An eclectic collection of camping stories, trailer-towing articles, campground and park reviews as we discover the world of RV camping in our small camping trailer.
If you are expecting sugar-coated, sponsored reviews, or cut-and-paste Chamber of Commerce pamphlets, you are on the wrong page!
Wednesday, August 23, 2017
Laundry Day - Housekeeping and Kicking Back
few campers straggled in Monday, but not many. A great time to relax
and do the housekeeping chores required when you’re on the road for
an extended time. That means it’s time to wash clothes. The
campground washing machines and dryers are available any time we want
– there are a pair at both toilet/shower facilities on the West Rim
Camping Loop – so it is a great time to do the mundane chores and
enjoy the good weather. We’ll get back into tourist mode on
Wednesday when we head for the 600 step staircase that heads down to
the waterfalls in the valley below. Like my wife says, we’ll play
that hike by ear. I think she’s secretly hoping for rain that will
keep us in the camper. The West Rim Loop Trail we did two days ago
was fun, but at times a bit tough for us flat-landers who only do
this mountainous stuff once a year. Still, she was game enough to do
that trail, and she’ll give it her best tomorrow, the scenic beauty
is always worth the effort.
did our best to be good tourists Monday by touring nearby downtown
Chattanooga, which like any large U.S. American city is filled with
contradictions. While driving through the manicured downtown Market
Street, headed for the Tennessee Aquarium, we watched a pair of
America’s social outcasts dumpster-diving right alongside a
downtown intersection as we waited for a traffic light. I honestly
wish political ideology would vanish in a cloud of humanistic concern
for our country, but then again, what do I know.
road construction near the Aquarium trumps our GPS instructions, we
end up on the Bluffs overlooking the Tennessee River, looking for a
place to conveniently turn around. The Hunter Museum parking lot
serves as a great place to recheck the maps and GPS, and as we pull
through the parking loop, we stop to watch a pair of well fed ground
hogs, which ignore us until I get out to take a photo.
deserves admiration and praise from what we have seen, but they are
fighting a tough battle, as is any large city. They have several
really neat innovations including bicycles kiosks where participants
can pick up or leave bicycles as they tour and traverse the downtown
area. We parked in
of many automated garages near the renovated Riverfront Area and
walked to the Tennessee Aquarium across the street. We bought tickets
for a Thursday tour on the Tennessee River Gorge Tour, also operated
by the Aquarium. We walked around the Riverfront, then headed for a
nearby Thai Restaurant with some reservations about what to expect.
No need for concern, the Pad Thai was among the best I’ve ever had
– sorry Royal Orchid – and by looking at Ilse’s clean plate, I
don’t think she had any problem with her meal either.
had an exit gate at the parking garage that wouldn’t process my
paid-up ticket, and luckily I had no one behind me as I backed up the
garage exit ramp and switched gates. I did draw strange stares from a
worker who appeared from nowhere carrying a Styrofoam doggie box,
obviously leftovers from his recent lunch, but since he seemed
dumbfounded by my explanation, we just waved once the gate opened and
just drove out.
struggled with my GPS to find the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum,
which was closed, then shopped at a grocery store on the east side of
town that was getting a serious construction face-lift. Off course it
poured rain as we left the store in the chaos of the construction,
when else would it rain?
back out to the Interstate for the short, wet trip back to the
campground was a grim reminder of why I don’t like big cities where
three Interstate Highways intersect, especially when they have
lane-changing construction that narrows three lanes down to about six
feet wide each. Bumper to bumper traffic with eighteen wheelers
trying to get to their destinations on schedule makes for interesting
driving. The rain got heavier and traffic finally got lighter and a
little more cautious. We were soon at the Trenton exit and only seven
miles from the campground with a huge, tailgating pickup truck that
was so close it looked like I may have been towing him, right on my
bumper. As we climbed the newly-paved highway through the clouds into
another realm, the old expression, so near but yet so far came to
mind. I can see why this park is so popular. Soon, we had the road
and the mist-filled world all to ourselves.
the time we finish the laundry Tuesday afternoon, many of the sites
empty campsites are filled, with at least three aluminum Airstreams.
Pop-up campers and small towables are quietly tucked away in many of
the wide camp sites, along with a scattering of tents and one new one
for us: a tent mounted on a platform on top of a car carrier,
aluminum access ladder and all. The little Subaru sedan seems to be
bearing the additional weight well. Only one of the big Class A
motorhomes and one of the extra-large fifth wheel trailers in the
park. Everyone seems to be keeping to themselves as the park is as
quiet as it was when we took the laundry bag to the laundry room.
know all the campground hosts by name now, and we chat with them
whenever we meet on the camp road. One campground host just signed
in, traveling from Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana and he’ll be
here until February. Another couple will pack up at the end of August
and head for their next hosting gig in New Mexico. An interesting
life style, but it isn’t for us. We toyed with the idea of being
camp hosts, but we just aren’t ready to cut the umbilical cord, so
to speak. We’d rather head for home when the summer heat breaks and
sleep in a familiar homestead. Friends and our familiar surroundings
in southwest Florida make a comfortable winter home base. I guess
that makes us snow-birds of sorts, but since we never see snow, I
don’t know if that is completely accurate. We’ll keep rolling
with our travel trailer as long as we still enjoy RVing, escaping to
the Appalachian Mountains to avoid the summer Florida heat and
humidity. And, of course, doing our laundry when the campgrounds are