Sep 19, 2021 – Languishing in the South

A few miles south of the Michigan-Indiana border & 3 miles from our service appointment in Goshen. This is Kercher’s Sunrise Farm, a Harvest Host. Had some of the best apple cider there!

After six weeks in Michigan, we were more than ready to move on – too many memories mucking things up and we just needed a change of pace. Exhausted from the events surrounding mom’s passing and all the stress that came with them, it felt good to draw our attention to the details of RV traveling. The undercurrent of melancholy was interrupted by the joy of being back on the road. With some reserve and a smidge of guilt, we could not help but feel the sweet relief that comes when responsibilities are replaced with freedom.

Our home for two nights at Grand Design’s Factory Service Center’s campground. From our window, we watched factory employees at work and a steady stream of transporters coming in empty and leaving with an RV in tow.

But rest would have to come later, we had some necessary maintenance and repairs looming over us, and the unknown outcome of the repair made us edgy thinking of the worst-case scenario which might mean being homeless for several days in northern Indiana. Thankfully, the worst-case scenario did not happen, instead, the repair required one day of waiting and two nights at the Grand Design Factory Service Center campground.

While waiting for repairs, we ate breakfast at the Amish-owned Village Inn in Middlebury & was given a little home-spun advice from Cathy.

Now, with service appointments behind us we had only one simple obligation before getting home on Nov 11 and that was our scheduled Forever Warranty service appointment in Florida’s DeFuniak Springs seven weeks from now.

One of our favorite campgrounds is in Cicero, Indiana, a short distance north of Indianapolis where family live. The bridge crosses the White River and can be viewed from our back window.
A few days after flood warnings, the White River levels were back to normal, feet from our RV.

Although most of our travel itinerary this year was mapped out way ahead of time and included campgrounds reserved months in advance, we left the final two months of our trip (post Labor Day) unplanned until we were deep into our travels. Although spectacular landscapes formed our western travels and are forever forged in our memories, I attempted to add a glimmer of brilliance into the final weeks through the Midwest and South with a one-week stay near the Great Smokies and another week on Florida’s wild and beautiful gulf coast in the panhandle.

But those plans changed after some thought given to our travel expenses. So, I slashed our travel budget and reduced our travel time by one week. Which gave us seven weeks and 1200 miles between the day we left Grand Design and the day we were scheduled to pull into our home base in Chokoloskee Island. Given that we were too early to see the most spectacular of fall colors and would avoid the country’s most popular national park, what could we possibly do for two months?

After Indiana, we had a few days in Kentucky, at a campground on Lake Nolin and adjacent to Mammoth Cave National Park. We visited this park three years ago on our maiden voyage and explored the caves. You can read about it here. For this trip, we stayed above ground and did some hiking in the beautiful forests above the caves.

Enjoy this slideshow of images from our short stay in Kentucky.

We stayed at the Army Corp of Engineer campground called Moutardier, on Lake Nolin. Where there are Army Corp of Engineers, there is a dam.
From the dam road, an aerial view of the tail waters, opposite side from Lake Nolin.
A shoreline view of the Nolin River, a short downstream distance from the dam.

I think, more than anything, we just wanted to rest. So, we languished in the south. Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama would supply us temporary homes on the cheap. My budget slashing met we would take advantage of our senior park pass and stay at Army Corp of Engineer campgrounds at $12 – 15 per night. Who needs wifi or reliable cell service when surrounded by dense forests of green leaves and the subtle and spotty collection of red, orange, and yellow complemented with a water view? We met the challenge, but it was far from easy, I will admit.

Our next stop was in Tennessee, near Lebanon, east of Nashville at another, you guessed it, Army Corp of Engineers campground. This is the Center Hill Dam, walking distance from our campground.
The Caney Fork River downstream of the dam passes several water view sites at the campground. It is a popular river to paddle and fish.

Enjoy this slideshow of images shot around the Center Hill Dam. The fog was enticing and I couldn’t help but capture the scene.

While staying near the Center Hill Dam, I visited Burgess Falls State Park to capture this view of the falls.

It is true these weeks in the south have been lackluster compared to Utah and Montana and let’s face it, the vibe here in the south is very different from that out west. Here, we spent most of our time surrounded by local folk who bring their campers to the lake for vacations or just to have a change of scenery. So, we idled through the slow rhythm of the south and enjoyed the down time as much as possible. But we also discovered, learned, and reflected. This was most especially true during the three weeks we stayed in Alabama.

