Posts tagged Shasta
October 9-11, 2015: Prophetstown State Park0
Knowing October is going to be a busy month, we decided to head out for a RVing weekend. We weren’t sure which park we wanted to go to, so Pat had the Indiana State Parks website open to their reservations page, showing all available campsites, periodically refreshing it. Two sites came up that were not previously available, so they were probably reserved and canceled.
Both sites were at Prophetstown State Park in Battle Ground, near West Lafayette. The park is primarily on flat prairie land, which is being restored and landscaped to include native prairie plantings. It has a very different feel than the parks in southern Indiana, which have more woods and forests. One part of the park is fairly open (electric only site numbers beginning at 200), but with some young trees in between sites. Depending upon one’s preferences, that may or may not be suitable, but it is still nicely manicured and maintained, with a very nice comfort station / shower house in that area.
The sites that became available were in the area with campsite numbers starting at 100. Pat selected 108, which was a pull-through with full hook ups, so we had water, sewer, and electric, for a total of $40. What was really nice about all of the sites in this area, was the trees! It was a very different feel than the 200-numbered sites. Both the pull-through and back-in sites all had a very generous number of trees surrounding the roomy sites, creating a nice little enclave of privacy one doesn’t usually find many parks. Commercial RV parks are usually close, and state parks are usually spaced farther apart – and this one did quite well! The back-in sites all had three sides of tree coverage, and obviously having a pull-through, we had just two sides – but it was nice to look out and see just trees instead of other rigs and to have a delineation of our site.
We arrived in the dark Friday night and I wasn’t inclined to do much but go to sleep, but the next day we basically lazed around until we felt like getting up (that feels good!) and had some coffee and breakfast before heading out for a walk. First, we walked around the campground for about a mile. We went back to the campsite to check out the trails for our next walk…I’d say hike but the area is pretty flat, no hills, no stairs or ladders to climb – so it was walking. But the layout of the two trails we wanted to take ensured that it was going to be a long walk. Turns out it was 6 miles!
The weather was typical October, meaning chilly at night and warm during the day – but warmer in the sun and cooler in the shade. In many of the open prairie portions of trail 3, it got a little warm with no shade to be found, but trail 4 offered a good mix of shade.
After trekking 6 miles, we rested a bit and decided to have an early dinner to replenish some of the calories we burned (and to avoid the post-game Purdue traffic), so we headed to the Dog n’ Suds on US 52 in West Lafayette.
We indulged in a little frozen yogurt at Urban Swirl Frozen Yogurt and headed back to the campsite.
The Indiana DNR had a fall campfire event in the other area of the campground and was offering free s’mores so we headed over and found that they were for everyone, not just kids. Woo hoo! Not too many took advantage of it, so there were plenty for the small crowd. I only had one though! We were treated to a beautiful sunset as well – though as good as a camera as the iPhone 6 Plus has, didn’t get the deep red colors correct (should have brought the Sony!).
I fell asleep very early and to my surprise slept very late (for me) – 9:15! That was every bit of 12 hours. Yeah, that felt good. We wanted to have breakfast out and already knew we were going to the Route 66 Diner in West Lafayette. It is 115 miles from the closest part of the actual Route 66 (which would be Normal, Illinois) but as the sister restaurant to the popular local favorite the Triple XXX (featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives) the Route 66 Diner serves up some great food and friendly service. We had a bit of a wait, with the after church crowd, but it was worth it!
Next, on to burn off some of those calories with a bike ride. The park had a paved bike trail where they set up a “Scarecrow Trail” for October. Various civic groups set up scarecrow displays along the trail. See images in my photo gallery below.
After the 7+ mile bike ride, we had a couple hours left until Indiana’s most generous 5PM Sunday check out time. We rested for a bit, then set to the task of putting everything away and heading home. Until next time…
October 9-11, 2015: Prophetstown State Park
September 12-14, 2015: Route 66 RV Trip1
Our latest journey is another trip on Route 66. We decided to take our new Shasta Oasis travel trailer on this trip, rather than our typical road trip by car.
Saturday, September 12, 2015
We initially planned to start on Friday evening after work, but due to a late schedule, needed to wait until morning. We left early to ensure we could meet the schedule we had planned. That was another different aspect of this trip, that we would have some anticipated stopping points; travel less time per day, and spend a little more time in the overnight location.
For the first day, our destination was Springfield, Missouri to the KOA where we stayed for the Birthplace of Route 66 Festival a couple of weeks ago. After we passed St. Louis, we took 66 mainly through Missouri, except in a spot or two.
We stopped by Paris Springs to see Gary Turner’s replica filling station, Gay Parita. Sad to hear that vandals have been stealing signs and memorabilia after his death. His sons have taken down many of the signs to prevent further thefts. Gary’s daughter will be purchasing the property and opening it once again – hopefully, that will deter the vandals when someone is on site!
