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Saturday
Aug112012

Island Resort Family Campground and RV Park, Newark, MD

This park is a mix of campground (campers come and go) and RV Park (RV owners own their own lot. 

On the plus side: Beautiful grounds, nice pool and pier areas with great decks, very quiet, pet friendly, only about 15-20 minutes from Ocean City and Assateague Island, well stocked camping store, 2x a day garbage pick-up, and apparently a good fishing lake.

On the minus side: Only a single bathroom in the camping area (you can walk 10 minutes or drive to a larger bathroom at the entrance), only three shaded campsites, unable to change reservation to shaded area after arriving even though site stayed open during our stay (un-flexible booking), cost (at $65 a night this campground equaled the total cost of one night at our previous three campsites).

We ruled out Assateague National Park because it lacks electrical hook ups.  We thought about the Maryland Assateague State Park which has some sites that allow pets.  As it turns out, both government parks did not have availability (no surprise).

We were so happy to have a high season, mid-week stay.  We returned a little earlier on Friday due to incoming inclemental weather, and already by morning, the Bay Bridge and traffic through Cambridge, MD was thick.

As we often did in Kansas, we used to the campsite as a base camp to visit the area, and spent a morning in Ocean City primarily to get donuts at Layton's, a favorite from Ginny's high school days, and most of the rest of our time at Assateague Island enjoying the gorgeous beaches and horses.  We found delicious homemade ice cream in the historic town of Berlin. 

On the second day of our visit a large Class A RV pulled in with relatively young healthy grandparents and four grandchildren.  They hardly spent anytime outside, and it looked like they went out for many of their meals.  My point is not to be judgmental and I think there is a tremendous freedom and spirtuality benefit for those who embark on an adventure to see and stay in new places, be it in a tent, a camper, or a $300K Class A RV.  However, to some degree, perhaps we get out of an experience what we put into it.

Preparing to embark on a trip, which includes ensuring food, cooler with ice, linen, towels, bug spray, etc. are ready to go, and the ensuing clean up after returning perhaps adds 2-4 hours of work.  There is also an opportunity cost, as most of the work around the house gets put on hold.  On this trip, reaching the tipping point almost did not happen, but after it was reached, we were so happy for going on this trip.

The Scamp provides a dry, comfortable, climate control environment for sleeping and to a more limited degree, hanging out.  There is an intangible, emotional "fun & happy" factor too.  Just thinking of camping unleashes latent nostalgic joy.  Eating at the campsite saves money, reduces time wasted looking for sometimes disappointing food, and enhances the camping experience.  Of course with Ginny, we always eat very well :)

I would be dishonest to say we did not have a little RV envy, but at this stage of our life, we would not give up the Scamp for a super sized RV or trailer.  To the chagrin of our neighbors, I am sure, we are storing the little Scamp in our driveway instead of the storage lot about an hour away.  Apparently RV in the driveway = decreased home values.  Regardless, we hope this arrangement facilitates more camping in the near future.

Tuesday
Aug072012

Claytor Lake State Park, Virginia

We lucked out as we pulled into a huge and relatively secluded camp site (#6).  There are about a dozen or so secluded campsites, and the rest are quite close together in a parking lot configuration.  It is first come, first served here.  Unlike the other campsites during our move from TX to MD, there were no fire restrictions.  So we built a big one.  Thanks to the storm that knocked out power for 1.5M in VA, DC, and MD on 30 Jun, there was plenty of firewood.  We enjoyed the trails and the beach with floating platform.  We paid $18 for the night.  Fantastic park, highly recommended.

The only downside was the beach closing for thunder.  I think the thunder was over 20 miles away, and very sporadic, but the beach closed.  We did show up at 30 minutes to closing, and the lifeguards reluctantly let us swim as 30 minutes had passed since the last rumble.  So we had the beach to ourselves.  Wish we had s'mores, but enjoyed a beautiful fire.

See more on Claytor Lake from Ginny in Ginny's Kitchen.

Note: Cow picture taken from gas station on the way to the park.  Funny what you see driving across country.

Tuesday
Aug072012

Countryside Resort, Lebanon, TN

This is commercial campsite costing around $30 a night.  At capacity the it could be quite crowded but we experienced light occupancy.  We had partial shade, which worked out well.  The site, bathrooms, and pool are old but very clean.  The bathroom has AC.  The camp is very close to the highway with some traffic noise permeating into the campsite, but the grounds are beautiful with spacious expanses of grass.  There is a sketchy looking pond.   Good prices on beer.  Recommended.

The light was nearly perfect in the morning and Harris took some nice pictures.  Our run the afternoon we arrived was brutally hot.  Two days of travel confirmed I had the best co-pilot ever.

See more from Ginny here.

Tuesday
Aug072012

De Gray Lake Resort State Park, Arkansa

Approximately 500 miles from San Antonio, this was our first stop.  With a lodge, golf, 3 yurts, and plenty of places to boat or swim, this is a jewel of a campsite.  With 100 degree weather we appreciated the shade from the thick canopy, especially with the Hairball.  We paid $14 for the night.  Highly recommended.

We made good time.  Ginny made delicious sandwiches the night before and we had plenty of snacks.  A shared cold coffee beverage from the gas station helped the final push.  The coffee maker took a lot of room, but we were so happy to have delicious coffee in the morning.  Nutella and bananas is a good choice too.  Good to keep morale high.  The domestic commander knows how to take care of the troops.

More from Ginny here.

Tuesday
Aug072012

The Scamp Rides Again

After a five year hiatus, the Scamp rides again.  New front window, gravel shield (to protect new front window), AC, new adaptor plug, new battery cable, new tow connector cable, new cover to electrical outlet, two heavy-duty latches to keep door from opening during transit, and 2.5" foam topper for our bed.  Our Phoenix Scamp is ready to roll.