Good Sam Rally – Syracuse, NY June 13 – 16

Good Sam Rally at the NR State Fairground, Syracuse, NY
Good Sam Rally at the NY State Fairground, Syracuse, NY

Prior to the start of The Rally we were told the rain was so heavy they brought in helicopters to try and dry out the huge parking lots before the rigs started arriving. Then it just kept raining. We were lucky
to arrive a day early (Wednesday) and in between the storms. Our spot was on pavement and included electric. We talked with many folks who weren’t so lucky. The organizers had to divert about 400 rigs to a big, local mall and then had to bus people to and from the show. Those lucky/unlucky enough to get here before the rain started heavy and were assigned to the grassy infield of the racetrack were now mired and worried about what happened when it was time to leave!

Friday we caught an excellent seminar led by Bob Livingston the publisher of Motor Home/Trailer Life Magazines. Tips and anecdotes from his 45 years of RVing. There were dozens of seminars held throughout the show on every RV topic imaginable. All were free with your Rally registration and all were well attended.

Great fun at the 2013 Good Sam Rally in Syracuse
Great fun at the 2013 Good Sam Rally in Syracuse

We have visited the building with 300 vendors several times. The prices are quite high but we can find things here that are hard to find anyplace else. I do draw the line at $20/ea for the small LED bulbs that I wanted though! Amazon and Ebay will have to handle my business on them. The food has been quite good as prepared by the different vendors who have permanent places here on the Fairground. Not the run of the mill carnival food. I have to admit though that we did not try the chocolate covered bacon. Probably missed a real culinary treat.

Last evening’s entertainment was Wayne Newton (Friday night). We felt bad for him because so many people started leaving during his performance. He is still a true showman but at 71 maybe it’s time to hang up his microphone. His speech and singing is not the “Mr. Las Vegas” of just a few years ago. We are looking forward to seeing Reba perform tonight.

The 2013 Good Sam Rally in Syracuse, New York
The 2013 Good Sam Rally in Syracuse, New York

They had a segment about The Rally on the local TV news last night and said we are among approximately 10,000 other RVers in 4,000 rigs in attendance. We have to give them great credit for the organization of the whole event. The shuttle system is excellent with trams coming by every few minutes and in between there are golf carts prowling the grounds to pick up anyone and take them anyplace they need to go. Niki’s cane has been like a magnet for them and we have been well taken care of.

Still having some trouble with our furnace after Lazy Days kept it for a month and proclaimed it was fixed. I am going to have it checked out while we are here and have an appointment for a Tech to stop by this morning. Better to have it done here as opposed to travel time for having someone come up later to our Summer campsite in the mountains.

We are now into our 4th day of “dry camping” and doing well with still having 30% in our fresh water tank. It’s odd but the gray and black tanks are showing we have only collected a combined total of 40%. Where the other 30% missing from the fresh tank went is a head scratcher? The blacktop under the trailer is dry so we are not too worried about it.

Saturday night was the Reba Show. If you’re a fan of hers you were not disappointed. Tiny lady with a big voice and a superb band backing her up. She took us through a short history of her career with the hit songs we all knew from different stages in her life, from her first video, through her Broadway stage appearance, movies and TV shows. Great fun!

We had finally dried out and enjoyed a couple of nice days with sunshine but the weather report called for rain to move in again on Sunday midday. Since we had seen and done about all we wanted to do, we decided to pack up and leave ahead of the rain on Sunday morning. Quite a few others had the same idea at the same time but leaving proved to be orderly and trouble-free.

The rain caught up with us when we reached our home destination and it was time to set-up again. That’s okay. I’d much rather that than closing up the slide rooms in the rain.

Our overall opinion of The Rally is that it was fun and it was well organized. Everyone was very friendly and all were there to have a good time. Some of the vendors mentioned to us that some patrons were tending to be a little rude with them as the show was winding down. The prices were high but that is to be expected.

Bottom-line though it is really so much like the huge RV Show that’s in Tampa every year. There were new rigs on display here at The Rally but we find a bigger selection at the Tampa RV Show. There are more vendors and just as many seminars at the Tampa RV Show as well. All-in-all very similar but we stay at a FHU RV park in Tampa and don’t have to boondock for the RV Show.

