Tuesday, March 29, 2016

A Look Back At Our Camping Season, Trip #6 (our finale), (December 23rd, 2015 thru January 4th, 2016)

We had about ten days at home between round #5 and round #6 of our camping season. Gary came back from round #5 not feeling too great, but he had nearly recovered by the time we departed for round #6. We left on December 23rd, and spent Christmas at Mistletoe State Park in Appling Georgia. Appling is a little bit northwest of Augusta on the east side of the state. It rained most of the time we were there, but that didn't bother us. We had an unusual campsite near an inlet on a gigantic lake. Not many people were there, and it was extremely peaceful. I didn't see a lot of squirrels, but there was an occasional deer wandering by. Besides antique shopping in Augusta, Gary spent some time with our camping buddies Lou Ann and Dan, who live just a few miles from the park. Somehow, he neglected to take any pictures with them. He seldom forgets to take pictures, and I'm blaming that error on a bit of head congestion from the cold he had before the trip. I should have reminded him, but I didn't think he would miss a photo opportunity. That's what I get for thinking! Mistletoe was very pretty. We enjoyed our four night stay, and will definitely go back. After Mistletoe, we spent three nights at Fort Yargo State Park in Winder Georgia. Winder is between Athens and Atlanta. This was another great Georgia park that we enjoyed immensely. Our campsite was packed gravel. I REALLY enjoyed that, and was able to stay clean there during the continuing rains we were encountering during the early part of this trip. We were in the newest of the two loops in the park, and along with that came a new restroom that Gary REALLY liked. Squirrels were everywhere, and I kept busy feeding them. Only half of one day during our stay was rain free, and Gary got to explore the park fairly well during that time. He also found a TERRIFIC antique store called "A Flea An'Tique" in the town of Braselton, a few miles north of the park. He spent the majority of one of the rainy days there. I know we will go back to Fort Yargo again, if for no other reason than to have a nice place to stay while Gary goes antiquing. Our next four nights, including New Year's, were spent at Red Top Mountain State Park near Cartersville Georgia, northwest of Atlanta. This was a beautiful park too. Our campsite was up on a hill, and I was surrounded by large boulders and a scenic overview of a flowing river. The rain finally stopped not long after we arrived, and held off during the remainder of our stay. As Gary always does, he relentlessly hunted for antiques all over the area. He also visited Kevin and Joyce Laird in Cartersville. Kevin and Joyce used to own a Scotty trailer, and Kevin has been a Facebook friend of Gary's for years, yet they had never met. The closest restroom to our campsite was old and tired, so Gary drove down to the newer one near the campground entrance for showers. As usual, I didn't do much but hang out and watch TV. I don't remember ever seeing a squirrel. Our plastic flamingos were stolen while we were at Red Top Mountain, and that was disappointing. During all of our years of camping, the flamingos are the only things that have ever disappeared from our campsite. We think that some of the obnoxiously loud and annoying kids that were camping in our loop took them, but we have no proof of that. Gary hunted, but never found them. We miss our pink plastic camping pals. We had a lot of good times with them. Gary joined about 65 other people for a 3-1/2 mile fitness hike on New Year's Day. Even now, he has maintained the 30+ pound weight loss that he accomplished last summer. For my part, I have done my best to make sure he sticks to his strict diet plan, and he's done VERY well. After leaving Red Top Mountain, we had no camping reservations at any other parks on the way back to St. Augustine. That's unlike us to "wing it", but Gary didn't think that we would have any problems by stopping wherever we wanted to. He was right. We by-passed the busy interstate highways in and around Atlanta, then eventually picked up I-75 further south of Georgia's biggest city. The goal for the day was to get as far south as we could. We stopped for the night at Georgia Veteran's Memorial State Park near Cordele, and just barely west of I-75. We were only going to be there overnight with no side trips, so Dodge and I were not unhitched from each other. We had camped there a year before, and stayed in the same campsite this time around. It's a nice little park, not one of our favorites, but a great place to hang out nevertheless. We were tired from the long ride, so it was PERFECT. The plan the next morning was to come straight home, but I coaxed Gary into stopping at General Coffee State Park near Douglas Georgia for a night. It didn't take much persuasion on my part. Both of us LOVE that park. We arrived early enough for Gary to go antiquing, and to pick up some carrots for our donkey buddies Poncho and Jenny who live at the park. And much to our surprise, the personalized bricks we ordered a couple of years ago, were finally put in place in front of the little museum inside the park. The sale of the bricks benefit the park and the farm animals there, and we were happy to contribute. There's a brick with my blog name on it (pictured), and a second brick commemorating our first stay at the park in 2013. Gary had bought plenty of carrots for the donkeys, so after they had their breakfast snack the following day after we arrived, we reluctantly headed towards home. At a rest stop just north of St. Augustine, Dodge's odometer reached the 250,000 mile mark, and we paused briefly for a little break and celebration. Back on the road, we soon reached exit 318 off of I-95. Green Acres Road and home sweet home was just a mile away, and our camping season was now officially over. On our final trip, a total of 1556 miles were traveled. I was along for 981 miles of those miles, while Gary and Dodge traveled the remaining 575 miles without me. We had a GREAT time going to new places, exploring new roads, and making new friends. Next year's camping trips have already been planned and booked, and I can't wait to get started. Happy Camping and safe travels to all of our friends who are out on the roads right now, and hopefully we will see you around the campfire next fall.

