Monthly Archives: August 2015

Day 589 of Life on the Road as a Family – Campground Ratings

IMG_2937This was our last campsite!  Nice shade trees and grass, but no place for the car other than where it is right there in front.  This isn’t an ideal campsite, but we’ve been in MUCH worse.  We kept track of the RV parks and campgrounds as we went, and we’ve been asked so many times which one was best tht we decided to share our list.  Remember, this was our dream trip, not yours.  Sometimes we moved quite often and sometimes we stayed a month. It was hard to fit everything in to the 19 months!

CAMPGROUND RATINGS & MEMORIES

We have loved every minute of our 588 Days of Life on the Road as a Family and wouldn’t change one single moment. That being said, we’ve compiled our notes of the campgrounds so we’ll know what to go back to and what to skip. We thought we’d share to help others find a good campground or save them the pain we experienced.

Dan and I are both perfectionists and when we left home we were considering buying or building our own RV park, so we paid attention to the details, and how each park could be better. Also, we are two very honest people and we expect that from other people. Many times we were surprised by a campground’s ability to stretch the truth. Please, do your own research and don’t believe even half of what each place advertises. Their pictures are always an enhanced version and we rarely saw what they had captured. Always ask what the cancellation policy is, because you may want to leave early if it’s a bad CG. (We never did, just toughed it out.)

Keep track of the deposits you pay prior to arriving because often they tried to charge us again. Many are Mom and Pop businesses run by the nicest people in America, but with sketchy business skills.  We only had 3 out of the entire trip that lost our reservation, but we were successful only because Dan got confirmation emails from the parks, and called in advance to confirm our reservations, too. It takes time, but it allows you peace of mind prior to arriving, and then arriving to actually have a campsite!

If it’s a Good Sam park, you have an assurance that it’s a decent park, although their ratings are usually inflated. Unfortunately, parks do not tell the truth about WI-FI availability, even when they say they have it. (Cell service doesn’t exist in many parts of the country, so even using your own hotspot can be hard.) We had problems finding campgrounds in Arizona and Florida because they have many 55+ parks, others don’t want teenagers, and others don’t want dogs. We prefer state and national parks, but many don’t have full services, (water, sewer, electricity) which is fine for short term stays, but not when you are full-timing with a family of four, two dogs, and you like to shower in your own bathroom or do laundry in your rig. If you need 50 amps, make sure to tell them that. We did, but a few times we still ended up with only 30 amps.

If you value privacy as we do, let it go for the duration of your trip. Sites are small and on top of each other in most places. You get to meet a lot of people that you normally might not hang out with at home. You can look up RV park reviews online, in multiple spots. Do your homework, but still expect to be surprised. We were many times, for good and bad. It’s all part of the adventure.

Dan did the majority of our trip planning, researching online and with the Good Sam book, calling if he had questions.   We started out “winging it” and soon found that it wasn’t the best way to be assured of a campsite when you pulled in, and they usually give you the crappy ones. We always asked, “does your Wi-Fi work for schooling?” and we were always told yes, only to find out later that it rarely did. Large files take time and the RV parks don’t want to pay for that.

So for what’s it worth, here are our opinions! We are doing this for others, as much as to have our memories all in one spot. We kept journals, but hopefully this will be easier to refer to when people ask, “What’s the best RV park or campground?”

