Our Trip Continues: Cape Girardeau, MO to Tampa, FL

Notes from the road!

From Timber Trails Campground
1276 Matts Lane, Mulberry Grove, IL

2 1/2 hrs/170 miles to

Stopover #6 on our RV trip – a “loop” from Clearwater to Terre Haute, Indiana

terre haute loop map

Cape Camping & RV Park
1900 N. Kings Highway, Cape Girardeau, MO 63701
(1.5 miles from I-55, Exit 99)
573-332-8888 Toll Free: 1-800-335-1178
$34/night with Good Sam 10% discount.
https://www.goodsam.com/campgrounds-rv-parks/details/default.aspx?cgid=250000347

Blogbook Entry
Restaurants: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurants-g44207-Cape_Girardeau_Missouri.html
Lambert’s Cafe I,
2305 E. Malone, Sikeston, MO
https://throwedrolls.com/lamberts-cafe-i/
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Very friendly and accomodating Hostess who parked us beside the restroom/shower facility – very clean and comfortable – when we asked. We have stayed here in the past and liked it. The FHU sites are drive-throughs with good TV and WiFi reception. There are many restaurants a short drive away (Mexican within walking distance) and a short drive to downtown and the Mississippi riverfront for shopping and sightseeing. If you are up for a short road excursion you’ll find a Lambert’s Cafe – “The Home of Throwed Rolls” and some pretty good down-home cooking. Lambert’s is not only a restaurant it’s an experience. We had planned a trip to Lambert’s but it was too blooming hot (feels like 105!) we opted for KFC instead and stayed indoors at our site. August is not the optimum time of year for Rving in the South as is February camping in the North. Heat wave passing through here currently.

This is a review and notes from a previous visit we made to Cape Girardeau on the

Mississippi River. www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/capegirardeau.html
and our previous
Blogbook Entry
More about Lambert’s (unique) Cafe: Lambert’s Cafe I,
2305 E. Malone, Sikeston, MO
https://throwedrolls.com/lamberts-cafe-i/

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3 hrs/208 miles to

Stopover #7 on our RV trip – a “loop” from Clearwater, FL to Terre Haute, Indiana –
Notes from the road!

Memphis South RV Park And Campground
256 Campground Drive, Coldwater, MS 38618
Passport America $25/Cash
https://www.passportamerica.com/campgrounds/data/2856/Memphis-South-RV-Park-And-Campground/0#top
Restaurants:
https://www.yelp.com/search?cflt=restaurants&find_loc=Coldwater%2C+MS+38618

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We have stayed in several campgrounds in Mississippi in the past and when we found Memphis South in 2012 I thought we had a winner for this stretch of road. That was then and this is now. The long road in and around the Park is pitted with potholes so badly you cannot find a path where one or more wheels and we were thankful we weren’t towing Big Bertha this time. The long entrance road is horrible. The Passport price is cheap at $25/cash per night but no longer worth it. One of very few Passport America campgrounds we would not stay at again. The WiFi was non-existent even though we had a line of sight to the repeater less than 50 yards away. The over-the-air TV channels consisted of PBS and children’s programs unless your antenna was directed just so. Ours is fixed so it meant we would have to park backwards on the site. We did that the second night were able to receive the Network channels.

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The staff was cheerful and friendly before and now it’s lacsidaisical at best (being kind) – and showing little interest in our TV or WiFi problems. This could be and once was a great little stopover on I-55 but enter at your own axle’s risk. There is a Subway and Shell gas near the entrance and we can’t honestly recommend either of those either.

Observation: Trying to write on the road has its obstacles like when I glance over and Stanley has a paw in my fresh brewed coffee. Yes, he likes coffee too when he can get away with it.

Normally we head South from here on I-55 toward New Orleans and Bay St. Louis (two of our very favorite places to visit) and then East towards Florida. I-55 through Mississippi is one of the nicer Interstates we travel but this time we will be angling in a Southeasterly direction to pick up I-75 again just above what was our first stopover on this trip near Valdosta Georgia.

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2 1/2hrs/164 miles to

Stopover #8 on our RV trip – a “loop” from Clearwater, FL to Terre Haute, Indiana –
Notes from the road!

