Saturday, June 1, 2024

6/1 Rules for RVing, Updated

I originally posted this in 2015, but somehow I forgot where I put it and have been looking for it ever since so I could repeat and update it based on stuff I have learned more recently.  

  1. Chocolate always goes in the refrigerator.  Leaving any kind of chocolate out in a hot RV results in an unsatisfactory puddle.

  2. Never go to bed or leave your rig for a substantial time without putting your awnings in.  Even if your awning are electric and can be put away quickly in a storm or high wind, storms can come up very quickly, especially in the mountains or desert.

  3.  It will take you twice as long to drive somewhere as you thought it would.  That’s actually a good thing, as it is nice to enjoy the drive.

  4.  Pictures and maps posted by campgrounds lie. Campsites are at least 30% smaller and twice as sloped as advertised! To adjust for this, pick a bigger and flatter site than you think you need.  Corollary:  Campground owners also lie, so check photos and reviews online.   

  5.  You can never have enough plastic bins.  Everything must go in a bin or container of some sort or it will eventually fall on the floor while you are driving. Things stored in outside compartments need to be in waterproof bins, if possible. 

  6.  Things disappear faster in a small space than a large one. Buy clear plastic bins to help you find the things you put somewhere but can’t find.  Think of a purse with too many compartments.  

  7. Things leak, even though they are surrounded by weather-stripping.  A driving rain will sneak past the tightest of weather-proofing to get into underneath storage.  See #5 above about plastic bins.

  8.  Stuff in the refrigerator jumps around at every bump.  Therefore, food needs to be restrained with spring-loaded curtain rods, or you will have pre-scrambled eggs and things will fall out when you open the door for a snack.  Also, breakage will be less if you buy foods in plastic containers rather than glass. 

  9. Dealers will promise you anything to get you to buy an RV, so don’t believe them unless they put it in writing.  Also, the service manager at a dealer will tell you to leave your RV, and they will start work on it in a couple of days.  Plan on at least a couple of weeks, and maybe even a couple of months. See my posting on tips for getting better RV service here.

  10.  Pack half as much as you think you need, but take twice as much money. RVing is really not a cheap way to live, but having your own bed, bathroom, and kitchen is priceless!

I'll be posting updates to this from time to time, and I welcome other suggestions I can add to this list.

Thursday, May 30, 2024

5/25 Quick Visit to Cedar Point

My son and his family have season passes to Cedar Point, and since it is very close to his weekend condo in Sandusky, we went there on Sunday for a few hours.  Did not ride on any rides, other than the antique cars and the train, but one granddaughter did go on a couple of roller coasters.  Also had some lunch there.  

Did you know that Cedar Point has a marina?   You can stop by for gas, as we did the day before, or pick up some food.  

I don't like to show faces of my family, but I think it is OK to show a snoozing dog.  (She likes pillows, so the boat bumper was all she had on the boat.)




Today, Sunday, we drove over to the amusement park and mostly just walked around.  There are not too many of the old rides that I remember from my first trip there is 1964, which is a shame, but as you can see, this is a very old amusement park.  It is now mostly a roller coaster amusement park, advertising itself as the roller coaster capital of the world.    

It was a perfect day, anyway, with highs in low 70s and a beautiful breeze blowing off Lake Erie.  

Surprisingly, for a Memorial Day weekend, it was not horribly busy, but there were some long lines at the most popular roller coasters. 





This ride bothers me to even loop up at it!!  No thanks.


I got pretty well worn out walking all over, so was glad my granddaughter brought the car to pick me up! 

5/24 - Memorial Day at a State Park

Nothing like going out to nature to "get away from it all."  Only problem on a big weekend is that everyone else has the same idea. Here are some photos of a state park I stayed at over the Memorial Day weekend:





So, why was I crazy enough to stay here on a busy weekend?  Actually, my son and his family have a weekend condo on Sandusky Bay, but there is no place at their complex where I am allowed to park or camp overnight, so I often choose to stay at this state park and drive over to their place each day to visit.  

Also, please note the amount of gear most campers feel they need to bring along with them on a holiday weekend.  Most have extra tents, barbecue grills, chairs, extra tables, bikes for adults and kids, coolers, and a lot of other junk.  It takes them an hour or so to unpack and even longer to pack up when they leave. 

Even if I am hanging around for a day, I typically put out just one chair, a stool, and a tablecloth on my picnic table.  

Frankly, when I am traveling in places where I do not have relatives to visit, I choose a place to stay for the major weekends that has no lake, so no beach or boating, no kids activities, no swimming pools or hot tubs and large campsites with lots of nature.  In other words, I like places with nothing to do and no one to do it with.  The result is peach and quiet.  Ahhhhh!!


Saturday, May 18, 2024

5/10 Love's RV Stop - Cordele, GA

There was not a state park or acceptable other RV park area near Andersonville, so I decided to try out one of the new Love's RV parks that they have added to their larger truck stops.  They are expensive and I really do not need a full hookup site very often, but they are right off freeways and have the gas station and food nearby. 

The first night, I stayed in this spot, which backed up to the truck stop.  The problem was that it was very noisy with trucks coming and going and running their engines and generators all night.  However, the site was paved and large enough, with working hookups.  As you can see, landscaping is pretty new, but each site did have a picnic table and a fire pit behind it.

The next two photos show that the place is really just a large parking lot with some amenities. 

 
These parking spots in the front are for the nearby splash pad and pickle ball courts, but on the far left you can see more back-in spots, and on the right a row of pull-through spots.  The pull-through spots were almost entirely full, with only a couple of rigs, including mine for the second night, in this row of back-in spots.  (You would be amazed at how many people can pull large rigs or drive motorhomes, but not know how to back into a camping spot!!!)