Dates     Campground Comments Ratings
12/21-26/13 Worldmark, Gleneden Beach OR We stayed in a condo here for Christmas week with Sally’s family; the “camping” was great. 10+
12/27 Sunset Bay State Park, Coos Bay OR This is our favorite CG in Oregon. Older, sites not huge, but beach/gardens/tide pools = excellent! 10+
12/28 Harris Beach State Park, Brookings OR Another of our favorites, with old sites. On a cliff over the ocean with awesome views & fun beach. 10+
12/29 Wal-mart, Ukiah CA We pulled in just as 6 police cars were chasing a Bronco through the parking lot – not a good start to our first stay. We had driven further than we intended, and couldn’t find a CG. It’s free, but not always the safest and obviously, no hook-ups.   You have to ask the manager if you can stay. 5
12/30-1/5/14 Olema CG, Olema CA We were there at a slow time, so it wasn’t too crowded. Sites were barely graveled. Near Pt. Reyes Natl Park , San Fran and wine country. Would be a zoo in the summer. Showers great. 6.5
1/6 -1/12 Vineyard RV Park, Fairfield CA We arrived with an RV problem, and the front office staff was extremely helpful. It’s a beautiful RV park – nice sites, vegetation growing all over, good sized dog park, nice shade. 8.5
1/13 Lost Hills RV Park, Lost Hills CA Right off I-5, we stayed there because they advertised WIFI, and we needed it for school.   It’s new, so red dirt all over.   To use the WIFI, you had to sit IN their main office. This was our 1st lesson in false advertising. 2
1/14 Pyramid Lake Rv Resort, Gorman CA Gross! Better to stay in state CG xx I-5. NOT a resort – our 1st time with that kind of false advertising as a “resort”. Wifi worked, probably because no one else was there. Overpriced. 0
1/15 – 1/22 Santee Lakes Regional Park, Santee CA This was a beautiful park and we would go back. It is built around 7 man-made lakes, and had many amenities that we didn’t even have time to use. Only 15 miles outside San Diego. Safe at night – you are locked in with a code to come back later. Good vegetation. Cold pool. 9.5
1/23 Shangri-La RV Resort Park, Yuma AZ So excited to hop in the pool in the heat – only to pull into the park and find a postage stamp sized pool filled with people crowding/standing up in it. “Dog park” was a nearby empty lot. Mostly full-timers for the winter; glad to be only 1 night. 5.5
1/24 – 2/6 Usery Mtn Regional Park, Mesa AZ We would go back here! Incredible cactus all over the park and beautiful views/sunsets. No sewer, but the showers were excellent in new buildings. Nice large sites with some space between Rv’s. Great location to Phoenix, biking, other tourist attractions in area. 10+
2/7 – 2/14 Gold Canyon KOA,   Apache Junction AZ It was a good park – pool, hot tub, showers – but we were packed in back to back. Nice people. 8
2/15 – 2/18 Prince of Tucson, Tucson AZ Ouch. Right off freeway, so even with huge cement wall, you could hear the traffic. Mostly full-timers who went nuts when they saw our kids. Pool okay.   Packed in too tight, could barely get awning out. Stayed there because right on touted biking trail along the non-existent river. 4
2/19-2/20 Cochise Travellers RV Park, Benson AZ We would go back here!   New, nice big sites, all amenities, mini-golf, great pool and hot tub. 10+
2/21 Sunny Acres RV Park, Los Cruces NM Perfect spot for just one night passing through. Shade, big sites. 8
2/22 Davis Mtns State Park, Fort Davis TX Dan & I stayed here in 1998, so we wanted to go back to show the kids the wild javelinas – which are no longer there, darn. Cool stone building on top of mountain. Good for one night only. However, hilly terrain road to get there. Kind of a trauma to drive it in a big rig. 7
2/23 – 2/25 Big Bend National Park, Big Bend TX The ranger at Fort Davis told us we could easily drive Hwy 170 in our big RV, and boy was she wrong. The views were spectacular, but we had to disconnect the tow vehicle to make it up and down the tight rolling hills. There was one hill that was a 15% grade up and down. Very short, but nevertheless. The Big Bend campground itself is still a parking lot, with small sites and no shade. But you have to visit this national park – it’s awesome! Really cool to go across to Boquillas, Mexico on a flat bottom boat.   Take your passport; it’s a manned border cross. 4