Togetherness Works RV Park
3161 State Hwy 253,Guin, Alabama
Reservation: 205-487-6092
$25/Cash
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Every now and then we find a gem – a treasure hidden in plain sight waiting for anyone to find it. On this trip it’s clearly “Togetherness Works RV Park”. Rv Park building is not Junior’s real job. He calls it more of a hobby that started 20 years ago on a piece of Alabama mountainside his Mom called home. Just forest on 20 acres when he began to turn it into a beautiful, rural retreat it is today.

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Junior turned lumberjack for part of the “hobby” carefully turning the acerage into some beautiful camping spots. He did some road building to assure good gravel roadways and drainage. He ran city water and sewer lines to each site as well as power. He turned sawyer and built a small sawmill to build a deck and bench for each site. He built a very nice cabin for their kids when they came to visit. His wife, the Alabama Gardener in the family, planted flowers and gardens throughout.

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He had lumber left over after he built the cabin and his wife mentioned it would really be nice to have a shower house – so he built one. The shower house (all knotty pine and tongue and groove inside) turned out large and spacious so his wife said it would be even better if they could have a laundy room. Sure enough you’ll find washer and dryer in the building.

Junior doesn’t advertise so it’s mostly word-of-mouth and not the easiest place to find on the ‘Net but it’s off Alabama Exit 26 from I-22. Then turn right to the stop sign, then left to a “Y” in the road. Left at the Y for 3 miles to the campground.. Phone 205-412-7554 from the stop sign and the owner will meet you at the end of his road.

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This one took some research! Though there are campgrounds along I-22 in Alabama there are very few with good reviews near our stopping point. So it was this one with good reviews or a Walmart Super Center parking lot nearby. We made the right choice and if ever you find yourself RVing on I-22 near Guin Alabama you’d do well to give Junior and his wife a phone call and stop on in. This place also has to be gorgeous when the Fall foliage breaks out!

Now it’s on to Troy, Alabama.

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Notes from the road:

3 1/2 hrs/225 miles to

Stopover #9 on our RV trip – a “loop” from Clearwater, FL to Terre Haute, Indiana and back again.

 

Walnut Creek RV Park

222 County Road 5516

Troy, Alabama 36081 334-482-3532

Passport America $17

https://www.passportamerica.com/campgrounds/data/3767/Walnut-Creek-RV-Park/0#top

Restaurants: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurants-g30887-Troy_Alabama.html

Things to Do: https://www.thecrazytourist.com/15-best-things-to-do-in-troy-al/

150 RV sites, can accommodate any size RV, 20/30/50 amp, dump station, water, sewer, full hookups, pull thrus, tent sites, restrooms, showers, Cable TV, biking, ATV, picnic area, nature watching, fishing, 10,000 square foot indoor pavilion w/stage, sound system, handicap facilities, full kitchen, ice machine, and tables and chairs. Lighted and secure area, 20 acre stocked spring fed lake with daily fishing permits available. 29 sites overlooking Lake Promise. Covered picnic area adjacent to pavilion. Peaceful and country atmosphere minutes from Troy.

We do recommend

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Sisters Restaurant 13153 US-231, Troy, AL

It’s a Southern style buffet filled with “homemades” and totally delicious. The $12.50 pp price can’t be beat either!

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3 ½ hrs/200 miles to

Stopover #10 on our RV trip – a “loop” from Clearwater, FL to Terre Haute, Indiana –

Loop complete and back to our first stopover 3 weeks ago.

Eagles Roost RV Resort

5465 Mill Store Road, Lake Park, GA 31636

229-559-5192

$32/Night. Good Sam -10%.

4 hrs./225 miles

Stop # 11 Back at Home Base – Clearwater, Florida.- with Jasmine the new addition to our family.

You will be able to trace our entire loop by visiting our Blog at

https://snowbirdrvtrails.wordpress.com/2019/08/10/travels-with-niki-new-3-week-adventure/

SUMMARY:

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Our Roadtrek Simplicity SRT “Sunset Princess” completed the journey with no issues or malfunctions of any kind.

Total Miles: 2,678

Total Camping Cost: $608.

Saved $225 with Passport America

Saved $21 with Good Sam discount.

Total Gas cost: $489.