With that, I’ll share this portion of our trip mostly through my photos from our campgrounds as there is no pointed story here, no history lesson, no grand experiences to talk about; rather, instead it serves to segue to the next blog which will address our extraordinary experience in Alabama. Stay tuned and enjoy the photos.

After a one night stop at a Harvest Host in Tennessee, we pulled into our campground in Georgia, on West Point Lake. Yet another Army Corp of Engineers campground, this one gave us a water view and easy access with the kayak from our campsite.
Our home in Georgia for five days. Camp chairs await for happy hour!
Not a bad view from our home, Vivian in her kayak on the water.

Enjoy the slide show below of our home in Georgia for five days, on West Point Lake.

After Georgia, we landed in Alabama where we would stay for three weeks.

We didn’t have waterfront property at this Alabama campground, but we had lots of forested real estate.
The Alabama River one morning, a short walk from our campsite.
We walked around the campground one evening and took in the sites. One week before Halloween, campers were already prepared for the decoration contest.
We find that the campgrounds we stayed at during our languishing tour of the south are primarily filled with locals. Very different from the experience of campgrounds out west.
Our next stop in Alabama was on Foscue Creek, a branch of the Tombigbee River. Red arrow points to our home on the creek.
View from a hiking trail within Foscue Creek campground.
A short distance from the campground is a US Coast Guard station.
Not a bad view for happy hour.
Sunset over Foscue Creek, as seen from our campsite.

For those interested, the campgrounds we stayed in are the following:

White River Campground, Cicero, Indiana – this is a Hamilton County park, very good price, full hook up, concrete pads, laundry. Not far from Indianapolis but within a rural area. Lots of hiking/biking trails and of course the White River. Very popular with locals, so reservations that cover a weekend have to be scored months in advance. They are going to an online reservation system in 2022, for better or worse.

The remaining campgrounds are all Army Corp of Engineer and can be found on Recreation.gov. A national park lifetime senior pass gets you 50% off the already low price of camping. What a bargain for us at $12-15 per night! All are near water, so fishing is usually an option.

Moutardier – on Lake Nolin in Kentucky. Water/Electric/50AMP, no laundry, spotty cell service, no wifi. Not the easiest campground to maneuver around, deep drop offs, narrow curves, and none of the waterfront sites have hook ups. But it is convenient for Mammoth Cave National Park. You can do a fair amount of walking/biking around the hilly campground and there is a hiking trail near the marina.

Long Branch – on the Caney Fork River downstream from the Center Hill Dam in Tennessee (east of Nashville near Lebanon). It is a relatively small campground, concrete pads, water/electric/50AMP, laundry and wifi if you are in the right location. The ambience is hit or miss as you have the beautiful river, but the dam and electrical plant near by. Easy in and out though and convenient for accessing Burgess and Cummins Falls State Parks. Not a good campground if you want to hike or bike around.

R. Shaefer Heard – on West Point Lake near LaGrange and West Point, Georgia. We loved this campground! Many of the sites are waterfront allowing easy access with a paddle boat, but you have to chose your campsite wisely. Avoid 66-84 loop unless you like very narrow and steep driveways, only 30 AMP and don’t want easy access to the water. I thought our loop, 1-16 was the best for water access. If you like to walk and bike, this is a wonderful campground for that, large and hilly! Water/electric/50AMP, laundry, very spotty cell, no wifi.

Gunter Hill – near Montgomery, AL. This campground was recommended to us; it is one of the few Army Corp that offers almost entirely full hookup/50AMP, and laundry! Although waterfront sites are fewer than not, they are all spacious, wooded and concrete level pads. There are no hiking trails, so walking/biking only around campground and main road to marina and the other more rustic campground.

Foscue Creek -Demopolis, AL on the Tombigbee/Black Warrior Rivers. Nice park with full hookup/50AMP, but no laundry or wifi. Cell service adequate. Most sites are waterfront, quite lovely. Nice for walking/biking, has some hiking trails as well.

2 thoughts on “Sep 19, 2021 – Languishing in the South

  1. So glad you had the chance to do a little healing after your emotional ordeal. Sometimes “unplugging” is the best way of recharging! Judging from your pictures, you were warmly embraced by mother nature.

    Like

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