We went next door to visit Teresa and John – fellow Corvair enthusiasts we met during the Springfield 66 festival last month after conversing on several 66 Facebook groups. Nice visit with new friends!
Once we arrived at the KOA and he’d had some playtime at the KOA’s playground, we took our grandson to the Steak n’ Shake on Route 66 and then to Andy’s Frozen Custard.
We enjoyed this KOA just as we had previously. There is a nearby train tracks and it is pretty close to a crossing, so when the train goes by, you do get the loud whistle sound. Whether that disturbs one is strictly personal preference. I can sleep with it, and fall right back if I wake up…plus I enjoy the sound. Your results may vary, but it’s good to know!
Sunday, September 13, 2015
We moved on the next day to the Tulsa area. We continued taking 66 as much as we could, stopping at as many places as practical given our combined total of 48 feet. Of course, we stopped at Afton Station to visit our friends Laurel and Ron. Jameson enjoyed the station and exploring the Packards and the old motorhome.
Next, we stopped at the Blue Whale in Catoosa, which went well. Luckily, a year later, our grandson has a better understanding that leaving one place doesn’t mean the fun is over and he knows that there is more fun down the road!
Unfortunately, on this day there would be a little less fun than we had planned. First, we ran out of gas in Tulsa. So much for the “Distance to Empty” feature on the truck, which still read 50 miles! Our Shasta came with a year of Coach Net from Forest River, the parent company of Shasta. They did very well, giving us an estimate of an hour but the service provider delivered the gas and we were on our way within 45 minutes. Two thumbs up!
That was great service though the experience was still annoying and we were a bit cranky…and then to make matters worse, we found that our RV park for the night (Cross Trails RV Park) was not at all what we expected.
Here is the description from their website:
“Sapulpa’s newest RV Park located on 7 Scenic acres with all the amentities that you need to feel at home. We are located in the scenic hill country on the Southwest side of the Tulsa metro area. We use the Eaton Powerhouse Pedestal that has 50/30/20 Amp electrical plugs, TV cable jack as well sewer, trash and free WiFi internet access. Our clubhouse offers a Laundry Room, Showers , a Playground area for the kids, a Dog Park, Picnic Area and Storm Shelter.”
Let me first say the good. The manager was very responsive and friendly by telephone (I did not see him in person, though). It was unusual, though, for him to tell us to meet his son by the dumpster along the fence after dark. Not exactly a usual or comfortable “check-in” experience.
The park is very new and to some extent, that is a plus. The concrete pads are very new and in excellent condition, same for the electrical pedestal. And for what it’s worth, it was on Route 66.
Beyond that, I have very little other positive things to say about this RV park. None of the other amenities appeared to be built or ready…no playground or dog park. The only building that was listed as the office and laundry was closed and peeking in the windows, it was still very much under construction. The grounds were similar, with piles of dirt and rocks everywhere. Many of the other trailers were in various ages and physical condition, with some having flat tires (along with their vehicles). All around, it was not a comfortable place to stay and I wanted to leave as soon as we could in the morning. I do hope that someday this park builds or makes available all of the amenities it has advertised….but as of September 2015, it does not.
We did manage to sneak in a very short visit to the very cool playground in Sapulpa where we took our grandson last year. It got dark pretty quickly but he enjoyed it anyway!
Monday, September 14, 2015
Our next day was to be a bit longer day, trying to get to Amarillo, Texas. Unfortunately, in western Oklahoma, the wind picked up considerably and we were getting a lot more sway with the trailer than we felt comfortable. We heard it was worse in Texas, so we decided to stop and stay at the KOA between Clinton and Elk City, Oklahoma. Not too much to do in the area but they had a playground and what more does a 4 year old boy need. This park isn’t bad (the grounds), though there are better KOAs. It doesn’t have much around it to do, except if one drives 12 miles in either direction to Clinton or Elk City (I did cruise Route 66 to Elk City to get some groceries and it was very peaceful!). It’s very good for an overnight stop, but maybe at other times there are amenities and activities? Many KOAs have kids activities, but my feeling is this one is geared more to overnight stops. For that, it is very adequate.
We would then have an easier day getting to Amarillo tomorrow!
Below is a gallery of photos from these three days of the trip. Enjoy, and stayed tuned for the remainder of our journey!
September 12-14, 2015: Route 66 RV Trip
Well, we’re movin’ on up!!1
As indicated in my previous blog post, we are selling our Serro Scotty HiLander travel trailer. We are having growing pains (or at least, the beginning of them), and it’s a good time for us to move on up…to a bigger travel trailer!
We started out with our first travel trailer being a small T@B, which was good for a couple, but yet we actually quickly outgrew that, even without additional family!
