NOT RESERVED according to the lack of ticket at the site AND after CONFIRMING it with the lady working the front gate. Happy with our choice, we happily paid our fee. We drove back to the site, parked, got out of the truck, locked everything up and went for a much needed walk as we like to do at the end of every day.

When we returned, low and behold there were two tents erected neatly at our site and two cars parked right behind our truck and trailer. As it turns out the site we picked had already been reserved 7 weeks prior, online, using the infamous Colorado State Park Reservation System. They had proof of purchase, so we were out. And naturally, the gate person was gone for the day. In this particular loop, no other sites were going to work for us. So Yvette suggested we use the group site (which wasn’t occupied) for the night. After all, it was about 8:30 PM, no one was using it, there was reservation ticket on it and it was level.

So, we dropped the cable that was strung across the entrance, drove in and parked. We weren’t there five minutes when the park host came swooping down in her golf cart and asked us what we were doing. John explained, but there was no sympathy to be had. She kept reiterating as to whether or not I realized it was a group site, and that I had not paid for the group site. My argument was, no one had reserved it, no one was in it, our stay would be for one night and we’d be gone by dawn. It was as if she couldn't hear me. Nope, it’s still a group site and “you haven’t reserved it.” She didn’t even address the fact that we got “boned” by paying for a site that they should have known was already reserved. I was trying to apply common sense...silly me.

The park host left to get reinforcements and sure enough, not five minutes later, here comes Robby Ranger. He rolled down his window and I argued my point once again, but just like some kind of robot, he continued to tell me that I had not reserved it, if I hadn't reserved it, I couldn't stay in it, even if I got the short end of the stick. I applied the same logic to the sight we got boned on, and he was having none of it. He was nice enough, but even though he was nice, we had to move. Just had to. So we did. We ended up with a crappy site at the end of a row of sites we probably wouldn’t have picked on our worst day.

Even the campers that had reserved our original spot agreed, they hate the Colorado Reserve system as well. We have a choice, and we choose to stay away from the Colorado State Park system, and this is yet another reason why. Oh, and no apologies were ever given, zero F@ks to us! The next morning we were up before the light and back on the road. As we drove out of the park, we looked over at the empty group site, still with no one in it.

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