2/26 Rest area outside Sonora TX This was our second foray into a free camping night and we could have stayed here a week, it was so nice. Tons of other RV’s, car campers, and truckers spent the night, too. 9
2/27 – 3/5 Carefree Traveler’s World Park, San Antonio TX Good location – right on river walking/biking trail and easy to downtown. Nice little pool.   Great rec room. Small, crappy sites. 7.5
3/6- 3/12 La Hacienda RV Resort, Hudson Bend TX This was our least favorite park because our expectations were too high. It is NOT a resort. Cold pool. Dogs in the laundry room. Full-timers abound and nightly parties were the norm. Sites were an ok size, but the whole park was loud and dirty. 30 minutes to get into Austin. Zip line closed. Located out in the middle of nowhere. 1
3/13 – 3/19 Westlake RV, Houston TX Nice pool and other amenities, but the sites were tiny. Good location for sight seeing in the area. Traffic was horrendous in Houston – worst drivers in USA. Safe, locked us in at night. Had a dog wash station. Free popcorn in the rec room. 6.5
3/20 Riverview RV Park, Vidaliaya LA Longest day of driving yet (384) miles led us to this beautiful park right on the Mississippi River. They often flood, but it was a great CG. Fun walking trail along the river so Dan could do his Parcour! Nice big sites and a sweet staff. 9
3/21- 3/23 Natchez State Park, Natchez, MS It was okay, but not what we remembered from 1998. Wouldn’t stay here again. Ticks, small site. Again, not much fun to drive to in a big rig. 5
3/24 Pecan Grove RV Park, Lakeview AR Stopped here so we could visit Dan’s niece, and one night was enough. Grassy, dirty sites. Dogs couldn’t be out, too dirty. This is for full-timers. 1
3/25 – 3/27 Hot Springs National Park, Gulpha Gorge CG, Hot Springs, AR We would stay here again! It’s first come, first serve, which is tough with such limited sites and not many RV parks in the area. We arrived early in the morning, so were able to get a site. Big sites, nice location for hikes, cute park. 9
3/28 – 3/30 Maumelle CG, near Little Rock, AR We would stay here again!   Right on the Arkansas River, so beautiful view from our water front site. No sewer, but had electricity and water. No TV!!! 9
3/31 – 4/1 Graceland RV Park, Memphis, TN Gross little old park, but it’s right across the street from Graceland, safe at night.  Worth it to stay there for Graceland tour. 4
4/2 – 4/6 Cages Bend CG, Nashville, TN We had high hopes for this CG because it’s on a lake, but it rained all week, so we didn’t get outside to enjoy it. Would have been better with a boat. Okay drive to Nashville. 8
4/7- 4/8 Fort Massac, Metropolis, IL Set back a little from the flooding Ohio River, our site was also flooded and the 30 amps didn’t work. The bathroom showers were scary. Fort Massac wasn’t open for tours anymore, no money to fix it, but we did get to visit Superman downtown and go see the Grandma Helen’s quilt at the National Quilt Museum in Paducah. 6
4/9 – 4/10 Trail of Tears, Cape Girardeau, MO A favorite from 1998 and 2014, too! Sites are huge, right on the Mississippi with tons of barge traffic aand the railroad runs right by, too. Small CG. Great history in this area and the bike riding on the roads was a blast of a roller coaster. 10
4/11 – 4/14 Babler State Park, Chesterfield, MO This park is so nice!   Outside St. Louis, it’s set in a hilly area with tons of nice park roads to ride on. The WI-FI worked. Showers were good. Snowed. 9.5
4/15 – 4/18 Monaco Plant, Decatur, IN If you buy a Monaco RV and need it fixed, this is the place to go. Nicest people ever. Crappy CG   – only had electric, gravel parking lot. Free. 3
4/19 KOA ,South Bend, IN Closest CG to Notre Dame, nice place. Treed. Great owners. 7
