Why Billings? Because with just a short detour off of our planned route, we were able to visit with friends that we hadn’t seen for years. We met their kids, introduced them to ours, and had a really nice time catching up.
We met Julia when we were all working at Kirkwood together in 2000. The next year, when she married Justin, we drove out to Kansas to be a part of their wedding. But living in different parts of the country, and later in different countries, made it difficult to keep in touch. So I was really excited when Julia saw our route posted here on the blog and asked if we could find a way to meet.
Their kids love the Chuck E. Cheese in Billings, so we met there and let the kids play while we had a chance to talk. Then we had a nice lunch and did a bit of secondhand shopping together.
Me and Julia outside the restaurant where we had lunch
We stayed in Billings on Sunday and went to church at King of Glory Lutheran church, which we found on the internet. Staffan was interested in worshiping in a Lutheran church in the U.S. since he never had. We happened to be there on the Sunday that they were having confirmation, so it was also interesting to be a part of that. After church we had lunch and then just a laid back afternoon, getting a little rest, catching up on some laundry, taking a walk and hanging out at the playground. Building downtime like this into our itinerary is so vitally important, and also something that we could do much better.
Our home for the weekend was the Billings KOA, which was the very first KOA campground. As we looked online ahead of time, we realized that KOA was having an anniversary special on that specific weekend. KOA members who stayed Friday night got Saturday night for free. Since the cost of a membership is $24, and staying the night for free would save us at least $30, becoming members was a no-brainer. It paid for itself immediately and has continued to save us 10% every time we’ve stayed in KOA campgrounds since then. Beside getting a good deal, we really liked the Billings KOA. Here’s our review:
Price: With KOA membership card and special anniversary weekend deal, $60 for 3 nights
Location: Relatively close to central Billings and the interstate without having much road noise or other issues.
Facilities: Great. Small and narrow campsites, like all the KOA’s we’ve been to so far, but it wasn’t crowded so we didn’t have neighbors within a couple of sites on either side. All the bathrooms were “family style”, meaning the toilet, sink, and shower were all in one room. This is so, so helpful when you camp with kids! The pool was closed for the season, but the hot tub was still open, and there were even 2 nights when our kids went to sleep early enough that we could take a dip for a half hour or so before it closed. The playground was very good too. Coin operated laundry room.
Site Description: Grass/dirt. Plenty of shade trees (and fall leaves). There was an embankment behind us (between the campground and a river) that was just dirt which Emelie thought made an excellent sliding board.
Neighborhood: Pretty mixed, but not many families with kids. Mostly larger RVs, but I suppose it’s not strange that pop-up and tent campers start to slack off when the weather starts getting colder.
Comments: We would definitely go back to this KOA, especially if we could get the amazing prices we got this time! Sorry we forgot to take a picture of it.