Average MPG: 13 (The roof AC really hurts the mileage!)

Restaurant Cost: $568.

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To start this 3 week loop from Tampa to Terre Haute, IN from the beginning click here:
https://snowbirdrvtrails.wordpress.com/2019/08/10/travels-with-niki-new-3-week-adventure/
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Stopover #4 on our RV trip a “loop” from Clearwater, FL to Terre Haute, Indiana

2 ½ hours/160 miles to our next stop

Stopover #4 on our RV trip a “loop” from Clearwater to Terre Haute, Indiana –
Notes from the road – Mission: Jasmine

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Yogi Bear Jellystone Resort at Raintree Lake

4577 West State Road 56
Scottsburg, IN  47170
Passport America: $26/Cash
Toll Free: (800) 437-0566
Local:
(812) 752-4062
Located 4 easy miles off from I-65.
Website: www.jellystoneraintreelake.com
Email:
yogisburg@gmail.com https://www.passportamerica.com/campgrounds/data/1260/Yogi-Bear-Jellystone-Camp-Resort/0#top
Restaurants locally:
Cracker Barrel
Puerto Vallarta Mexican – Very good Mexican food.
Ponderosa
Roadhouse USA (Skip this one – not worth the price.)
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This is a beautiful RV Park, well maintained by owners Erik & Kari Leander. From a big Yogi Bear welcome to the fairly level FHU, drive through sites. The restroom/shower rooms are clean and of good size and there is a clean laundry room. There’s plenty of weekend activities for the kids.
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They have a nice stretch of greenspace along the very small but attractive Rainbow Lake where fishing is allowed. There’s a large gazebo and playgrounds for both toddlers and older children.

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They have lakeside cabins to rent as well. Wi-Fi is free and reception is excellent.

Next stop – the big day has arrived!?!?

Stopover #3 on our RV trip – Clearwater, FL to Terre Haute, Indiana Loop

Stopover #3 on our RV trip – Clearwater, FL to Terre Haute, Indiana Loop
Notes from the road – Mission: Jasmine

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OH! Kentucky RV Park
562 Paint Lick Rd., Berea, Ky 40403
(859) 986-1150
$29. FHU.
From I-75 take exit #76 turn left if you are headed northbound or turn right if you are headed southbound. They are 1/4 mile on the right. Big sign out front – can’t miss it.
http://www.ohkentuckyrvpark.com/414336691

The Interstate run had been pretty smooth and traffic pretty much as expected so far but it’s never good to get to complacent on a trip! We were down to about a quarter tank of gas and only about 30 miles to go when we passed a traffic sign that said stoppage ahead, find a different route. Probably good advice but unfortunately the sign appeared after the exit leading to a different route. Then we found the stoppage. They were doing some blasting up ahead so it was bumper to bumper, stop and go for at least 25 miles as we watched the gas guage needle slowly descend over the next hour and a half it took us to go the 25 miles. We made it but it was getting close. If you are traveling North on I-75 anytime soon be aware and check Google maps for the work zones.

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OH! Kentucky is a decent little campground with full hook-ups, gravel pads, some shady sites and very clean shower/restrooms (no handicap bars), a good sized washer/dryer area and a small store and separate hardware facility. They have been building a pool for 3 years and it looks like it may be nearing completion. They offer free wifi but it is spotty at best and unreliable. This is definitely not a destination RV Park but adequate for a night or two on a trip.

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There is a Cracker Barrel nearby and all of the usual fast food places and fuel stations. As usual we asked our hostess about recommending an eatery the locals like and she suggested the “Dinner Bell”. It turned out to be a good choice. To us it looked very much like a Cracker Barrel though smaller and the food was good.

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In addition to an Amish Restaurant and Deli at the Exit we found a Farmer’s Market. I had been looking for local produce on our trip not grown in Florida’s sandy soil and this was it. We came away with cucumbers, several pounds of red and yellow tomatoes (Tennessee grown) and some sweet Georgia peaches.

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The boys enjoyed watching all the squirrels or at least there was a lot of chattering between them. Something for everyone- we would stay here again if we were passing through.

