RVParking.com User Profile: Technomadia
“Beautiful! Shady! Free!” for Meriwether Lewis National Park0 out of 1 people found this review helpful
We journeyed to Hohenwald Tennessee in May to visit the Oliver Travel Trailer Factory to handle a few issues with our trailer. Afterwards, we wanted to find a nice place to camp where we could put down roots for an entire week to get caught up on projects and just spend some time enjoying being at home.
The folks at the Oliver factory told us about the nearby free campground located along the Natchez Trace Parkway – so we decided to check it out before venturing further afield to find check out a few promising state parks.
We were blown away.
This place is free?!? Wow!
The 444 mile Natchez Trace Parkway runs from just south of Nashville to Natchez, Mississippi. It is administered by the National Park Service, and it is one long interrupted greenbelt that completely isolates you from modern buildings, commercialism, advertising, and even trucking. This route has been in use by travelers and animals for hundreds of years, and the only indication of what century you are in is the ribbon of asphalt cutting through the trees instead of a dirt trail. The Natchez Trace is one of the most beautiful scenic drives in the country.
The forest is beautiful and quiet. Even over Memorial Day weekend the campground did not fill up.
There are three free campgrounds located along the Natchez Trace, and the one located at the Meriwether Lewis Park near Hohenwald is a beautiful wooded oasis. We found the sort of tranquility we were looking for, and we even had a workable cell signal to get some work online handled too!
The Meriwether Lewis National Monument is located within the park, and it marks the grave of the famous explorer. Lewis (most likely) committed suicide in 1809 while spending a night at an inn while traveling along the Natchez Trace. He was journeying from St. Louis to Washington D.C. to handle some problems with reimbursement of his expense reports for the Lewis & Clark Expedition. Clearly frustration with bureaucracy is not a new invention…
The park offers no hookups (not even a dump station), but fresh water is available from centrally located faucets and there are very clean bathrooms with flush toilets.
All of the sites are in the trees, which is great for shade but which limited the effectiveness of our solar system. We ran the generator for an hour or two every other day to keep our batteries topped off.
Despite being free, the Meriwether Lewis Park campground is beautifully maintained, and it is even staffed with a campground host to keep an eye on things. The bathrooms lacked showers, but flush toilets and running water are available.
Meriwether Lewis Park is a gem, and we thoroughly enjoyed a chill week catching up with ourselves there.
In the future we will certainly return, perhaps while journeying the full length of the Natchez Trace southward.
View: Beautiful forrest.
Cell & Data Coverage:
AT&T – Weak, but usable.
Sprint - Very slow but still usable CDMA 1xRTT. (D: 115Kb/s, U: 56Kb/s, 669ms) (Sprint indicates roaming – probably on Verizon)Date of Stay: May, 2009Rate Paid: $0.00
“Down a long dirt road...” for Erbie Campground - Buffalo National River1 out of 2 people found this review helpful
We saw a road sign indicating a campground in the woods off to our left, so we headed down a dark dirt road in search of a place to stop for the night.
The sign hadn’t made any mention of how FAR it was to the campground, and at night in the dark the five miles seemed like thirty – particularly since there were many steep sections and there was no easy places to turn the trailer around should we decide to retreat.
But in the end, we found Erbie – a beautiful remote campground located right along the Buffalo National River.
Not surprisingly considering how remote it is, Erbie has no hookups. The campground is clean and well maintained though, and the spots are fairly widely separated along a large gravel loop. Even though there were two other sites occupied, we felt like we had the whole place to ourselves.
Our cat's impression: "I loved camping at Erbie. The river was swollen and scary, but there were trails to explore, trees to climb, and even bunnies to chase. I did get wet paws though from all the morning dew – be warned!"
Erbie is often used as a base camp for people venturing out via canoe or kayak to explore the pristine Buffalo National River. Recent flooding had closed the river, but there were extensive trails to explore nearby.
One of the trails leads from Erbie Campground to the nearby Parker Hickman Farmstead – a glimpse back in time at turn-of-the-century rural life. We thoroughly enjoyed an early morning hike upstream to explore this place.
The most significant thing lacking at Erbie was wireless network access of any sort. They did have this museum quality ancient communication device called a 'pay phone' on display however…
Overall, Erbie was a wonderfully tranquil place to spend the night and get away from it all. If only there were at least some network access, would love to return and explore the area further.
View: Woods & hills!
Facilities: Pit toilets, boat launch.
Cell & Data Coverage:
AT&T – Nope.
