All posts by rksmith

Trip Finished … Back “Home” Again!

Around mid-day on Monday, September 18, 2017 we pulled into grandson-in-law Randy’s business in Salt Lake to unload his car dolly that had served us so well. A while later we were at our daughter Heather’s house and the trip was finished. Over 6,000 miles and some twenty states and it almost seems like we never left.

A Field of Sunflowers
A Field of Sunflowers
We were in Connecticut until August 31st and had a delightful visit with family and some great sight seeing. For me one highlight was touring the USN Nautilus submarine in Groton, Connecticut. Another was going through the house in New Haven where Nina’s grandmother had lived a part of her childhood. The sunflower field was a delight. We spent more time in Connecticut than anywhere else on the trip and it was time very nicely spent.

Our next stop was in New Jersey for four nights. The Sea Pirates Campground had a minimum 4-day stay over holiday weekends. We were there as it was partway between Connecticut and Corella, North Carolina on the Outer Banks, our planned next stop to be with family. The trip was too far to do in one day so we split it up and took a brief respite in New Jersey. The biggest frustration was getting onto and across the George Washington Bridge. We spent a couple of hours to go four miles on the approach to the bridge.

To get to the Outer Banks we took the Cape May-Lewis ferry across Delaware Bay, drove down the length of Delaware into Virginia, and drove then the long bridge / tunnel across the Chesapeake Bay. Taking this route shaved several hours off of the alternative route. The ninety-minute ferry ride was very nice. I booked a 10:30am trip online, but traffic (surprisingly) was very light and we were there shortly after 9am and were able to get onto the 9:30am ferry. In fact, we were the 2nd vehicle to get onto the ferry. The ride was smooth and pleasant.

Campsite at the Kitty Hawk RV Park
Campsite at the Kitty Hawk RV Park
Our son Daryl had rented a house on the Outer Banks beach in Corolla, North Carolina. We had planned to park the motor home in the rental house driveway, but then discovered that was prohibited. There are two campgrounds on the upper end of the Outer Banks and we were able to secure a place in Kitty Hawk. This campground was about a 40-minute drive south of Corolla where Daryl, Laura, Lily, and Laura’s parents were staying.

The Tallest Lighthouse in the US
The Tallest Lighthouse in the US
We arrived on Labor Day Monday. Daryl had to vacate his rental on the following Saturday morning. We originally thought we could we would leave that day as well then thought better of it! We decided to spend a couple more days, do some sightseeing on Saturday, go to Church at the Nags Head Ward on Sunday, and then head west on Monday, September 11th.

In addition to spending time at the beach, in the pool and two hot tubs at the rental house, eating at several restaurants, and visiting, we had some other fun times. Daughter-in-law Laura ran in a 5-k race coming in 32nd and first in her age class. We took a fun tour on four-wheel-drive beach to see the wild Spanish ponies. We played eighteen holes of miniature golf. Nina’s brother-in-law Billy drove up from South Carolina to spend a day with us (and go on the wild horse tour). We were quite delighted to be able to visit for a bit with Billy and hope to get out to see him sometime in South Carolina.

Three Wild Spanish Ponies on the Shore
Three Wild Spanish Ponies on the Shore
We made a couple of significant stops on Saturday. First was at the site where the first powered airplane flight occurred. We also stopped at the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse which was much more interesting than I thought it was going to be. Seeing all of the kites flying across the street from the Kitty Hawk Kite Store was very impressive. There are several lighthouses along the Outer Banks.

Watch Out for Snakes
Watch Out for Snakes
This was another of the lighthouses. We headed the warnings! We’ll likely never go back to the Outer Banks and one week is not nearly enough time to explore everything available. I can see why our son Daryl and his family return there for vacation each year. It is a beautiful and varied place.

