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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Why We Often Choose To Blacktop Boondock

I’ll get back to the shade repair, but today we hit the road, leaving Ohio enroute to South Carolina. Because we were parked at Marti’s sister’s house for a week with no hook ups other than a 20 amp electric cord, our holding tanks were pretty full and our fresh water tank was just about as dry as Quartzsite, Arizona.

Researching possible dump sites along our route resulted in a big goose egg:  “0”.

That left only other solution, a campground for the night.  Campgrounds in West Virginia where we were traveling through resulted in slim, really slim pickings.

Marti found one on line and reviews of it indicated it was just okay for an overnight.  We decided to go there, the Journey needed to dump bad!

Marti called to see if they had a site to fit us for the night and the lady that answered the phone said they did and then gave us directions to get there.

The campground was waaay out in the sticks and the road to get there was about a lane and a half wide.  It made passing the rare car an interesting evolution.  We encountered a black Porsche speeding around a blind curve.  He screeched to a stop as he saw us.  We slowly inched by, clearing him by mere millimeters.  After I passed by I looked at him in my rear view mirror, he didn’t move as long as I could see him, maybe he was waiting for his heart to start beating again.

The road twisted, turned and went up and down for over six long miles.  I was expecting to see lions and tigers and bears any second.

Finally we came to the entrance of the campground, a really tight, very sharp right hand turn up a hill.  I pulled the Journey as far to the left as I could and then swung right into the driveway.

The Journey shifted into first gear and began to climb the hill and then it stopped going forward.  I had a second’s panic that the transmission had just failed, until I realized we were…


The right side wheels were spinning on wet grass and starting to dig in.


Now we had a real problem.  I couldn’t back down with the toad attached and because it was behind the Journey and not straight, it was going to make disconnecting difficult. 

It was a struggle, but I got it loose, with Marti behind the wheel and jockeying the transmission back and forth to loosen the pressure on the tow bar.  She backed the car out of the way. 

I didn’t want to try and go forward and dig in deeper.  I could just imagine how long it would take to get my emergency road service to respond and tow me out.  That left the only option, to back up.

I told Marti to stay clear as I backed out because I was going to come out hot.  I put the Journey in reverse and backed up hard.

As I got out in the road, I heard a scraping noise, the tow hitch was dragging on the pavement.  Great.  I was able to straighten the Journey out to make another stab at the driveway, this time hoping to be over far enough to stay on the gravel of the drive.  The tow hitch dragged a second time.


I had to back one more time to get far enough over to the left to get fully on the drive.  Of course, the hitch dragged again.

Once I finally got up on the gravel drive, I stopped and checked the hitch for damage.  The hitch had some scraped paint but the link for my safety cable was bent and broken.


Fortunately I carry a collection of spare links, but no hooks, but at least I can make a temporary repair using a couple of links until I can get some hook replacements.

While I was taken the damaged links off, Marti went in to the office to register.  $20 for 50 amp FHU.  Okay, not bad.  The lady in the office had seen the trouble we had coming in to the campground and said she didn’t understand why the lady we had spoken to previously on the phone had told us to come in from the direction we did.  She always gives people directions to come in from the other way because of the tight turn.  Sheesh!

The site was all grass which made me nervous, I didn’t want to sink into the wet ground.  I got out and inspected it and found it was okay but would need to put down my jack pads so my levelers didn’t sink into the ground.  Plus we had to stay as far forward as possible because the site was off level.  It canted down to the right.


After getting situated, I dumped the tanks.  I swear I heard the Journey breath a sigh of relief.  The 50 amp electric plug was interesting.  No cover for the plug and no circuit breaker to turn it on.  Another reason I’m glad to have a surge guard protector.


Tomorrow, when we leave, I’m going to remove the hitch first and reinstall it at a safe place.  And we are going out the other direction!

Lastly, for my buddy, Rick, he was disappointed that I didn’t have any pictures of me accidently stepping on my laptop and cracking the screen.  So the best I can do is show him what my screen looks like.  I can’t wait to get it fixed, hope it isn’t too costly.  :cO


Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.



  1. Never a dull moment when we are rving. Glad everything worked out with minimal damage.
    We boondocking tomorrow for a week, but have been there before, so no problems.

  2. Oh my goodness Paul I would have been having a heart attack. We almost never stop in WVa since all the campgrounds are WAY out in the boonies and WAY up on a mountain. So we stop as close to the border as we can in either direction no matter how far we have to drive or how short and then make a run through WVa the next day. Am holding my breath hoping you get out OK. How's Marti doing? :-)

  3. My, my that was quite the adventure getting to the campground. Too bad there weren't other alternatives.

  4. Ouchie ouchie ouchie~

    Glad you made your way through.... but have your hitch welds inspected at the first opportunity please? where the frame and the supports are welded or bolted on. Those are some pretty huge gouges on the cement.

    Yay for boondocking on blacktop otherwise... wish you could have found a dump station and been safely ensconced in a Walmart with no hassles~
    Karen and Steve
    (Blog) RVing: The USA Is Our Big Backyard

  5. Tight situations are a pain in the tush. They do NOT bring the best out of John, therefore, me!

  6. So I assume no Pilot/Flying J's to dump anywhere nearby..darn!

  7. This seems to be more about good reasons not to stay in an RV park. What a mess.

  8. Always hate that feeling when one realizes they have got themselves into a tight situation & there is likely no way out without some injuries to the coach somewhere. 0n the flipside what a great feeling it always is when those difficult situations are long behind us. We can even have a chuckle at ourselves......well sometimes we can..

  9. Truly never a dull moment when RV'ng.

  10. Ok, no jokes tonight Paul. After that CG entry you deserve a day off from my wisecracks.

  11. What? So, where did I miss it that you stepped on your own laptop??? Not that I'm really surprised if Mr. Murphy is lurking. Did I miss something? YOU actually stepped on your computer? I read all the PDD posts but I must have been dazed on that one.

  12. What a bummer. But things HAVE to look up now, right?!

  13. That campground and the road to it reminds me of the Shenandoah KOA in VA that we stopped at on our way home when we bought the rig. The twists and turns, both getting there and in the campground itself, were horrible!! We have yet to find an easy campground in Virginia or W Virginia. Hope your trip out is uneventful!!!

  14. Whoa! Glad you made it into the park OK but I was sweating each turn you made...ugh!

    Hope you can exit the campground with out incident. That's enough excitement for a while.

  15. Oh My...that is scary stuff. The back roads in PA, WV and the northeast are scary places for a big rig. We had a similar situation in Sumerset, PA and again heading south into WV!!!

    Many of those roads would challenge our Class B Van let alone a big rig!! Just glad the damage was no worse!!!

  16. Glad you made it. Nothing worse than being STUCK.

  17. You're only stuck if you're still there or someone else had to pull you out! Good job getting yourself out. Hope the lighter load helps with a smooth exit :-).

  18. Our one and only experience in a W VA campground was similar getting in. I nearly died of a heart attack. The hairpin turns on a mountain were more than I could handle. I totally feel for the Porche driver :) He might still be sitting there :)

  19. West Virginia, huh? Reading your wonderful and exciting story I thought I could hear a little banjo music in the background. See, your day could always have been a lot worse!

    That is one seriously damaged screen.

  20. That is why RVing is an adventure:) We have spent some time in the hills and it is always exciting!