Monthly Archives: October 2017

Campground Review: Markham Park, Sunrise, Florida

It is my intention to post a review of the campgrounds we visit along the way. This will not only provide a record of our stays, but may also help others considering staying there in the future. This is my first review!

Summary

  • Name: Markham Park Campground
  • Dates of stay:  September 25 – November 26, 2017
  • Location: 16001 W State Rd 84, Sunrise, FL 33326  (near the intersection of I-75 and I-595)
  • Type of campground: Broward County park
  • Cost: $30/night off-season (April 1 – Oct 31), $40/night in-season, plus tax
  • Additional fees: >4 campers, pets, extra vehicles, certain park activities
  • Stay limit: none, subject to availability
  • Accepts mail / packages: yes
  • Cell reception:  AT&T: marginal signal
  • Website:  http://www.broward.org/Parks/MarkhamPark/
  • Pros: Spacious full hookup sites in a well-kept park with many amenities. Price is a bargain by Florida standards.
  • Cons:  Florida summer heat/humidity and mosquitos

Full Review

022Broward County’s park campgrounds are underappreciated gems. Markham Park campground has 88 full hookup (30/50 amp, water, sewer) paved sites, 8 of which are pull through. With our bus size in mind, I booked one of the pull through sites, which is long enough for our 43 foot motorhome, plus a vehicle.  Roads into the campground are all paved and wide enough to pose no problems with our big rig. The sites have some trees providing shade, but we have no trouble obtaining satellite signal. The sites also come with a wood picnic table, fire ring and grill.

Considering that the local KOA’s run north of $70 per night for a very tight site, Broward County’s fee of $30-40/night is a deal. According to the fee chart, additional fees may be charged for pets ($20 deposit) and more than one vehicle ($2/night per additional vehicle) but we weren’t charged for either one. I just asked for an extra vehicle pass in the office and they handed me one, no questions asked. The pass is needed for weekend entry when the park charges admission fees of $1.50/person. During the week, entrance to the park is free. The office staff was friendly and helpful, and we were able to ship mail and packages to the office with no problem.

012The campground is spread out over the western side of the park. Campground amenities include clean, locked bath houses (code is given at check in) and trash dumpsters. I didn’t see a laundry facility, but I haven’t really looked for one since I have my own laundry equipment. We have AT&T cell service and the reception is marginal, at best. Our cellular booster isn’t installed yet and we have to go outside to take calls. Inside the bus, internet reception is possible, but slow. If we had our booster operational, that may  help. Being close to Ft. Lauderdale and Miami, we are able to pull in a variety of over the air channels on our digital antenna.

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walking path

The real benefit of camping here is the range of amenities offered by the park. The park is equipped with the usual picnic tables and pavilions, playgrounds, tennis courts and walking/biking paths, as one might expect. But the park also has a shooting range, model plane airfield, disc golf course, mountain bike trails, several boat launches, workout equipment (the Fitness Zone) and a dog park with three separate zones for large dogs, small dogs, and puppies. The park even has an observatory, which is free and open to the public on Saturday nights. With all that the park has to offer it is well utilized, especially on weekends. However, the campground is off to the side and relatively isolated from the busy-ness of the rest of the park. Mostly you see road bikers whizzing through their laps and folks jogging or walking their dogs. It should be noted that passes are required (fees charged) for use of the dog park, airfield, and mountain bike trails.

We arrived here shortly after Hurricane Irma, and the park is still cleaning up downed trees. All of the activities are available at this point, except for the full disc golf course.

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“Fitness Zone” work out equipment

Since the park is at the edge of the County, adjacent to the Everglades, some level of mosquitos and bugs are inevitable. The County does fog for mosquitos which helps considerably but they can still be bothersome, especially at dawn and dusk. Since it’s mid-October, the weather is just starting to cool down a bit, but keeping the rig cool in the intense summer heat was always a bit of a struggle. We are NOT planning to camp in Florida again during the height of the summer!

Bottom line:  I would definitely stay here again. It’s a beautifully kept park with lots of amenities at a moderate price for this area.020

An inside tour

You’ve told me you want to see photos! So, as requested, here is a tour of the inside of our motorhome living space. I’ll post photos of the outside later. You can click on the thumbnails for a larger view.

The first view is in the front looking back through the living space into the kitchen. The second photo is taken mid-coach (standing in the kitchen) looking forward. As you can see, the pilot and co-pilot chairs rotate to add seating to the living room. They are also recliners, very comfortable ones, too! The L-shaped couch has a foot-rest at one end as well and we purchased a matching ottoman. The ottoman holds our “blankies” and  provides an extra table surface when you flip the lid over.  The sofa doubles as a pull-out guest bed (with air mattress top for comfort). The L portion of the couch collapses and retracts for travel.

Also note in the second photo that we have two, yes two, TV’s in the living room. There is a massive 50 inch flat screen over the electric fireplace and a smaller TV over the cockpit. I couldn’t imagine a use for two TV’s in one room – until I came home last weekend to Jeff watching a different football game on each TV! He was in heaven – who needs a sports bar when you’ve got this?? We have Direct TV through our hi-tech Travler satellite dish as well as access to over-the-air channels through our digital antenna. And if I want to watch something different, there’s a TV in the bedroom AND one outside. We should never lack for TV entertainment.