We headed west on September 11th. We stopped at three campgrounds on the way west and arrived in Colorado Springs on the 14th. We stayed at the Garden of the Gods RV Resort for two nights while visiting with our good friends Bobby and Duane. You can always tell who the really good friends are when conversations just pick up after years absence as though we had never left. Saturday we drove to Green River, Wyoming and spent Sunday with my favorite brother Perry and his wife Chris. We enjoyed going to Church with Perry as well as taking a nice drive east of Green River to see the wild horses (!) out on the high desert plains. Then it was finally back home. We had a great trip.

Here’s some pictures (in random order) from the trip.

Sea Pirate Campground

This campground is located in New Jersey near the Outer Banks. There is an area for seasonal campers somewhat separate from the transient folks.

This was a very nice campground with good (pay for) WIFI. It had an excellent laundry facility. The staff was very accommodating. The pool looked nice, but isn’t heated so we didn’t take advantage. There is a food concession as well.

The sites were level with many pull-throughs available.

5 out of 5 stars

 

 

What: July – September 2017 Road Trip
When: 1 September to 4 September
Where: West Creek, NJ
Campground: Sea Pirate Campground
148 Main Street
West Creek, NJ 08092
Phone: 609-296-7400
Email: info@sea-pirate.com
Website: https://sea-pirate.com/
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Looking East
Looking East
Looking West
Looking West

Riverdale Farm Campsites

Riverdale Farm Campsites is a very nice campground. We’ve camped here at least two times in the past and was the only place I considered for our time in Connecticut. The campground has grown considerably since the first time we stayed there. We stayed here twelve nights.

The WIFI comes in two flavors, free (meaning poor) and pay-for (pretty good but pricey). The AT&T cell service was poor inside the motor home but workable outside the motor home.

I’d stay here again, unless I found something in the same price range with better WIFI.

4 out of 5 stars. Better WIFI at a more reasonable price would have improved the score.

 

 

What: July – September 2017 Road Trip
When: 19 August – 31 August
Where: Windsor, CT
Campground: Riverdale Farm Campsites
111 River Road
Windsor, CT 06413
Phone: (518) 864-5352
Email: riverdalefarmcampsite@comcast.net
Website: http://riverdalefarmcampsites.com/
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

The 2017 Road Trip … What’s Been Going On and Where Have We Been?

It was high time to visit with our (grown) children and our grandchildren. For some reason, Nina and I do all the traveling. The children seldom come to see us! So, after the house building project was well underway and summer was in full swing, we made preparations to make the 2017 Road Trip. The actual itinerary was to be very flexible. We would first go to Kentucky and we would end up on the Outer Banks of North Carolina with Daryl and family. In between we would visit with Nina’s sister-in-law Marion in Pickerington, Ohio, Nina’s sister Pam in Kirtland, Ohio, Nina’s cousin Priscilla in Glenmont, New York, Nina’s cousins Linda and Chris in North Branford, Connecticut, Nina’s son Peter and his wife in Connecticut, and Nina’s brother-in-law Billy in Ninety-Six, South Carolina.

Jim’s daughter Shaundra had plans to be in Logan, Utah for an Especially for Youth activity the third week in July. Originally Jim and the rest of the family were coming out west to visit with family and Shaundra would go back with them. However, life intervened, Jim spent a couple of weeks in the hospital with a very serious infection, and their trip west was cancelled. Rather than have Shaundra give up her EFY experience, we planned our trip so that she could ride back with us. That all worked out very well.

We left Utah on Tuesday, July 25th headed east. So far we’ve visited Jim and his family in Kentucky, Nina’s sister-in-law Marion in Pickerington, Ohio, Nina’s sister Pam in Kirtland, Ohio, and Nina’s cousin Priscilla in Glenmont, NY. We’ve just arrived in Connecticut to spend some time with cousins and Nina’s son Peter. After that we’ll spend the Labor Day weekend in New Jersey and meet up with Daryl, along with his family and his in-laws on Monday, September 4th at a house Daryl has rented on the North Carolina Outer Banks. After that? Who knows!

