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!
Thursday, August 10, 2017
Welcome to Cloudland Canyon
were spared severe weather in in our campground at Cloudland Canyon
State Park as a line of heavy storms spread across the entire
southeastern United States. We had a steady, night-long downpour, but
no storms. Sleeping was a pleasure as no one needed any kind of
artificial environmental noises to induce the sandman. Nature
supplied everything. The continuous, ten hour downpour eventually
faded away as sunshine began to filter through the dense forest as
morning quietly slipped into the campground.
checked the local weather and found we were experiencing an
exclusive, temporary break in the rain. We decided to explore one of
the many hiking trails. Cloudland Canyon State Park has thirty miles
of trails dedicated just to mountain bikers, not including the many
footpaths for people like us. There are plenty of trails to keep most
arrived Monday afternoon as we love checking into state or Federal
campgrounds after the weekend crowd leaves. Public school started in
Georgia a week ago for most students, and will start this week for
the rest of the state, including here in Dade County, so there are no
families in the campground except for a British couple with a nine
year old daughter who loves to pat Taz. It is only August seventh! We
have four full-time camp hosts on the west rim campground and only
three or four campers. As a result, the shower and toilet facilities,
although rather old, are absolutely spotless.
at the park will change again on Friday night, it always does, but
most of those weekend camping trips and family reunions break up
early Sunday. We rarely check out of a campground on Sunday morning
as the waiting line for the dump stations remind me of US-1 headed
back to Miami from the Florida Keys. Monday is Nirvana to
gone is the day after Labor Day start to the school year. I
personally believe, without the benefit of any research or facts of
any kind, that the start date has been skewed to allow high school
football teams to begin practice earlier and begin their regular
schedule to align with the National Football League and the
Collegiate schedule football schedules. The NFL just played their
first exhibition game. But then again, what do I know. At any rate,
campgrounds are emptier earlier than in years past, which, miserable
me, I don’t mind at all. Labor day is the exception, of course.
Finding a campsite over the Labor Day Weekend requires someone named
Merlin to make your reservations. Strange looking dude, with flowing
robes, a pointy hat, and a magic wand.
to CBS News, the RV industry expects to sell 400,000 new RVs this
year. The RV manufacturers are running at full employment, and have
increased most RV sales in the mid-range Millennial market. No wonder
making reservations at popular campgrounds is a task best done as
soon as reservation windows open. But not here, and not today. The
dripping, dense forest has only our twenty-one foot trailer and a few
occupied campsites that are still dormant. Until a beautiful, black
and grey house cat, wearing a bright red collar, casually strolls
across the front of our camping pad, headed for the forest. Our
Golden Retriever sees the cat, bolts through the open camper door and
down the hill they go, into the dense underbrush. Taz, over thirteen
years old, has a hearing deficiency, and thankfully, limited
endurance. He doesn’t go far, and as soon as he sees me, heads back
up the hill to the camper, tongue out, with a look of duty well done.
however, is a time to relish the tranquility and relative solitude of
a beautiful state park and the empty trails. I swing by the visitors
center where only a few hikers, mostly young, college age couples,
complete with back packs are registering. We decide to do the
waterfall trail starting at the environmental center on the east rim,
but after a walking a short way on the rim trails, decide we need to
tune up first before heading down the thousand foot trail to the
waterfalls below. Prudence is an art gained through age. And
first day was spent relaxing and taking walks to check the park’s
facilities and many vistas. I played around with my television
antenna and tuned three or four stations we may watch if the weather
turns wet again. Except for the news, we rarely watch television.
Cell phone coverage faded in and out so not only were telephone calls
sporadically dropped, but the Wi-Fi hot-spot was unreliable as well.
we relaxed in the fading evening sun, a pickup truck backed into the
site next to us and a woman with two dogs set up a small, domed tent.
She was our only neighbor until another camper pulled in just before
dark. We were the only campers in the park except for the British
couple tent camping at the top of the hill and one other RV that
shows no sign of life. The evening was pleasant, cool and absolutely
still except for the serenade of Georgia’s forest insects.
we kissed and snuggled up under the covers, Ilse turned off her night
light and we both went silent as a bright, yellow light flashed in
the darkness just over our heads.
was that!” We sat up in bed and tried to figure out what had just
happened. The light flashed again, this time down by the foot of the
bed, suspended in mid-air. It took a few seconds to realize I had let
in a firefly, a lightning bug we used to call them, when I took our
dog, Taz, out for his evening trip to the nearest tree. Another first
in our adventures of RVing.