The fireplace (doesn’t everyone need one?) can be used as an additional heat source for those cool nights/mornings. It also has a light mode, with 5 different “flame” images. You can run the flame view, heat mode, or both. After all, there’s nothing better after coming off a hard day of play than kicking back in front of the fireplace with an adult beverage!

Here are views of the dinette area. The table extends to seat four (two additional matching folding chairs were provided). The adjacent storage is perfect for office needs, even including a dedicated printer cabinet with pull out shelf.  We removed a recliner that originally came with this floor plan and replaced it with a cat tree for our sweet Pumpkin kitty. The cat tree also includes a cedar scratching post. Pumpkin loves to sit next to the window so he can keep tabs on campground activity.

My beautiful kitchen is a dream, considering RV space limitations. Equipped with a convection/microwave unit and induction cooktop, I can cook just about anything I did in my regular house. (I’m still learning how to adjust my recipes for convection cooking as it requires a lower temperature and less baking time than the conventional oven.) The extendable drawers adds counter space. The only thing I DON’T have is a dishwasher, but in exchange I gained a sizeable cabinet under the cooktop for large pots and pans. Hand-washing dishes reminds me of when I was a child at home in the days before we had a dishwasher. I have fond memories of washing dishes with my sister and singing together. There’s something very peaceful and satisfying about doing the dishes by hand rather than shoving them into a dishwasher. I find I don’t miss the dishwasher one bit.

The hutch is my single favorite thing, adding a place to display treasures as well as offering additional pantry storage. I pondered and researched how to keep things in place while in motion, since objects sliding to hit the glass doors could be disastrous. As a solution, I discovered glue pads!  These miraculous clear sticky pads hold objects, like wine glasses, in place yet allow them to be released as needed without leaving a sticky residue. When you’re done you just stick the glass back on the sticky pad. If the pad ever loses its stickiness, just wash it and the stickiness returns. These things are magic and work perfectly. I have objects stuck down with glue pads all over the rig. They don’t move until I want them to.

Our full-size French door refrigerator (with ice / water through the door) is almost as large as the one we had in our house and considerably larger than the apartment fridge!

The “pass through” bathroom has a vanity with double sinks and a separate water closet room with shower. Pocket sliding doors can close off the bathroom on either side, making it entirely private. Linen/towel storage is in cabinet to the left of the vanity.

A view into the bedroom shows the stacked washer/dryer – which was an absolute must-have for me! I don’t mind going to a laundry mat if necessary, but not as an everyday thing. Cabinet doors close to hide the units when not in use. You can also see our answer to the “where do you put the litter box” question. It’s tucked out of the way and several throw rugs help keep litter track-out to a minimum. The king size bed is very comfortable, probably the most comfortable bed we’ve ever had. Windows on either side of the bed can be opened on pleasant nights and small built-in night stands provide electrical outlets for charging our devices and a place to put my Kindle.

The bedroom storage options include dressers, cabinets, a closet along the back, cabinets over the bed and some storage UNDER the bed as well.  It’s not as spacious as our prior home’s five walk in closets, but sufficient to hold everything we need and more. The storage in the entire coach holds quite a bit more than I ever expected. I’m sure we still have a lot of “stuff” that we don’t really need and will continue to pare down as we go along.

This motorhome was my dream coach – the one I never thought we would actually be able to afford. But God was good and circumstances aligned to allow us to purchase and live in this beautiful new home. I hope you enjoyed the tour!

Planned itinerary

Upcoming travel plans (subject to change, of course!)

  • Oct 16 – 22: America’s Best Campground, Branson, MO
  • Oct 23 – 29: Catherine’s Landing, Hot Springs, AR
  • Oct 31 – Nov 4: Carlsbad KOA, Carlsbad NM
  • Nov 5 – 13: Hacienda RV Resort, Las Cruces, NM
  • Nov 14 – March 17 2021: Rincon West RV Resort, Tuscon AZ
  • 2021 Preview: Sedona, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Hurricane UT, Heber City UT, Kalispell MT, Ferndale WA, ALASKA CRUISE!, Port Angeles WA, Bend OR, Eugene OR, Redding CA, Napa Valley, Lodi CA, Monterey CA, Paso Robles CA, Palm Springs for the winter!

All moved in and ready to go!

We are all moved in!

A week after returning from hurricane evacuation, we were able to move to Markham Park (a county park).  We had planned to move there anyway at the end of September, so just went a little early.

We completed transferring over the belongings we are keeping and managed to dispose of the rest. Faith Farm charities took most of our furniture – we only had to take one pick-up load to the dump. A quick day trip to Orlando took care of finding a new home for our gigantic 7-foot cat tree. It fit quite nicely into Sean’s living room and Buttercup immediately took possession of it! On September 30, we handed over the keys to the apartment and began our true full-time life in the motorhome.

The bus is just SO comfortable and beautiful. It doesn’t seem cramped – just cozy. Now we need only finish up our work affairs and we’ll be able to hit the open road!