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We love to travel. After a year of being homebound because of the pandemic, we decided to take a road trip. We planned a road trip. The idea was that driving on the open road, tent camping and staying in cabins would be a safer alternative to airports and hotels. In the middle of July, we set of on a long trek from Tucson, AZ to the Black Hills of South Dakota.
The trip began with tent camping at Las Vegas KOA Journey. This was our first time staying at a KOA. Although we had camped before, it had been in national forests, not KOAs. And, it has been 6 years since our last camping trip! Because we had been so busy with the planes and trains of work trips that we had not camped in many years.
I read all the reviews for the KOAs I booked for the first leg of the trip but was still not sure what to expect when we pulled into the Las Vegas KOA Journey at dusk. We arrived much later than planned because a pet emergency had delayed our travels. (No worries, the cat is okay!). Thankfully, afterhours check in was easy. We quickly found our site – Tent Site 2. That ease of check in the tone for a smooth stay.
After a good experience at our first KOA, Buddy and I are sharing 5 interesting things about the Las Vegas, NM KOA Journey.
1. Friendly Campers
This was a delightful surprise! The fellow campers at the Las Vegas, NM KOA Journey were friendly. And quick to offer advice or a helping hand to their fellow campers. A few highlights:
- The solo tent camper in the next site next to us offered to help set up the tent when we arrived after dark. We declined but appreciated the gesture.
- Friendly conversation with fellow campers in common areas like the picnic tables and even the bathroom! Fellow campers were happy to share their experiences and recommendations of places to visit and explore around the area.
- The campers who stayed in the Tent Site 2 before us left some logs in the fire pit. We were so grateful for this anonymous and random act of kindness. This gesture of good will was extremely helpful. Because we arrived late, the KOA store was closed, and we were not able to buy wood for a fire. What the kind fellow campers left for us was enough to cook a simple dinner in the dark.
Speaking of cooking in the dark, our Black Diamond SpotLite 200 headlamps were a life saver! We used them at every campsite on our 10-day trip. We even made a Movement Postcard with them. Buddy says, “Now that we are not camping, we use the headlamps for our evening walks around the neighborhood.”
2. Hot Running Water
Running hot water is my amenity of choice. Meaning, if I must choose between hot water or electricity, I will chose running hot water every time. The Las Vegas KOA bathroom had excellent hot water.
“The tent site we stayed at did have electricity,” says Buddy. “I brought an extension cord to charge the Jackery. The Jackery is a battery generator that we put inside the tent to charge our phones, my dad’s laptop, and the GoPro. I think the Jackery is a very useful tool.”
The Las Vegas, NM KOA Journey KOA is located 12 miles south of Las Vegas, NM on the east side of I-25. It was easy to find from the exit. Also, there is a Speedway gas station located at the exit to the KOA that makes stocking up on gas and snacks before your trip very easy.
4. The Mile Signs Tree
There is a tree adorned with many mile signs that is perfect for a photo shoot. I wanted shot a Movement Postcard on the tree but didn’t have the time. I had to settle for this photo shoot of Buddy. Buddy– eye roll!
5. The Night Sky
Saving the best for last, the night sky was absolutely beautiful!! The stars were big and bright, and we could see the Milky Way. Las Vegas, NM has an elevation of 6,424 feet above sea level. This higher elevation means we were the closer to the stars. Las Vegas, NM’s location away from larger communities of Albuquerque and Santa Fe means less light pollution. Less light pollution combined with the fact that this KOA is located south of town where there is even less light pollution, and it makes for gorgeous night skies.
A few more things
We heard the KOA’s $5 breakfast was good, but we chose eat at Charlie’s Spic & Span Bakery & Café in Las Vegas, NM instead. (Learn more about our culinary adventures here).
Yes, there is free WIFI. But we did not stay long enough to use it.
Our time at the KOA was short, we only stayed for one night. But it was a good experience.
Buddy says “I was pretty zonked out at the time, but it was pretty good. I didn’t get to survey it much. I liked that they had a playground. I would stay there again.”
Have you visited the Las Vegas, NM Journey KOA? What would you add to this list?