What does it cost to be an RVing Snowbird?

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A Snowbird RV Route North from Florida

Niki and I are RVing Snowbirds. Each Spring we feel the urge to be on the road again and heading North for cooler Summer temperatures. Then along about September we begin to feel those Northern nights cooling down and the leaves beginning their Autumn change. That’s our signal to start packing up for our journey South to spend the Winter months in the land of palm trees and warm Gulf breezes.

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Our Snowbird RV Route South to the Sunshine State

We have spent the last eight years as Snowbirds and moving our Fifth Wheel with the Seasons. We’ve taken different routes on most trips and have pretty much covered the best North and South RVing routes from the Northeast to the Gulf Coast and Florida, and from the Atlantic seacoast to the Mississippi River.

You probably had many of the same questions we had starting out, like will we be able to afford this kind of lifestyle? Well, we have kept a trip diary from those early days and have been sharing what we have learned both here on our blog and on our website at snowbirdrvtrails.com.

We have a great deal of information on the website including photos, videos, dining & campground reviews, RV route maps, and sections on Workamping, Fraternal (Clubs & Organizations) and Off-Season Camping in the Northeast and how we plan the trips as well as tips on repairs and additions we have found useful for our rig.

We’ve just added a chart that breaks down the actual costs on two recent Snowbird trips. For comparison we show the stats on a quick seven day trip North to spend the Summer Season in the Adirondacks and compare it with a long and leisurely 17 day trip to spend the six Winter months Season at a nice RV Park on the “Sun Coast” section of the Gulf in Florida. You’ll find the mileages and the costs for gas, camping and dining as well as the Seasonal rates at both destinations and our costs for propane and electric.

You’ll also find links to the photos, reviews and trip reports for each trip. As always, if you have any questions send us (Niki and Jack) an email to snowbirdrvtrails@gmail.com and we will do our best to answer you.

Safe travels and enjoy the journey,

Jack and Niki
Snowbird RV Trails

Celebrating Eight Years on Snowbird RV Trails!

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We invite all our friends to visit us on Pinterest where we have 37 boards (so far) and hundreds of photos and descriptions of many of our adventures and discoveries from eight years of RVing up and down the East coast – from New England to the Gulf Coast – and from the Atlantic Seashore to the Mississippi River at https://www.pinterest.com/snowbirdrvtrail/. We’ve found our favorite routes, met some beautiful people, sampled some fine Regional home-cooking and seen a little of what has made America the place we are so proud to call home.
Find also an Index of all of our articles at http://www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/quickclickindexnew.htm
and more about us at http://www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/aboutus.htm.

Summary – Fall RV Route South via I-87, I-287, I-78, I-81, I-40 and I-75

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On the road again!

Our 2016 Fall migration South is complete after seventeen days on the road – over 1,900 miles through ten States and eight campgrounds we have arrived at our Winter home in New Port Richey, Florida.

The trip was smooth overall and the only really “rattle the teeth”, bumpy stretch was a few miles through Allentown, PA on I-78. We ran into very little construction and no stoppages along the route and we saw only one accident the entire way.

We found the truckers to be very good about sharing their roadway with us. I would mention one thing though – we saw many of our fellow Rvers exceeding the speed limits on the interstates and as a word of caution you might check the speed rating on your tires. We run 14 ply which not only give us the weight capability we need but are are also rated for a lot more speed than we would ever use. The one accident we did see involved a truck pulling a 5th Wheel though we do not know the circumstances.

We stayed two nights each at eight campgrounds coming down. Seven were new for us. As you may have read from our Snowbird Blog reports, we didn’t find all of them to be great values though none were deplorable and all would be okay for an overnight stop. Saugerties was overpriced but you come to expect that near metropolitan areas.

 

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RV route – Northeast to Florida’s Sun Coast

Pennsylvania Dutch, Endless Caverns and Crossroads Travel were Passport America Members (50% discount) and the rest were Good Sam campgrounds (10% discount). They all more than paid back any membership fees in discounts.