4/20 – 4/22 Illinois Beach State Park, Zion IL On Lake Michigan, they’ve done many improvements to the park since we stayed here in 1998, but still don’t have sewer and the only site big enough for our rig was in an old parking lot way at the back of the park. Fun 50-minute train ride into Chicago. Right on the water. 7
4/23- 4/24 Jack’s Place, Dubuque IA This isn’t a CG, but the home of Jack, who knows everyone who is anyone in the USA. The only reason we left his driveway was to go visit… 10+
4/25- 5/11 Grandma Helen, Maxwell IA You wish you could stay here, too! Nothing like Grandma’s in Iowa. Between her driveway and the machine shed, we managed to avoid the tornados, thunderstorms and hail. 10++++++++
5/12 – 5/15 Lebanon Hills CG, Eagan MN Outside Minneapolis, nice county park. Had a cable break on a slider, so we couldn’t move the rig until it was fixed and they were really nice about it. Near Bob & Joey = heaven. 9
5/16 – 5/18 Al & Sue’s, Stillwater MN Staying with people you love is better than any CG, anywhere, anytime. It’s just hard to leave. 10+
5/19 – 5/22 Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo WI Pretty cool park!   Would stay here again. Big grassy sites. Great hiking on the mountain and around the lake. Old fashioned log lodge w/great history.   Felt like summer camp. 10
5/23 – 5/27 KOA, Madison WI Nice park, typical KOA.   We were 1st into the pool!     Great location for exploring the Madison area, but too near the highway – tons of continual noise. 6
5/28 – 5/31 Peninsula State Park, Fish Creek WI Stay here if you want to explore Door County – it’s beautiful! The sites don’t have sewer, and the showers were just adequate.   Try a fish boil – fun. They don’t spray for mosquitos, so it was bad. 8
6/1 – 6/2 Mike & Leigh’s, Iron Mountain MI Nate’s godparents and their adorable children. Took the coolest mine tour ever and wanted them to hop in the rig and go with us. 10+
6/3 – 6/8 St Ignace Straits State Park, St Ignace MI We stayed here in 1998, and couldn’t wait to get back! This park is on the UP, between Lake Superior and Lake Huron. You get a view of the bridge at night, can ride the ferry to Mackinac Island, and take a day trip to the Sioux St. Marie locks.   They don’t spray for mosquitos here and the showers were full of them. They don’t trim the trees either, so only a few sites have a view of the water. We got sick from so many bites. 10 for location, 3
6/9 – 6/10 Finn Rd CG, Essexville MI Gross! From the description, we thought we’d be on the lake, but the CG was a ½ mile back, down a soggy trail. There was no beach. Good place to do laundry and sleep in. Don’t go. 3
6/11 – 6/12 Wayne County Fairground, Belleville MI Stayed here so we would have an easy commute to Detroit and Leon & Lulu’s. The circus came to stay, too! Wouldn’t go back. 3
6/13 – 6/15 Cedar Pt Amusement Park, Sandusky OH The best roller coasters in the USA! Excellent CG, met many people who come here for a week every year. Weird eyeball-less bugs all over the rig. On Lake Erie – beautiful views. Saw more tattoos & smokers than ever before, anywhere. 10
6/16- 6/18 Evangola State Park, Irving NY On Lake Erie. Old park, old sites, old spa buildings on the lake. We’d go back! 8.5
6/19 – 6/21 Jellystone Niagara Camp Resort, Niagara Falls, Ontario Canada These parks are perfect if your kids are 4-10 years old. Ours are teenagers, so the wagon ride, trampoline and craft times weren’t a draw, but you definitely pay them anyway. In their zeal to sell us tickets for the Canadian based ferryboat into the falls, the staff lied and told us the Maid of Mist was no longer running. We didn’t have an international calling plan, so we rode our bikes to the falls to check it out and the next day walked over the International Peace Bridge to the American side and took the Maid of the Mist boat tour. It was a very special place to visit and we’d go back, but stay elsewhere. Kids got to turn on the lights for the falls that night!!! 5