Sprint - Did I mention how far down a dirt road this place is?!?Date of Stay: June, 2009Rate Paid: $10.00
“Beautiful bluff views!” for Columbus - Belmont State Park0 out of 2 people found this review helpful
Working our way down the Mississippi from St. Louis towards Tennessee, we were hoping to find a scenic spot along the river to stop for two nights.
We struck gold when we stumbled into Kentucky’s Columbus Belmont State Park just before sunset. The view looking west from high up on the bluffs overlooking Mississippi River literally took our breath away.
We paid $2 extra per night to camp in one of the “premium” spots located right on the bluffs with a commanding view of the river. It was SO worth it to be able to watch the barges on the river right out our back window…
These bluffs have long been known for their domineering position on the river. During the Civil War the Confederate fort built on the bluffs was referred to as the “Gibraltar of the West”, and the Confederate army actually installed a massive chain across the entire Mississippi river to block Union supply lines and gunboats.
There remains a lot to do in the park for Civil War buffs. The remains of the fort are located a short walk from the campground, the giant chain is on display, there is an old cemetery to walk through, and there is even a small museum on site. Every October historic re-enactors swarm the park to recreate the 1861 Battle of Belmont, the start of the Union’s western campaign and General Ulysses S. Grant’s first active engagement in the Civil War.
But we weren’t here for the history – we just wanted a place to relax, enjoy the view, and get some work done.
The parklike lawn offered a beautiful environment for working outside. Until the lawn care crew showed up with their power tools, that is…
Unfortunately, our cell phone data signal was slow and intermittent, and our booster wasn’t much help.
Even worse (from the standpoint of relaxing and getting things done), a lawn care crew spent the entire day mowing and trimming and edging and buzzing about. The downside of a beautiful parklike setting is the work that goes into maintaining it, I guess…
We loved sitting and watching the giant barges plying the waters heading up and down the Mississippi.
But once the lawn crew dispersed, the view from the bluffs well worth the annoyance. Magical, tranquil, and serene.
Would definitely recommend staying here. But unless you are coming for the Civil War history, make sure that you get one of the bluff-side camp spots. The rest of the campground area is rather typical and generic, but the spots along the river will take your breath away.
Very cool that KY State Parks offer AAA discounts!
Cell & Data Coverage:
AT&T – Weak but usable.
Sprint - Marginal CDMA 1xRTT. (Dropped in and out…)Date of Stay: July, 2009Rate Paid: $22.00
“Beautiful, but some annoying quirks..” for Anthony Chabot Campground0 out of 2 people found this review helpful
This is a beautiful location and a beautiful campground with some great views of the east bay area. They offer some sites with full hook-ups, and some with none at all.
Since the campground is so shady nestled in the trees, we had to opt for hook-ups since our solar panels wouldn't do much good. Unfortunately, cell signal was difficult to get where the hook-up spots are - but seemed much better just down the road in the primitive sites. If we went again, we'd probably get a primitive site and just plan to top off the batteries with our generator.
Great hiking around here.
The annoyances with this campground - as far as being a base camp for exploring the bay area in general - include: The gates lock at 10pm - no ins & outs, period. Unless you buy a key to the gate from the ranger, who seems difficult to track down. It is also a bit of a drive - while you can see San Leandro below you, it's a good 20 minute drive down the road. The Castro BART station is closer by, so you can get access to public transit.
So likely not ideal for exploring the bay area, this is a great location to escape the hustle and bustle and traffic of the land below.Date of Stay: September, 2008Rate Paid: $25.00
“Greatest Place on Earth!” for Black Rock City - Burning Man1 out of 3 people found this review helpful
For one week a year (ending on Labor Day) the greatest temporary city on earth converges in the Black Rock Desert of northern Nevada - becoming Black Rock City. It's a city based on gift economy, artistic expression, self-reliance and self-expression.
This is a very RV friendly event, providing you don't mind extreme dry camping and lots of dust.
Beware.. this is not your typical RV Park. There is all sorts of self-expression going on during the festival. Tantalizing costuming, nekkid people, imbiding and more - definitely not for the faint of heart. But if you're an explorer of all things of this earth with an open mind - welcome home!