If you have followed us for any length of time you know that we love to find new local restaurants along any route and this trip brought some new ones to share as well as a couple of previous winners that we were happy to visit again.

Saugerties Diner surprised us on the first night of our trip and did it well enough for us to visit the second night as well. After the bad experience we had at the remaining HoJo’s Restaurant in Lake George, NY before our trip, we were happy to find this former HoJo still dishing out good food and service to match.

While at our second stop at Pennsylvania Dutch Campground, we felt the 45 minute drive to once again visit the Oregon Dairy Restaurant and Buffet in Lititz, PA to be worth it. If ever in that area you would not be disappointed by stopping in for a bite.

The Adairsville Inn Restaurant at our 6th stop at Harvest Moon Campground was also a special surprise. Nothing fancy, no linen tablecloths nor liveried servers, just plain old down-home country specialties served buffet style and overseen by two sweet, personable and older Southern ladies as charming as they could be. They are only open certain days and times so check with Miss Pam at the campground.

 

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Adairsville Inn Restaurant – Georgia hospitality

The two restaurants we mentioned at our last stopover in Lake Park, Georgia – both The Farm House Restaurant and (if you like good Mexican food) the Rodeo Mexican Restaurant, are worth spending a night or two in one of the three nice campgrounds at this exit off I-75.

After a great Summer spent with family and friends and exploring the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate NY and the Green Mountains of neighboring Vermont, and to cap it off with a safe and uneventful journey back to Florida, to say we are truly blessed would be an understatement.

If you would like to see a quick summary of our trip and stopovers including all of the info about each and a listing of mileages and costs, visit the 2016 Fall RV Route South page on our website.

Thanks for traveling a few miles with us and if you have any questions about this or any of our Snowbird RV Trails send us a note at snowbirdrvtrails@gmail.com and we’ll get back to you. In the meantime we invite you to “friend” us or “follow” us to join our next adventure.

You can also find photos from our trips and explorations on Pinterest at https://www.pinterest.com/snowbirdrvtrail/ or more about us at http://www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/aboutus.htm.

Safe travels and enjoy every trip,
Jack and Niki
K.C., B.B., & Stanley

 

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Until we meet down a future Snowbird RV Trail

 

Day 15 & 16 – 2016 Fall Snowbird RV Route South to Florida – Lake Park, Georgia – the Florida/Georgia Line

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Eagles Roost RV Resort in Lake Park, Georgia

Eagles Roost RV Resort is a short distance off exit 5 at 5465 Mill Store Road in Lake Park, Georgia. It’s only 134 miles from our last stop but we like it so well it’s worth the extra miles to the next stop.

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Camping under the Spanish moss covered tall oaks

Located just 5 miles from the Florida – Georgia Line it is a great jumping off point for any destination in Florida.

Why Eagles Roost? We like the tall old oaks that literally drip Spanish moss. Each site has a concrete pad that’s level and each is FHU – 30/50A, water and sewer connections. There is some distance between the sites and the Park is very easy to navigate.

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Our “office” is all set up

There is a weekend Flea Market next door, a few outlet shops nearby and a Camper’s World just across the bridge over the Interstate.

Another reason we like the place is its nearness to good food at two places we really like. First is The Farmhouse Restaurant which offers some really good Southern food and their peach cobbler rates a quick 4 stars on our scoreboard.

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Good food at the Farm House Restaurant in Lake Park, Georgia

If you enjoy Mexican food then you are in for a treat at the Rodeo Mexican Restaurant less than a half mile away. In addition to daily lunch (and Margarita!) specials, their menu offers some great combination plates that will make you think you have crossed the border.

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Truly good Mexican food

Our next and last post of this 1,800+ mile RV Snowbird route will be after we settle into our New Port Richey Winter home to summarize the trip, tally our costs and add some thoughts about this route – but until then ….