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Stopover #2 on our RV trip from Clearwater to Terre Haute, Indiana

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5 hours/358 miles to
Holiday Travel Park of Chattanooga
1709 S Mack Smith Rd, Chattanooga, TN 37412
Phone: (706) 891-9766
(Mailing address is actually Rossville, Georgia)
Rate: $44.10/night with Good Sam discount.
http://chattacamp.com/?utm_source=GoodSamPrevious dash cam video: http://192.168.1.1:8181/http://www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/holidaytravelpkchattanooga.mp4

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We had previously planned to stop for a couple of nights in Perry, Georgia but it was a beautiful day and we were feeling good so we decided to just keep
going to what was supposed to be our third stop. Instead of 2 hours and 132 miles it ended up being 4 hours+ and 358 miles! Definitely not our normal system for traveling but we gained two nights and decided to spend one extra night here in Holiday Travel Park.

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The Interstate around Atlanta was super busy as usual but no stoppages nor slow-downs.

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The RV Park is actually where an Indiana Regiment bivouacked before some fierce fighting on Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge back in 1863 in the War Between the States. There is a path to a stone marker proclaiming such within the Park.

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There is much to see and do in Chattanooga, from Civil War Battlefields, to Lookout Mountain, Rock City, Tennessee River cruises on the Southern Belle, and we bet you didn’t know Chattanooga is also home to the International Towing and Recovery Museum (Tow trucks through the ages and it has excellent reviews). We did travel to the top of Lookpout Mountain on our 2013 visit.

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More about our 2016 visit to the Towing Museum and other Chattanooga highlights are on our Blog at https://snowbirdrvtrails.wordpress.com/2016/06/06/stopover-chattanooga-tennessee/

Can’t forget to mention two restaurants we really like and can recommend. They are Portofino’s Greek & Italian and Jenkins Buffet both are very near the RV Park and are well worth a visit.

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A last note – Holiday Travel Park also rents small cabins (as many RV Parks do) which might be an alternative to a stuffy hotel room for our vacationing non Rving friends.

We have been asked how we can travel with our two cats and leave them in the van while we shop or visit a restaurant when it’s 90+ degrees outside. Not to worry, our boys are treated as well as we treat ourselves. Attached is the sign we leave on the dashboard when we lock up the van. Inside the boys are zipped into a collapsible “condo” that covers half of our queen-size bed. We always ask for seating by a window where we can make sure the headlights are on assuring our engine and AC are running. We carry a small monitor for the van’s inside temp and then can control the AC with the van’s remote start.

Life is good! Now on to Kentucky.

Travels with Niki -New 3 Week Adventure.

Notes from the road.
Project: Jasmine – Hop Aboard & join us on a Mission of Love

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Stopover #1
4 hrs./225 miles from our Clearwater, FL Home base to
Eagles Roost RV Resort
5465 Mill Store Road, Lake Park, GA 31636
I-75, Exit 5.
229-559-5192
Good Sam discount to $38.34/night
Website: https://www.eaglesroostresort.com/
Dash Cam video we shot in 2016 and still the same today:
http://192.168.1.1:8181/…/www…/eaglesroostlakeparkga2016.mp4

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Stanley our Junior Assistant Navigator has completed his pre-flight check!

Eagles Roost is one of our favorite stops going or coming from a North/South I-75 trip. The place is filled with old oaks and dripping Spanish moss. It’s next door to a large weekend flea market, across the Interstate from a Camping World if needs arise and hometown to two of our favorite restaurants – The Farmhouse Restaurant with their heaping helpings of down home cooking and Rodeo Restaurant, a small but very good Mexican establishment. A two night stopover gives us a chance to sample both once again.

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We did have a too-close-for-comfort happening on the way in on I-75 when a big rig decided to pull over into the same space we were occupying. His action was forcing us toward a concrete bridge barrier very quickly. Fortunately there was just enough room to scoot over. We don’t believe he ever saw us. Our dash cam wasn’t recording time properly so I have 4 hours to go through, If I find the clip we’ll post it. We found it. View at http://www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/closecalloni75.mp4

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Our Sunset Princess at Eagles Roost. As some of you may know we had to step down from our 38′ “Big Bertha” Fifth Wheel due to medical issues but not giving up our love of RVing. Our 2018 Roadtrek

Visit our Webpage at http://www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/
Visit our FB page at https://www.facebook.com/OurSnowbirdRVTrails
Pull your camp chair up closer to the fire and we’ll talk about it!

