Sunday, March 18, 2012

Lake City Campground in Lake City, FL

This is a different type of campground for me, unlike the state parks or COE campgrounds I usually go to. Based on the site arrangement and the A-frame office building, I wonder if this might have been a KOA at one time. I decided to try this campground based on its proximity to my home, the fact that it offers wifi and full hookups including sewer, and because she has ducks; I like ducks.

Their website dictates a 4:00 pm check-in time, which wasn't ideal for me since I live only about an hour away and so I wanted more afternoon time there after arriving. The manager is in the office from 8-10 and from 4-7, so she told me to call before 10 on my arrival date and she would give me a site number and I could get there early and settle up when she opens the office at 4. So that's what I did.

I chose site 36.

The sites are very close together. They are --is asphalt the word I want? Hard surface, mixed with some gravel, and not terribly level. Sort of as if this surface material was poured over the ground and someone drove on it before it was dry, sinking parts of it down into the ground. At any rate, my right tires were lower than the left, in a sort of shallow trough.

Here is a photo of the sites forward of mine, with my site on the left.

The website says that they have shady sites, but as you can see, that's not really the case. There is another section of sites for people staying long-term. It's on the other side of the office and looks pretty much like this side, only with fewer trees.

The bath house was very clean and required a passcode to get into. This campground is located directly alongside a well-traveled road and has no gate across the entrance. I'm sure that explained the locked bath house, and I had no complaints about that--I appreciated that level of security, particularly compared to some bath houses I have encountered recently.

Speaking of the road, this campground is located one mile from I-10. I heard absolutely none of the roar of traffic you get from an interstate. There was some noise from the nearby road, but (a) I like the sound of cars going by one or two at a time, and (b) it completely quieted down by about 11 at night. So road noise was not an issue at all.

She has a pond and a couple of ducks.

Evidently in the past, dogs owned by campers killed several of her ducks. As a result, while she allows pets, I would not call this a dog-friendly campground. There is a large unfenced dog walk area near the front of the campground and dogs must be walked there, far from the pond. One woman walking dogs by my camper said that she hoped they could hold their poop till they got to the dog walk area since she didn't want to get fined. So.... something to consider if you travel with Fido (I have no idea if there actually are fines involved).

They have a pool, which they spent a great deal of time maintaining.

Another reason I think this was a KOA at one time is that they have several primitive cabins near two other ponds at one end of the campground.

These were remarkably similar to KOA's Kamping Kabins.

I think this campground is well-suited to travelers looking for an easy overnight stop on their way to somewhere else. While I enjoyed spending 3 days there, it doesn't strike me as a destination spot. The wifi was strong, the Verizon signal was strong, and they had a plethora of handy stuff for sale in the office. Lake City has a lot to offer in terms of shopping and dining. I'm glad I went to this campground, but I don't anticipate returning.

Meanwhile, it's summer in north Florida and this may have been the last camping trip of the season. I guess we'll see.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

General Coffee State Park in Nicholls, GA

This was another new park for me. And a very uncrowded one! There is a campground host, and during my three days at the park, there were never more than two other campers besides me. I don't like a crowded park but this was a bit far in the other direction! There are 50 sites in a circle, all of them are pull-throughs. I took site 48, which was across the circle from the host and the one other camper who was there at the time.

This was the view from my patio:

This is looking across the campground. Given that there are no other campers in this section, it's a little hard to tell much about the sites!

The sites are well-spaced, level, and roomy. The ground is an odd ashy gray dirt, with large gravel mixed in. Be sure to take along something to wipe your feet on, particularly if it rains. The park roads are paved, but the campground is all this ash stuff.

This is a sizable park with a lot of attractions. I was surprised to find a large pool in one of the picnic areas. (Of course it was closed this time of year.)

There are two small ponds side-by-side. One is available for fishing and is very scenic.

There is a walkway between that pond and the other. Standing on that walkway, I looked across the second pond toward the Heritage Farm exhibit, which contains many farm animals.

So of course I walked over there and took some pictures.



There are several types of ducks. This one was striking, with its green feathers.

Another handsome duck:

who decided it was bath time!

They had lots of hens, several roosters, and of course, a turkey.

As regular readers of this blog know, I like Canada geese. They appear often here, and I took some photos of the ones at the park. Since one Canada goose pretty much looks like every other, I decided to make this photo look more like a painting, just for variety.

This park is near the town of Douglas, which has a Walmart, grocery store, and several restaurants. The Verizon cell signal was very strong in the campground. There is wifi offered in the office--they have even set up a little desk for you to use. It's a large park that would be good for biking, and they have a lot of nature trails set up.

I commented to the ranger during registration that I would have had trouble wending my way over to them from my house without my GPS, and she was surprised that it worked. She told me that guests using GPS usually end up on the dirt road that runs alongside the park.

When you turn in to the park entrance from the highway, you will naturally steer toward the kiosk ahead and to the left to register. Don't--registration is (at least at this writing) in the "Trading Post" slightly to the right as you drive in. There is no dedicated RV parking in that small lot or elsewhere (that I saw) near the park entrance. Be aware of all this before you head down the narrow park road (one camper got all the way to the campground, at the end of the park road, circled the sites, and then waved me over to ask where they were supposed to pay for camping).

I'm glad I saw this state park, though I doubt I will return. Meanwhile, it seems camping season is wrapping up early this year due to the warm weather that has persisted through our so-called winter. I do want to get in at least one more trip, and I have my eye on another new (to me) campground for next week. We'll see.