Microcamp 2.0. (Evaluation)
by Karen Lee Siepak
Planning a family camping trip to Yosemite this summer? How about the Grand Canyon? With MicroCamp at your fingertips, you can stop worrying about whether you'll find a suitable camp-ground and start dreaming about those hiking trails and fishing holes.
MicroCamp is a campground directory from Corinthian Concepts which finds the campgrounds and RV parks of the West that meet your needs. No longer do you have to search through piles of brochures and information sent from your local travel agency. Just pop in the MicroCamp disk, install it on your hard drive, and decide where you want to go.
Twelve states are included in the database: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. You simply select the state you'll be visiting and begin narrowing your search.
MicroCamp allows you to decide whether you're interested in campgrounds within a certain geographical region or recreation area, or campgrounds close to a specific town. Then, you consider whether you prefer to stay in federal, state, or private campgrounds--or whether you're interested in them all.
Next, you determine what sort of accommodations you require. Are RV hookups and disposal important to you? You can decide whether you want a campground that has boating, fishing, or hiking trails, or one that lies at a certain elevation. If you'll be traveling in the fall, winter, or spring, you'll want MicroCamp to help you find campgrounds open then. There are 14 options on the Features screen to help you limit your search.
My fiance and I are planning a trip to New Mexico and Yellowstone. MicroCamp found many campgrounds in north-central New Mexico that met our basic requirements: open by May 20, pets allowed, and 15 or more tent sites, with flush toilets, drinking water, and showers available. Five of the campgrounds are right on our intended route, so I printed their reports. Now, when we get close to our destinations, we'll have directions to the campgrounds, their phone numbers, and other helpful information.
I repeated the search in Colorado and Wyoming, finding several campgrounds along the route we'll be taking. It was so easy that I had all the reports printed out an hour after I opened the MicroCamp package.
The program is menu driven and very easy to negotiate. Context-sensitive help is available at every screen, but the program is so intuitive that you probably won't need the help. If you dislike the screen colors and have a color monitor, it's easy to change them. You can adjust screen contrast if you have a monochrome monitor or an LCD screen--handy if you plan to take MicroCamp with you on your laptop.
The only fault I find is that there aren't enough states in the database. Traveling from the East Coast, we have a lot of miles to cover before reaching the part of the West included in MicroCamp 2.0. But begging for more is a compliment rather than a complaint.
We leave on our trip in a week, and yesterday we were concerned about being able to find appropriate campgrounds. Today, our MicroCamp reports are packed with our maps, and all we have left to do is load the car. Westward ho!