If you have any questions about the Good Sam Rally we will try to answer them.

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Day 21: Final Destination: Warrensburg, NY – Snowbird RV Trail North

Spring 2013 Tampa to Canada Snowbird RV Route
Our 2013 Snowbird RV Route Tampa to Canada

Warrensburg Travel Park, Warrensburg, NY is our final stop on this Spring 2013 Snowbird Trail from Tampa Florida. We are 106 miles from our previous stopover in Catskill, NY, and 114 miles from the Canadian Border straight up I-87 (the Adirondack Northway). On this trip we met some good people, had some great food, and found several new, nice, half-price campgrounds. The trip was uneventful mechanical-wise. People-wise we were reminded time and again that you have to drive defensively because so many drivers simply do not look when they are entering an Interstate, and most expect that you can stop a towed vehicle on a dime. The lowest overpass we encountered was 13’9″, only one tunnel on this trip, but several good size bridges. Only one near calamity needed avoiding when Jack turned onto a “short cut” and eagle eyed, Navigator Niki spotted the sign warning of a bridge ahead with a 10,000 lbs. weight restriction, somewhat lower than our total. Fortunately there was space and time to turn it all around. Got to watch those shortcuts!

We added three new States to our maps this trip – always in search of the best RV routes for travelers heading to or from the Northeast. We found gasoline prices from $3.19/gallon in SC to $3.70/gallon in the Northern States.

A quick recap of this trip:
* Indicates half-price Passport America Member Campgrounds
Abbreviations: FHU- Full Hook-Ups, PT- Pull Thru Sites, EZ- Easy off/on main route.

A. Tampa, FL – our starting point. Many campgrounds to choose from. Email us for info or suggestions if you would like to stay in this area.
B. Jacksonville, FL. – *Pecan Park RV Resort. Regular $44.75/night. FHU, PT, EZ. Paved roads, level concrete parking pads. New rule of min 3 night stay for PA pricing. Previous write-up at http://www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/pecanpark.htm.
C. St. George, SC. – *Jolly Acres Campground. Regular $44.60/night. FHU, PT, EZ. Gravel roads and pads. Nice country setting. See our previous write-up at http://www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/jollyacres.htm.
D. Myrtle Beach, SC. – Cypress Camping Resort. $44.80/night. Not impressed. Many nicer places closer to or on the beach. We recommend MB State Park or Huntington Beach State Park on the ocean. Our website devoted to Myrtle Beach is located at http://www.myrtlebeachsnowbirder.com/.
E. New Bern, NC. – *Moonlight Lake RV Park. Regular $32/night. FHU, PT, EZ. Historic NC town. Much to see and do. Small campground. Clean, safe – with friendly hosts. Take a trolley tour of the city. Stop for a float and popcorn at the Pepsi-Cola birthplace & soda fountain. Don’t miss great seafood at the Sting Ray Cafe.
F. Shawboro, NC. – *North River Campground. Regular $40/night. FHU, PT, EZ. 6 miles off the main route. Sites circle a pretty 5 acre pond. Friendly staff. 50 minutes from Kitty Hawk, the Wright Brothers Memorial and the Outer Banks. Be sure to find a little diner near the campground by the name of Track I of Camden. Home cooking at its finest. Skip overpriced Kelly’s in Nags Head.
G. Ashland, VA. – Richmond North KOA/Americamps. $45.75/night. FHU, PT, EZ. Gravel/gravel. Campground is nothing special except economical propane. It is a favorite stopover for many I-95 travelers. A more inexpensive stop at the same exit would be http://www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/kosmopark.htm. Ask directions to Guido’s Italian Restaurant. Excellent!
H. Greensboro, MD. – *Holiday Park Campground. Regular $48/night. Sandy sites. Dump station on the way out. Rate it rustic. We would not stay there again due to the horribly uneven pavement going in and the rude hostess.
I. Rehoboth Beach, DE. – Delaware Seashore State Park. $37/night. FHU (Yes, including sewer!). Gravel/gravel. Beautiful location with great views and beach access. Located in between Rehoboth Beach and Bethany Beach. Would stay here again but would avoid Matt’s Fish Camp – overpriced and tasteless seafood.
J. Galloway, NJ. Shady Pines Carefree RV Resort. FHU. $37.80/night. Closest RV park to Atlantic City (8mi). Beautiful park in a residential area. Not hard to get to but heavy tolls to get to and from it.
K. Catskill, NY. – *Brookside Campground. Regular $44/night. 10 miles off I-87. Rural setting. Grassy pull-thrus. Great food at Angella’s Italian just down the road. Nice scenic loops in the area.
L. Warrensburg, NY. – *Warrensburg Travel Park. Regular $50/night. FHU, PT, EZ. Great little park on the Schroon River with fishing, kayaking, pool, weekend activities. We are slightly biased as we WorkKamp here Summers. The owners, Karl & Shelly, do care about their campers and are constantly updating and adding new events and attractions.

