Whew! After eleven days, roughly 1800 miles and six different RV parks, The Great McDaniel Adventure arrived safely in Elkhart Indiana yesterday. A whole lotta bugs met their maker along the way. And one squirrel narrowly escaped with his life.
I can speak for all eight paws and two feet … we are ready to stay in one place and chillaxe for a bit.
The Adventure left Benson Arizona on Sunday, April 3rd. The first part of our trip took us to Las Crouton New Mexico where we stayed two nights. I come from a generation where KOA Kampgrounds were a fine place to stay. Well, not any more. Along this adventure, Randy and I have found that very few of the KOA’s today live up to those standards. I believe that the prices the KOA’s charge (upwards of $45 / night) are very high for what is offered.
The Las Cruses KOA, while it is an older park, it is very well kept. The park has both pull-thru and back-in sites. The pull-thrus, while plenty long, are very, very narrow. So narrow that when our slides are out, there is not enough room to sit outside at the picnic table. If we had a picnic table.
If you want picnic tables, I guess you have to haul it to your site yourself.
As I mentioned, KOA’s charge a premium price. Included in that price is use of the pool. Which was closed, by the way. Cable TV in included in the price and it worked fine. The WiFi surprisingly, was adequate. Later afternoon it became slow when more people in the park accessed it.
As is the norm at most KOA Kampground, dogs are not allowed on the grass.
Count on getting plenty of New Mexico dust on everything, inside and out. The park is all gravel and the workers grade the roads and the empty sites every morning, which creates quite a dust storm.
There is a decent size, fenced dog park, which is all dirt and dust.
Our next stop was Tucumcari New Mexico. On the way, we drove through the pistachio fields just outside of Alamogordo New Mexico. I know that one of these trips, I will get to see the giant pistachio up close.
While ‘Tucumcari’ is a fun word to say, the KOA we stayed at looked a bit tired (*), but well kept.
(*) I am going to start using the word ’tired’ instead of run-down. It just sounds nicer.
This park is very large and has plenty of dry and crunchy New Mexico grass. As I mentioned, most KOA’s do not allow dogs on their grass, but this one does.
Which is a good thing as the dog park here was very tiny I have a hunch that I could have gotten away with letting Roxy and Otis run off leash in the way back area of the park. But I didn’t. They were okay with long walks looking for squirrels and watching the cows.
Again, the pool is closed. Even though the weather is nice, it must not be pool season.
This KOA is very large and had plenty of pull-thru sites. The unfortunate thing is that these are the types of sites that alternate the direction in which the RV pulls into the site. That means the doors of every pair of rigs are facing each other. That is great if you are traveling with someone, but not so great if you don’t want to get to know your neighbor.
It was then and there that I made a new rule for The Great McDaniel Adventure … No more KOA Kampgrounds!
Stop number three was the Corral RV Park, Drive-in and Pizzeria in Guymon Oklahoma . Yes, you read that correctly. When ‘in-season’ the drive-in theatre and pizzeria are open for business. This RV park is Wonderful with a capital ‘W”.
Had the drive-in shown a movie, this would have been the view from our windows.
The sites are pull-thrus and about the most spacious that Randy and I have found. There is an on-site RV repair shop.
While the park has no fenced dog park, it has plenty of real grass to walk the dogs. No cable television, but the WiFi they had was very good.
While I would have been happy staying at Corral RV Park until the movie started and the pizza was delivered, the Adventure had to move on only after one night. This is spring y’all and our goal was to get to Indiana without hitting any storms.
On our way to our next stop, we passed through Liberal Kansas. All of us Wizard of Oz fans know that Dorothy is from Liberal. In tribute, there is a statue of her on every corner.
It was on this portion of the adventure that Randy and I looked out the window, then at each other and asked, “WHAT IS ALL THIS GREEN STUFF?” It seemed like it had been forever since we saw any green plant life.
I could have easily done without our overnight stay at Spring Lake RV Resort in Halstead Kansas. In fact, as I was writing this blog, I had left it out completely and had to add it in.
The RV park does not offer cable TV, but their internet connection was decent.
This park reminds me of the lodge in the Catskills where Dirty Dancing was filmed. Or, at least in its better days what it would have been like. The park is large, with both pull-thru and back-in sites. However, most of the sites are occupied with permanent residents who look like they have been there for a very long time.
We were given a pull-thru site and as we drove to it, it was obvious to both Randy and me that the sites along this row were not level by any stretch. Randy got us as level as best he could, but the front tires were ever so slightly off the ground.
While the park was tidy, it just didn’t have the secure feeling that Randy and I would like to have. We just didn’t feel comfortable here. While we didn’t see any police activity (and it was a Friday night!), it wasn’t a park where I felt comfortable taking the dogs out for a walk when it was dark.
Randy, Roxy and I certainly didn’t mind getting an early start the next morning. Otis, well, he was napping on the couch.
Temperatures were definitely getting cooler as we made our way to The Great Escape RV Park in Higginsville Missouri. I am sure that the shorts will have to be put away in favor of long pants. Ick. Long pants.
The Great Escape RV Park is an older park and the owners are in the process of making improvements.
The roads within the park are all gravel. There are both pull-thru and back-in sites.
The best part : green, green, soft grass for the dogs to walk and sniff around on. There is a good sized dog park that is grass with a couple of trees to run and sniff around.
The Great Escape does not offer cable TV. The park does have Tango internet, there is a free connection and paid connection. I used the free service and didn’t have any issues with it.
We woke up to a thunderstorm in the early hours of the morning on that first morning. It was actually nice to snuggle with Roxy as the storm passed through. Otis doesn’t mind storms, he was sleeping in the front passenger seat with one eye open, ready to warn us of any predators.
I spent the day catching up on cleaning and laundry and other chores. I was pretty pooped the next day, and so was Randy. We decided to stay an extra day in Higginsville and wait out some weather up ahead on the route. It was so nice to have a day to do nothing but take the dogs for a walk. A day of rest that Randy and I both needed.
There is a great walking trail around a couple of small ponds at the edge of the park. I do admit that we may have let Roxy and Otis off leash on the trail. But it was well on the backside of the park and it was our last night there. The rules don’t apply on the last night, remember?
Finally, our last night on the road was in the Land of Lincoln, at the Double J Campground in Chatham Illinois. Chatham is just north of Springfield.
This is the first RV park where I was asked for my driver’s license, and the staff made a copy of it. I have to say, I didn’t care for that all that much. I asked them why and I was told it was their policy, just like checking into a hotel. Well, I don’t know of any hotel that makes a copy of my driver’s license. The lady who was checking me in knew that I was skeptical about this policy. I would have liked to refuse to hand over my license, but then, they would have refused me. And it isn’t like we could drive down the street to another RV park.
Because the only other RV park nearby was a KOA.
Double J Campground has large pull-thru sites. All of the sites are roomy and some have fire rings.
While there is not a fenced dog park, there is a large grassy area to walk the dogs.
The park is right off I-55 and there is a decent amount of road noise.
Double J has a very nice playground, a pool and mini golf. They do have a cable TV hookup, but ours didn’t work. WiFi was adequate, but I had to sort through the many connections available to get one to connect. Once in was connected, it worked fine.
One thing to note, it is like running an obstacle course to exit the park. While it was mostly right turns, there are decorative split-rail fencing set up strategically at the corners. I know they are there to prevent rigs from driving on their grass, but it does make it interesting to maneuver around them.
The Great McDaniel Adventure plans to stay in Elkhart for at least two weeks. Maybe longer as we don’t have any where planned to go afterwards!