 
This shows the splash pad and the pickle ball court.  There is also a laundry and shower room available.  Ditto for a communal fire pit, although I did not see anyone using these.   Most people were here for a quick night's stop, not for a camping experience. 
 

 
This Love's was so new, I could not find a map on Google, but this is the site plan offered for reservations.  I would strongly recommend getting a back-in spot of the north side of the RV park, as far away from the truck stop and freeway as possible!!   (Or a pull-through for those who cannot back in. 😲) 

Will I stay here again?  Only in an emergency or when I am in a hurry and do not want to take the time to search for a state park!


Monday, May 13, 2024

5/10 Andersonville Civil War Prison, Georgia

I had been wanting to come to this historical place for quite a few years, so I finally added a day to my drive north so I would have time to see it.  I stayed at a Love's truck stop RV park in Cordele, GA, believe it or not.  Love's has attached RV parks at some of its bigger truck stops.  The RV park is next door and separated by a wooden fence, but I have to admit that there was some noise, although a lot less at night.  For the second night, I asked to be moved to the side farthest from the truck stop, and it was much better.  

Andersonville was about an hour drive from Cordele, and for some weird reason, my GPS took my through a lot of farm country with lots of turns.  On the way back, I chose my own route, which was a bit longer but a lot better driving.  TIP:  Watch out for turtles on your drive.  I nearly hit four of them who were crossing the highway.  I would have pulled over and helped them move, but there were no shoulders that would fit my wide vehicle!! 

Andersonville, by the way, is a national historical monument, but there is no fee.  It was built for 10,000 prisoners, but at the height of the war, it contained 40,000 prisoners, which was one of the causes of the starvation and deprivation of this famous place.  Over 12,000 prisoners died and were buried here by the time the war was over



 
Notice that the sign above says that this is a museum of prisoners of war in general, so it contains exhibits of all American prisoners of war.  

I took only a few photos inside the museum, so here are just a sampling.









Directly behind the museum is walking access to the area where the prison camp was located.  You can also drive around this area, but I just walked part of it. 


 
This is a reconstruction of part of the old prison stockade. 





One area contained monuments from specific states in the north whose soldiers were prisoners here.


The cemetery was a short drive away.  It holds the bodies of Andersonville prisoners, but it is also a current national cemetery, so modern veterans are also buried here.  You can tell the older burials by the type of stone and the design of the monuments.


Notice that each monument has a number on it.  These were not mass burials, and a small numbered stake was put on each burial.  These were kept in log books, along with the name of the soldier, his rank, and the state he came from.  These log books were later used to replace the wooden stakes with real memorials.


You can tell that these were recent burials and had similar monuments used in all national cemeteries. 

Saturday, May 11, 2024

5/9 T.H. Stone Memorial State Park

I visited here about ten years ago and remember arriving in a woodsy area in a driving rain with thunder and lightning.  It was even more difficult to back in because it was dark, and I very seldom drive in the dark, but I did manage among all the trees. 

Other than the beautiful white sand beach, on this current trip, I could not recognize anything at all.  The campground and the road into the campground were brand new and completely different.  It felt really strange to be somewhere you had been before, but not recognizing anything.  Mostly, instead of a heavily wooded campground, with dirt camping spots and electric only spots.  Now, there is a new road into the place, and the camp sites are full hookup, paved, and in a grassy area with no shrubbery or trees to block your view.  In other words, you can seethe entire campground from wherever you are standing.  

Nice new sign and good paved road, at least.  Not a chuck hole to be seen since the state park has only been open for a few months!

Along with the rest of the peninsula, the standing dead trees make things look pretty stark.  However, they will not remove any of the trees unless they are in the way of something because they provide homes for a lot of birds.


 
The next two photos show my large campsite and the east half of the campground.  Pretty base, but in a few years it will look like Jonathan Dickinson State Park near Jupiter, FL, which also suffered hurricane about 15 years ago.  Now, there are tall shrubs between sites that provide privacy there.  
 
Actually, I like the openness because it makes for good satellite service and also enables snooping on fellow campers. 
 

 

One interesting thing they have included in this brand new campground is a tenting shack.  Basically, it is a screened in little building where you can pitch a tent inside and be protected from the amazing number of bugs Florida is known for!  There were two of these, and I expect they will become popular with tenters once people find out about them.  

The campground is on the edge of the dunes that are protecting the land from future hurricanes, and is true with all Florida beaches, you cannot walk on dunes, so they build boardwalks over them. 

 
This is a nice sign that describes how the peninsula is recovering from the hurricane.  

More photos of the boardwalk.

When I took this photo, the sun was very bright and I could not tell if anything was living in this hole on the dunes.  Now that I have enlarged it, you can tell it is the home of a crab.


Looking back at my rig in the campground.


Good view from the higher part of the boardwalk.


This is a beautiful beach, especially at low tide.  The sand is incredibly white and soft on your feet.  Lots of people fishing and others just enjoying the view.  Can get sunburned fast here, so lots of people had sunshades of some sort.




 
A lot of state parks are putting in cabins of some sort.  Most of the time, these are small, one-room structures or tents with beds in them.  The cabins in this state park are two-story houses, and rent for $100 per night plus a $7 electric fee and taxes.  They each sleep 6 and have full kitchens and even come with sheets, towels, blankets, etc.  Plus, they are very private.  Most overlook the bay, but the peninsula is so narrow that they are also only maybe 500 feet from the Gulf. 




That's all, but I think I might come back here in a couple of years, however, it was HOT here so next time I will come earlier in the year when it is in the low 70s instead of upper 80s!!!