Stats for our 2013 South to North Snowbird adventure:
21 Days
2,284 Miles
10 Campgrounds @ mostly 2 nights each $569.75

Gasoline $685.25 (Avg 9.5 MPG)
Total Trip Cost: $1,675

Our next trip coming up is to the Good Sam Rally in Syracuse, NY. June 12th – June 17. Hundreds of vendors, great food, entertainment with Reba and Wayne Newton. We will be “Blogging” from the NY State Fairground during the Rally. If you would like to be included click on the “follow” button. It will send you an email when we post updates of our wanderings now and in the future.

Thanks for tripping with us and we hope you enjoyed some of our ramblings.

Jack, Niki, and The Kids

Snowbird RV Trails - The Kids, B.B. & K.C.
The Kids, B.B. & K.C.

Snowbird RV Trail North, Sunday & Monday, Days 19 & 20 in Catskill, NY

Brookside Campground, Catskill, NY
Brookside Campground, Catskill, NY

The Brookside Campground, 4952 Route 32, Catskill, NY is 240 miles from our last stopover in Galloway, NJ. We decided to travel through NJ on the Garden State Parkway. Mostly 3 lanes or more going in each direction. Quite a bit of road construction but the delays were minimal and the traffic bearable since it was a Sunday. You can take the Parkway all the way to I-87, the NY State Throughway, but we had heard there were some low overpasses between Exits 131 and 138. I’m sure we would have been fine in the center lane but those old arched overpasses can be intimidating. We opted to take Exit 127, NJ440/I-287 around. The road is lumpy and bumpy but Expressway all the way. I might mention that the tolls totaled $15 for the Parkway from Galloway and the 98 miles to Exit 127. Then it was $12.55 on I-87 to Catskill, Exit 20.

Brookside Campground is in the country 10 miles off from I-87. It’s a nice, small and quiet campground with FHU, 30/50amps, swimming pool, small store and very nice and helpful people running it. There are quite a few Seasonal campers, a number of rental cabins, and many tent sites near a small brook at the back of the property. After setting up we went down the road a couple of miles to a very nice Italian restaurant – “Angela’s”.

Summer at Hunter Mountain, Hunter, NY
Hunter Mountain Ski Trails in Summer green

Monday we wanted to explore this area and were told the Hunter Mountain Ski Area was only about 20 minutes away with great sightseeing, shops and restaurants along the way. Knowing this was a hot spot for city skiers in Winter we figured it would be a nice trip. It certainly was a trip, and one we would not want to make with snow on the ground and icy roads! Route 23A just keeps going up and up with switchbacks, deep drop-offs (and scant guard rails to our way of thinking). As we may have mentioned in the past, high places just do not tend to be our type of places. The area is beautiful with many waterfalls, mountain streams and good sized mountains all around. Before we set out we were given a local map showing several day trip “loops”. To avoid coming back down the same mountain pass we took to reach Hunter, we continued on the 72 mile loop that brought us down a different way. I hear it – you are thinking “wimps”! Okay, point taken, but sometimes we make our best “discoveries” when we make quick detour decisions. In this case, it was dinner in the small town of Windham, NY. A “Mayberry-esque” type place if ever there was one. We had been looking for a place for lunch since we started the trip. We had been told correctly that there truly are all types of shops, motels, restaurants, and other unique places of business on the road to Hunter Mountain. What we did find out is that nearly all are Winter Seasonal places of business and closed in warmer months. Finally, in Windham we found a restaurant, open, named “Michael’s Diner”. More than a diner, and just short of a fine restaurant, we learned that every dish was fresh, made in-house, by the owner/chef. We tried something we had never heard of, stuffed meatloaf. Stuffed with cheese and broccoli. Outstanding! …and the chocolate, chocolate, cake with a thin cherry filling was pretty tasty, too.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, we move 2 hours North to our final stop and Summer home campground in Warrensburg, NY. We are looking forward to visiting with family and our extended campground family, and Warrensburg Travel Park owners and good friends, Karl and Shelly.

