Sunday, September 29, 2013

Hoffmaster State Park, MI, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia & Paynes Creek Campground (Army Corp. of Engineers), GA

Well, August found us taking two weeks and driving (Yes - DRIVING) to Michigan!  We spent a week or so with family (grand-kids!) in Michigan and then drove thru Canada, reentering the US at Niagara Falls.  We then spent the next week with family (Don's brothers & sisters) in Rochester, NY,  before spending a couple days driving back to Florida.

Michigan was beautiful - almost picture-perfect weather! 

We spent a couple days with family and then moved to Hoffmaster State Park - right on the shore of Lake Michigan.  What a beautiful beach!  Nice campground - close to everything!  (Maybe too close!  We broke down and bought our Yeti cooler at Dick's Sporting Goods there!  OMG expensive but they worked with me and managed to knock off about $75.  They're supposed to hold ice for over 5 days and they DO!)

We even got to use our kayak!  Went for a 6 mile float on the Muskegon River with our son & his family (in their canoe).  And we manged to stay upright this time so - good time!  (Had to take pictures to prove it!)  That's Don & I in our Sea Eagle kayak.  What a nice day we had!!!

Of course we couldn't camp at Don's family in Rochester, NY but after a very nice visit there we headed out and spent the first night at Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.

At an overlook, we ran into a group of about 40+ Japanese who converged on our truck/trailer as they'd never seen anything like in in their country.  They took pictures with us and asked lots of questions.  It was fun to see them "exploring" our set up.  To say they were impressed would be an understatement!

Shenandoah National Park is on the Skyline Drive (a narrow mountain road with beautiful vistas).  The park was about 22 miles in - all windy, twisty roads but the views were beautiful.  Elevation 3700'!
We stayed at Matthews Arm Campground and the site was pretty basic.  No electric or water and the restrooms had no showers.  (We were glad we were only there for one night!  We've become spoiled with the State Parks & all their amenities!)

Site was quiet tho with only the deer passing through for excitement.  (Our neighbors saw a bear but we missed it!)

The next day it was on to Georgia. Again, we drew quite a lot of attention on the highway.  Even had a VW van (vintage and fully restored by the look) pull up alongside and video/photo us!  They followed us for about 20 minutes/miles - switching from one side to in front then the other side and then behind.  Seemed to be taking a lot of video of our set-up and then some still pictures, too.  Quite a set up they had - looked professional.  We'd love to know what they did with the pictures/footage they took!  Anyone know?  :)

Our campsite in Georgia was our first with an Army Corp of Engineer site - and it was beautiful!  (Paynes Creek Campground, Hartwell, GA.)  If you get the chance to try one - do it!  Extremely inexpensive and right on the water!  It was SO nice we were sorry we were only there for one night!  The sites are all on the water, terraced where the camper is at the top, then half a dozen nice steps to the picnic table/fire ring area, and then similar steps down to the water!  What a beautiful spot.  (We're already planning to go back when we can stay for a few days and break out the kayak again!)

All in all - great trip!  Only a couple days with any rain at all!  Temperatures were perfect everywhere!  We met lots of new friends and had a great time!

Can't wait for our next teardrop adventure!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Beech Bend Park, Bowling Green, KY

Well, back to Beech Bend Park, Bowling Green, KY over a long Father's Day weekend in June.  We went up on Wednesday this year - returning on Sunday.  (Last year we got the last official campsite, even though they have a huge over-flow area, but those sites don't have water or electricity).

This year's site was even better than last years - only a couple sites away but larger and more accommodating to our needs.  Had a great area this year for the screen room and we used it a lot!

We were there for the Cackle Fest (vintage dragsters) that runs Thurs-Sat. every year.  What a great location - to be able to camp right at the drag strip (AND they have a water park there, too).  Molly & I stayed at the campground or went shopping in Bowling Green while Don was able to walk back & forth, relax a bit, have something to eat, etc. - all right there.  We really enjoy this every year but this was only the second year we've camped.

First time here with the truck/camper combo and it was a big hit, too.  Met tons of people who stopped by to check us out.  Neighboring sites (both sides) had permanent residents to the park so they were able to give us a lot of tips/help so that's always nice too.  (We'll try for the same spot again next year only Don says we're going on Tuesday now!  A day earlier every year.  Pretty soon we'll be there for the week!)

Bowling Green is a really nice area.  I managed to pick up a very nice pair of vintage earrings & matching necklace at an antique store I hit every year just off the square in downtown Bowling Green.  The owner is just as sweet as she can be (quite a character) and I always look forward to visiting her shop & chatting with her for a bit.  And, they're animal friendly so Molly shops too!

Probably no more long trips until August when we go to Michigan & New York State!  Hopefully I'll be a little more timely with my post!

Manatee Springs State Park, Chiefland, FL

Well, I've been remiss in blogging!  We were at Manatee Springs State Park, Chiefland, FL on 4/19-21/13 and I'm only now posting!!!  Bad, bad, bad!

This was a great trip and a nice, large drive thru site (#5).  Lots of deer (came in and wandered around our screen room/picnic table while we were sitting right there - with the dog!)  No fear.  Even saw a pair of adults with a PAIR of twin fawn!  Very cool!

Funny thing - we've never had a problem with animals getting into our cooler - until now!  (In the Smokey Mountains they had signs posted everywhere to keep all food inside your vehicle/camper.  Never gave it a thought here until Saturday morning when we got up and our breakfast (eggs/sausage) were scattered around the campsite.  Assume raccoons had a feast while we had to go out for breakfast!)  Needless to say we kept the cooler secured after that!

