Sunday, April 24, 2022

4/24 - Not Much Going On, So Some Ramblings About Campgrounds

I have not posted lately because I am visiting family and catching up with a lot of doctor's and dentist appointments.  I only get here in Ohio a couple of times each year, and usually only one of those times is with my motorhome.  Anyway, staying in Ohio State Parks has made me think about old and newer state-owned campgrounds, and even those old campgrounds that have been updated.  Here are some of my thoughts:

  • First, understand that I much prefer to stay in federal, state, and county campgrounds because the spots are usually farther apart and the locations in much more pleasant areas than nearly all commercial campground.  I am not interested in amenities such as pools and hot tubs or activities like bingo night or potlucks.  Give me natural surroundings and quiet, and I am much happier. 
  • A big problem is that many state parks, here in Ohio, but also in a lot of other states, desperately need to be updated.  Many were built 40-50 years ago for tents and very small trailers.  This means sites tend to be narrow and electrical systems in danger of failing.  For example, I am currently in a very pleasant state park in Ohio that has only 20 amp electrical hookups with sites so narrow that when you step out of your RV door, you land off the asphalt pad into mud.  Any if you are from a cold-weather state, you know what Spring mud is like!  
  • The bad thing with 20 amp electrical hookups is that all trailers and motorhomes manufactured in the last 30-40 years have only 30 amp plugs, so you have to have an adapter to use 20 amp connections.  If you try to run an AC unit and attempt to use a microwave oven at the same time, you will blow a bunch of fuses.  It is a pain to remember to turn off the AC whenever you want to heat something up!  (I made this mistake today.)
  • In addition, the electrical hookup posts in this place are very low, which means you have to kneel to see under the post lid and plug in.  In my case, I have to use a stool to sit on so I can look under the post lid and see where to plug in. 
  • Another problem is that whoever paved or graded and laid down gravel in campsites decades ago obviously never tried to park an RV in one.  Some look like ski jumps with a foot or more of difference in height from back to front or vice versa.  They also are not level from side to side.  The front-to-back level is a little easier to deal with in a trailer or a motorhome with automatic levelers, but for those of us who have to use boards or those yellow plastic things under tires, it becomes difficult.  The site I am in now, is not bad front to back, but I have had to put down about 4" of boards under the tires on one side, and my rig is still not level.  Being unlevel makes it harder to determine fresh water or black water levels in your rig.      

On a positive note, a few days ago I left a state park that recently added about a dozen brand-new full-hookup sites.  (Full hookup, means you get 30 or 50 amp receptacles, a water hookup faucet, and a sewer connection.)  There are a few older full hookup sites in this state park, but they are very unlevel and have the same narrow camping pads.  I stopped using these because of the problems trying to get level. 

What was REALLY nice about these revamped newer sites is that the new paved area is 2' wider, which means you can step outside or even walk around your rig without landing in mud.  Sites are also much more level, and very importantly, they have a paved area around the hookups, so you can get to them without stepping in mud also!  Yea!  

Just for the record, I do not always have to have paved campsites, although I do like them when they are available.  Some of my favorite places are in the desert where you mostly get sand and gravel.  This is fine because those places do not have the mud that other places in the country have.  And a couple of really terrific campgrounds in Florida have just sand in campsites, but that is OK because the sand drains fast and the sand does not stick to your shoes or track into everything.  

Some people put down those plastic mats so they can put chairs on the ground without dealing with mud or dirt.  The problem is those mats kill grass that state parks try to grow.  One of the recent places I stayed at had put down a lot of grass seed and straw, and that did help control the mud, but even if the grass seed takes and grows, it will not survive the mats and heavy chair and foot traffic.  A longer-term solution would be wider asphalt or rock pads and "patio" areas that have better surfaces. 

Some state parks also have small laundromats.  This is helpful for those of us who travel all the time, and it was especially important during COVID because many of us did not want to go into crowded commercial laundromats.  The machines in this one are adequate, but I was in another state park a couple of weeks ago where the machines were large, new front-loaders.  I love it when these washers and dryers are clean inside and have NOT had things like dog beds or sandy clothing washed in them! 

The good news is that with warmers temps, at least the mud will have turned to just dirt and at least partially solved the problems.  I am looking forward to this and also returning for two weeks to the campsites that were recently redone.

ADDENDUM:  Yesterday, I chatted with one of the park maintenance men.  They said that in November, they would begin replacing all of the campground electric hookup posts with new, taller ones that would provide 30 amp service.  This solves two of the problems I posted about in the bulleted items!  Yea!  Also, this morning, they came around and added large, white gravel around all of the current electrical posts.  This will help with the mud this time of year.  Another Yea! 

They still need to make the asphalt pads wider and repave some to make them reasonably level, but this is a good start.