Reservation Issues

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soundjunkie1
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Reservation Issues

Postby soundjunkie1 » Thu Oct 11, 2018 9:48 am

It feels like summer isn't even over and I am already planning our next trip! It looks like availability for July 2019 is not great already. We really want to go July 20-28, and I have my eye on Site 144
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. When I checked it last week was booked through 7/13 and I thought I would book this weekend for 2 weeks and then just cancel the week in between. Now when I check it's booked through the 15th! Assuming the people who have the reservation through the 13th made it for 2 weeks, how are they extending it day-by-day? I feel like I'm "gaming" the system enough booking it for 2 weeks and cancelling the middle week, but this really seems unfair. Thoughts?
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CampADK
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Re: Reservation Issues

Postby CampADK » Thu Oct 11, 2018 10:02 am

You can't extend a 14 day (or less) reservation until 18 days after you initially make the reservation so there is no way to extend it before someone else gets to book the site after the 14 days. With so much competition it is becoming obvious that so many people are booking whatever they can get and later cancelling what they don't need. The net results is a real mess of holes in the reservation calendar and a 20%+ vacancy at the end of the day during prime season and a lot of angry campers who couldn't get a site yet sites sit empty.
soundjunkie1
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Re: Reservation Issues

Postby soundjunkie1 » Thu Oct 11, 2018 10:16 am

Yeah, after I posted this I realized I was had been looking at 143, not 144, so they didn't extend it. I hate to book it that way, but it seems like it's the only way to get the dates you want. Good to know about the booking window!
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kkirsch
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Re: Reservation Issues

Postby kkirsch » Thu Oct 11, 2018 12:17 pm

If you think that is bad. I have just discovered a couple Bots that will grab sites for you. What I am waiting for now is a second market that will sell sites (with a bump) that were snatched using such software.
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CampADK
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Re: Reservation Issues

Postby CampADK » Thu Oct 11, 2018 2:54 pm

A few Bots have been around for a while. I highly doubt they are used by many. Besides RA has anti bot measures in place these days. A Bot might not have any better chance than a handful of mouse clickers anyways trying to get through at exactly 9:00:00am by RAs clock. And you can't transfer reservations. Non issue as far as I'm concerned. Would be more useful for probing for cancellations, but again those are easily defeated by a website that looks for overly active browsers/bots. The top tip I can offer campers is to keep your equipment small! People upgrading to larger and larger rigs pretty much guarantee they will have a hard time getting a site any popular OPRHP/DEC campground!
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kkirsch
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Re: Reservation Issues

Postby kkirsch » Fri Oct 12, 2018 9:43 am

I agree on smaller equipment. I can pretty much put my rig on any site. what I have heard is that it is a nightmare to get a site in Yosemite because of bots accessing RA. Hopefully that will not be the case when I get to my cross country trip in a couple years. By the way, there is a really good book out about the national parks in the US. It is near as good as this fishcreek site you created except it does not have pics of the sites.
d_s_144
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Re: Reservation Issues

Postby d_s_144 » Mon Oct 15, 2018 4:11 pm

RA should disallow any changes in the first half of any reservation made. I thought they disallowed changing the original check-in date to a later date?

We took my boat around the sites the night before I trailered it to come home. RA stated the park was at 98% capacity. We counted at least 77 sites that were open (excluding the A and C loops that we couldn't see). That represents more than a 20% availability. Sad state of affairs.
soundjunkie1
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Re: Reservation Issues

Postby soundjunkie1 » Wed Oct 17, 2018 9:09 am

Well, twice now I've tried to book a site and both times someone else got to it before me. I don't remember it being this crazy last year! Starting to think we won't be going to Fish Creek next year. :(
d_s_144
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Re: Reservation Issues

Postby d_s_144 » Tue Oct 30, 2018 3:14 pm

I see RA decided to implement the Captcha feature on the booking portal in the last couple of weeks. It wasn't there when we first began to try to reserve a site three weeks ago, but it was this past weekend and the weekend before. Not only is the RA site horribly outdated, clunky, wonky and nearly every other negative adjective I can muster, the technology platform is so archaic it takes nearly 15 seconds for the Captcha to recognize the entry and allow the 'Book This Site' button to become active. Ridiculous. The site is not tethered to a timekeeper (like the US Naval Observatory Atomic Clock, aka, "The Worlds Timekeeper") so guessing at the exact moment the system time hits 9 AM is a crapshoot. Then, if you 'guess' wrong, the latency of the Captcha feature will guarantee you don't get a second shot. We finally got our sites this past Sunday, the 16th-straight day we tried. THERE MUST BE A BETTER WAY!

Granted, we're all on a 'level' playing field (or whatever buzz word RA may toss out randomly), but there are better solutions out there. I have been a part of Development Teams creating highly-efficient websites for two decades, and this technology reminds me of the late 90's.


I'd be in favor of a lottery system over this horrible interface and the ensuing 'workarounds'.

I have also spoken to friends we have met along the way at FCP. The bulk of them have begun involving themselves in this insane 'book-two-weeks-then-cancel-the-first-week' crap that so many people believe is an appropriate response to the RA issue. In my opinion, it does nothing but exacerbate the existing issues, as well as leaving the park well below the capacity it can legitimately support during the summer months. I've witnessed it year after year, as I'm sure many have. BUT, if you get the site you wanted, or any site for that matter, and the family is happy to have their summer vacation solidified, what are we, as a group, to do? Ultimately, most people want to please themselves and their progeny, and everyone else can go to hell, I get that. But, how much worse, collectively, will we make it? I fear significantly. Slippery slope.