6/22 – 6/24 Darlington Provincial Park, Ontario Canada On Lake Ontario, this was Sally’s favorite park of the whole trip. We had a big site right on the water and the view was spectacular.   They have a “no radio” policy, so we didn’t have to listen to loud music from other sites. Great swimming! Rode the commute train into Toronto so the men could do the CN Tower Edgewalk, 1168’ up. 10
6/25-6/26 Wellesley Island State Park, Fineview, NY Part of the ultra-rich 1,000 Islands area, 2 1/2 days was not enough time in this historic area.   CG was ok, nice big sites, but no full hook-ups. 8.5
6/27 – 6/29 Camping la Cle Des Champs, St. Phillip, Canada This CG was crazy because there are many full-timers living here and they have gone all out decorating their sites. The pool had live music and they were still working on improvements when we left.   Easy bus ride into Montreal.   Not everyone spoke English. 8
6/30 – 7/1 Camping Domaine de La chute, St. Appollinaire, Quebec Don’t ever stay here!   Set in a beautiful area, this dumpy park was like a small city, with one ingress/egress. We could barely get the rig to the site the “roads” were so narrow. The site was an uneven piece of grass, with only 30 amps. Close to Quebec City, but after exploring there, we checked out a day early. 0
7/2 Khatadin Shadows CG, Medway, ME Old-fashioned CG.   Weird sites at all angles. Old pool, not really clean. 4
7/3 – 7/5 Mataquac Provincial Park, New Brunswick Canada Gorgeous CG right on a lake, with nice sites and tons of trees. Got stuck in the tropical storm left by Hurricane Arthur and luckily moved sites before trees came down on us. 4,000 trees down. 8
7/6 – 7/9 KOA, Prince Edward Island Canada We arrived a day late and they were nice about it. Huge site right on the water, but no swimming because it’s a red clay beach.   Should have camped on NE side of island. Typical KOA, packing people in. Incredible lobster dinner at Richards, must see. 6.5
7/10 – 7/11 KOA, Nova Scotia Another typical KOA, packing people in – our neighbors set up a living room outside and danced to music 2’ away from our rig! Good location to beautiful Halifax. 2
7/12 Bay of Fundy National Park, New Brunswick Nice campground, easy drive to see the tides change. You must go see this!!! 9
7/13 Sussex CG, New Brunswick DO NOT EVER GO HERE.   They lock you in from the start and you have to buy a key card for $25 to go in /out. Pool okay, but manager went off on two teenagers. Many full-timers, gross sites. 0
7/14 – 7/15 Cobscook Bay State Park, ME This was a “rodeo” to get into! We’ll never forget it. The sites are small, awkward and not level. Not an RV friendly campground unless you have a smaller RV. 0
7/16 – 7/19 Hadley’s Point, Bar Harbor, ME Do not stay at this campground. Small sites, could barely get in/out. Can ride the bus to Acadia National Park, which is overrun with tourists; felt bad for even going there. 0
7/20 Stonybrook CG, Hanover, ME Good for one night.   Mini-golf, pool, old rec room. 2
7/21- 7/24 Crazy Horse CG, Littleton, NH Run by a couple of aging hippies, they had “inspirational” signs all along the driveway, but fudged on their access to the lake, Wi-Fi, and the ability to get into our site.   Another rodeo. Don’t go, there are better CG’s in area. Great pool. Advertised as Big Rig friendly. I disagree. Not fun driving off the freeway to this campground. Very hilly and unmaintained roads in the CG. 0
7/25 – 7/27 Northshore CG, Burlington, VT This CG was packed in, but it’s close to the coolest bike trail and the Wi-Fi worked! Go here! 8
7/28 Shelburne Farms, Shelburne, VT Good for one night only, old and quaint. 5
7/29- 7/30 Queechee State Park, Hartford, VT Stay here! Huge, beautiful sites with hiking nearby and easy access to local attractions. However, dry camping only but beautiful and quiet with shade. 10
7/31 Derry Wal-Mart, Derry, NH Changed our plans so had to stay here, level, OK. 5
8/1 – 8/7 Minuteman CG, Littleton, MA In the trees, outside Boston and other historical sights. An old KOA, steep driveway to get in. 8
