Looking for a place to camp and drop the RV while exploring the Little City of Rocks in Idaho, I came across a listing for Bend River near Gooding, Idaho on Freecampsites.net. Water and electric sites were just $15 per night. On the website were instructions on how to get there complete with coordinates. Entering the coordinates on Google Earth, I was taken to a dirt lot on the edge of a fairgrounds. The website mentioned that the campground was managed by the fairgrounds, so I figured the coordinates were close. Luckily the Google Earth car with the camera on the roof (aka street view) had driven through the fairgrounds. Studying the street view images I quickly located power pedestals in a grassy area on the fairgrounds and concluded that was the campground, saving the coordinates.
Upon arrival I located the site I had seen on Google Earth, parked and plugged the RV into power. However, I found it odd the water faucet was some distance away. After hooking up, I took a walk to find the pay box to no avail, so I placed a phone call to the number listed on the website only to receive an answering machine. I left a message on where we were camped, were we in the right place and how we should pay. As my wife and I were having dinner, the city cop came through on patrol and paid no attention to us parked in the grass, leading me to believe maybe we were in the correct place. Still concerned, I reviewed the website and noticed the campsites were listed as having concrete pads, pull- thrus and BBQ stands, none of which were in existence where we were parked. Now I knew we weren’t where we were supposed to be! Jumping back on Google Earth and scrolling around the area, I soon located what appeared to be concrete pads just north of the fairgrounds. Switching to street view I quickly confirmed that was the true campground complete with water and electric hookups, concrete pads and a pay box! We were soon moved to the correct location, hooked up and settled in for the evening. Camping in the wrong location, due to bad information, just another adventure in RVing!
For those of you that would like to camp at this location:
The correct name of the park is Big Wood River RV Park, the website ishttp://www.goodingidaho.org/community/rv-park/. You will find the entrance to the campground at N42 56.964 W114 42.778 (not the coordinates listed on Freecampsites.net) or 1.7 miles north of the intersection of US Hwy 26 & 46 (not the one mile north listed on the city’s website). There is a free dump station located in town on the 200 Block of 2nd Ave West.
Dave Helgeson’s many roles in the RV industry started before he even had a driver’s license. His grandparents and father owned an RV dealership before the term “RV” had been coined, and Dave played a pivotal role in nearly every position of an RV dealership. He and his wife Cheri launched their own RV dealership in the Pacific Northwest. The duo also spent 29 years overseeing regional RV shows. Dave has also served as President of a local chapter of the Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), worked on the board of advisors for the RV Technician Program of a local technical college, and served as a board member of the Manufactured Home and RV Association. Dave’s reputation earned him the title of “The foremost expert on boondocking,” bestowed by RV industry icon, the late Gary Bunzer (The RV Doctor). When he’s not out boondocking, you’ll find Dave in the spotlight at RV shows across the country, giving seminars about all things RVing. He and Cheri currently roam in their fifth travel trailer, with Dave doing all the service, repair and modifications to his own unit.
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