Planning the Next RV Trip – How To!

Quite regularly we are asked how we go about planning a road trip. We have one coming up and thought we might share how we put it together..

Our first tip is to always have a Roadside Assistance plan before you leave your driveway. Help will always be only a phone call away. Believe us when we tell you from experience that a breakdown will usually happen in the worst of places at the wrong time of day and in totally unfamiliar country. Roadside Assistance gives you peace of mind. There are several to choose from and we use AAA.

terre haute trip

Okay let’s plot!
Our goal is always to make the trip as much fun as the destination and the planning as much fun as the trip. This time our destination is Terre Haute, Indiana with a stop off to see a good friend near Louisville, Kentucky.

According to Google Maps (https://www.google.com/maps/) that’s 1,120+ miles from our starting point near Tampa, Florida.

Niki and I made a pact after our first trip 10 years ago (when we covered 1440 miles in 3 days) and that was no more rushing to get anywhere. That was nearly our first and last RV trip! We now try to keep a travel day to 200 to 250 miles. We also spend 2 nights at each stopover and spend that second day to explore a new area.

Using our own rules this next trip turns into six stopovers and ten days.

1. We use Google Maps to plot our course, first choosing a start and finish address.

2. Next we use a simple, free calculator called “Distance Between Cities” (https://www.distance-cities.com/) in conjunction with our Google Map. After awhile, with use, you will be able to guess your distances fairly close and can verify with the calculator. Using our own rule of 200-250 miles we see that our first Stopover would land us in Lake Park, GA at 242 miles. Works for us! We usually call ahead about 48 hours prior to reserve a site for our next stopover.

3. Finding that next stopover. We are lifetime members of Passport America (https://passportamerica.com?rfsn=2873446) so we always check them first for a possible campground near our stopover city choice. We actually use PA 50 to 75% of the time. We also check Harvest Hosts of which we are also members – free is always better than half price! Neither at this first stop. We do end up with three Passport America stops (half price), two Good Sam stops (-10%) and one Harvest Host (free) stopover on this route to Terre Haute!

4. Checking stopovers ahead of time – some free sources we like to use.
First off Google Maps can also give you an actual street view of an address which can tell you a lot. You can see what an entrance looks like, also where the nearest fuel stop is as well which can be important if you have a big rig. Very important to us when we were towing our 38′ “Big Bertha”!

RV Parky (https://www.rvparky.com/search…)
Gives us all kinds of info by State and City about campgrounds, reviews, others in nearby towns, fuel stops. It’s definitely a gem worth learning how to use.

Allstays (https://www.allstays.com/Campgro…/Georgia-campground-map.htm) is another great source you can use to drill down to exactly the type of stopover you like.

Campground Reviews (http://www.campgroundreviews.com/) A great source and you’ll soon learn to read between the lines and rule out the plain sour grapes reviews.

Best restaurants in (Lake Park, GA) (https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurants-g35053-Lake_Park_Ge…) Because we love to find great Mom & Pop restaurants in any new area.

Things to do in (Lake Park, GA) (https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g35053-Activities-L…)

Don’t forget to ask your campground hosts about the “must-see” local attractions as well as the locals favorite restaurant. We’ve found some real gems that way in our travels!

That said we are always only an email away if you have any questions we can help with and we also invite you to hop aboard here on our FB page and travel with us as we post all trips as we go. This one will be quite soon.

Safe travels and enjoy every journey,

Jack and Niki
abcadventuretime@gmail.com
http://www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/

We invite you to pull up a stump and join us around the campfire at
https://www.facebook.com/OurSnowbirdRVTrails
where your comments are always invited.

A visit to Florida’s Lake Griffen State Park

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As some may know we purchased our new, 2018 Roadtrek Class B this past December but due to some medical issues we were unable to schedule our first trip to check out all of the systems until now. I am happy to report that we did finally get away for a couple of days to test out all systems in our “Sunset Princess” and our shakedown cruise went off even better than expected. All systems operated efficiently with the exception of the on-demand hot water heater which I need to research but with the temps in the 90’s here in Florida the cold water tap was actually warm enough for our needs this time!