We’ll send out one more update from Warrensburg and summarize the facts, figures, and what we have learned from this Snowbird Trip.

Thanks for hanging in there with us. We are so happy you decided to come along,

Jack, Niki, K.C. & B.B.

Snowbird RV Trail North, Friday & Saturday, Days 17 & 18 in Galloway, NJ

Shady Pines Carefree RV Park, 443 South 6th Avenue, Galloway, NJ
Shady Pines Carefree RV Park, 443 South 6th Avenue, Galloway, NJ


Just 8 miles from Atlantic City’s Boardwalk
, Shady Pines Carefree RV Park, 443 South 6th Avenue, Galloway, NJ, is a beautiful small park in a residential area. Only 100 sites, this 55+ park has many trees and is immaculately maintained. The majority of sites hold park models for year round tenants and they are well-kept with colorful plantings of flowers and bushes. They have a large community/activities center, a pool, dog park, and 30/50amp FHU. The campground honors Good Sam and AAA club discounts resulting in $37.80/night.

Shady Pines is 177 miles from our last stop at the Delaware State Campground in Rehoboth Beach, DE. We passed by the large Dover AFB and also Dover International Speedway where NASCAR weekend was revving up and we could see dozens of RV’s parked on the grounds ready for some Friday afternoon tailgate parties.

We passed through some road construction but the majority of the roads were 4-lane and smooth. GPS works well for the trip and the lowest overpass we encountered was 13’11”. The only bad parts were the seemingly umpteen toll booths. We paid a total of $23.35 for our 4-axles coming in. That includes the Delaware Turnpike ($8), the NJ Turnpike ($6.35), and the Atlantic City Expressway ($9). The staff recommended a local Italian restaurant and we found the food to be very good.

Boardwalk & Beach in Atlantic City
On The Boardwalk & Beach in Atlantic City


Saturday Afternoon on The Boardwalk in Atlantic City
has to be one of the top ten spots for people watching! It’s an easy drive from the campground down Rt 30 to Atlantic City. The streets are congested but easily driven with the help of a watchful Navigator. Parking in AC depends on what you want to see and do. We wanted to make a circuit of the city, and have a walk on the famed Boardwalk. We first attempted to park in the garage at Trump Plaza but seeing the sign stating the clearance was only 6’6″ we did a quick turnabout. The casinos have parking and will be either free or just a nominal charge if you have your parking voucher stamped by the casino. There are dozens of parking lots on the side streets leading to the Boardwalk. They charge $5 for 6 hours, and the lots closest to the beach and Boardwalk charge $7 for the 6 hours. We parked a couple of blocks from the beach and walked to the Boardwalk. Niki did well for quite awhile before becoming tired and sore.

There is no end to the offerings along the Boardwalk. All types of food, souvenirs, T’s, jewelery, Ripley’s, and many psychics and tattoo parlors. It’s all beachfront and every style of dress or undress can be seen. We had lunch at a small Italian place on the Boardwalk and were both surprised that it was very good quality. We noticed that many, if not most, of the beach-goers bring their own food with them. It’s definitely a family atmosphere with all nationalities and all languages present, welcomed, and having a good time.

We stopped off for dessert at a DQ on the way home and made a needed evening trip to the local laundromat, grocery store, and also fueled up for tomorrow’s trip farther North ($3.409/Gal) and a night or two in the quiet beauty of Catskill, NY.

From the road on the Jersey Shore,

Jack, Niki, K.C. & B.B.