Remember Sunshine Valley

Sunshine Valley CampgroundWe’ve been thinking of various new business ideas for ourselves when we complete this journey. If at that time I am still interested in starting an RV park, somebody please remind me about Sunshine Valley.

On our corn-stealing morning run when staying near Eau Claire, WI we just had to check out the campground down the road from its dilapidated sign. The first thing we noticed was the For Sale sign at the edge of the property. Then we noticed the “Closed” sign at the campground entrance. Then we noticed how much work someone had put into this little campground and how long it had been since anyone had obviously even parked a tent there, not to mention an RV.

All the sites were covered with tall grass and vines were growing up the walls of what looked like it might have once been a decent little shower building. There was no sign of anyone around at all. That is, until we got around the trees at the end of the loop and discovered this “campground” was basically someone’s converted front yard. “Yards” are big in these parts. We’ve noticed a number of smart farmers who’ve decided to supplement their income by adding a few RV sites on their property. If you got the space, why not? It worked for the City View Farm in Hoven.

For just a moment, I had the fleeting thought that this is exactly the type of opportunity we’ll be looking for when it comes time to plant roots again and start up a business. But there is a reason places like this go up for sale. No matter how many improvements you put into a campground, there better be some sort of attraction or outdoor amenities nearby. Otherwise, it better be located on a high-traffic road laden with travelers, and have great signage promoting good amenities … especially if there happens to be a perfectly good County Park right down the road with large sites for $9 per night.

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When we went looking for a campground that might actually have a dump station for us to use after our five nights at the county park, we discovered another farmer’s hidden secret. Barely though, his sign was even worse. And his RV sites were basically in a corn field. A corn field in which he had us dump our greywater tank when we asked if he had a dump facility. This nice old man wasn’t even going to charge us, since it was “only the greywater” but we gave him the three bucks we would have paid at the gas station down the road anyway, if their dump tank wasn’t plugged.

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