8/8 – 8/10 Shady Knoll CG, Cape Cod, MA An old CG on Cape Cod; there would be better ones. Crammed us in, little shade. 5
8/11 Salt Rock CG, Sprague, CT Way back up in, off the road, small crappy sites, don’t go here. 2
8/12- 8/13 Cozy Hills CG, Litchfield, CT Stayed here because it was close to a friend, don’t go here. Tiny roads through trees, then made us pull into a spot where the front of rig touched the tent in another site, even though other empty sites available. Weird. 0
8/14- 8/20 Liberty Harbor RV Park, Jersey City NJ Stay here! It’s an ugly gravel parking lot, but who cares because it’s close to the water ferries that take you to Manhattan so you never have to drive. Statute of Liberty close, great skyline pics. 10+
8/21 – 8/23 Big Timber CG, Cape May, NJ Huge CG with many full-timers who party every night. Okay, but look for better CG in area. 6
8/24 – 8/30 Warwick Woods CG, Elverson, PA Nice old CG, wooded, okay site. Excellent old pool. Near Hershey. Nice owners. 8
8/31 – 9/2 Granite Hill CG, Gettysburg, PA Spent Labor Day weekend here, which is always a zoo, but then everyone left and it was so nice. 8
9/3 – 9/4 KOA Harpers Ferry West, VA Stay here!   Excellent pool, big sites and close to historic sights. Morning mist best in USA. 10
9/5 – 9/11 Bull Run Regional Park, Centreville, VA Nice park, but driving back into takes 15 minutes from main road. Fun amenities close up after Labor Day. 30-minute drive to light rail for 30-minute ride to DC. Too far out. 8
9/12 – 9/18 Cherry Hill Park, College Park, MD Stay here! Better drive/commute into DC. Small sites, but revamping whole park. Great pool. 8
9/19- 9/21 KOA Charlottesville, VA We stayed here only because it was close to Monticello and wouldn’t stay here again. They said the pool would be open and the Wi-Fi would work – neither was true. A little grubby. 4
9/22 – 9/24 Pocahontas State Park, Chesterfield, VA Great park. Wi-Fi worked at an outbuilding. Stayed here because close to Richmond. 8
9/25-9/28 KOA Cape Hatteras, NC This place had 243 sites and would be a zoo in high season. We had a great site backed up to the Atlantic, which you could hear over the protective berm, but couldn’t see. The storms had flooded the campground, so we could barely walk around.   The pool and slides were fun, but very cold. Nice lounge area to use Wi-Fi. 10 for location, 3 for
9/29 – 10/1 – Jordan Lake St Rec Area, Poplar Pt CG, Apex, NC Backed in to a spot right on the lake and we were so excited to swim or play in the water.   You might be able to in the summer. Only H20 & elec. 7
10/2 – 11/1 Dave & Claudia’s, Charlotte, NC Heaven! Staying with family is the best! Neighbor didn’t appreciate the RV in the swanky neighborhood, so we stayed in the house. BLISS. 10+++++++
11/2 – 11/4 James Island CG, Charleston, SC Huge CG with tons of full-timers, paved paths, huge dog park. They were putting up electric Christmas decorations all over. Easy drive into beautiful Charleston. Would stay here again. 8.5
11/5 – 11/6 Ft. McAlister State Park, Savannah, GA Beautiful old CG with huge sites, tons of bugs, no water view. The fort is a little old building. 7
11/7- 11/8 Jekyll Island CG, Brunswick, GA This is an OLD CG with mud/dirt all over. Most people there to party hard and loudly. Incredible island with great bike paths and beaches. Easy access to St. Simons Island. Find another CG. Would not stay here again. 0
11/9 – 11/15 Anastasia State Park, St. Augustine, FL The CG was set way back from the beach, under a canopy of trees and has huge sites. It’s the ultimate Florida beach. Both dogs got ticks so bad it took an hour to pick them off. No sewer. 8
11/16 – 11/22 Fort Wilderness CG, Disney World, FL Oh, stay here during the holidays! Campers put up huge outdoor Christmas displays – so fun. Easy access to all the DW parks. Can rent golf carts if you don’t want to bike all over. Good site. 10+
11/23 – 11/26 Jetty Park CG, Cape Canaveral, FL Anything would have been a let down after the high standards of DW, so this CG would be ok for a regular stay. Near the beach and you can watch the gigantic cruise ships leave from here. 8
