We’ll Chose State Parks From Now On

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Here’s the first major lesson we’ve learned about where to camp: Toss the giant Woodall’s campground guide and choose state parks.

I’m posting this from the Henry Horton State Park in Tennessee, about 40 miles south and east of Nashville after a 400 mile series of horrendous traffic jams up I-65 from Florida.

We scoured that monster Yellow Pages-sized campground guide most of the day trying to find the perfect spot to enjoy camping. Nothing looked good. A couple of hours before dark, we pulled off near Columbia to look at one of the Woodalls-advertised campgrounds. But as we did, we saw a roadside sign noting this state park was just 12 mikes away.

We drove through the commercial campground just to look it over. It could have been worse. But, well, parts of it looked like the TV shots of a trailer-jammed NASCAR race infield of racing fans. So we made our way here.

Awesome place. It has several elements, including a championship 18-hole golf course over its massive 1,140-acres. Across from the ark entrance is a terrific restaurant and lodge.  The campground is on rolling hills, quiet, wooded, with very spacious lots for RVs and tents. Our Roadtrek sits on a pancake flat cement pad, we have water and electricity but… GASP!!!!…. no Wi-Fi!

My iPad (left) set up private hot spot for my MacBook Pro

You have to understand how this causes me to go through Internet withdrawal symptoms. I publish a bunch of Websites and, especially today, Easter Sunday, need to make sure my church’s Internet Campus is up and running, especially after the team campatin for today’s service emailed me (I got it on my iPhone) and needed help logging in.

But as you can see from the picture, if you have one of the new  iPads that run on Verizon’s network, you can create your own private Wi-Fi hot spot. Turns out I have 4g LTE wireless coverage in this park. So I hooked up my main computer to my iPad network and, at 4g speeds, its faster than any of the Wi-Fi systems I’ve seen in the other two commercial campgrounds we’ve overnighted in.

You can do the same thing with some Android phones and tablets, too.

We’re off for breakfast, then a bike ride andn hopefully a Kentucky State Park up towards the Ohio border along I75.


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  • Beth

    I am sorry to see the post about your dislike of “Private campgrounds”. While the state parks are nice, they often can’t accommodate some useful and/or necessary RV needs such as:
    1. big rigs – many, many state parks have 35′ limits on RV sites
    2. no pull thrus – this goes along with the big rigs mentioned above, but also includes smaller trailers and/or anything towing another vehicle
    3. no full hook up – if you haven’t dumped for a couple days and/or have laundry facilities onboard, you need that sewer hook up
    4. WiFi – as you mentioned, even for an overnight stay, WiFi is a necessary evil for many RV’ers. Network and air cards don’t always work at every campground (here we can’t get Verizon at all times although ATT is now better with the new tower 2 miles up the road)
    5. location – many of the state parks are WAY off the beaten path and that makes it inconvenient for an overnight stay

    State parks are great for a weekend or longer, and even overnight for a smaller camping rig, but the big rigs do need the campground books and more accommodating campgrounds than a state park.

    This is just my opinion, but I camped for 22 years before buying a campground – in everything from a tent to a medium sized trailer.

  • Skip Jennett

    I discovered the advantages of state parks last summer in Michigan. I was pleasantly surprised at the nice shower rooms at the campgrounds we stayed at. I annoys me to have to pay for facilitys I don’t need at commercia campgrounds for an overnight stay. Beth has a point that they are off the beaten path. Sometimes that’s the path to take.