We had a very special experience while we were in Kirtland last Friday. Pam (Nina’s sister) and Nina had spent the morning and early afternoon together. We had wanted to visit some of the church history sites in Kirtland, so they decided we should go to the Kirtland Temple on Friday late afternoon and then do the rest of the sites on Saturday morning.

When we arrived at the Community of Christ Visitors’ Center for the Kirtland Temple, we learned that the next tour would be combined with a Church History tour from Utah and that our very good friend Karl Andersen would be conducting the tour! I had wanted to somehow get together with Karl but there just didn’t seem to be time in the schedule. This was a golden opportunity not only to have a brief visit, but to have him lead the tour and teach us the history at the same time. He made the visit very spiritual and enlightening. This was one of those “coincidences” to be treasured. I’ve long maintained that there are no coincidences, only appointments made by God and kept by man. This was another example to proves the rule.

We’ve had some interesting problems on the trip. Grandson-in-law loaned us a car dolly so we could tow Nina’s Toyota Avalon and not have to rent cars at various stops along the way. We rented cars on our last Big Trip three years ago and, while that was very convenient, it was Very Expensive.

The passenger side tire came off the car dolly as we were coming into Columbus, Ohio. It looks like the spindle disintegrated. Fortunately, no one was affected other than us. The day after picking up the newly repaired dolly, the driver’s side tire on the dolly had a blowout. Both times the tail lights on the dolly were blown off the vehicle. I’ve gotten very good at replacing tail lights! We also managed to tear half the front bumper cover off Nina’s Toyota Avalon. That’s currently being held together with wire and a couple of bolts. This is a repair job that’ll eventually have to go through the insurance to get fully replaced. Meanwhile, I hope to further secure the bumper cover enough so that it’ll get us back home. Knock on wood….

Since the tire issue, the dolly has performed quite well. It’s good to have a car with us. I’m thinking it would be a good idea to buy a car dolly so we can do these kinds of trips more often.

Life is good. We’re currently in a campground in southern Connecticut near the beach. It’s cool and very humid. The rain should move out by about midnight and tomorrow should be a great day.

Ta ta for now!

Schenectady, NY — Frosty Acres Campground

This was another nice campground, but like most campgrounds, it was situated well away in the wilds of New York. Getting there follows a very winding and hilly road.

There was no wifi available but good cellular service from AT&T. We were there a total of three nights. We’d leave to go visit family at about 8:30am and get back about 8:30pm at night. As a result, we saw very little of the actual campground. What we did see confirmed that this was primarily a seasonal campground with people settling their trailer or motor home in place for months at a time so they could come up on weekends to play.

The route that Google Maps gives to get to the turnpike going eastbound, however, means passing through a tunnel under some railroad tracks where the ceiling is about 10 feet. No way could the motor home get through that tunnel, but there was no place nearby to turn around! Some investigating turned up a couple of alternative routes that would bypass the tunnels and get us out of there safely.

The campground had good cellular service but no wifi service was available.

Three out of five stars.

 

 

What: July – September 2017 Road Trip
When: 15 August – 18 August
Where: Schenectady, NY
Campground: Frost Acres Campground
1560 Skyline Drive
Schenectady, NY 12306
Phone: (518) 864-5352
Email: frostyacrescampground@yahoo.com
Website: http://www.frostyacres.camp/
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

Windsor, New York — Lakeside Campground

This was to be a one-night-stand so that we could visit the Priesthood Restoration Site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We got a late start as we had one last visit to make before driving away. We got four miles east on I-90 when the driver’s side tire on the car dolly had a blowout. We were just exiting the freeway anyway to buy gasoline. We took the car off the dolly and, as luck would have it, there was a tire store on the exit! I took the motor home and dolly over to the tire store and they put a new tire on the dolly while we went across the street to Wendy’s for lunch.

Putting the car back on the dolly, however, turned out to be a serious problem. Nina was driving and gunned the car to get over the past hump. Since it was a front-wheel drive, the car pulled the dolly platform out of kelter. Nina immediately backed off the dolly, but it caught the front bumper cover and almost ripped it off the car! The mechanic looked at it and felt he could wire it back together enough for us to get to a real garage to be repaired. So far the repair has held up without any problems (knock on wood). Eventually we were underway for real in the late afternoon. We arrived at the campground right a dark.

