Our first trip with the new rig!

Our first trip with the new rig!

My daughter Olivia needed to get down to Georgia for an orientation at the University of Northern Georgia. Cathy and I decided that this would make a good trip for our first expedition with the new motorhome. Since I’m in Vermont and Cathy is still living out in Illinois until after our wedding this Aug, we needed to meet somewhere convenient before heading south. We chose Clarion PA, a spot where we have met before roughly halfway between VT and IL. We arrived right around midnight and spent the night in the Clarion Walmart parking lot. In the morning, we made some breakfast and then hit the road heading south for GA. Our second night together was spent at Deer Trail Park campground in Wytheville VA. We found this site via the Campendium app as we were driving along and it looked good for an overnight. We arrived around 9:40pm (Gates close at 10:00). The office was closed when we arrived but as we were walking away from the door, the light inside came on and we heard the door unlock. The owners were very nice and got us registered and on our way to a nice back in site within a few minutes. While we didn’t need it, the site was full hookups and 50A. We took advantage of that and emptied our holding tanks before we left even though the wasn’t much in them.

Bill & Cathy in front of the new rig at Deer Trail Park campground in Wytheville, VA
June 2019, Day 2 – Deer Trail Park Campground in Wytheville VA during our first camping trip with the new big rig.

If you need a nice full hookups campsite along I-77 in VA, this one would be a good choice. It’s located within the Jefferson National Forest and is surrounded by beautiful country. Site cost was $42 for the night which included tax.

After a nice breakfast, we folded up the rig and prepared to get back on the road. Our destination for day 3 and 4 was Bolding Mill campground in Gainesville GA. This is an Army Corps of Engineers site that I found via Campendium and booked a few weeks back. It’s a very well maintained campground on the shores of Lake Sydney Lanier. The sites are well spaced with lots of trees in-between. Most of the sites back up to the lake though you are still 50-100′ from the shoreline. Our site was Water and 50A Electric only. The campground is paved roadway with level hard packed gravel pads for the campers. Each area has a fire ring partially recessed into the gravel camp area, a lake picnic table and access to the lake.

This has to be the cleanest and best maintained campground I have seen to date. I highly recommend Bolding Mill for anyone coming to this area. Site cost was $24/night.

We began our return trip late afternoon on day 5 and made it as far north as Unicoi TN where we spent the night in a Walmart parking lot. We arrived around 10pm and were the only camper in the lot along with a couple of trucks. By morning on day 6, there were 4 or 5 more campers in the lot. After breakfast, we got back on the road and headed for Cooksburg PA. Cathy and I have spent quite a bit of time in the Cook Forest in Cooksburg and have wanted to try the parks campground called Ridge Camp. I was able to book a reservation through the Pennsylvania DNR for an electric only site before we left the Walmart. We arrived in Cooksburg well after dark and in the middle of a downpour. We located our site, unhooked our Jeep and got backed in. Just about the time we are all set up, the rain let up. Ridge Camp is a very nice wooded campground with over 200 sites.

June 2019, Day 6 – Setup at Ridge Camp in the Cook State Forest, Cooksburg PA. The last night of our first camping/road trip with the new big rig.

The sites are spaced nicely and are somewhat private. The sites are pretty level and packed with crushed stone. The bath houses have free showers with excellent water pressure and very hot water. There were several coin-op laundry machines in the one bath house we used. Site cost: $33/night plus a $6.50 transaction fee. As this was the final morning of our trip, we packed up the Jeep and prepared to head our separate ways once again. After leaving Ridge Camp, we headed down into Clarion and had brunch before hitting the road.

The whole trip clocked in at 2,525 miles end to end. This is the longest road trip I have made to date. We had a wonderful time even with the rain we encountered. Looking forward to our next outing.

The numbers:

  • Trip length: 7 Days
  • Total Miles Driven: 2525
  • Total Miles with Jeep in tow: 1530
  • Fuel Used: 339.401 Gal.
  • Fuel cost: $884.02
  • Worst MPG: 6.0 Towing Jeep through Smokey Mountains in WV & TN
  • Best MPG: 8.0 without the Jeep from PA to VT
  • Avg MPG: 7.44
  • Cost/Mile: $0.35
  • Weight of our Rig: 23,400lbs
  • Weight of toad: 4240lbs
  • Gross Combined Weight: 27,640lbs
  • 4 Nights on shore power
  • 3 Nights running on our batteries & solar.
  • 0 Generator use.

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