As we left Bowman Orchards and the Albany area early on Saturday morning, we felt our journey as full-timers was really beginning. For those of you who have followed us, you know that the past two years have been really intense for us because of all the work we went through getting our house ready for the market, Rob’s mother becoming sickly late last year and her eventual death in May, a very quick sale on our house (28 hours on the MLS!), a short 2 month window to purge 24+ years of stuff, then moving to RI to support Rob’s Dad who sold his house around the same time and his closing and move to Albany, NY. Not to mention projects needed on the Entegra and Rob’s knee surgery on the same day as Dad’s closing. To say we weren’t happy to have all this behind us would be an understatement. In fact, we were downright ecstatic! Finally we were on the road again!
As previously mentioned, we were up at dawn and ready to hit the road by 7:15 a.m. headed for our next destination, Twin Grove Campground in Pine Grove, PA.
As soon as Rob turned the key in the ignition, Gizmo and Sparky, both with looks of terror on their faces (yes, cats do have expressions), headed to their favorite hiding place under the driver’s side sofa. In our Fleetwood, they were able to climb to the back of the sofa and crawl down behind and under, but in the Entegra there was no way for them to get underneath so Rob has temporarily removed one of the bottom front panels. Doesn’t look great but it has worked out well since it makes it easier for us to store bins of our stuff under the sofa and the kitties have all sorts of hiding places. As time goes on we’ll figure out a better solution for them.
The only one who doesn’t flee in panic is the old man Chooey – he has decided that the best seat in the house is my lap. A little tough having 7 pounds of fur laying on your lap for hours at a time. What we will do for our pets!
The photo on the right is of our GPS screen which can be displayed on our front TV monitor. This is helpful to me since I can’t see the GPS monitor from my seat. It shows the miles (289) and approximate arrival time (12:43) without any stops to our destination.
As we drove through New York there were the typical signs for rest stops but in addition there were signs for “Text Stops – It Can Wait”. I very seldom text people so it seems very strange to me that people have to be told not to do this while driving. Guess it’s in the same category as reading the newspaper, shaving or putting on lipstick while driving! But if it keeps one person from being involved in an accident or from injuring someone else then I guess it is a great idea.
After an hour or so we stopped at a rest area and had a quick breakfast in the coach. And then we were off again. Pretty long but uneventful drive with pretty scenery – rolling hills and an occasional farm or orchard. We took I-87 south to I-84 west, then I-81 and practically had the road all to ourselves the entire way. Much easier going than the congested I-95 corridor thru CT, NY and NJ!
When we reached Lebanon, PA, we took exit 100 to Pine Grove and traveled south on Route 443 for about 5 miles to Twin Grove Campground. 443 parallels I-81 so the next morning it was just a few more miles on 443 to pick up I-81 at exit 90.
Interesting to note that Twin Grove used to be a KOA up until last year. I had called them on Friday and had been told that there was no need for a reservation this time of year and that the office was closed until 3 p.m. but we could go to the after hours area to pick out a site and pay for it using one of their envelopes. Sure enough when we arrived around 1:45 p.m. the office was closed and at the after hours area we found map sheets of the available sites – only about 5 or 6 though, so good thing we arrived relatively early. Some of the maps had people’s names and site numbers written on them for those who had reservations, while others just had an available site number so we assumed those were up for grabs. We eventually decided on site A-5 which was a pull through with full hook-ups.
The campground is built on a hillside (not much other choice in this area!) and even though some of the roads are paved they were a little narrow with steep gulleys on the periphery, plus some of the campers had parked their vehicles close to the road making it a little tight while maneuvering some of the turns. Site A-5 was a pull thru at the end of one of the sections and the site on the passenger side was empty so we had plenty of privacy despite the fact that there were no trees or bushes anywhere near the site.
By the time we got settled in, it was after 3:00 p.m. so we walked to the office to check in. The rate we received after a Good Sam discount (they also offer AARP, AAA and military discounts) for a one night stay was $24.65 which wasn’t too bad.
In the warmer months, this campground must be quite popular since it has a lot of amenities and lots to do for the kids. There is an on-site 105 seat restaurant (closed for the season), a store, a full size carousel, an arcade area, a mini golf course, a ferris wheel, an indoor multi-media theater and lots more.
The history of the campground is quite interesting, apparently in the 1930’s it was considered the Hershey Park of its day with many amusement park rides. Today, scattered around the campground are several “airplanes” for the kids to play on which apparently are leftover from the airplane ride.
In regard to services, Verizon 4G was solid, we had a clear view of the Dish Network Eastern Arc (61.5/72), and a full complement of OTA TV. We did not need or try the campgrounds free Wi-Fi or Cable TV. The sites in the “new” section (where we stayed) were mostly level although they are scattered on a hillside so most were built up on fill – we had no issues with our jacks getting us level. The roads and sites in this section are surfaced with crushed stone. 50A AC was strong with good voltage and we had no issues with the other hookups.
Overall, we were quite happy with the campground and liked it better than Timberlane Campground in Clarksboro, NJ (almost double the cost at $48/night) which would have been our first stop had we taken the I-95 route – we would definitely return here again for an overnight stay.
Read our detailed review here.