Find this entire
Snowbird RV Route Plan
with facts, links and costs
on our website & updated
as we travel.

See our printable listing of
Interstate Rest Areas
for this entire RV Route
and suitable for
smart phones.

 

 

Days 13 & 14 – 2016 Fall Snowbird RV Route South to Florida – Perry, Georgia

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Welcome to Crossroads Travel Park

Crossroads Travel Park is located at 1513 Sam Nunn Blvd. in Perry, Georgia
It’s easy off/on I-75 less than ¼ mile from Georgia exit 136. It’s an older park but neat and well maintained. Access roads and pull-thrus are black-top with some grass between sites. Be sure to give your rig’s true size when making a reservation as some transient sites are on the short side. All sites are FHU with 30 Amp electric, water and a sewer connection. Each site has good free cable access and the WiFi – also free – worked well while we were here. The site pads do show wear from years of use and some unevenness but doable. They honor both Good Sam Membership and Passport America (for up to six nights).

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Crossroads Travel Park Office/Check-in

The laundry and shower facility is clean. The pool was empty when we stayed here (late Oct).

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Crossroads Travel Park shower & laundry facility
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Pool and Sites at Crossroads Travel Park

Grillmasters BBQ shares the entrance road and is within walking distance from your camper. The restaurant offers a 10% discount to campers. The area’s most economical gas is also close-by. A Walmart, supermarket and all types of fast food places are just down the street.

 

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Grillmaster BBQ in Perry, Georgia

Not a lot of local attractions but the State Fairgrounds (early October) and Agricultural Center are located in Perry. A drive through the countryside will take you past cotton fields and pecan orchards.

Mall shopping and major restaurants are in Warner Robins about 15 minutes North. The State Fairgrounds and Agriculture Center are just off the next exit South.

Only a couple of negative comments – The young fellow who checked us in was not as affable as the owner we spoke with to make the reservation. He was just going through the motions and was not a good cheerleader for the campground – maybe just having a bad day.

 

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Black-top pull-thru sites at Crossroads Travel Park

The other concern you should be aware of is the sewer connections are at the far end of the sites and it took us three slinky lengths to connect.

That said and aside from the minor “flaws,” the park is a good value and we would stay here again and also recommend it to anyone going this way.

Find this entire
Snowbird RV Route Plan
with facts, links and costs
on our website & updated
as we travel.

See our printable listing of
Interstate Rest Areas
for this entire RV Route
and suitable for
smart phones.

Day 11 and 12 – 2016 Fall Snowbird RV Route South to Florida – Adairsville, Georgia

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The Harvest Moon RV Park Adairsville, Georgia

Harvest Moon RV Park (a Good Sam Park) at 1001 Poplar Springs Road is in Adairsville, GA – about 60 miles North of Atlanta. This park has great reviews and we had to stop and see why and what the raves were all about.

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Harvest Moon RV Park entrance road

This RV Park is an easy off/on from I-75 – just a quarter mile from GA exit 306. Whether it’s Greg, the owner, or Miss Pam that meets you at check-in, you will receive a good old Southern welcome (and maybe even a bag of freshly made popcorn!).

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Long pull-throughs at Harvest Moon

The park is small but well laid out with long pull-throughs to fit about any size rig. The sites are gravel and level with some grass and a picnic table. Each has FHU, 30/50 Amp, free good cable and free WiFi that the hosts even admit is spotty at best. We couldn’t sign on their WiFi during our stay.

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Harvest Moon RV Park office

Need to do laundry? It’s free at this park and that’s a first time find for us!

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Pool, Laundry and Shower area

There are quite a few Seasonals in the Park but their sites are neat, showing some pride and they are a friendly group and many are here working temporarily in the area.

Adairsville, Georgia is another example of what can be found by asking questions or researching a little deeper. Adairsville began as a small Cherokee village named after Chief Walter (John) S. Adair, a Scottish settler who married a Cherokee Indian woman before the removal of the Cherokee in 1838. The Town of approximately 5,000 people describes itself as a “Norman Rockwell kind of a town.”