Friday, March 25, 2016

A Look Back At Our Camping Season, Trip #5 (December 2nd thru December 13th, 2015)

After a couple of shorter trips with only one stop each, we headed back into Georgia for a much longer one. Our first stop on this round of camping was at I-75 RV Park in Tifton Georgia. It rained heavily on our way there, and through most of the day and night. It mattered little to us. We had cable TV to die for, with more channels than anywhere we've ever been. Since we were only staying overnight, I stayed hitched up to Dodge. Gary hooked up my power and the cable TV, but didn't bother with hooking up the water supply or setting up my jack stands. Good thing, since he would have gotten drenched doing any more than he did. Although the park is right next to I-75, the noise wasn't bad. We were tired and slept well, especially after hours of watching "Flippin' RV's", one of our favorite TV shows. The weather was much better when we departed. Our second stop was at Hard Labor Creek State Park near Rutledge Georgia, roughly 177 miles north of Tifton. We had a nice campsite there, but the park wasn't overly impressive. Lots of construction was in the works, so the park will hopefully improve. The best thing that happened there, at least for Gary, was the ultra cool, ultra huge estate sale he found nearby. He spent the majority of our three-day stay there, and bought lots of fun stuff. I was kind of bored, but camping is camping, and at least I caught up on my sleep. Our third stop was at Amicalola Falls State Park in Dawsonville Georgia, another 111 miles northwest of Hard Labor Creek. This park was GORGEOUS, and high into the Georgia mountains. We had a GREAT campsite. There was lots to see and do in the park and in the surrounding areas. Gary was gone quite a bit like he usually is, but I was entertained by an abundance of squirrels, especially a cute little pregnant one that seemed to like me as much as I liked her. Amicalola has a 729 foot waterfall, the highest in the southeast. I didn't get to see it personally, but Gary spent some quality time walking the stairways that follow the waterfall from the top to the bottom. At least I got to enjoy it through pictures, and Gary took dozens of them. He also spent a morning at the Georgia Racing Hall Of Fame in Dawsonville, and had a good time enjoying all the displays there. The place looks small, but they pack a lot into a relatively little building. The Hall Of Fame shares the building with the Dawsonville City Hall. Gary and I had a REALLY fun four-night stay at Amicalola, but Dodge didn't enjoy it much. The hills were hard for him to climb, especially while towing me. And to make matters worse, a logging truck tossed up a rock and cracked Dodge's windshield. As much as Gary and I would like to go back to Amicalola at some point, I think Dodge would rather stay in Florida, or at least on flatter terrain. Our final stop on this trip was at Gordonia-Alatamaha State Park in Reidsville Georgia. Our four-night stay there was 282 miles southeast of Amicalola, and less than 200 miles from our home in St. Augustine Florida. It was an okay park, but not one of our favorites. It's located in an area that is close to a lot of antique stores, so Gary was happy about that. I had a good view of the lake across the street, and it was super quiet there. Once again, I did a lot of sleeping while Gary was out shopping. It was cool or cold throughout most of this trip, but rather warm and muggy as we headed further south. The heater stayed in Dodge, and the fan was in use the whole time we were at Gordonia-Alatamaha. Gary began catching a cold on the day we were heading home. A total of 1449 miles were traveled on this trip. I was in tow for 966 miles, while Gary and Dodge traveled 483 miles without me. There's one more trip to review, but I'll let you digest this one for a couple of days before posting again. As I type this, it's Friday, so have a GREAT weekend. Bye!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

A Look Back At Our Camping Season, Trip #4 (November 25th thru 28th, 2015)

