Tuesday, May 24, 2022

No Posting for a While--Am Visiting the UK for the Next Few Weeks!

I am in the UK for the next few weeks, so won't be posting about my travels in the US for a few weeks.  Got my motorhome in storage, but if you are interested in my travels to England and Scotland, you can read my blog about that here:

My 2022 Humongous UK Adventure 

Friday, May 20, 2022

5/20 West Branch State Park New Camp Sites

This will be my last post for a few weeks, as I am heading to the UK for a new weeks soon.  If you want to follow me there, check the blog site to the right. 

Anyway, I wanted to post some photos of the newly constructed full-hookup sites at West Branch SP, where I often stay when I am in Ohio visiting family.  The last post described very similar new full-hookup sites at another state park in Ohio, but there are some changes with these at West Branch. 

The biggest change is that they repaved the new sites at this state park and widened them slightly.   Note in the photo below that this site has a foot or so of extra space, which means i can step out of my door onto asphalt instead of mud.  

This photo below shows the extra asphalt on the wider site that makes getting to your door a LOT easier!!!

This photo shows one of the new sites without a rig parked on it.  

The utility pad is one of the nicest I have seen anywhere!!!  Nice to be able to walk behind your rig and hook up without getting your shoes muddy.  And the nice, green cement-filled post will keep campers from running into the water and electric hookups when they back up.  

Now for the problem areas.  The drainage ditches along the campground make backing into a site a little tricky, and having these exposed pipes so close to the entrance to the campsites makes it even more tricky.  If I miss the driveway and get into on of these "holes,"  I will end up having to call CoachNet to send a wrecker to lift my vehicle up and out. 

The one on this side is not so bad. 

There is another problem in this new area.  The streets are very narrow, and while it helps that the roads are one-way, many people park vehicles very close to the roadway, causing other large vehicles driving past, especially on curves, to end up driving on the grass.  This causes ruts in the mud, as shown in the next two photos.  They really needed to make these a couple of feet wider to prevent this mess.  

Another one of the improvements this state park really needs to make is replacing the dump station.  There are several problems with it: 1) It is down in a little valley with a sharp turn required to get down to it, 2) There is no lighting down there, so it is hard to use in the dark, and 3) The slope makes it hard to accurately determine how much fresh water you have or to fill your fresh water tanks completely.  

This shows the first entrance to the dump area, but unfortunately, it does not accurately show the slope. 

The fresh water fills are on the outside, past the dump area, and on a fairly steep slope.   The slope makes it tricky to completely fill tanks as the water in them tends to want to find its own level.

The second entrance to the dump area requires a sharp turn for rigs leaving the campground.  I don't have much of a problem with it with my motorhome, but very long trailers plus tow vehicles do have trouble.  Some cannot make the turn, so the line gets longer for the other entrance.  

It would be a LOT easier and reduce lines at the dump station for the state park to put in a couple of new, water-fill stations somewhere else, such as the large, flat parking lot that is nearby.   

Below is an example of what many of the camping pads look like at West Branch.  In other words, they are short and no where near level.  I refer to these as "ski ramps" because they are so steep that many RVs cannot possibly get level on them  Most are also electric-only, meaning that you have to hit the dump station area to fill with fresh water before you set up.
Clearly, the people who paved these sites several decades ago had never done any RV camping so they did not understand the need to make sites level. (Have you ever gotten out of bed in the middle of the night and lurched downhill?)  Also, at that time, maybe 30-40 years ago, rigs were a lot shorter.  The state park needs to replace many of these sites, making them wider and longer, and certainly more level.  



Sunday, May 1, 2022

5/1 More Comments on Campgrounds that Need Renovation

I am at another state park in Ohio.  This one also recently added about 15 new full-hookup sites, but there are problems with the other 200 campsites that need to be fixed.  

This campground at least has 30 amp electrical hookups in almost all campsites, however, it rained last night and this morning, and when I went out to unplug my electric so I could to head to the dump station, this is what I saw.  It reminds me of standing in a bathtub while plugging in an electric hair dryer, so I just grabbed the cord and used that to pull out the plug so I did not have to stand in the water.  Then I took a photo to show the campground people:

Unfortunately, the reaction I got from the check-in people was that it was safe because all of the electric wire was buried underground!  When I asked if they could absolutely, 100% guarantee my safety, they suggested I call the camp host and get him to plug it in because he had waders!  Really????   He did plug it in for me, but I don't think it was any safer for him than for me.  A temporary fix would be to add the white rock that Punderson State Park added around electrical boxes last week.  A permanent fix would be to raise boxes or put them in places where they would not create lakes. 

I wrote in my last posting about the problems with very narrow campsites that were no doubt built several decades ago when most people tent-camped and RVs were narrower.  As you can see, I can fit my motorhome on the sites, but just barely.

There is just no where to walk unless it is on the grass, or mud in many cases. 

Luckily, I have a doormat I can put down to step on.  However, because the asphalt is taller than the ground, the last step is a "doozy."  It would be very easy to trip going down if you did not expect the sudden drop.  There is also a substantial drop from the driver's seat, by the way, but I am used to holding onto things to make sure I do not fall. 

So, I decided to walk over to the new full-hookup sites and take some photos of those.  Unfortunately, while they added a small cement patio and paved around the hookup, the width of these newer sites is the same as the older sites.  In fact, it looks like they did not even repave them. 

At least the site above has no ditches on the side, which is another safety issue.  The new, full hookup site below has ditches on either side of the narrow entrance.  Especially because the asphalt is so high compared to the grass beside it, someone could easily trip in the dark into these, especially since campers nearly always have cars or pickups parked here.  In addition, it would be easy for a long motorhome or trailer and pickup truck to fall into one of these while backing in or out.  Depending on the size and weight of the rig, that could mean having to get a wrecker to lift it up and pull it out.  (In my case, that would take a really big wrecker!)  Not a good start to a vacation!

Notice what happens when a paved camping site is too narrow.  These are recent ruts, some from this morning as campers pulled out.  The whole point of paved campsites is to prevent people from driving on the grass (or mud, as the case may be).  The narrow sites just cause more maintenance and more mud for the next camper.  An extra foot or two on either side would have made a BIG difference. 

There are two, new handicap full-service sites, which are double wide!  Fantastic.  No drop-offs on the sides and no ditches.  Anyone using a walker or wheelchair would have no problems in these sites. 

Back to my campsite:  Most campers like to sit in chairs or set up a barbecue grill in the side of their campsite.  Because campsites are often wet and narrow, a lot of people will bring along a camping mat.  They come in various sizes, but this one looks like it was maybe 6' x 9' which is the size of the one I used to have.  They do provide a clean and mostly dry surface, but they also kill the grass if left in one place for too long.  That is what no doubt happened here. 

I know money is tight for some states, and I am glad to see improvements being made, but there is a lot more that needs to be done in many state parks.  
Here is an example of a regular (non-handicap) site at Homolovi State Park in Arizona where all the sites were renovated so they look like this one.  Half of the pad is long enough for even very long rigs, and there is room on the side to park cars or pickup trucks.  Beautiful!!  
Not all state parks need to have sites quite this long, but it is very nice when they do.