At first look the only choice for activities in the area would probably just be a visit to the “Calhoun Premium Outlets” (http://www.premiumoutlets.com/outlet/calhoun) six miles North at exit 312 on I-75.

But on a closer look in the Town there are a couple of places of historical significance – the Adairsville Rail Depot Age of Steam Museum at 101 Public Square – built in 1847- it displays over 100 years of history. Visitors can tour the depot and discover Adairsville and the role it played in the Great Locomotive Chase (http://www.adairsvilleonthesquare.com/history). They have a three-day Great Locomotive Chase Festival annually in early October.

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Adairsville Rail Depot and Museum

Just behind the Rail Station and Museum is the Historic Main Street District with many stores and shops in the century old buildings.

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Adairsville Historic District

Where we might find a really good local place to have a bite is a question we always ask. We did note a Cracker Barrel, Waffle House and a couple of other fast food chains near the exit when we drove in. We did have dinner at the Cracker Barrel the first night but we wanted something more – something local.

One suggestion given us by our hostess (Miss Pam) was to try the lunch buffet at the Adairsville Inn Restaurant, a favorite among locals and located at 100 South Main Street. We tried it and found exactly what we are always looking for – real, homemade, down-home, Southern cooking to die for! You can visit their website at http://www.adairsvilleinnrestaurant.com/. The pricing once again makes it an exceptional value as well as being a really good place to have great food.

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Adairsville Inn Restaurant

Adairsville Inn Restaurant is now on our Top 5 list of dining establishments that we’ve visited on our Snowbird RV Routes along with our other Super Stars – Sisters Restaurant in Dickson, TN , Shug’s Southern Soul Cafe in St. George, SC and Sissy’s Kitchen in Middletown Springs, VT. Find more of our “unbiased dining reviews” at http://www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/diningreviews.htm.

We should mention that Adairsville is also home to “Character’s Famous BBQ” seen on The Discovery Channel’s “BBQ Pitmasters” show. It’s at 6419 Joe Frank Harris Pkwy.

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Charcter’s Famous BBQ

Visit Adairsville Home Page: http://www.adairsvillega.net/visitors

All in all and in spite of the negligible noise from the trailer repair business next door, we rate Harvest Moon RV Park as a definite stopover if we travel this route in the future. Nice, friendly people running a clean and respectable RV Park and exceptional food nearby.

Find the entire
Snowbird RV Route Plan
with facts, links and costs
on our website & updated
as we travel.

See our printable listing of
Interstate Rest Areas
for this entire RV Route
and suitable for
smart phones.

 

Day 9 and 10 – 2016 Fall Snowbird RV Route South to Florida – Sevierville, Tennessee

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Welcome to Ripplin’ Waters RV Resort

Welcome to Ripplin’ Waters Campground in Sevierville, Tennessee
We’re arrived in Dolly Parton’s hometown!

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Ripplin’ Waters Office & check-in

Located on a branch of the Pigeon River, this family campground is convenient to all area attractions. Access roads through the campground are black top. Each graveled site has a grass area with a picnic table. There are pull-through spots with full hookups. Amenities include free WiFi (which is slow) and satellite TV (18 channels) with cable access, swimming pool, bathhouse (showers, commodes, sinks, electric outlets) and when needed, a coin-operated Laundromat and small supply store. The personnel we ran into were all friendly and helpful.

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Gravel pads and grass!

This campground is a perfect base from which to explore all there is to see in the connected Sevierville, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg area. First off this campground is easily accessible from I-40 without entering the extremely heavy traffic of the commercial areas.

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Some sites bordering the Little Pigeon River

The last time I visited Pigeon Forge at least 25 years ago it was just a small town and home to a rising Country star named “Dolly”. She had purchased the local theme park and had begun enlisting her family and others to begin building a true fun destination in this corner of the Smoky Mountains.

