Friday, May 15, 2015

Roadrunner Campsites in April 2015

We left our JEB Little Creek MWR Campground in Virginia Beach VA Monday, April 6.  By April 30 we were at the Shady Creek RV Park Aubrey Texas.  Along the way we had stops at:
  • High Rock Marina and Campground, Lexington, NC
  • Freightliner Repair Facility, Gaffney, SC
  • Camp Lake Jasper, Hardeeville, SC
  • Pelican Roost Campground, Naval Station Mayport, FL
  • MidBay Shores Recreation Area, Niceville, FL
  • Fountainbleu State Park, Mandeville State Park, LA
  • Bayou Wilderness Resort RV Park, Lafayette, LA
  • Shallow Creek RV Park, Gladewater, TX
  • Cowtown RV Campground, Aledo, TX
  • Shady Creek RV Park and Storage, Aubrey, TX
Here's brief recap of some thoughts on each campground:

JEB Little Creek MWR Campground:  Cost - $22.00  Rating: - 5/10
The best thing about this campground is its proximity to Kelly and Jon.  It is literally 5 minutes away from them and our first grandchild.  It also had a concrete pad, good 50 amp service and good, free wifi at our campsite.  (I'm sure it helped that we were right next to the Campground Office.)
Despite the very good Office Manager, a great couple for Camp Hosts, the campground suffers from no attention from the MWR Department and leadership.  The campground is in a great location and has a lot of use, but laundry room, roads, painting and general maintenance is lacking. Snow removal was non-existent.

High Rock Marina and Campground, Lexington NC:  Cost - $37.00 Rating - 8/10
We were looking for something different and pleasant and not too far out of the way as we were heading to Gaffney SC.  The High Rock Marina was a fine overnight stay and a place that was perfect for our first overnight in quite a while.  We got a decent site with full hookups and it was 'almost' on the lake for an enjoyable evening.  We had dinner outside and built a campfire and wen to bed fairly early.  

Freightliner Repair Facility Gaffney SC: Cost - $0.00  Rating - 7/10
Not a destination but a decent place for repair work.  Sites are level, no tree obstructions so satellite TV work fine.  Wifi at campsite and at customer lounge area are both excellent. Dump station is good and very convenient.

Camp Lake Jasper, Hardeeville SC:  Cost - $39.33  Rating - 7/10
New facility with lots of nice amenities.  Fire pits at each site, fishing, outdoor community area, large sites.  Nice little lake for fishing and canoeing.  Great stopover for a few days in the Hilton Head/Savannah area.

Pelican Roost Campground, Naval Station Mayport FL: Cost $21.00  Rating - 9/10
All in all, the best military campground we have stayed at.  It has free laundry, is well run, sites are level with lots of mowed grass.  The staff is excellent and the view is excellent --right on the water of the St. John's River.  New base gym and swimming pool is 400 yards away and the big beach is within walking distance.  We loved watching the ships go by right in front of us!  Definitely will make it to stay here again.

MidBay Shores Recreation Area, Niceville FL:  Cost - $17.00 Rating - 7/10
Though this is an older campground, the price was right and we were on the water of Choctahatchee Bay.  The trees blocked our satellite dish but cable was fine.  Needs a little TLC but it was a good stop in the Fort Walton Beach area.

Fountainebleu State Park, Mandeville LA:  Cost - $25.00  Rating - 7/10
Glad we finally got to stay in a Louisiana State Park!  Nice big campsites with campfire rings and trash cans nearby which are emptied daily.  The park offered a number of hiking trails, is close to a great bike trail and even has a small beach not far away on the property.  It was a very pleasant couple of days here.

Bayou Wilderness RV Resort, Lafayette LA:  Cost - $39.83  Rating - 7/10
A little out of the way and higher than we like to pay.  The road getting there was not the best but it was a very nice campground. Site was level with plenty of gravel. Grass was freshly mowed and the laundry facilities were in good shape.  A good place for an overnight stay to see our friends in Lafayette.

Shallow Creek RV Campground, Gladewater TX:  Cost - $29.70 Rating - 8/10
This was great!  Love the concrete slabs throughout with some grass.  Plenty of parking at campsite. Office manager and grounds person were very friendly and helpful.  Was a real nice overnight stay and we'd do it again!

Cowtown RV Campground, Aledo TX: Cost -  $39.83  Rating - 8/10
Another very convenient campground.  Right off I-20 and near my brother and sister-in-laws place.  Campground has lots of pull through sites.  The front office is very helpful and friendly and the laundry is good.  We stayed about a week and would do so again.

Shady Creek RV Park and Storage, Aubrey TX: Cost - $31.50  Rating -  7/10
(forgot to get a photo)
Nice place for an overnight stay.  Campsites have ample parking and our site had new gravel.  It was level and the who place is well maintained.  Fairly new park with large pool and nice laundry facilities.  It was a very beautiful and well-maintained campground.  The grass was freshly mowed which is a big plus with me.  It was a little out of the way but it was a good stop for us with our friends in Frisco, TX.  