The GPS took us over hill and dale, big hills, twisty windy road. I mentioned this to the clerk as I was checking in and she said there is a much nicer way, but because it’s a little bit longer, the GPS’s don’t select the route.

We had an additional GPS issue when we went the next morning down to the Priesthood Restoration Site. It put us “at our destination” a good four or five miles short of our planned stop. Nina pulled over to turn around ina business parking lot when the owner came out and, seeing our Utah license plates, knew where we needed to go and clarified the directions.

The campground is a delight. Most sites seemed to be seasonal. The campground sits by a nice lake for swiming, boating, and fishing. My problems were that we didn’t have any cell phone service there and no WIFI was available.

 

 

What: July – September 2017 Road Trip
When: 14 August – 15 August
Where: Windsor, NY
Campground: Lakeside Campground
336 Hargrave Road
Windsor, NY 13865
Phone: 607-655-13865
Email: Theresa@ILoveCamping.com
Website: http://www.lakesidecampground.com/LakesideCampground/Welcome.html
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

Thompson, Ohio — Richards Campground

We had hoped to stay at a mobile home park in Chardon, Ohio however, they either didn’t have space or neglected to call back with confirmation. By then there wasn’t anything available except at Richards Campground (also known as Lillies of the Field Campground) in Thompson, Ohio (just south of the Madison exit on I-90 east towards Erie, PA).

The campground is &quait& (to say the least). Very inexpensive … less than $12 a night. We had electricity and water along with a sump where I could dump the grey water. The campground is very run down. Plenty of derelict trailers, vehicles, and tractors abound. No WIFI. The owner/operator was very nice and quite concerned about us having a pretty good stay.

The car dolly was finally finished on Monday, August 7th, so we drove the motor home down on Tuesday to pick up the dolly and bring it back to the campground.

Fortunately, we spent very little time at the campground. We were there a total of ten nights.

One out of five stars. This campground is a “last resort” place to stay.

 

 

What: July – September 2017 Road Trip
When: 4 August – 14 August 2017
Where: Thompson, OH
Campground: Fichards Campground
 
Thompson, OH 43021
Phone: 440-298-3870
Email: Unknown
Website: None
Rating: 1 out of 5 Stars

Galena, Ohio — Berkshire Lake Campground

We pulled into this campground fairly late in the afternoon after what should have been a short drive up I-71 through Columbus and to this delightful campground north of town and close to I-71. As we were coming into Columbus, right at the I-270 / I-71 interchange, the passenger rear wheel on the car dolly literally came off. That side of the frame hit the ground with a bang. Nina was driving and quickly pulled over. We took the car off the dolly and pulled the motorhome with dolly attached well off the freeway. Google said there was a commercial tire shop at the next exit … one mile further north. They said they could fix the problem but it would take a couple of days.

Wheelless Dolly
Wheelless Dolly
We arranged for a tow truck to pick up the dolly and deliver it to the tire store. This was on a Tuesday afternoon. The repair was fairly complicated and took until the following Monday afternoon to complete. By that time we were in a campground up in Thompson, Ohio, so we drove the motor home down on the following Tuesday, picked up the dolly, and brought it back.

The Berkshire Lake Campground is primarily for longer-term guests. They do have a few campsites available for short-time campers. It is a very big facility with most sites having a fairly permanent setup. There was no WIFI. Our site was a pull-thru with hookups in very good condition.

Three out of five stars. No wifi was a downer.

 

 

What: July – September 2017 Road Trip
When: 1 August – 4 August 2017
Where: Galena, OH
Campground: Berkshire lake Campground
1848 Alexander Road
Galena, OH 43021
Phone: 740-965-2321
Email: Unknown
Website: https://berkshirelakecampground.com
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

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