That was then but much has been added in the 25 years. In this visit we find six lane highways packed with tourists traveling through the three towns to visit the venues, shows and restaurants that line the roadsides from end to end.

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So many things to see and do!

Name a restaurant chain and you will probably find a franchise here, as well as country shows, comedy and magic shows and more, as well as some of Dolly’s own stage shows (dinner included!) and the expanded Dollywood Theme Park with added water park.

Our first evening we had dinner at the local Cracker Barrel. Niki has to have her vegetable plate fix every so often. The food is always good no matter what you choose. No wonder so many of us old-timers enjoy going there!

We had planned to possibly see the Hatfield and McCoys dinner theater show (Niki is a Hatfield descendant) but Niki’s cold had taken a turn for the worse with fever, chills and overall just feeling tired and poorly. Instead we opted for a visit to the pharmacy for some recommended fixes and took a day of rest, which we both needed.

The day was sunny and warmer so I took my usual hike around the campground to take some photos. It’s really a very nice campground and we recommend it as a good place to spend a few days when you visit the area.

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Bathhouse, laundry and pool area

When you visit be sure to stop by Walmart or any local supermarket and pick up some of the free coupon books. You’ll find big racks in the entryways and avoid spending unnecessary $$$ at the so-called “Official Welcome Centers”.

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Ripplin’ Waters RV Park in Sevierville,Tennessee

Find this entire
Snowbird RV Route Plan
with facts, links and costs
on our website & updated
as we travel.

See our printable listing of
Interstate Rest Areas
for this entire RV Route
and suitable for
smart phones.

Day 7 and 8 – 2016 Fall Snowbird RV Route South to Florida – Fort Chiswell, VA

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Fort Chiswell RV Park fills every night

We enjoy our meandering along different Snowbird routes – each trip we take time to explore new places and try to soak up some of the local sights, food and culture. Every single city, town and hamlet has special places they are proud of – they remain hidden if we speed by too quickly – Fort Chiswell RV Park and Wytheville, Virginia are no exception.

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Fort Chiswell RV Park empties most mornings

The name Fort Chiswell comes from a frontier fort built in 1758 as an outpost during the French and Indian War. The fort, which was of strategic importance during the American Revolution, was the guard-post over a small deposit of lead used to mold bullets. Unfortunately, they covered over the fort when they built the I-77 Interstate in the 70’s but there are two other significant places worth seeing in the vicinity.

One is BIG WALKER LOOKOUT located at 8711 Stoney Fork Road in Wytheville.
It’s the designated overlook of the Big Walker Mountain National Forest Scenic Byway. This is one of the few accessable places in the east where you have a 360 degree view of the mountain valleys and farm-scapes of the Appalachian Mountains. Big Walker Lookout features the BW Country Store with 25+ artisans & crafters’ handmade works. Big Walker is a historic pass where, during the Civil War, Molly Tynes traveled to Wytheville to warn of the impending Toland’s Raid. It is a Virginia Birding and Wildlife view area and a raptor migration path. Located just 21 Miles from the campground.

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Big Walker Lookout

Another place to visit is WOLF CREEK INDIAN VILLAGE & MUSEUM at 6394 N Scenic Highway in Bastian, VA.
The Wolf Creek Indian Village will introduce you to the life led by the Eastern Woodland Indians who inhabited the land 500 years ago. The recreated village is the size and layout of an actual archeological evacuation known as the Brown-Johnston site. Interpretive guides lead you on an exploration of skills needed by the inhabits to survive and thrive.
Located 25 Miles from the Fort Chiswell Campground.

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Wolf Creek Indian Village

Just down the road from Fort Chiswell is the County Seat – the Town of Wytheville (with-vil) – with a couple of big attractions worth noting like the really BIG PENCIL located on the Wytheville Office Supply building at 146 W Main Street in Wytheville.

