tOur next day on the road took us just over the border from Indiana into Ohio, a new state for Pearl since we'd visited Barry's folks in a rental car back in the spring. We stopped for two nights in an RV park I'd found online, Arrowhead Campground.
Arrowhead Campground is an attractive, tidy, well-maintained but expensive commercial park. The setting is rural and pastoral, about nine miles north of New Paris -- definitely off the beaten track. We got a beautiful pull-thru site with full hookups, but even with Good Sam discount, it was nearly $50/night, probably the priciest place we've stayed in our motorhome travels. But it was a lovely respite that we needed.
We came in without reservations, and although most of the sites in the campground are seasonal, there were still a few available for short-term stays. The park has a nice laundry room, which I used ($1.50 wash, $1.25 dry). A huge plus for me was the book exchange! The owners are such a friendly couple and so pleasant to deal with. The campground is very quiet during the week as most of the seasonals live close by and only come on weekends. Even though the park was packed with rigs, we hardly saw a soul during our stay. We got a good Verizon 4G signal (3 bars) and multiple network TV stations, which helped make this a great stop.
Fall color was just beginning to show up here.
On our full day here, we took a long bike ride back into Indiana. The ride that Barry planned took us on lovely rural roads through Amish farmland and over to the Cardinal Greenway Trail, which we'd done a long ride on a couple of years ago (see our blog post). Fortunately this time it was not nesting season, so we didn't encounter aggressive Red-Winged Blackbirds dive-bombing us as we had in 2014. Whew!
At the southern terminus of the trail, we rode into Richmond, Indiana, where we'd stayed in 2014, and stopped for ice cream downtown, Unfortunately, a band of rain (that had NOT been forecast) came through, and we got a little wet as we were leaving town and for our entire northward ride on the Cardinal, but it was light. Once we turned east into Ohio, the rain had passed, and we had a nice ride on the way back.
After leaving New Paris, we continue our slow journey to our Columbus Day weekend spot in Ohio -- stay tuned!
Our next stop was another new state for Pearl, and another one-nighter, though we had actually planned a longer stay. I had read great reviews of Shades State Park, south of Crawfordsville, Indiana, but when we arrived on the fourth cloudy day in a row, our spirits were already a little low, so this park just didn't impress us all that much. We had run into construction along the narrow road in, with branches infringing into the road from above and the side and scratching against Pearl's passenger side, which already had me feeling grumpy.
On the plus side, we did see this pretty covered bridge as we got close to the park.
There had been a lot of rain in the area recently, so the park was muddy (though very green), most of the sites had many overhanging or slide-stopping trees, and there was no Verizon cell signal, so no internet for us. We did pick up a couple of over-the-air TV stations, but with no hookups (all sites here are primitive), we had to run the inverter if we wanted to watch TV. We usually don't mind boondocking, but in this case, I guess we were tired and wanted just a little more comfort.
Then there was the discolored water. I'd seen a boil-water advisory sign at a state rest stop a bit earlier, so we suspect that flooding in this part of the state earlier in the season had led to water safety and quality issues. Although the park water may not have been unsafe to drink, we didn't want to take any chances. That much sediment messes up our water filters, and it's just not appetizing.
The park was certainly quiet enough. There was only one other rig in the 100-site park when we arrived! I'm sure this park is busy during the summer, but in the off-season, this would be a great place to go if you crave peace and quiet and want to unplug and get away from it all. I am sure we would have enjoyed it more if it had been dry and sunny; the days of clouds were just getting to us. I think we would give this park another chance under different circumstances.
We left for Ohio the next morning, the sun came out, and the next couple of days found us in better spirits!
When we last left you in Long Branch State Park (see blog post), we had a bad starter battery and we weren't 100% sure we were going to make it out of the park on our departure day. Thank the gods, when Barry pressed the 'use the house batteries' switch and turned the key to fire up the engine, Pearl started right up. What a relief!
We drove straight to an auto supply store in nearby Macon and purchased a new battery. This one is an AGM that doesn't need water and should be maintenance free. We had replaced our house batteries with AGMs down in Florida, so it was good to have a full complement of fresh batteries now. We had no idea how old the starter battery was as it was not marked with a date.
After leaving Macon, we continued heading east. Today we would add yet another state to Pearl's tally: Illinois.
After that brief detour, we continued on our way. We spent the night at Double J Campground, a commercial park near Springfield. It was just slightly off our route so very convenient for a one-night stop.
Double J is a well-kept, fairly large commercial park with pull-through, full hookup sites among pretty green trees and grass. It is in a flat area so sites are quite level. By our frugal standards, this is a fairly expensive park at $40/night (which includes our 10% Good Sam discount), but the park's amenities are good. Our nightly rate included cable TV, a nice luxury. We were also able to pick up a variety of over-the-air stations with our antenna. Verizon 4G LTE signal was strong, as was the park wi-fi.
The laundry room was small but adequate, and bathrooms were immaculate. There is a mini-golf course and a pool in the summer. There is "dog park", but it's not fully enclosed, and dogs have to be on-leash, so it is more of a grassy area to walk your dog, not a true dog park. There was nice walking around the park but we really couldn’t walk anywhere from it, as it was off the interstate frontage road.
Since it was the off season (early October), the park wasn't very full, and it was quiet. There are quite a few seasonal trailers and rigs in back-in perimeter sites plus a few in pull-through sites. The park is open year-round. There was road noise from I-55, so we slept with ear plugs.
We were lucky enough to have no neighbors on either side, so our pleasant site felt bigger than it was. The owners are pretty strict about putting nothing on the grass (patio mats, tents, etc), which is why the sites look so nice, but might not be everyone's cup of tea. The rules certainly didn't bother us for one night, and we would definitely stay here again if we were in the area.
Next stop, Indiana!
Emily & Barry
We're a long-married, early-retired couple who are currently traveling as nomads with no fixed home base. After years of living in North Carolina (Emily's home state), we spent 18 months living oceanfront on Ambergris Caye, Belize, a year road-tripping the US in a Honda CR-V, a year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and are now roaming North America in our 32' motorhome, Pearl, following warm weather whenever possible.
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