First Campground FAIL

After departing Lancaster County, we were slated to head to Lake Raystown resort, a lovely lakeside resort in western Pennsylvania. It offered lake activities, a show boat, a water park, and there was mountain biking in the vicinity. The only drawback was the the sites offered only water and electric (no sewer), but we could deal with that for a week, provided there were bath houses and a dump station. Jeff had booked a 50 amp, Premium Extra Large, Red Carpet site. Sounded great – what could go wrong?

The resort itself is out of the way, forcing us to traverse narrow, winding and hilly roads to get there. Fortunately, Jeff is an expert driver now and we arrived uneventfully at the guard station. We were handed our car tags and a map. Now usually the person in the office will give us explicit instructions on how to navigate to our site, where best to unhook our toad, etc. I had to ask for that information – and that was probably my first clue that, just perhaps, things may not go smoothly. We were given directions and suggested that we unhook on the road just in front of our campsite. OK, off we go.

Let me explain that this campground is Very Hilly. Campsites are terraced in rows up the hillside and the single lane, one way roads around the campsites is correspondingly hilly, We needed a flat spot to unhook. We proceeded according to directions and came to the place we were to turn — a narrow, hairpin turn that our big rig couldn’t possibly make without backing up, which you cannot do while towing. We bypassed our turn, eventually found a reasonable place to unhook, parked the bus along the side of the road, and drove the truck to our campsite to reconnoiter. Our site was plenty big enough, so fine. We went back, picked up the bus, drove back down and around again to the narrow turn, made it after pulling up and backing up, and drove on to our site, backing into the space. Success!

Uh, not so fast. Our assigned site was ridiculously unlevel. Like, several percent grade unlevel. Not only back to front sloped, also side to side sloped! They made a huge campsite by throwing a bunch of gravel on the hillside, but didn’t bother to level anything. We were camping down a hill. To approach level, we would have had to jack up the front about 3 FEET which wasn’t possible. So we hopped into the truck and went to the office to assess our options.

We had arrived on Labor Day, so the park was fairly empty on the Monday, but was fully booked for the upcoming weekend. They offered us a site that is normally closed after Labor Day, but said they could keep it open for another week. It was a big rig concrete pad site. Sold! We raced back up there to review the site and ….. the prior occupant hadn’t vacated yet (it was after 3 pm and check out was 11 am). He was nice, we politely asked him to vacate (but not rush), and he promptly did so. So a bit later, we headed over to the new location.

Did I mention this park was Very Hilly? The concrete pad was level, but the single lane road in front of the pad is not level. Jeff pulled up the motorhome, positioned himself, and began backing into the site. I always spot him because he has a number of blind spots, especially while backing. As he approached the pad, the rear end of the motorhome dipped lower and lower on the slope, until I frantically waved him off! Our Blue Ox tow bar was about to scrape due to the slope. He pulled back up, and we removed the tow bar accessory from the back to give us a few inches. Backed up again – no good. The road was too sloped for the bus to make it.

So Jeff thought he would flip the motorhome around and come at it from the other side. That involved much maneuvering and a long stretch of backing up, but finally he came at it from the other direction. Back, back, back, scraaaaaape — STOP STOP! The hitch scraped. He pulled up and tried yet a different angle. Back, back, back, scraaaaaape STOP STOP! This time the engine pipe scraped the pavement. There was just No Possible Way for us to physically get into this site.

Defeated, we drove the motorhome back to the original site, hopped into the truck and drove back to the office. By now it was after 5 pm and we had spent nearly 3 hours mucking around, trying to find a suitable site. The office stated they had no other options for us, but would give us a full refund. Since it was late and we had nowhere else to go, we asked to park in the original area for the night, and they agreed.

The electrical outlet was way, way at the back of the site, but by pulling out all 50 feet of our electrical cord we were able to at least plug in for the night and save running the generator. Fortunately, we had plenty of water on board and empty holding tanks, so no worries. We scrambled to find alternate last minute camping accommodations and was able to book a KOA near Cleveland.

The next morning, I had to hold the tea kettle while it was heating, because it kept sliding toward the front edge of the stove. Ridiculous slope.

So, this was our first complete campground fail. Their website sure sounded like it was big rig friendly, but it is NOT. The roads are narrow, with turns that are too sharp, and the campsite slope was unworkable for a rig of our length. Maybe they have other sites that are better, but I didn’t see any. It’s just as well — they didn’t have ANY full hook up sites (no sewer connections) and the shower houses were few, far apart, and not that nice. I don’t see how they could adequately service that many campsites with so few bath houses AND no sewer hookups.

On the plus side, it was a beautiful wooded setting. In the one night we were there, we saw a groundhog puttering around and several deer. If we had a boat and a small rig, it probably would have been great.

But, not for us.

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