After leaving Ohio, we headed south into, as the tourism board dubs it, "wild, wonderful" West Virginia, another new state for Pearl.
Getting to East Fork Corps of Engineer Campground was an adventure, as the last 35+ miles of driving were on narrow, winding, bumpy roads we were surprised our RV atlas marked as RV friendly. But there was no other way to get there, and we knew that other rigs had certainly made the drive before us, so we forged onward. We had already had a longer than usual drive with unexpectedly high traffic, so we were pretty worn out when we arrived at the park. The park is south of Huntington in a very rural area, dotted with small towns.
Once we finally pulled in late on a Thursday afternoon in mid-October, we were rewarded with a lovely waterfront spot. East Fork Campground is located on the shores of East Lynn Lake on the East Fork of Twelvepole Creek. We considered ourselves very lucky to nab such a private spot as the campground was quite full, especially Areas 1 and 2. Areas 4-6 had already closed for the season, and this was the last weekend the campground would be open until spring.
The campground offers electric and water hookups and waterfront view for only $12/night with Barry's Senior Pass -- a great deal. What it doesn't have is any cell or over-the-air TV signal since it is so remote. It's satellite or nothing here. The park does offer wi-fi through their satellite, and I sprung for a 24-hour pass ($10) in the middle of our three-night stay so I could get online for a bit. The password is only good for one device, however, so it was pretty pricey, but since camping here was so inexpensive, the extra $10 was no big deal. They have better deals on internet access if you are staying a week or longer.
Wildlife abounds here. We saw many birds, ducks, deer, and wild turkey. There were two deer near our site that scampered off into the woods when we pulled in. We had gorgeous views on three sides of us, though we did get a bit of road noise as our site was near the only road into and out of the campground.
Although we had our loop in part of Area 1 all to ourselves on Thursday night, that would change over the weekend as a couple of rigs pulled in on Friday, and a young couple in a tent on Saturday. Still, ours was by far the quietest loop, and we were very happy we chose it. The main loops in Area 1 and Area 2 were packed with kids and quite noisy.
Turns out there was a reason the park was so full and festive: the annual Halloween celebration, with decorating contest and trick-or-treating for the kids, was on Saturday night. We certainly hadn't expected this in mid-October. But others had come prepared, and some rigs and sites were decorated to the hilt! I guess they celebrate early here since the park closes for the season after this weekend.
In addition to campers, this event must be very well-known in the surrounding communities, as we were amazed to see the number of vehicles pouring in on Saturday afternoon just for the festivities! Since we had no candy on hand to give out, we pulled all the shades down during the two-hour trick-or-treating time, just in case. Fortunately, our site was far from the main action.
Stay tuned for more from this pretty park in our next post.
After Columbus Day weekend, we headed up to the northeastern part of Ohio to visit Barry's parents. We stayed at Wood's Tall Timber Resort, outside of New Philadelphia.
This is a full-fledged RV resort and would be a spot we'd avoid like the plague during the summer, as it is full of amenities that bring lots people and tend to get far too raucous for our liking: a swim beach, fishing lake, zip line, par 3 golf course, putt-putt, cabin rentals, a snack bar, and so forth. Thank goodness our visit in October was in the off season and mid-week, so even though there were a lot of seasonal rigs here, there were almost no other people. It was super quiet, in fact.
The campground loops are built into the side of a big hill and terraced, with narrow roads that are a bit daunting for a Class A motorhome, especially with large trees all around. I am not sure I would want to bring a rig much bigger than Pearl into it, but I am sure it has been done.
Barry did a great job maneuvering Pearl through the narrow roads, especially since his left shoulder was really ailing him, so he was essentially driving one-handed!
We got lucky as our assigned pull-through site in the A loop had an unoccupied seasonal trailer on one side and an empty site on the other, giving me plenty of grassy space to walk Paisley.