For almost 50 years visitors have made it a “point” to see Wytheville’s Main Street landmark. The late John Campbell Findlay (the original owner of Wytheville Office Supply) had the “Big Pencil” constructed in the early 60’s. Made of metal, it is approximately 30 feet long.

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The Big Pencil in Wytheville, Virginia

Wytheville is also the birthplace of EDITH BOLLING WILSON, First Lady and wife of President Woodrow Wilson. There is an Edith Bolling Museum located at 145 E Main Street in Wytheville.

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Edit Bolling Wilson Birthplace Museum

Many people are unaware that while she was caregiver to the President when he suffered a stroke in 1919 leaving him partially paralyzed, and though the First Lady publicly minimized her involvement in the affairs of state, her stewardship of government duties earned her such titles as “The First Woman President” and “The Secret President.”

Unfortunately, on this stopover the rain and cooler weather finally caught up with us and especially to Niki’s degenerative osteoarthritis so we were limited on our exploring and picture taking.

We did have dinner the first night at the Denny’s in Fort Chiswell which was mostly forgettable with my bland spaghetti and meatballs and Niki’s “second” so-so chicken avocado Caesar salad (the first came with spoiled avocado and a testy waitress!). We have found Denny’s restaurants can run hot and cold and we wouldn’t recommend this one – though the gasoline from the local Flying J was quite economical.

We’re back home in Bob Evans Country! Many restaurants to choose from in the area but one of our favorite chains in the South is Bob Evans and this being the first one we have found since heading back South, we had to go. We enjoyed a couple of our favorite meals – the service was good – and we also happened to have a 30% coupon to make it all taste even better!.

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Bob Evans is the place for me…

Final word – Wytheville is an important point on both I-77 and I-81 and lies amidst a wrong-way concurrency of I-77 and I-81. In the near future, Interstate 74 will go through Wytheville in addition to the two other interstates. (A road “concurrency” occurs when two or more numbered highway routes are signed in opposite, conflicting directions on the same stretch of physical roadway.)

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A wrong way concurrency

Click our entire
Snowbird RV Route Plan
with facts, links and costs
on our website & updated
as we travel.

See our printable listing of
Interstate Rest Areas
for this entire RV Route.

Day 5 and 6 – 2016 Fall Snowbird RV Route South to Florida – New Market, VA

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Welcome to Endless Caverns Resort

A campground built on the side of a mountain – a Blue Ridge Mountain. The climb is not a problem and we have seen all manner of motorhomes, trailers and toads come and go.

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Elbow room on Endless Caverns campsites

The sites are graveled, fairly level and all have 30/50A, water and sewer connections. No cable but a good antenna brings in the major network TV stations. Free Wi-Fi is available near the shower building. There is also a nice pool and a catch & release fishing pond.

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We’re set up at Endless Caverns Resort

Most sites are pull-throughs and all have a picnic table and fire ring. Check-in at the office was pleasant and personable and first-timers are led to their site by a hostess that has a trailer in the campground.

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Endless Cavern Resort “pull-throughs”

Nice shower facility and a coin operated laundry. There is a gate with code access making it a safe as well as a tranquil stopover. Campers receive a discount on the cave tour. Town is approximately 4 miles away with restaurants – including Mexican and Chinese – and service stations.

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Endless Caverns Resort campsites

We had lunch at the Jalisco Mexican Restaurant on the Historic Main Street of New Market among its several antique, art and Civil War memorabilia shops. Many items to choose from on the menu and our choices were prepared well and were tasty. Not the best Mexican we have found and definitely not the worst.

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Jalisco Mexican Restaurant in New Market, Virginia

Endless Caverns is well worth a visit, especially if you enjoy caves!

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View from the Endless Caverns parking area

Find our entire
Snowbird RV Route Plan
with facts, links and costs
on our website & updated
as we travel.

See our printable listing of
Interstate Rest Areas
for this entire RV Route.