Tag Archives: boondocking

Cherokee Rock

After a great fail trying to get to Chief Ladiga campground Captain Jim used freecampsites.net and found Cherokee Rock Campgrounds (Alabama.)  It wasn’t far from where we were and had promising reviews.  Hmmm?

Although we did not encounter anymore Bridge Out signs we did have to endure a quite steep, narrow entrance road to the park.  Once we got to the park our initial impression was quite positive.  It was very clean with almost new pavilion and office.  It was based on the honor system, however the prices did not match with what the website stated.  The website and the envelope stated $10 a night, the sign stated $20.  There were no maps to the campground and we had to just guess where to go.

As we drove through the park we could see tent camping along huge rock outcroppings.  It was obvious this was strictly for tents only.  We headed into the wooded area in search of RV camping.  There were, I repeat, NO road signs!  We ended up on a dead end and a dead end definitely means a dead end, NO TURN AROUND!!!  Captain Jim had to back Betty and Bertha up in a narrow, crooked area.

We were, at this time, then met by the “Campground Host,” which then proceeded to help us back up and find a site.  And they had to do this because NO SITES were MARKED!  They got us into a site not too far from them.  Was it a great site? NO.  It was so unlevel that we had to pull out every leveling tool we could find and warned the Boy, NO Jumping!

I will give it this, it was quiet.  No lights blaring in the window.  Some campers came and went, but we have a feeling they were camping on the sly (coming after dark and leaving before sunrise.)  I will admit we only paid the price that was marked on the envelope as this campground in no way warranted $20 per night price tag.  There was no water, electric, sewer and trash was definitely not in walking distance.

The campground host sounded like he and his wife had been there quite a while.  There were promises of future improvements, but it doesn’t seem like it has made it to the back forty of Cherokee Rock, including cutting the grass (which he said he was going to do the next day.)  Funny thing was Jim said he’s pretty sure he was “cutting grass” just not the kind we wanted cut.  He noticed quite a few “plants” in a tent on their site.  Perhaps this was why the “host” seemed so happy to be there.

Now, don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all bad.  The rocks were amazing to walk through and climb on.  They were massive and parts overlooked a beautiful valley.  We were able to get some amazing photos, although we were disappointed that the sunrise did not cooperate with us.  It was quite misleading.

I’m sure there was quite a lot of history there.  It was a shame, however, to see so many of these beautiful wonders of nature defaced by senseless graffiti.  Really people?  Get a grip.  This is not a chalkboard and nobody cares that you were there.

Overall, we feel that this campground was good for tent campers and young people as their sites set next to the valley or rocks, not nestled in the bug infested woods.  We decided this was not a place to where we would back.

Captain Jim gives this place a  2 mostly because of the rocks if it were a day trip (no camping).  If you are a tent camper and young it would get a 4 or 5.  I agree with his conclusion.

Campground Nowhere

Last night we stopped at a county park campground in Bastom, Alabama, called Neal’s Landing. This campground was an unmarked almost free campground. We found it on the site https://freecampsites.net/. We had to use their directions because Google tried to take us somewhere else. That somewhere was an exercise in determination and patience for Capt. Jim as he had to turn the camper around in a tight space. He did well!

Neal’s Landing was very pretty with tall pines throughout, surrounded by a thick wooded wildlife management area. We chose a site next to the river although we could not get to the river from our site due to a steep embankment. There was a boat ramp further up. We chose not to put the canoe in as the river was fast moving. Kaelin had fun running through the campground. It would have been perfect for his trike however, a flat tire flattened those plans.

We had many sites to choose from as there was only the campground host as a neighbor. Quite empty. Although it was very pretty and cost us a whopping $5, we stayed only the one night. The biggest drawback, besides the relentless bugs, was NO WATER. Anywhere! This is truly some boondocking!! We did enjoy a very quiet, dark nights sleep.

This campground could be such a gem with a little more management. Add even just water spigots and you might increase the camper population.

I give it a 3 star rating for cleanliness, quiet and layout.

Captain Jim gives it a 4 star rating for it’s boondocking mystique.

On the Road Again

Another school year done, another summer to begin.  This year promises to be quite interesting as we are changing things up a bit.  Normally, Capt. Jim prefers to make reservations for the whole summer.  This year we are “winging it.”  NO RESERVATIONS!  We plan on heading north, northish.  (Originally we were to go to Colorado but alas, that will have to wait another year.)

