Saturday, May 15, 2010

Tobesofkee County Park, Bibb County, Georgia

Campsite at Arrowhead Campground, Tobesofkee park
I became aware of my wife’s hair standing up on her neck as soon as I backed our thirteen-foot travel trailer into it’s assigned waterfront camping slot at Arrowhead Park at Lake Tobesofkee, Georgia. It happened just after she saw the Pit Bull terrier that was tethered to the camper in the campsite adjacent to ours. 

We have a normally lovable, happy-go-lucky male Golden Retriever mix named Taz that unfortunately does not stand down from confrontation. Any confrontation! He is a rescue dog who tolerates no aggression. We don't know his history, but he loves our female Eskimo, Daisy, and he loves people. He just doesn't like other dogs that growl at him. Taz, however, was typically oblivious to any concerns of ours as he hung his head out the partially open rear window of our GMC Jimmy and intently watched ducks on the lake while we backed the camper in the clean and ready campsite.  

My wife, however, was not happy. I can always tell. Most husbands can. Backing the little camper into place is usually a quick, mundane task. When sparks fly for seemingly no reason, however, it is an indication of bigger problems, such as: “Don’t bother to park, we aren’t staying!”

We arrived at this recently rebuilt county park on Lake Tobesofkee on a beautiful Friday afternoon in May, 2010. We were just a few miles west of the I-475 Interstate bypass of Macon, Georgia. We had just driven from Watsadler Campground, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers facility on Lake Hartwell, about 150 miles north. We had spent the last four days at Watsadler with good friends, laughing, enjoying good cooking, and some very good kayaking. They were the people who got us hooked on travel-trailer camping in the first place. It had been a very rewarding four days.

The Tobesofkee park appeared to be a nice park, being rebuilt from a disastrous tornado that destroyed the campground on Mother’s Day, 2008. It is a hilly site, with many of the trees just now showing signs of recovery from the wrath of Mother Nature.

The experience at the Bibb county-run park started with a great welcoming by the gate attendant, who let us drive into the mostly-filled park and see if we wanted a better, or shadier location than the one we had reserved sight unseen. After a quick drive-through, we hurriedly drove back to the gate and said the site we originally reserved was just fine! Unfortunately, we couldn’t see the sea-wall at the end of the campsite site from our quick drive-through. That abrupt water’s edge prevented us from launching our kayaks directly from the campsite. We were not happy with the three dollar a day charge for each of the two kayaks we had strapped to the top of our little SUV.

Bringing your pet along is one of the most attractive features of camping, and most campers always seem to have a pet or two. It seems the older the camper, the smaller the dog. One older lady put twinkling lights on the collars of her precious little pets to show how much she loved them. The younger campers had big, aggressive dogs, such as the massive black Rottweiler chained to the tree closest to the kayak launching point my wife and I had decided to use when we decided the sea-wall wasn’t usable. So much for kayaking.

Typical was the Staffordshire terrier up the hill whose owner surreptitiously unleashed him so Fido could wander over to the adjacent camp site to dump his excrement. The middle-aged, pot-bellied owner made no attempt at using a doggie poop bag to clean up his neighbors camp site. When he saw me watching, he simply leashed his dog, turned his back and strolled back to his own campsite dragging his pooch behind. No one we saw the entire time we were there, not one person, ever used a doggie poop bag. 

The dog attack that pushed us over the edge took place as we were using the bath house/toilet facilities just up the hill from our campsite late in the quiet afternoon. A white, pit-bull type dog rushed out from between two 40 foot Class A units and grabbed a Pekingese being walked on a leash by two young teenage girls. The Pit Bull shook the Pekingese by the neck like a rag toy while the young girls screamed in terror. The owner ran over and subdued the aggressive dog, and we never saw the conclusion as everyone from the adjacent campers seemed to smother the situation. Quiet once again fell on the campground.

The newly rebuilt toilet and bathhouse facilities are first class, with one odd design feature: While there are at least four top notch showers in the men's area, there is only one commode! There are two rest room facilities, so for 58 campsites, there are only two full toilets! Hopefully, no one stuffs candy wrappers or jams up the toilet before you get to use it.

We decided to leave a day early. We couldn’t launch the kayaks without a drive to the beach area, where the multitude of jet-skies and power boats operated by the same people who couldn’t control their dogs, jammed the water front. We chose the prudent action of going home, even though we lost a day’s fees. Besides, that way we wouldn’t have to fight the hoards of campers trying to use the dump station on Sunday morning. I could only imagine that scenario.

So, on a quite Saturday morning, with a few middle aged men sitting on the seawall on the lake behind us quietly fishing, we unhooked and cleaned up our site. The trip to the dump station was uneventful, even considering the steep climb past the tent campers to get out of the camp site area.

Next: The other Stephen C. Foster State Park - the one in Florida - at:


  1. Oh my! I'm nervous now. We are taking our Cub Scouts camping at this camground in April 2012. We will camp here, in tents, and see the Air Show at Robins AFB. We couldn't find another campground area close to Robins AFB. If we should not take a Pack of young boys to camp here please let me know ASAP!

  2. Holly,

    The facilities and park personnel were great, the only issue we had were the uncontrolled pets, which I hope was an anomaly. The campground is well kept and the facilities after the rebuild are state of the art. I see no reason not to enjoy the campground and the lake, and I do not hesitate to recommend the park, especially if the Pack you mention is organized and under the watchful eye as someone like you. You obviously took the time to thoroughly research the campground, and express concern. The tent camping area is close to the shower/toilet facilities and should be a fun camp out.

    George Mindling
    Port Charlotte, FL


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