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No pitched battle

With the fast approaching Memorial Day weekend, the official — kickoff of summer travel season, local campgrounds and RV parks are gearing — up for what they hope will be a great summer.

So far, high gas prices have not deterred people from — traveling. But the high prices may alter somewhat how they travel.

According to the Recreational Vehicle Industry of America, — a recent survey showed travelers will be taking more mini-vacations this — year.

According to the survey, three-fourths of the RV owners — surveyed said they expect to travel more this spring and summer than last — year. About 23 percent said they will travel the same amount as last year — while just two percent said they would travel less.

The Ashland KOA Campground is readying for a big summer. — While the Memorial Day weekend is a good travel weekend, it is not the — best for campgrounds in Oregon.

"A lot of our campers come from Portland, the Bay Area — and Napa Valley," owner Valerie Bennett said. "Our busiest times are around — the Fourth of July, and we usually have sites available for Memorial Day — weekend."

One of the interesting aspects of visitors to the KOA — in Ashland is the numbers that come for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

"We have some guests who have been coming for upwards — of 20 years," Bennett said. "They will reserve next year's site before — they leave this year. We have many guests that do that."

The campground charges a nightly rate for the summer months. — The campground had a strong April due to the warm weather throughout the — month.

A hot spot for Ashlanders who camp or RV is Bend. According — to the Bend KOA Campground, they have plenty of space available for the — holiday weekend.

"We do not fill up for Memorial Day normally," Cindy McCarthy, — an employee at the campground, said. "We are usually full during the Quilt — Show and the rodeo and the Fourth of July. Memorial Day doesn't fill up — because the weather is still cooler."

McCarthy said so far, they have seen no drop-off attributable — to gas prices. She said most of the campers, including a good number from — the Rogue Valley, come to Bend because it is a destination with many activities.

The KOA Campground in Bend takes reservations by the day — or week. They do not have a monthly or permanent rate. Reservations are — requested.

The Family Motor Coach Association, an international association — for people who RV, is holding one of its two conventions this summer at — the Deschutes County Fair and Exposition Center in Redmond, Aug. 16-19.

"There will be a variety of activities scheduled, one — of which will be a motorhome show," Director of Communications Pamela — Kay said. "It will include more than 800 different motorhomes on display. — Dealers from throughout North America will be on hand."

Also available will be seminars on the latest trends featuring — all the latest in accessories.

"The seminars will include everything from chassis maintenance — to microwave convection cooking," Kay explained. "It will run the full — gamut. People don't realize just how many amenities there are on board — a motorhome these days."

One of the most popular seminars is for prospective RV — owners.

"It is called, 'Before You Buy Your First Motorhome,'" — Kay said. "They can come in and check out the exhibits and go to the seminar — to pick up some tips. It is a major purchase and you need to do your homework. — Coming to the convention is one way to do that."

Another aspect of the convention that draws people each — year is the sense of community among RV'ers.

"There are a lot of social activities, including an ice — cream social and a morning coffee hour every day," Kay said. "If you go — out to the parking area in the evenings they are all sitting around in — their lawn chairs talking and eating hors d'ouerves."

To register or for more information on the convention, — call (800) 543-3622 or go to the organization's Web site, www.fmca.com. — Early bird discount registration runs through July 30.