Sep 252012

After two weeks at the Indian Lakes Thousand Trails preserve near Batesville, Indiana, it was time for some new scenery. We really liked the campground and the area around it, but management’s apparent lack of concern about the rowdy pipeline crowd that stays there long term spoils a lot of the experience. I’m not sure who’s in charge, or if it’s a case of the inmates running the asylum.

When we left Sunday for a day of sightseeing, nobody was in the guard shack at the gate, but since we knew the code for the entry gate changes on Sunday, Greg stopped at the store to ask for the new code. He was told the guard would be changing it that afternoon, and that when we returned, somebody would be at the guard shack to give us the new code card. Greg was assured that the guard would be on duty from 4 until 11 PM.

So, of course, when we returned that evening the guard shack was empty and we couldn’t get in. Greg used the radio provided to call the guard if he was out on his rounds, but after several tries, got no response. Finally Greg gave up and unhooked a rope blocking access over a grassy area and we drove in. Greg knew about the rope because the same thing happened to them when they stayed there last year!

We pulled out yesterday morning at 10:30, stopped for fuel, then got onto Interstate 74 and took it into Ohio. We took the I-275 loop around the north side of Cincinnati, got onto Interstate 71 and followed it about 80 miles northeast to Columbus, then took Interstate 70 east across the rest of the state.

Except for a few construction zones, it was an easy traveling day. We ran into another construction zone and a delay as we crossed the Ohio River into West Virginia, but by 4 PM we were parked at the Cabela’s in Triadelphia, a couple of miles east of Wheeling. Cabela’s is another RV friendly business, with separate RV parking areas at most of their stores nationwide. We had covered 270 miles since we left the Thousand Trails campground. I could get used to this relaxed lifestyle! 

I want to thank everybody who bought copies of my new book, Overlooked Arizona, after I reported that it is now available in the Amazon Kindle bookstore. It went live early yesterday morning, and by the end of the day had already risen to #4 in the Kindle Store in the Tourist Destinations & Museums, and #6 in Amazon’s general travel books for the western United States.

Overlooked Arizona cover web

Today we’ll drive another 260 miles or so to the Hershey Thousand Trails preserve, which is one of our favorites in the system. Unfortunately, much of the trip will be across the Pennsylvania Turnpike, which has the distinction of being both one of the most expensive toll roads we’ve ever traveled, and one of the worst roads in the nation. They must pay the folks working at the tollbooths exorbitant salaries and lavish them with benefits, because they darned sure don’t spend much on repair and maintenance!

Thought For The Day – NASA’s robot spaceship landed on Mars and found no evidence of booze, junk food, or internet porn. This proves once and for all that men are not from Mars, no matter what that dumb book said.

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Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  14 Responses to “I Could Get Used To This”

  1. Nick, instead of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, you could always take US-30! 😉

  2. Not from what I’ve heard about 30, Rick. Supposed to be a lot of steep grades and twists and turns.

  3. Nick, Read all three Big Lake books last weekend. That is a first for me. You may think I don’t have enough to do, but that is not the case, I just couldn’t put them down! The greatest complement I can give you is that my mind never wandered away from your words, even after hours of reading. Thanks for a wonderful series. Will buy Overlooked Arizona and plan a trip!

  4. The same thing happened to us last winter at the Orlando Thousand Trails Preserve. We were coming in late about 9:45 after our work shift and approached the empty guard gate. We entered the gate code numerous times with no results and then attempted the old code and then the code for the following week. Nothing. We used the call button to call the office, no answer. Then we used the radio with no results and then called the numerous phone numbers we had for the management of this preserve. Mind you, this was at the height of the season and the campground was near capacity. We now had a line of cars behind us at least eight deep. My husband then got out of the car and checked out the gate and discovered it was held on with two toggle nuts. He waved to the security camera as he dismantled the gate and our problem was solved!!

  5. you are so right about US30 in PA. We did not know better when we first started full timing and ended up taking it. To say the hills are steep and very windy is really an understatement. It is not a road for a motor home. There were no pull outs to let traffic by either and when we did find a place we had several one finger waves as they went by. The toll roads are expensive but in this case well worth it.

  6. Purchased your eBook “Overlooked Arizona” yesterday as we are preparing to leave Saturday for shows in Yuma and Tucson. Even though we live in NM and travel to AZ frequently, after reading only the first few pages I have found interesting places that we didn’t know about. I will definitely be spending time this week reading the rest of the book and make sure that on this trip we visit a few of the spots you wrote about that we have overlooked. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us!

  7. Why not drive an extra 50 miles and skip the unmaintained toll road. Here’s an alternative route:

  8. Whoops. I posted the link that included the toll road. Here’s the one that skips the toll road:

  9. Wow I love US 30 across PA and have traveled it in everything from a 6 cyl F150 pilling a 26 foot Fifth wheel. A small Class C , 2 class B’s a Class A on a Workhorse chassis and My current set up of a F150 and A Kingssport trailer that is about 30 feet . Never noticed any real problems yes it was a little slow in places abd you need good brakes but nothing on US 309 to fret about. If you think 30 is bad you sure don’t want to take 322 from Harrisburg to state collage.

  10. J.C. Webber III says:
    September 25, 2012 at 12:36 pm
    Why not drive an extra 50 miles and skip the unmaintained toll road. Here’s an alternative route:

    Mr Webber You are taking the turnpike for much of that route.. Where it shows I70 and I76 running together you are on the PA turnpike..

  11. Actually, they have done a lot of work on it and the turnpike was good to excellent most of the way. I was pleasantly surprised.

  12. Nick I don’t know if you’re familar with “Stink” bugs. They are like a flying roach. They become a problem for RVers (and others) when the temps cool. They try to get inside to keep warm. They get in AC heating ducts, trhrough slide seals and every crack and crevis. The first time we encountered them was at Hershey in October. We’ve fought them for 4 years and now concede the battle to them and avoid problem areas in the fall. I hope you get in and out before they get a hankering to come inside. Bob, currently at ODW Timothy Lake. Heading home to Florida soon.

  13. Bob,
    The ranger said they are here when we checked in. We’ve experienced them before, and they are nasty little critters.

  14. In 1953 my parents took us on a vacation back east to PA. The fabled Pennsylvania Turnpike was the “Cadillac” of highways. And I loved eating at Howard Johnson’s.
    Too bad the state has let the highway deteriorate.

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