Burning Man doesn't have a defined purpose, and you will find here whatever it is you are looking for - spiritual enlightenment, art, partying, exploration, heat stroke.Date of Stay: September, 2010Rate Paid: $42.00
“Fun Place to Prep for Burning Man!” for Grand Sierra Resort Casino & RV Park2 out of 4 people found this review helpful
This has become our default spot to stop and do our last preps before heading out to Black Rock City for Burning Man. The staff here is super friendly, and you get full access to the casino/hotel amenities next door - such as the pool, spa, casino, movie theatre, bowling alley, restaurants, etc.
The bathrooms in the RV Park are first class - always well maintained & clean, and you're given card access to them. Great shower pressure too.
The park itself is a bit... bland. No trees, no shade and not much division between spaces. There is a hiking trail along the 'river' behind the park - but last we were here it was all torn up.
But this is a perfect spot for basing yourself out of before heading out to the playa. In years past they offered a burner discount, but this year just the 10% AAA discount was available.
We got great AT&T and Sprint 3G service - the parks free wifi was a bit unreliable.Date of Stay: August, 2010Rate Paid: $30.00
“Not bad!” for Campground by the Lake0 out of 1 people found this review helpful
After finding no other open spaces as we were passing through South Lake Tahoe, we pulled in here to find a few open spots. The campground, run by the city, is across the street from the lake, and there are some decent eating and shopping nearby.
The spots are pretty large, but there is little distinction between the sites. The bathrooms were well maintained. The onsite hosts were super friendly and helpful. Only complaint is the price - $26 for no hookups is a bit steep, but in line with the area's tourist draw. There are a few sites with hook-ups for $32.
We had great AT&T and Sprint 3G signal.Date of Stay: August, 2010Rate Paid: $26.00
“Beautiful at 9800 ft!” for Wheeler Peak Campground (Great Basin National Park)1 out of 3 people found this review helpful
A fantastic spot to stop by for a couple nights - and the darkest spot you can be in the lower 48 states. Great for star gazing! This is one of 4 campgrounds within Great Basin NP, and is the highest up. There is access to the glacier and peak hiking trails from the campground (well worth checking out!).
All that is offered is pit toilets and water faucets scattered throughout. Adhere to the size restriction at this campground. Many of the sites are not accessible even for small trailers, especially with the curbs along the road making backing extra difficult. No reservations are accepted, and both times we've stopped in here we had no problem finding a spot.
Lots of shade is offered, and some wicked winds and storms can kick up.
Absolutely no cell phone signal can be found here.Date of Stay: August, 2010Rate Paid: $12.00
“Alpine Meadow of Wildflowers!!” for Dumont Lake Campground0 out of 1 people found this review helpful
Wow! The view and setting at this forest service campground is astounding during wildflower season! We had purple, yellow and red wildflowers towering to almost shoulder height all around us. We pulled in just to check it out, and ended up staying two nights to take it all in.
The layout of this campground is our favorite kind - well spread out. Some of the sites are situated in such a way that you can almost forget you have neighbors. From our spot, we could see nothing but a beautiful expansive alpine meadow of wildflowers. Breathtaking!
The only amenity provided is pit toilets, and there are some beautiful hiking trails. This campground is on the reserveamerica.gov reservation system and during the summer weekends can be completely booked. But during the week you can likely just show up and self register.
There is solid Sprint & AT&T Edge service - but beware that they are both off network, so domestic data roaming caps & fees may apply. We had Sprint shut our data roaming off while here.Date of Stay: August, 2010Rate Paid: $12.00
“Beautiful View / Membership Park” for Blue Mesa Recreational Ranch
This park is part of the Western Horizon Resorts system, and is available to members of a variety of camping membership clubs (many paying thousands of dollars to join). We were invited to stay here as a guest of a member, and paid half the public rate. If you're not a member of one of affiliated clubs or a guest of a member, the park is open to the public for $40/night. If you're interested in checking out the park and putting up with their sales pressure, you can stay for free for a few nights.
The park itself is not too bad - slots are mostly back-in and gravel. Many complaints of sites being quite unlevel (we didn't have a problem with ours). We had a beautiful view of the water. There are two pools and two hot tubs (one indoor, one outdoor), which was a nice way to end an evening. Lots of activities on site, although we didn't check any of them out (horse back riding, ATVing, mini golf, fishing, etc).
All and all. it's not a bad park - but wouldn't think it worth $40 or buying a membership for. But then again, we're just not the sort of RVer that would invest in a membership system.
We were able to get on Sprint data via our booster antenna, and had very spotty AT&T service. Lots of complaints of little cell signal, but apparently a 1/2 mi up the road it's excellent.Date of Stay: August, 2010Rate Paid: $20.00