The sites here have full hookups. Our site with 30-amp electric ran us $35.10/night with our Good Sam discount. 50-amp service is also available but costs more. All the utilities worked fine. Since the area is quite rural, we picked up no over-the-air TV stations, but we did get a decent (3 bar) Verizon 4G LTE signal. The laundry room was small (2 washers, 2 dryers) but it was clean, and the machines worked well. The staff was friendly and helpful but not many workers were around since this was off-season and mid-week.
Our next stop takes us to West Virginia and a very pretty Corps of Engineers campground, so stay tuned!
We weren't actually in Columbus, Ohio for Columbus Day weekend, but pretty close. We had hoped to stay at John Bryan State Park in the charming little town of Yellow Springs, very close to one of our favorite bike paths, the Little Miami Scenic Trail. But John Bryan is a small park and was fully reserved for the weekend. Turns out that there was a fall festival going on in Yellow Springs, so it would have been busier than we like anyway.
As an alternative, we tried out Caesar Creek State Park, near Waynesville and not too far from either Cincinnati or Dayton.
This is a huge (248-site) state park, and a popular one. All reservable sites were already taken for the weekend, but the A loop is first-come, first-serve, along with half of the E loop, so arriving before 1 pm on a Thursday, we found about half of these sites still available for those of us without reservations. Even though the sign above says check-in time is 3 pm, the staff didn't balk at our arrival time. By Friday night, all sites in the campground were taken. We were really glad we arrived on Thursday!
We found an excellent site with a great grassy side yard to take Paisley out in and neighbors only on one side. Amazingly, we lucked out as their fifth-wheel was there all weekend, but they were not. We found out later that the husband got injured, and they had to leave their rig in the park and take off for him to be treated. Apparently it had been sitting on the site for weeks! We were sorry to hear that, but it certainly worked in our favor since there was no noise nor campfire smoke coming from them.
All sites in this campground are electric only, but there are threaded water spigots in various spots and two dump stations. Our Verizon 4G LTE signal was a bit weak, but we did pick up a lot of over-the-air TV stations. There is a lake and large parking area with a boat ramp for motorboats. This would be a great place to kayak or canoe as well.
Barry spied this guy enjoying the sunny day near the trail.
On one of our days here, we took a long bike ride, just under 47 miles. We were farther from the Little Miami Scenic Trail than we'd hoped, but we were determined to get over to ride part of it, so Barry figured out a route for us using Google Maps. We got a great day for it as it was sunny and warm, in the 70s, and the last really warm day for awhile.
We rode on a somewhat busy rural road with no shoulder and rolling hills over to the trail, about 11 miles. We got onto the trail in the small town of Spring Valley and rode south to just beyond another small town, Oregonia. We went as far as we could before reaching a trail closure for construction. The trail was lovely as usual; this is our third or fourth time riding at least part of it.
Although this sign heading north on the trail advertises Caesar Creek State Park as being only 3.3 miles away, unfortunately that is not the part of the park where the RV campgrounds are. We would have loved it if it were really that close!
In Oregonia we turned off the trail and onto the road for our return trip to the campground and were immediately confronted with the Oregonia Road hill, one of the nastiest hills we've ever climbed! Barry had ridden it the day before while checking out the route so warned me, but it was the shorter way back and with less traffic than the Spring Valley route, so I opted for it. This hill was long, winding, and very steep, with no shoulder at all. Fortunately, only one vehicle came from behind the entire time, which was good since I had to walk half of it. My Trek road bike just doesn't have low enough gearing for this kind of hill!
Once to the top, the road flattened out (whew!) and was only flat to lightly rolling the rest of the way back to the campground. These roads were very pretty and rural, with light traffic. It was a fun ride, but I don't think I ate or drank enough, and my legs were burning for the last 10 miles. Barry too would suffer after doing this climb two days in a row, as the following day his shoulder started ailing him.
On our last morning in the campground, we looked out and were astonished to see this stunning sunrise. What a wonderful way to greet the day!
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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