11/27 – 11/30 Miami Everglades Resort, Miami, FL Very nice CG, huge grassy sites, quite, clean bathrooms, great pool/hot tub, easy drive into Miami, dog walking path all around perimeter. 8.5
December 2014 Grassy Key RV Park, Marathon Key, FL Nice, small resort with gulf access, small pool, clean gravel, tiny sites. Extra charge for electric. They don’t spray for no-see-ums, ouch. 7
January 2015 Crystal Lake RV Resort, Naples, FL Great RV park for older full-timers. Huge paved sites with gorgeous landscaping set on 2 man-made lakes. 2-mile perimeter road great for walking/biking.   Perfect pools and hot tubs. 10
2/1 – 2/7 Ocalla North RV Park, Reddick, FL Old CG out in the country with many full-timers, grass sites and an old pool. 1 of few in area that would take under 55 and pets. 7
2/8 – 2/21 Peninsula State Park, Port St. Joe, FL Another of Sally’s favorites! Way out on the peninsula between the gulf and the bay, great beaches, tons of wildlife, only H20 & electric. 9
2/22 – 3/6 Henderson Beach State Park, Destin, FL Beautiful park with huge private sites. Long walk to the beach. Only H20 & electric. Too close to the highway and development on both sides. 8
3/7 – 3/20 Big Lagoon State Park, Pensacola, FL OK, but disappointing after the last 2 great state parks. Nice walking paths. Had to drive to the beautiful beach, Gulf Islands National Seashore. Near the Blue Angels home base. 6
3/21 – 3/27 Jude Travel RV Park, New Orleans, LA Worst week of the trip.   Do not stay here! Little more than a gravel parking lot in a dangerous neighborhood. Owner has 11 + cats and our dogs had fleas for 4 months. If you are a recreational shopper, eater or drinker, stay closer to NOLA. 0
3/28 La Fleur Bluff State Park, Jackson, MS Good for one night, on the water, big sites. Find a Sweet Potato Queen party! 8
3/29 – 4/4 Tom Sawyer RV Park, West Memphis, AR Stay here! Right on the Mississippi, it was barely below flood stage when we arrived. We watched barges go by night and day.   Only RV park we stayed at with free laundry. Incredible views. 10+
4/5 – 4/16 Downtown Riverside RV Park, Little Rock, AR Nice old gravel parking lot that’s been turned into a city owned RV park. Right on the Arkansas River, with bridge accesses to Clinton’s library and downtown Little Rock.   Hopping town, nice people, very cool bridge lights. Loud freeways. 9
4/17 – 4/23 Twin Fountains RV Park, Oklahoma City Okay, but the pool wasn’t open, the Wi-Fi didn’t work and the sites were tiny & packed in. Clean. 6
4/24 KOA, Goodland Kansas Stayed here to avoid the tornado elsewhere. Cute little town and a nice CG. 8
4/25 – 5/9 Greeley RV Park, Greeley, CO This is the only game in town, so stay in another town! We lived here briefly in 2000 and they haven’t done any improvements to it since. Sad. 1
5/10 – 5/24 Riverview RV Park, Loveland, CO Right on the Big Thompson river, we were so excited. Down in a canyon, no Wi-Fi/cell service. Tons of full-timers, gravel sites. Stay elsewhere if you can find it. Sites are right on top of each other. 2
5/25 – 5/30 Chatfield State Park, Littleton, CO Great park. Big paved sites. The area was flooding, so we couldn’t ride the loop. There is a model airplane park that you can hear throughout the campground. Easy light rail ride into Denver from a nearby station. 9
5/31 – 6/6 Cheyenne State Park, Colorado Springs, CO The view from this CG is incredible! Nothing like it anywhere else. At that altitude, the storms are intense with wind and hail trying to move us off the mountain. Easy hikes. Backs up to NORAD. The staff is rude. Good Colorado Springs access. 7
6/7 – 6/11 Taos Valley RV Park, Taos, New Mexico Nice CG with full amenities and vegetation between the small sites. No pool, darn. Easy biking into town. Would stay here again; love Taos and the surrounding area. 8
6/12 –6/16 Santa Fe Skies RV Park, Santa Fe, NM We didn’t have a good feeling about this spot, maybe because we had strange full-timers on both sides of us. Gravel sites, no pool. Would not go back. 3