It's a good thing that our trip to Gamble Rogers State Park in Flagler Beach Florida wasn't far from home. We only had a little over one day between getting home from our last trip to Reed Bingham State Park in Georgia, to unload the van, do laundry, and to drive down to Flagler Beach. Gary did all the work, of course. I'm never much help except for encouragement and supervising, and I don't think that Gary enjoys the supervising part very much. We had only stayed at Gamble Rogers once before, and that was for only one night back in 2011. Since then, they opened up a brand new camping loop on the inland side of highway A1A that runs north and south along the east coast of Florida. During our previous stay, we were on the beach side of the highway. The campsites in the new camping loop are much larger than on the beach side, and we were very happy with the one that we chose. The object of our stay at Gamble Rogers was for Gary to attend the annual Turkey Run car show at Daytona International Speedway. We normally stay at nearby Tomoka State Park in Ormond Beach, but we're not going to go there any more because of the horrible roads within the park. Gamble Rogers is a bit further away from the speedway, but well worth the travel time over staying at Tomoka. Gary had a blast as he always does at the car show. On the days that he didn't get up early to go to the car show, he enjoyed early morning walks on the beach and the beautiful sunrises. I got hooked on a TV channel that broadcasts old game shows, and I must have seen Richard Dawson kiss a hundred different women on vintage episodes of "The Family Feud" during our stay. We'll be going back to Gamble Rogers again next Thanksgiving, and hopefully for years to come. There wasn't a lot of mileage racked up on this trip. Gary and Dodge traveled 178 miles without me, and I was with them for an additional 120 miles. A total of 298 miles is low compared to all of our other trips. More soon as I sort through all the pictures from our FANTASTIC camping season. I hope you're enjoying these reviews as much as I'm enjoying making them. Bye for now!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

A Look Back At Our Camping Season, Trip #3 (November 18th thru 22nd, 2015)

On the third trip of our camping season, we headed once again into Georgia. This was only a one stop trip, a five night stay at Reed Bingham State Park near the city of Adel. After our usual drive through the park on arrival, we picked campsite #1 to hang out in. It was a corner campsite with a nice big shade tree. We had basic, limited channel cable TV. That was good for me since Gary was going to be gone during much of our stay. The main purpose in coming to Reed Bingham was the proximity of the park to the nearby town of Moultrie. A big annual car show and automotive swap meet is there, and it's something that Gary has wanted to attend for years. He finally got his chance, going to the show for two of the three days that he bought his tickets for. Weather wise, it was fairly cold in the mornings, but warmed nicely as soon as the sun came up. After the first day of the car show, Gary had so much fun that he came back to the campground and made reservations at Reed Bingham for the Moultrie car shows in February and November of 2016. It looks like we'll be going there every year, and that's fine with me. The park was very nice, quiet, and the campsites are spacious. In addition to the car show, Gary did a little antique shopping in the area, and explored the park. There just wasn't time for him to hike the trails, but that will wait until a future trip. A total of 557 miles were traveled. I was along for 403 miles of that total, while Gary and Dodge traveled 154 miles without me. When we arrived back at home, Dodge had a total of 246,710 miles on him. We still had a lot of camping left to go, so the 250,000 mile milestone was definitely within sight before our season ended. I am REALLY enjoying looking back at all the pictures from our travels. This is FUN!!! More reviews coming soon!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

A Look Back At Our Camping Season, Trip #2 (October 30th thru November 10th, 2015)

After a few days at home to regroup, we headed out for our second round of camping. We really like Georgia State Parks, and on this trip, we would visit two of them. Seminole State Park was our first stop. It's in Donalsonville Georgia, just barely above the Florida border. It's very close to Alabama as well. For our three night stay, we picked a pull-through lakeside campsite. We enjoyed our time there except for the weather. It was unusually warm for October. Gary wished he had brought the air conditioner along, but the fan was all we had. It ran the entire time we were there. Our campsite was pretty, but there was no shade trees to block the sun. Gary explored the park and went antique shopping in Dothan Alabama. There was no cable TV, but plenty of channels to watch from Georgia, Alabama, and Florida. Though not one of our favorite parks, it's a place we would definitely go back to. We had a good time. Our second stop was 177 miles further north, at Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park in Pine Mountain Georgia. This is a GORGEOUS park, and instantly became a favorite of ours. We had a beautiful back-in campsite that was right next door to the restroom. Gary enjoyed the convenience of that. Unfortunately, during a good portion of our seven night stay at F.D.R, it was either raining or extremely foggy. We didn't let that bother us. It was MUCH cooler than it was during our stay at Seminole State Park. That was VERY enjoyable. Gary's sister Pat and her husband Dan live about 25 miles from the park, and he spent a lot of time with them. TV reception was basically non-existent, but the iPod kept me entertained when Gary was away. We watched a few movies when he was around long enough. There is lots to see at F.D.R., and hiking is a big thing to do. F.D.R's statue is on Dowdell's Knob, a quiet scenic overlook where the President spent much of his time during visits to the area. His Little White House is just outside the park. We are already booked at F.D.R. for next fall. We're hoping that the weather will be better next time. Our final stop on this round of camping was at Torreya State Park near Bristol Florida, one of only two Florida State Parks that we camped at this season. This was not an impressive park in any way. We won't bother going back there again unless we absolutely have to. We spent two nights there on our way back home, and that was more than enough. Dodge developed a noise on our way from F.D.R. to Torreya. Gary thought it was a wheel bearing going bad, and that's exactly what it turned out to be. Luckily, we made it home without it falling apart, and it was replaced before our next trip. A total of 1782 miles was traveled by Gary and Dodge. I was in tow for 915 of those miles, and the remaining 867 miles were completed without me. That's it for the review of this round. Stay tuned for more.