There's a recap of our campsites from Virginia to Texas during the month of April.  I also make it a point to provide campground reviews on rvparkreviews.com and militarycampgrounds.us Its been fun to be on the road again!

Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Another Visit to Palo Duro Canyon

We visited Palo Duro Canyon for the first time as tent campers back in 1992.  Since it is on the way to Albuquerque from Oklahoma City, we decided to go see it and find out what we remembered.

I did not remember the steep and winding 10% grade down into the canyon from the front gate.  But it was no problem for the Roadrunner.

We got into a good site at the Sagebrush Campground, one of three in the area for RVs.
We passed the Amphitheater Area where we must have seen a performance of Texas! and also passed the horse corral where we saw a number of horses.  Since it it not really the peak season, we saw no riders and the outdoor production is not up and running yet.

We were glad to enjoy the beautiful canyon and the cloud formations as the sun set.  And we were able to get out and hike some of the beautiful trails.
We met quite a few hikers along the way and half a dozen mountain bikers.  Great area for some exercise.

While at Palo Duro Canyon we also went by the Visitor Center and saw the displays including my favorite - the one of the Civilian Conservation Corps who built the park, the road, some of the buildings and trails.

The satellite dish worked fine but the internet and phone service were sketchy down in the canyon where we were parked.  I had to run in to Canyon TX, 13 miles away, to use the wifi at McDonalds.  But since they open at 5:00 AM, I got my work done and was back to the Roadrunner about 8:30.

I'm glad we got to see Palo Duro Canyon and do some hiking.  Next time, we may stay at a different campground so we can 'stay connected' a little better.

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!



Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Catching Our Breath in Albuquerque

We arrived on Friday and have been enjoying the chance to stay put for a few weeks.
We've been on the road for six weeks now since our 'winter hiatus' in Virginia Beach.  In April we raised the jacks and closed the slides and hit the trail 11 times.

It doesn't seem like a big deal but its been fun and we 'got right back into the saddle'.  We love this! There are a few things we need to do and catch up on, so this break for the next couple of weeks comes at a good time.

We are pretty busy absorbing our experiences with the friends we've seen and absorbing the new sights and places that we have been.  And I have a number of blogs 'in the works' to note it, but instead I wanted check in again.

It seems like we in a perpetual state of change although that in itself is a bit of constancy.  We are still of the mind that we want to see as much of the area as time will allow, but at the same time take care of regular maintenance items, household chores and throw in some fitness/exercise.

While here in Albuquerque, one of the first things we did was take my bike in for an overhaul.  It's been a number of years since it has had some real TLC and we found a good bike shop near Old Town - The Bike Works.

What a find.  I am pretty excited about getting everything checked out and get it running in top form again.  I made a mental note to get some work done on my last ride on the Tammany Trace Bike Trail in Louisiana on the north side of Lake Ponchartrain.  I knew I was in trouble when I had to get off my bike and turn it upside down to change gears...  I picked a good one and had a good ride but obviously there was something wrong.

So I took it in to Rick (Gator) at the Bike Works.  This shop is impressive.  The ladies behind the counter were very helpful and Gator was great.  When I first walked in I got to talking to them and they asked if I knew some good bike trails around town.  Since I didn't they found a Bicycle Map of Albuquerque which they gave me.
He put my bike on the rack and thoroughly inspected it and I learned a lot.  He was not the typical mechanic who hands you a list of 53 things that are wrong and gives a high $$ quote.  Quite the opposite.  He took his time and checked everything out and gave ample suggestions on no-cost or low cost options.  Definitely not in the up sale category which I love.

My main fixes will be an upgrade to raise the handlebars, new brake cables and brakes that are bent busted and 'blown out', and a general tuneup to tighten up and adjust things.

In addition to getting my bike in the shop, we had a nice hike later than day along the Bosque on the Rio Grande.  Great area of town and a beautiful day to get out.

Since brother Reid and wife Amy live in town, we've been able to seen them a few times and share meals together.  And Saturday we went over to their office and helped install a 6' shade across one of their office windows at Environment Control, Albuquerque. On Sunday they had a big lunch for Amy's mom and her brothers' families in town.  Lot of fun seeing them again.

We have already had breakfast at Frontier Restaurant and have checked out Sunday lunch after church at the Owl Cafe.  We lived here 1988-1992 and never stopped in to the diner.  Glad we did the Owl Cafe has good food and some personality to it.

Yesterday we were getting caught up on things.  Pam went for a nice walk around Hardin Park on Kirtland AFB about 1/2 mile from our campground.  It may be one of the best parks we have seen and perfect for walkers, joggers and families.  It gets used all day long.

Next we did some more planning and scheming for the middle part of our summer in Colorado after we see Utah.  We also spoke with some friends last night who had just recently taken a tour of Monument Valley, Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Bryce Canyon etc and we got even more excite about our plans to see those places in June.

While she was doing that, I got started on my online work.  That kept me occupied all day.  Pam also did a couple loads of wash and went to the grocery store.  Nothing too exciting - just regular stuff.

