Although we thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Bella Terra, we were glad to leave in the hope of escaping what now seemed like tornado alley to us! It would be a nice travel day with lots of sunshine, welcome driving weather after the scary, sleepless night before.
A three night stay on pull thru site $50 was next on our agenda. Magnolia Branch Wildlife Reserve Campground located in Atmore, AL, offers 47 full amenity RV sites that include water, electric and sewer and 20 RV sites with water and electric hook ups for $30 per night (see rates here). They also have 15 tent camp sites with water and electric as well as primitive camping, allowing guests to become one with nature.
Although the sites are dirt, they are quite long and wide. Our site was the first one so we didn’t have any neighbors on the drivers side and plenty of space and trees between our site and the next on the passengers side.
Only complaint – gnats!! Lots of them! And due to the trees, we couldn’t pick up a satellite signal.
The next day after our arrival, we drove to David’s Catfish House in Atmore where we ordered fried dill pickles ($6.99) as an appetizer and 2 fish baskets ($6.99) which had small strips of fish and came with one side (Dave’s famous cole slaw for me which was very good, and fries for Rob) and a hushpuppy. Really good! Lots of food so there were plenty of leftovers!
Knowing that check in time our next destination, Gunter Hill COE Park in Montgomery, AL was at 4 p.m., we dragged our feet, not leaving Magnolia Branch until the last minute at noon and stopping at a rest stop to have lunch to kill some time. Initially we thought we would arrive at Gunter Hill around 2ish but an accident caused a major traffic jam on I65.
We also had to fill up on diesel so we stopped at a TA outside of Montgomery. Further delays caused there because the “8” key wasn’t working on the keypad and the pump wouldn’t work so we had to circle around the service building to go to another pump. What was supposed to be a less than two hour drive turned out to be 3 1/2 hours. Phew, what a day!
Gunter Hill COE Park is a year-round campground which offers 142 sites with electric hookups. Sites 1-75 are newly renovated sites and have concrete pads and sewer. If you are an angler, the fishing is excellent but there are also opportunities for boating, hunting and hiking.
Oh, no, the next day the weather forecast for that night wasn’t good – more severe storms with possible hail, heavy rains, severe t-storms and possible tornadoes. Jeesh! Didn’t we just go through this in New Orleans and Foley! Luckily no hail or tornadoes but lots of thunder and lightning and torrential rain. Our site in the woods quickly became beach front.
On Wednesday morning, the weather wasn’t much better – it was gray, damp and humid. Weather festivities weren’t due to start until noon time with severe storm warnings in effect until 10 p.m. They expected two rounds early in the day, then more that night as the cold front moved in. Tornado risk was less than the day before. Oh joy, another glorious day! But thankfully, except for some thunder, lightning and rain, not much happened.
On Thursday, the weather was nice, sunny but cool. Because we decided to extend our stay, on the 9th we moved from site #64 to site #5 which has a view of the water and boat ramp. Nice site with lots of distance between us and our neighbors.
Once again on Wednesday after midnight the forecast called for more severe storms. What again??? This is the 3rd week in a row that we have had the risk of severe storms. Good news, though, there was only a little thunder, some lightning and lots of rain around 11:30 p.m. The storm was all over by 1 a.m. The remainder of our stay at Gunter Hill was relatively quiet.
We departed on April 16th, headed for Northgate RV Park in Athens, AL, a drive of 192 miles. The only good thing to say about this campground is that it is right off the I65. Expensive ($40) for what you get (basically nothing). Payment is by check or cash only.
Continuing our journey, our next one night stop was at a place we had stayed at before when we visited Mammoth Caves (see Part 1, II & III) – Cave Country RV Park in Cave City, KY. We’ve always been impressed with this park – it’s very well maintained, the staff is always very friendly, sites are well spaced and pull throughs are long enough for both the coach and Jeep. After checking in, we were escorted to our site (#8).
It was a two hour drive from Cave Country RV Park to Charlestown State Park which is located in Charleston, IN on the Ohio River. Nice 5100 acre park with well spaced out sites – ours had a decent amount of privacy. We learned while we there that it was once a largely undeveloped portion of the huge (15,000 acre) Indiana Army Ammunition plant. During our stay we had an okay breakfast at the Copper Kettle Restaurant. Guess we weren’t impressed – we didn’t even take pictures!
Afterwards, we drove down to the river where we could see the remains of the Ranney Wells located where the Ammunition plant once stood.
Our next stop would be an overnight stay at Harrah’s Hoosier Casino in Anderson, IN. Nothing interesting to report about our stay there.