6/17 – 6/23 Alpenrose RV Park, Durango, CO Gravel, grass and shade, but they’ve set up the sites so you share with your neighbor, so you have no room outside at all. Small pool with the deck chairs bolted down! Tons of full-timers. Another RV park closer to town would be better. 3
6/24 – 6/27 Mesa Verde National Park, Cortez, CO An older CG, the sites aren’t really big enough for newer, larger rigs like ours. We were lucky that Dan can drive it into any site.   But better to stay in the park if you are doing the tours because it’s an hour drive in. 5
6/28 Page Lake Powell CG, Page, AZ 102 degrees so we asked for a spot in the shade, but they gave us full sun and our A/C couldn’t keep up. Went back in to ask to move, but 7 people checking in. Close to Glen Canyon Dam and groceries. Packed people in too tight. 3
6/29 – 7/5 Grand Canyon National Park, the North Rim, AZ BEST CAMPSITE EVER!   Would go back here in a heartbeat.   Older CG, no utilities at all, so have to run generator to keep rig from dying. Quiet. Huge sites on the edge. Easy hike to lodge. 10+
7/6 – 7/11 Zion River Resort RV Park, Virgin, UT This CG had it all – pool, paved site, rec room, store – except down in a hole so no cell service!   1 mile either way there was cell, argh. We needed it after being in the Grand Canyon, so were disappointed. They advertise Wi-Fi – which worked for about 10 minutes. Would stay closer to Zion National Park next time in town. 8
7/12 – 7/15 Ruby’s Inn, Bryce National Park, Bryce City, UT 1 of 2 CG’s right outside park, it had full hook-ups, but the sites were packed in. Is the original CG. Good shuttle service to park. Scary, dirty pool. 4
7/16 – 7/18 Canyonlands RV Park, Moab, UT Love this little park, even if they do pack them in! Right in town, Dan and I stayed here in 1998.   Under new ownership, cleaning it up. Good pool. 8
7/19 – 7/22 Pony Express RV Park, Salt Lake City, UT Owners are the same as Canyonlands so the service was good, but this park is new and really well done. Huge paved sites with grass and a trail along the Jordan River for biking or walking. Easy 8 minutes into Salt Lake City with a car. 8
7/23 – 7/25 3 Island Crossing, Glenn’s Ferry, ID We love this park! 3rd time here and it’s still quiet and beautiful. Excellent emigrant museum. Right on the Snake River, no sewer, cute town nearby. 10+
7/26 – 7/29 Boise KOA, Boise, ID Lost our reservation, but treated us nice. Tons of full-timers. Nice grass, tree. Tight sites. Quiet. 5.5
7/30 Burns RV Park,   Burns, OR We’ve stayed here coming and going from OR. Only game in town. Old. 7
7/31 – 8/3 Deschutes County Fairgrounds, Redmond, OR Near our storage unit, so we made reservations even though the county fair will be going on.   Beautiful views of the Cascades from the sites; there have been numerous national Good Samboree’s held here. 9
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Day 588 of Life on the Road as a Family – Home!

IMG_2912We’re back!  We drove the RV 19,032 miles in 19 months, 10 days and 4 hours and made it home to Bend, Oregon without a single traffic accident – how lucky we are!  Nate drew our progress on this little, old map we used to refer to for school, and now I want to frame it.  We went to 42 states, some multiple times as we wound our way around the USA and NE Canada.  We also drove the tow vehicle another 13,000 miles.  Every mile was awesome and we’d do it all over in a heartbeat.

It’s almost an out of body experience to be home and have everything be the same, while we have been all over this incredible country of ours and have so much crammed in our brains.  Plus a few thousand pictures to remind us when we forget!  When Dan and I finished our trip in 1998, re-entry was tough.  There were so many places we still wanted to see and we weren’t sure what we were stopping for.  Now we’ve seen everything we had been dreaming of, and are ready to get the kids through high school and resume our friendships here.  Home is an excellent four letter word.