We enjoyed some fish on the grill and I put everything away when it started blowing again.  It has been quite windy here which is no surprise.  A couple of years ago I put some folding chairs and the chair covers under the Roadrunner.  Then the wind started and I never found one of the bags for the folding chairs...

Last night the wind continued and we woke up every couple of hours rocking and rolling with that flaps over the slide outs whipping a bit.   Almost closed the slides but didn't want to wake Pam up.  Worked out OK.

We are meeting up with friends Ron and Marta for lunch.  Since we haven't yet overdosed on New Mexican food, we are meeting at Sadie's which should be good.

That's all for now - thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Family and Friends Time in Texas

We love to go spend time with family and we got to see Brad and Sue for a few days.  They live in the Fort Worth area and we found a good RV park nearby at Cowtown RV.
The Winegard TV antenna didn't do too well the first night we were there because of the intense cloud cover.  But it locked on the next morning and we were fine for the rest of our time there.

The first order of business was Texas BBQ!  We went to dinner at Riscky's Barbeque.
The brisket was terrific.  And the rain came hard and fast while were were having dinner!  Whoa - it got dark and ugly and it started raining hard, then sideways and it came down in sheets.  It was a little scary for a few minutes.  People were moved away from windows, the power went out, then came back on.  After about 10 minutes it was over.  Another gully washer in Fort Worth!

That was exciting and we didn't see any damage.  That was the worst storm the whole time we were there.  Mostly, Brad and I played golf.
We played at a lot of 'Creeks' - Lost Creek, Hawk's Creek, Squaw Creek and our last day we played at Split Rail with our friend Andy who lives nearby.
Split Rail was a very nice course and Brad and I got another free round of golf with a cart for filling in our divots.  ??  On hole 8 Brad and I hit shots from the fairway and then used the sand bottle on the cart to fill in our divots.  A guy drove by said 'Thanks for doing that'.  It's part of golf course etiquette. Like repairing ball marks on the green or raking sand traps after your shot -- something our parents taught us when we started playing the game as kids.

The same guy drove out by us again on #10 and handed us a couple of cards with "Free round of golf plus golf cart" on it!  Nice!  Never know what is going to happen when someone catches you doing something right...

Later in the week Pam and I were able to have lunch with Mark and Dortha who are in the area.  We met at In-N-Out burger and got caught up.
We haven't seen them in a couple of years and it was nice to do so!

Brad and Sue took an 11 day tour through England, Wales and Scotland last summer and we were able to talk them into going through their pictures.  Brad had several hundred of them and after dinner a couple of nights, we spent time seeing the sights along their bus tour and hearing all about it.  We only got through Day 8 so we have to finish seeing the rest next visit.

Our last evening in town, Sue invited Jo and Andy over for dinner.  Jo and Andy are our good friends too.
They met Brad and Sue while they were both stationed at Loring AFB, ME in the 1970's.  Following that assignment, Jo and Andy got orders for Norton AFB, (San Bernardino CA) where Pam and I were stationed.  Andy and I both served on the AF IG Team and we got to know them during our tour there 1986-1988.  After the AF, they moved to the Fort Worth area not far from Brad and Sue so we get to see them regularly.

We had a great visit in Fort Worth and look forward to the next time.

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Festival Internationale in Layfayette

Our reason for going through Lafayette, Louisiana was to stop and see LaJuana and Dan.  We met them four years ago in Galveston at a NOMADS Disaster Recovery volunteer effort.

We did some research and found a good campground for an overnight stay at Bayou Wilderness RV Resort.
 It was a little bit of a drive off the freeway to get there, but it was a nice campground with big pull through sites and a good laundry.

Things worked out and we met them for dinner at PerJeans Cajun Seafood Restaurant. 
Oh my!  That was a home run! Pam and I split a Shrimp Festival Platter.

Then I got out my selfie stick and took a picture.  After I looked at it a minute I saw that there were six of us in the photo and we had no idea who the couple was behind us. :)  Have you done that recently?
After a little while, I retook the photo that included just us...

We had some sweet biscuits to start with, then shrimp gumbo (Wow! that was good!), shrimp salad, blackened shrimp with cocktail sauce and some Cajun (dirty) rice and shrimp ettoufee.

And as it happened, we hit town at the start of the Festival International in downtown Lafayette.  It is a music festival, money raiser for the town and only comes along once a year.  We went downtown and parked in their church parking lot and walked over to the happenings.  It was the first evening with the festival and they only had one stage set up.  By the end of the second day in the downtown area there would be 4-5 stages with music going on each one of them.

We wandered over to the stage and listened for a little while.  We had never heard Zydeco music so this was a first.
We hung around for about an hour or so, went through a couple of booths and then went back to the car.  Their church is in the downtown area and Dan and LaJuana offered to take us inside for a tour of the historic building.
It was a very beautiful church built in 1924.

We love to see historical places and local festivals.  And the seafood was really good.  It was a memorable experience and great time seeing Dan and LaJuana.

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!