This campground is on the Suwannee River with a boat ramp, etc.  Lots of rain this trip but still didn't dampen our trip.  Campground also had live music one day - something they do a couple times a year, I guess, so check with them before you go so you can plan accordingly!  It was nice!  Good times!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Highlands Hammock State Park, Sebring FL

Well, we went for the Florida Flywheeler's annual show in the Ft. Meade/Avon Park, FL area (we go every year) but this year we brought the teardrop and camped nearby at Highlands Hammock State Park in Sebring.  Perfect weather this weekend (February) with 60s at night and 80s during the day!

And it was the first time out with the 1951 Chevy pickup towing the teardrop!  Oh my!  What a crowd we had at the site AND along the highway!  We even had people taking our picture driving down I-4.  (Here's an idea of what we looked like!)

We met SO many lovely campers - especially Friedrich & Lisbeth from Ontario.  They were in the next site and just couldn't get over how many people stopped by!  (They're pretty experienced campers and were able to give us some great camping tips.  We plan to take the truck & teardrop out west next year and appreciated the pointers!)

The park was quite nice, well located.  We had dinner one night at Cody's nearby and it was yummy!  (Recommend!)

The tractor show had a huge crowd and it was hot, hot, hot!  (Molly (dog) & I were wilting before the day was over.)

Then, Saturday night the Park had a live concert - group called "Toe Jam" and they were quite good!  What a nice (unexpected) treat!  I guess they do these concerts there a couple times a year so check their website and book well in advance.

Oh!  One of the tips our "neighbors" gave us was about their Sea Eagle inflatable kayak/canoe and ... I ordered one today!  We were looking into a canoe but really didn't want the hassle of loading & unloading for an occasional float so the Sea Eagle looks perfect for our use.  Can't wait to try it out!

More next time!


Florida Caverns State Park

What a great place!  We spent Thanksgiving there - no turkey!  Located near Marianna, FL it has lovely sites AND actual caves in the park!  I knew the caves were there but didn't realize they were RIGHT THERE.  And what a great tour!  We've been to Mammoth Caves several times (and others) and this ranked right up there.
The sites themselves were very nice with paved pads.  This campground isn't far from Alabama and we spent a day driving around into Alabama & back.  All in all a great stay!  

 The teardrop again was a big draw with lots of other campers coming by for a "tour".

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Smokey Mt. Nat'l. Park Oct 2012

Smokemont Campground - Great Smokey Mt. National Park (Oct. 2012)

What a great long weekend (4 days)!  First time we've stayed at a park with no water or electric at the sites.  Wasn't too sure about no showers but ... it was fine.  Weather was cool to quite cool (40s-70s).

The first day we went to the other side of the park to do Cades Cove Loop, then took an 8 mile (off-road) trail thru the woods - over areas where the water was running across the track - to connect with Tail of the Dragon.  What a great ride!  We'd done the Tail of the Dragon before and just wanted to do it again.  The track out of Cades Cove was a little scary in my non-4 wheel drive jeep but we made it!

Second day we went to Clingman's Dome - 6643' elevation.  Phew!  I had a hard time breathing that last 1/2 mile climb to the top.  Unfortunately it was all socked in -

Clingman's Dome (in the clouds)

The elk were incredible!  We saw them twice - a herd of at least 12!  The "bull" was pretty impressive!  And he came out of the woods - after all the females - walking like a king.  Not hard to tell he was in charge.

The fall colors were about peak, I'd say.  Higher elevations a lot of the leaves were half gone.  This picture is at an old mill in the park - about 1200-1500' elevation. (Molly was afraid (initially) of the leaves blowing around on the ground!)

Great trip all together!  Long drive from Central Florida though!  Spent around 11 hours in the car - each way.  Probably do it again next year!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park, Keystone Heights, FL

Well, just home from a Labor Day weekend spent at Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park in Keystone Heights, FL.  About an hour and a half from home & just right when you only have a couple days to lounge around.

Once again the Teardrop was a smash hit!  Lots of other campers - all raving about what a great job Don did in building the camper.  This time they seemed particularly taken with the "wrapped" fenders.  (We bought regular metal fenders (for durability) and then Don wrapped them with the same wood as the camper.)

We met lots of nice people - especially a couple with an old 1984 fiberglass Shasta (13' I think they said).  They were the original owners and had done lots & lots of traveling in it.  Quite impressive for being so small.  (They said they were usually the smallest camper at any campground but they had to give us that claim for this weekend!)  Unfortunately it was short lived as a father & son came roaring in on a Gold Wing motorcycle - pulling a trailer that unfolded up and out to sleep two.  They took the "smallest camper" award away from us!

The campground was pretty large but extremely quiet - especially at night.  We had a full moon every night and I tried to capture it but ... you can't really get it from my picture.

As you can see, Molly came along - as usual.  It was a pretty warm weekend but she loves it hot.  Found her laying in the sand most of the time - right out in the sun.  We hit the flea market in Waldo on Saturday, along with a pretty nice antique mall.  (We all cooled off there!)  Fortunately there was no rain (thanks to Issac having just passed) and the nights cooled down nicely.  (We did use the A/C tho!)

Guess that's about it for this trip.  Next one ... probably to the mountains to catch the changing of the leaves in October.