I'm a Software Quality and Business Analysis professional, I'd be glad to donate my time to help them identify and alleviate the obvious bottlenecks and revamp this heinously ill-equipped portal. All I ask is that I no longer pay reservations fees...for life. :D

Rant over, that took all of my available energy.
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Re: Reservation Issues

Postby kkirsch » Tue Oct 30, 2018 3:24 pm

Well RA has installed a Bot preventative. Before the reserve site button is available you must click that you are not a Bot. Every time the screen refreshes you must again click that you are not a bot. This also prevents a person from clicking like crazy to reserve a site since the turn around from clicking the I'm not a Bot to when the reserve button is available is about 2 seconds. I just wonder if the limiter that you can stand on a site is still in effect. That use to be 20 minutes where you can have the site screen up without activity before the site signs you out? I'm waiting for the next big hit when RA decides it is time to raise their fee. Maybe waiting in line was not so bad after all.
d_s_144
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Location: Gansevoort, NY

Re: Reservation Issues

Postby d_s_144 » Wed Oct 31, 2018 11:32 am

Agreed! In the way old days, my parents used to make next years reservation the morning we checked out. It was a 12-month window back then. Times were so much simpler. Now, the anxiety gets a bit overwhelming, as does the frustration.
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El Jigro
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Re: Reservation Issues

Postby El Jigro » Thu Nov 01, 2018 9:12 am

CampADK wrote:A few Bots have been around for a while. I highly doubt they are used by many. Besides RA has anti bot measures in place these days. A Bot might not have any better chance than a handful of mouse clickers anyways trying to get through at exactly 9:00:00am by RAs clock. And you can't transfer reservations. Non issue as far as I'm concerned. Would be more useful for probing for cancellations, but again those are easily defeated by a website that looks for overly active browsers/bots. The top tip I can offer campers is to keep your equipment small! People upgrading to larger and larger rigs pretty much guarantee they will have a hard time getting a site any popular OPRHP/DEC campground!



Dave,
Do you have any insight on where to find RA's clock? We've had 4 of us online from 8:30 through 9:10 for a week and a half straight with zero success. We're using the time.gov clock to try to time it right at 9:00:00. We did discover that the Captcha Bot check does not effect those using Firefox, so the click,click,click method may still work unfortunately only one of us can use Firefox at work.
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Re: Reservation Issues

Postby CampADK » Thu Nov 01, 2018 10:13 am

I don't know which time server they are using exactly. I always ensure my clock on my Mac is reset to be as accurate as possible and I double check it against the Emerald Time app on my iPhone.

I'm surprised you don't get the reCaptcha Box on Firefox. I do. Maybe you didn't today but they will be appearing! Maybe you have an older browser? So many variables...

The real kiss of death is the additional image challenge box that may appear. The whole reCaptcha issue is very complex. There are many many reasons why you may or may not get the additional image challenge which often requires multiple attempts. It will put and end to your attempt to get a site at 9am if they start to appear. You have to limit your prep leading up to 9am to reduce the chance you get the dreaded image challenge because Google flags you as not acting like a normal browser would when interacting with the page. They even analyze mouse movement which may not look right and you get flagged!

As far as clicking right at 9:00:00am goes, you are already too late! I usually having 3 devices/windows setup and start clicking boom/boom/boom at 8:59:55am to increase your odds. That allows the delay between you and the RA server.

Those with the best chance in my opinion would have several mobile devices using the RA app and lots of fingers. You have one shot on each device. If you are on a desk top and keep clicking. As soon as you click once it will likely already be to late by the time the browser refreshes and you try again. Besides the Google reCaptcha may suddenly present you with the dreaded image challenge and you are toast. Setting up multiple browser windows can also trigger reCaptcha to spit out challenges and again you are toast. The RA app won't present you with reCaptcha so that is a good way to go if you have access some old phones laying around. Otherwise get friends and family in to help.

Also an important thing is DO NOT GIVE UP AT 9:00AM! Someone may get a site but for many reasons may end up not completing the booking. Keep trying and especially between 9:15 and 9:25ish you might see a site or two come back up available. I have done that myself and friends as well. RA gives someone 15 min to complete a booking. That person may start the process or abort at say 9:02am. RA keeps extending the timeout to 15min after the last site interation. So if someone starts the process and the last interaction is at 9:03 then that site will come back open at 9:18am. Those who are patient could pick up that site at 9:18am.

Today for example Site 168
Click for more info!
    
came back available at about 9:15. Someone discovered it a few minutes later. Best to keep trying every 20 seconds or so. Using a browser window to just query on all available sites for your date will allow you to keep checking without getting the reCaptcha challenges over and over. If you see the site you want suddenly appear you just click on that one and book it.

People abandon booking sites for lots of reasons including: failed to login, computer crashes, website issues, browser issues, their friend got a better site, members of their groups got sites in a different area, nobody else in their group got sites or enough sites and will try for another date, their credit card is maxed out, etc etc.

Thats it for now lol.

Good luck!
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CampADK
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Re: Reservation Issues

Postby CampADK » Thu Nov 01, 2018 2:53 pm

Regarding Reserve Americas clocks/time:

ReserveAmerica utilizes NTP to synchronize the clocks of servers to standard time references. Several time reference sources are made available to ensure fault tolerance and accuracy of the clocks. Continuous monitoring of the server clocks is in place to ensure that the time is accurate, again utilizing NTP to ensure accuracy.

More on NTP
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Re: Reservation Issues

Postby Rollins Fan » Thu Nov 01, 2018 10:38 pm

An IT friend told me that if you move the mouse around before clicking on the “I am not a robot” you are less likely to get the longer “photo” test than if you click right to it. Good luck.
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