Just switching the bed back and forth to a dinette, orchestrating who would get dressed first, leave the trailer, so the other person could make the bed back into a dinette and get dressed…
And not to mention: no bathroom! But we made “do”…
After buying the T@B in September 2009 and camping throughout the fall and winter into 2010, we realized that while we loved camping and the T@B, it was too small to be comfortable (yeah, I know it’s not roughing it compared to tent camping, but in the RVing spectrum, it is!).
After researching options that would suit us (roomy, with a separate bed and dinette, bath/shower, etc.), we settled upon the 2010 Serro Scotty HiLander, which fit all the criteria we wanted and was retro and very unique! It was (and still is) a great little trailer, but there is a certain irony about buying a small camper and within a few weeks discovering that there will be a grandchild coming (our first!). We knew the Scotty would have some room for him or her because of the two dinettes, both converting into beds, so no matter.
Sure enough, a year later, in June 2011, we took our 4-month old grandson on his first camping trip. Being a happy baby, he loved everything…so of course, we didn’t know whether he’d grow to love camping. We hoped he would, and his enthusiasm for our little Scotty grew as we continued to take him camping (or even sleeping in it at home too – come on, RVers…we know you do too…). As he became mobile throughout 2012 and started getting into everything, we decided to hold off camping with him for a while. Obviously, kids don’t always “settle down” for a while, but he was at an in between time where it was hard to keep him from getting into everything, so he was relegated to driveway camping (subsequently referred to as garage camping when we built a garage suited to house the Scotty).
Fast forward to 2015. Much better weather than 2014 – so far, not as much snow or subzero temps afforded us the ability to get the Scotty out a couple of times. Still a bit chilly to take a young child (he’s almost 4 now), so it was just Pat and me. And as we found out last summer, we are expecting grandson number 2 in March! So our thoughts this trip revolved around envisioning us and two little guys in the trailer. Pat and I were feeling a bit crowded ourselves…not to mention adding my grandson (this is going to be the year he finally gets to resume camping with us!). But now, to add a baby to the tiny trailer too? I just couldn’t imagine how we were all going to fit, plus our stuff…and we don’t even bring that much! But kids and babies just necessitate so much stuff of their own.
As an aside, since becoming RVers, we have also thought much more about our future retirement plans, and whether we would spend them fulltiming or part time/snowbirding / extended traveling. Either way, we want the flexibility to see more of the country than we can now and some sort of RV will be a part of that experience. Most of our visits to RV shows involve looking for the rig of the future, and ironically, we just made several visits to the January RV show looking mainly at rigs for that purpose.
On the way home, I had the idea of updating to a larger travel trailer now…not as large as the one we’d think about in the future, but large enough to comfortably accommodate us, the grandsons, and even my daughter if she’d like to join us. Too bad, we hadn’t looked at too many in that size range at the shows. I didn’t say anything to Pat about it, and then he suddenly posed the very question to me! I laughed and told him I was thinking the same thing!
As we talked about it, we knew that because we’re debt free, and in a fairly frugal mode, we’d not spend alot of money or incur too much debt. Debt makes me really bristle!! So we needed something fairly inexpensive and even more so, that we would sell our Serro Scotty HiLander. We absolutely adore that trailer (and I’m sure many RVers know this feeling of attachment well). We had it customized to suit our imagination, and even built a garage with dimensions that allowed it to fit inside, protected from the elements. But to justify the upsize, I need to sell it to reduce the new loan, and to minimize maintenance, insurance, etc. Just can’t see having two trailers. So here’s hoping that there’s a buyer out there to LOVE our Scotty as much as we do.
So on to the new trailer. We really struggled with the idea of a generic box, but when it comes down to it, it’s going to be the memories and experiences – the family time together – that are most important. We still love the cool factor of our Scotty and always will, but we need to move up and be comfortable. We looked at many brands, dealers, styles, etc. and found a layout that we liked and will work for us.
As to brand, the Shasta is an iconic brand, though the trailer itself is modern in style and design, as well as standard RV materials. We settled upon the Shasta Oasis 25BH model, which we ordered from Mt. Comfort RV – great working with them and negotiating on a good price.
Shasta 25BH Floorplan
This is the same interior fabric, countertop and floor materials as we selected. The only differences from this model and the one we ordered, are that we added the following options: a full top bunk, instead of the single; oven, exterior shower, and aluminum wheels.
Our new Shasta Oasis should arrive in late March or early April, so for now we’re not camping (yeah, we do camp in winter and enjoy it!). And the irony is that the weather this winter isn’t as bad as last year’s Polar Vortex and constant snow, which scarcely enabled us to camp.
Change can be tough in some ways, but great in others. We’re sad to see the Scotty go, but know its new owners will enjoy her very much. We’ll enjoy fun times with our grandsons in the Shasta Oasis…and it’s always best to enjoy life, no matter what!
Pat & Jennifer