Bye, bye palm trees! Bye, bye pelicans! Bye, bye beautiful white sand beaches! Sigh, time to move on! On one hand, it feels like we just got here but on the other hand, it feels like we’ve been in Gulf Shores forever!
This part of our journey takes us from Gulf Shores, AL to Demopolis, AL where Foscue Creek (an Army Core of Engineers park) is our destination. After departing Gulf Shores State Park our route was north on SR59 (because we needed to stop at Camping World for a part – an alternate route would have been SR98 via Daphne) then west on I-10.
We did not want to deal with the tunnels under the Mobile River (although the height is adequate, propane on board was questionable), or potential congestion in downtown Mobile, so we avoided both issues by taking exit 27 off I-10 West and following 90 (The Old Spanish Trail) north to the Cochrane-Africatown USA Bridge to cross the river. This was an industrial area but the road was 4 lanes and in good shape – no issue for any size rig.
Shortly after crossing the bridge we picked up I-165 to 1-65 North and drove for about 10 miles taking exit 19 onto 43/13 north. 43 was also 4 lanes, mostly divided and smooth going – just a few traffic lights here and there but generally a good speed could be maintained.
It was along this stretch that we saw our first “Bridge Freezes Before Road Surface” sign and it hit home that we really were heading back north! The terrain along this route transitions from the flats of the beach areas into some pretty good hills. The trees bordering the road are much like what we are used to in New England.
We stopped at a Walmart parking lot in Thomasville to have lunch. Just after the Walmart, 43/13 splits left – at this point it digresses to a 2 lane road with absolutely no shoulder. This part of the drive was not as enjoyable as more focus is needed and the road surface was uneven and rough in several spots. Also there was a fair amount of logging truck traffic. Nevertheless, we made good time with no problems.
Turning left on 80 in Demapolis we followed the signs to the Foscue Creek Park and Campground which is nestled on the shores of Lake Demopolis, the largest lake on the Black River-Tombigbee Waterway. We are on site 7 which is a pull thru.
Overall, the campground which only has 54 sites is quite nice, quiet, very wooded, large paved sites with lots of room between. Each site has water, electric and most have sewer, a firepit/charcoal barbeque, a large metal picnic table and a lantern holder (a tall metal post with two hooks for hanging whatever).
Our particular site is right on the lake and the two sites next to us are both vacant so we have lots of privacy. Our first impression was that the campground was not as well maintained as other COE sites we have visited. Many areas appeared to be unmowed for example, but then we saw several signs for a wildflower restoration project so perhaps that is why. Also some careless prior camper left trash in the firepit, so apparently the staff doesn’t go around checking the sites after they are vacated. But for an Army Corps of Engineering campground at $11/night (with the Senior Pass), who’s complaining!
Once we were settled in, we hopped on our bikes and took a cruise around the park. Besides the campground, there is a day use area with picnic tables, boat ramps and a covered shelter which could be used for a large gathering. This seems to be a popular place for fishing because there were a lot of cars with boat trailers parked near the boat ramp. We saw some nice large fish being cleaned at several campsites.
After getting our daily dose of exercise, we sat outside enjoying a few munchies and adult beverages. At least until the bugs (no-see-ums and mosquitoes) became too obnoxious.
The next day, Wednesday, we went exploring in the town – more on that later.
In terms of facilities, voltage was good at 122v on both legs of the 50A. OTA TV reception was very limited with only one or two of the major networks watchable, even with the gain on our Winegard amp cranked to the max – most folks had portable sat systems that could be put out where there was a clear view of the sky (this campground has fairly heavy tree cover). Sprint 3G was weak but useable, Verizon 3G was better. Water pressure was adequate but somewhat below par. All sites were paved and most appeared level. The sewer pipe had no threaded insert, but did have a spring loaded cap which held the hose elbow in place securely.
There are probably not any bad sites here, but in our opinion sites 49, 50, 51, 52 were the most desirable with a direct waterfront view.
Would we stay here again? Yes! But probably just for a night or two and not long term. However, we wouldn’t go out of our way to stay here unless fishing was high on the priority list.