Our first stop on our plan with no plan, should be the Panhandle.  One of our dear former students just had his high school graduation near the Florida Caverns.  Unfortunately, due to some important appointments and lagging behind on prepping “Betty” and “Bertha,”  we missed the graduation.  However, the idea of camping near the Caverns seemed appealing.  Our hopes are to meander around finding campsites (or boondocking sites) near caverns or places like that.  We went last year to Linnville Caverns in North Carolina.  That was really cool!  For information about Linnville Caverns visit their website:   http://www.linvillecaverns.com/   

The ultimate stop will be Mammoth Caves if we can make it there.  I went as a child and remember being awed by the immensity and beauty.  Here’s hoping weather and roads are kind to us  as I am excited about the prospect

For information about Mammoth Caves visit their site at: https://www.nps.gov/maca/index.htm

We really cleaned up Betty (our RV) including polishing it with Zep floor polish.   Yes, floor polish!  Capt. Jim saw how to do it on YouTube and wow did it work.  I even used in on the wood floors in the camper.  Betty is so happy!

This will be our first trip with Bertha (last name Big Butt as she is a big ol’ diesel.)  Capt. Jim has done many upgrades to her as well and we are anxious to see how well she does.  The Ford did her job well, but it was time for Bertha to move in and take over.

We are also doing something new with Little Man.  He is going into fifth grade next school year and we don’t want him to get too bored during the summer vacation so we signed him up to take keyboarding through Florida Virtual.  He’s already started and doing well.  The best thing we can do as parents is to keep him engaged in a routine and to introduce him to many experiences that only travel can provide.

To do Little Man’s class online we needed to get a WiFi hotspot.  I went with Verizon’s Jetpack.  This should also allow me to do a better job of blogging.  Hopefully!  So, follow us again this summer as we once again say, “Always an Adventure!”

Boondocking and Internet

Current Temperature:  57 degrees

Current Location: Ellsworth, Maine

Current Campground: Seawall Campground Acadia National Park

I will keep this short as we are sitting in a Laundromat waiting for clothes to dry.  One of the problems with camping, especially boondocking, is the lack of internet opportunities.  No, we do not have a hotspot.  If we were to do this all year maybe we would invest in a hotspot.

We have been in Acadia National Park for a week now and have accumulated so many memories and thoughts that it may be impossible to relay even a fraction of them.  This little part of Maine is incredible and will be hard to leave tomorrow as we head to the White Mountains in New Hampshire (where, by the way, it is even colder!)

At this posting, I do not have any of my many photos and will post later in more detail based on photos.  Each photo will tell the story of our memories here.

This Place Could Be Dangerous

* A better late than never post.

Sunday June 7, 2015

Current Temperature: A Pleasant 72⁰ overcast

Current Time: 9:00a.m.

Current Location: Fredericksburg / Washington D.C. KOA Kampground

Okay, so we are not boondocking, but Man does not live on bread alone and this is our Manna and Nector.

After approximately 8 hours on the road we were ready for our evening stop. We stopped at a Flying J in Ruther Glen, VA. This was not a RV friendly Truck Stop. Friday night at the Flying J Denny’s Restrauant must be the thing to do because the place was packed. Parking was not happening and even getting gas was at a risk. They have pumps for RV’s (supposedly for easier access) but this truck stop designer must have been thinking the maximum length of RVs was 20 ft. We do not recommend this truck stop at all. We found one review, after the fact, that complained about music blasting all night and an unsympathetic manager. Had we read that first we might not have even stopped there.

Feeling let down and disgusted, we pulled out our handy Allstays Camp and Review app once again and decided on stopping at the KOA. After all, a shower would be nice right? Mind you, we are not fans of KOA normally, however this place is well worth it.

Tucked away among some winding, scenic roads is the Fredericksburg/Washington D.C. KOA, a nice campground with friendly staff. The sites are nestled among some of the tallest, lushest trees I’ve seen in a long while. The pull-thru site we were escorted to had easy access. The sites are long, narrow and gravel paved.

After setting up and fixing some lovely refreshing adult beverages we headed out for a short walk and a stop at the playground. After all, the Boy had been so good during our hours on the road he deserved some play time. Dinner consisted of delicious “Fancy Grilled Cheese Sandwiches” cooked on my new cast iron griddle and fresh fruit. Oh, and more adult beverages. (No, we don’t normally do this but, hey, vacation just began!)

I slept wonderfully as it was dark and quiet. We awake and discovered the dangerous part – you might not want to leave! Jim said it would be so easy to just stay there, sitting outside, drinking coffee, chatting and forgetting yourself, lost in nature.

Alas, not to happen. Pack it up and go.