Introducing Anna Claire

Grandchild #4 has arrived and we are delighted! Momma and baby are doing fine and big sister Mary is adjusting.

We have been in Durham for almost 2 weeks awaiting baby Anna to make her appearance. What a beautiful baby – although we may be a little biased.

549She was born May 28th at Duke University Medical and weighed 8 lbs 4 ozs and 20 inches long.

We had our hands full with a rambunctious 2 year old while mommy and daddy were at the hospital.

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RViewToday – sweet sleeping baby

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Falls Lake State Park

Falls Lake State Park – Rollling View Campground – 4201 Baptist Road – Durham NC

Do not use the Creedmore Road address, that will not take you to this campground it’s for the park office.

We didn’t actually count, but we think this visit puts it over the top for the most days spent in any one location – if you count pre-fulltiming and fulltiming. We are here for the birth of our 4th grandchild and 3rd granddaughter.

Whenever we are in Durham visiting our daughter and her family, we stay at this state park north east of where they live. It’s about a 20 – 30 minutes drive to their house, but there’s slim pickins’ around here. They limit your stay to 14 days in any calendar month, so this visit we are splitting our time between here and another state park Jordan Lake south of here, but also about a half hour drive from our daughter’s house.

The park has 80 sites with 30 amp electric and water, no sewer but a dump station at the entrance to the campground and 35 sites with no hookups.  The sites with hookups are in A and B loops. The shower houses are a little old and tired, but plenty of hot water. There are some sites fronting the lake and they are very nice if you can fit. We usually pick B53 when we are here, but might try B45 next time in the hope that the Dish satellite will work there. There’s a marina with a store and boat rentals and a swimming beach but little else. EW sites are $22/night, seniors get $6/night discount off that but there’s a stupid $3/night non-refundable reservation fee that you pay even if you walk-in. Netting us $19/night.

It’s been raining tons and everything is muddy and soaked. The gravel is just about gone from our site and the grass if overgrown. The first 10 days there are very few people here, but Memorial Day Weekend there is not an empty site despite the rotten weather. Friday before Memorial Day we started having problems with the power.

We have a Progressive Surge protector and it detected low voltage and shut off power to the motorhome. After consulting with the maintenance guy and the head ranger, it appears this is campground wide. So much for Air Conditioning.

That’s when tropical depression Bonnie decided to pay us a visit. Heavy downpours and thunder and lightning. Bad weather continues to follow us.

Monday morning we made the move to Jordan Lake about an hour away.

Let’s hope we have better luck there.

 

Finding Campsites

One of the continuing challenges we have is finding a place to stay. Although we’ve only been full timing a little over 2 months, we’ve been camping over 30 years and motorhoming about 13 years. We have some experience in finding campgrounds, so why do we find it so difficult?

For us the perfect spot would be somewhere with full hookup with 50 amp service, screaming fast, reliable WiFi, just the right balance of ‘outdoorsy’ and modern facilities with nice, clean, level and spacious sites. Throw in a nice picnic table and fire ring, camp store, friendly campground hosts and interesting local sites and we’re good. Also nice would be a site that is shady, but not too shady so the Dish satellite system works. A view of a lake or ocean, mountain or forest couldn’t hurt. Someplace quiet with friendly fellow campers and walking trails where it seldom rains sounds good. Hot Tub, Pool or beach is a plus. Oh, and if it were $10/night that would be great.

In other words – someplace that doesn’t exist except in our camping utopia imagination. And yet, we still try to find it.

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We have many tools at our disposal and some that we utilize are:

Books

  • Camping with the Corp of Engineers

  • Big Rigs Best Bets

  • Rand McNally Atlas

Websites

  • rvparkreviews.com

  • ultimatecampgrounds.com

  • goodsam.com

  • allstays.com

  • passportamerica.com

Blogs and Forums

  • technomadia.com

  • irv2.com

  • rv-dreams.com

  • wheelingit.us

  • gypsyjournalrv.com

  • We used to read gonewiththewynns.com but they literally ‘jumped ship’ and are now on a sailboat, not in a RV!

Another resource is the camping journal I have kept since 1992, although obviously those older entries could be out of date and irrelevant to us now. And the campgounds we went to in the popup just might not accommodate our beast of a 43 foot diesel motorhome.

Having such a rig and towing a SUV makes matters a little more complicated.

Our method involves…

  • Looking on a paper map or google maps and finding the area in which we wish to be

  • Checking Good Sam and Passport America for campgrounds in the area – these are both subscription services

  • Consulting the Corp of Engineer and Big Rig books for possible campgrounds

  • Looking at Ultimate Campgrounds and AllStays for campgrounds not found in the previous methods – they show county parks, state parks and obscure camping opportunities not found elsewhere

  • Reading reviews on rvparkreviews and making notes on each possibility

  • Looking on Google maps to see area, check layout, tree coverage, roads in/out, etc.

  • Going to each possible campground’s individual website and checking amenities and pricing and availability

  • Checking our favorite blogs and forums to see if anyone has been to the area and where they stayed and what they had to say about it

  • Repeat the process for intermediate stops on the way to each location

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Whew! that’s a lot of work.

And then, we still agonize over our decision. Maybe that campground down the road would be a better choice, so when we get there, we check them out.

Maybe we should just go with the flow and let serendipity lead us. Hmmm we’ve tried that with mixed results.

 

 

 

Birthdays

We were born 7 days apart. Tom is older and celebrated his 62nd birthday yesterday. I am still 61 for a few more days. There are advantages and disadvantages to being so close in age. All the milestones come at the same time, but we usually get just one ‘happy birthday’ for the two of us. We were fortunate to grow up in the 50’s and 60’s in relative comfort in a less complicated time. Heck, we practically grew up TOGETHER since we’ve known each other since we were 17.

This birthday was extra special for Tom since he got to spend it with our 2 year old granddaughter. When we were in the sticks and bricks we lived 8 hours apart making it difficult to see our younger daughter and her family very often, so we are soaking it all in while we spend time in Durham.

BTW we are still awaiting the birth of grandchild #4. Stay tuned…

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RViewToday – birthday candles