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Our Class B is a completely self contained 19′ vehicle for camping, sightseeing or escaping the paths of looming hurricanes. It has a generator on board, full bathroom, sofa that makes into a queen-sized bed, microwave, two burner stove, furnace, refrigerator and a 24″ color TV with surround sound. We purchased it because with two bad knees Niki can no longer negotiate a car seat in a standard Detroit automobile. This has swivel seats making life a whole lot better.

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We set-up at Lake Griffin State Park located between Ocala and Orlando. Not really a destination Park but serene and quiet especially in the middle of the week. The Park has full hook-ups which is our preferred way to travel and makes a Simplicity SRT our perfect choice.

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The lake itself is about a mile from the campground with a canal that connects the two. The campground rents canoes and kayaks and there is also a Ranger guided tour of the waterway probably available on weekends.

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The restrooms, shower section and laundry area were spotless, brightly lit and well maintained.

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This Park has 40 campsites including seven pull-throughs of varying lengths. All sites have electricity and water and seven have sewer hook-ups with ten having 50 Amp service. We chose site 9 but would recommend sites 10 and 11 as being longer and more spacious and also having full hook-ups.

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There’s a beautiful boat ramp, dock and picnic area where canoes and kayaks may be rented. It’s located at the head of a 1,000′ canal that leads to the Dead River which empties into Lake Griffen. There are massive old oaks dripping Spanish moss throughout the Park including a mammoth old oak near the entrance and said to be the second largest in the State.

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I have attached some photos taken in the Park. Their are several Nature Trails and the children’s play area includes a swing for wheelchairs that I had not seen before. They do a lot with and for children including camps in the Summertime. We found the staff to be most courteous, conscientious and smiling. It’s apparent they love their jobs.

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One of our favorite things is to visit the locals favorite restaurants when we visit a new area. Our first was a visit to the “Original Stavros Pizza Restaurant” nearby in Leesburg at the suggestion of the Ranger on duty. It is a beautiful restaurant inside. Though some of their dishes may be excellent the Italiian subs we ordered were not. They were wet with dressing to the point of puddling and the taste was not up to par.

Another evening we tried the La Palma Mexican Grill and the outcome wasn’t much better. Niki and I both had the Chimichanga dinners. The refried beans had a burned taste and the chicken chimi’s were tasteless. The rice was pretty good. All in all we should have patronized the American Legion Post only a short distance from the campground.

Lake Griffen State Park is located at 3089 Hwy 441-27 in Fruitlnd Park, Florida.
Website: https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/lake-griffin-state-park

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Planning that next RV trip

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Our website averages at least one or two emails a week asking us for help plotting an RV route. Usually it’s either someone with a brand new RV or often an RVer just asking for suggestions as they plan a trip into parts unknown to them.

You may have heard or seen us mention before that the only thing we like better than an RV trip is talking about RVing. The problem is that to plan a trip correctly or at least the way that has proven tried and true for us there are a number of questions that need answering up front to do it right.

That being said we have updated our “Planning Page” (http://www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/research.htm) on our website and outlined the steps we take in planning each new voyage into uncharted territory. We always chart it beforehand!

A big part of the fun of a trip for us is the planning. On our page you’ll find all kinds of information and resources that we use to keep our RVing about the fun of the trip and not the worry that can accompany tackling the unknown.

Have a look. If it helps you with your trip planning we’re happy. Many people like to fly by the seat of their pants which is fun for them but that’s just not us.

After you try our suggestions for planning and if you have any questions we’ll be happy to try and answer them. We do answer all emails. You’ll find our email address also on the Planning Page.

Safe travels and always enjoy the journey,

Jack and Niki
snowbirdrvtrails.com

4 Season Campgrounds in the Northeast

We had a reader just send in a new addition for our list of campgrounds that are open all year in the Northeast. Our list includes campgrounds in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York State, Rhode Island and Vermont.

View the listings at http://www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/offseason.htm

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The newest listing is in Pilesgrove, New Jersey.

If you know of any “Open All Year” campgrounds in the Northeast that we
may have missed please send us a note.
-Thanks, Jack

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Send us an email to
snowbirdrvtrails@gmail.com
with your question or a comment
We will respond