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Our Stay at Cumpressco Campground – Green Swamp West Tract, Dade City, Florida

Cumpressco Campground - Green Swamp West Tract, Dade City, Florida

Green Swamp Preserve was yet another great place to enjoy a week stay. Like the other great free camping areas in Florida, there are miles of trails to explore. Green Swamp, however, contains two equestrian campgrounds, and features a larger amount of gravel/shell roads than any of our previous stays. This allows for a lot of easy, comfortable bike riding.

Also within biking distance, a mile or less away, is the Withlacoochee River Park. This site features paid camping with hook-ups, tent camping, an observation tower, both paved and unpaved trails, and more.

When we arrived at Cumpressco Campground, we selected the very back of the site, where there was enough of a clearing to put our solar panels in the sun for a decent portion of the day. As we were the only one’s here, we pulled in right next one of the shelters, which made for an awesome spot.

Next to the camping area, only a hundred feet or so from our camper, is a cow pasture. A few times a day, we can sit and watch the cows relaxing and grazing in the sun before moving on.

There is wildlife aplenty on the preserve as well. We have seen large tortoises, huge grasshoppers, heard coyote, and much more. For around an hour one day, we even had a gecko hang out with us at our picnic table – only about a foot away from us.

One word of warning. With all the great outdoors and wildlife, comes mosquitoes. Lots of mosquitoes. If you use bug spray, bring it. If you do not, be ready to build a nice fire to keep them away.

Overall, even with the bugs, we really enjoyed this campground. Over the weekend, we had two other small groups show up to camp, but the rest of the time had the place all to ourselves.

Have you stayed in the Green Swamp Preserve? How was your experience? Tell us in the comments!

Dry Camping at Horseshoe Lake State Park

Our Spot at Horseshoe Lake State Park

Horseshoe Lake

3321 IL-111,
Granite City, IL
62040

618-931-0270
https://www2.illinois.gov/dnr/Parks/Pages/HorseshoeLakeMadison.aspx

While dry camping around St. Louis, we stayed at Horseshoe lake for a chance to dump, refill, cook outdoors, and drive to places in only the van.

Horseshoe lake is located close to St. Louis – about 30 minutes from the city, and also only a five minute drive from the Cahokia Mounds and other interesting sights.

Overall the park was quiet, baring one night where a truck decided to race around the campground loop a few times before leaving again.

Covered trash cans and water spigots are available in regular intervals through the camping area, and a dump station is available at the front of the campground. Bonus points, checkout time is 3 PM – so there is no rush to get out in the morning.

Overall we enjoyed our stay and, if in the area long enough, will be staying again.

Rating by Alan Cook: 4.0 stars

****

Dry Camping at Escapees Rainbow Plantation

Dry Camping at Escapees Rainbow Plantation

Rainbow Plantation

14301 Co Rd 28,
Summerdale, AL
36580

251-988-8132
www.escapees.com/plantation

We have been boondocking on and off for a while now and quite like it. While looking around for boondocking locations we were happy to see that Escapees has a great option for dry camping. After we joined up, we made our way to Escapees Rainbow Plantation in Summerdale, Alabama. The location was perfect for us, as it was only about a 20 minute drive in any direction to reach all of our normal retail and business needs, and only about a 30 minute drive south to play for a day on the beach. Dry camping at any of the 19 Escapees parks costs only $5 a night for up to 21 nights. While dry camping with Escapees you are provided access to their shower facilities and other amenities.

There were only two showers, but they were almost always available for use during our stay. The bathrooms and showers were spacious and always very clean. There was available fresh water from a spigot and utility sink located at the barn near the dry camping section. This was an extremely nice feature as  we were told we were welcome to fill our drinking water jugs. Directly across the road from the dry camping section was their dump site, which made dumping easy the one time we needed to dump during our stay.

Your standard onsite laundry facilities are also available, with the extra perk of a large clothesline setup behind the barn for the use of anyone in the park. We’re always looking for ways to save money, and this feature brought our laundry cost down to a little over $2.

IMAG2643

The dry camping area is located at the rear of the park, next to the RV storage area, and only a small walk from the fenced in dog run. Due to its location, and the fact that we were the only ones in dry camping, things were pretty peaceful for us during our stay. Gypsy especially liked the abundance of toys to play with in the dog run area.

The only downside, was that their internet is provided through Tengo and costs an additional fee. The connection had time periods where it dropped off for a few minutes at a time, and at one point the internet was down for about 48 hours. Tengo at least provided a refund for the down time and, when the internet was working, it did run at a fairly decent speed.

The good news is when the internet is down, the large clubhouse has free WiFi, and also sports a library room, where you can trade out your paperbacks. There is also an outdoor pool, and additional restrooms.

If you’re in the mood for a movie night, the front office also lends DVDs free of charge and has a pretty decent selection.

IMAG2667

Overall, we rather enjoyed our stay at Rainbow Plantation. We are really glad that we found this dry camping option through the Escapees.

Have you stayed here? Tell us what you think in the comments!

Rating by Alan Cook: 4.5 stars

***

Styx River Resort

Our RV at Styx River RV Resort

Styx River Resort

25301 Water World Rd,
Robertsdale, AL
36567

214-306-6868
www.styxriverrvpark.com

Laurie loves winning free stuff, so when she can sign up for a chance to win cool stuff, she does. One of her sign-ups had Ocean Canyon Properties giving us a call and offering us free week stay in one of their resorts. By the sound of it this was going to be a great stay, at a nice resort, on the Styx River, with a hot tub, and lots of amenities. The only catch, was we had to listen to their 90 minute presentation.

We knew their 90 minute presentation was going to be a high pressure sales pitch and, although we knew it probably wouldn’t be a great deal, we were surprised at just how outrageous the “deal” was. But, that’s not the point of this post. Moving on…

Styx River started us off by driving us around in their golf cart, so that we could select one of the open spots they showed us. Out of all the options, there was one lot that was more gravel than mud. We chose that one. Most of the lots are not very level, and there is an inconstancy as to whether you have a cement picnic pad, or more dirt/mud.

Our next disappointment, was the size and condition of the lots. The spaces are cramped, where your slide is going to be nice and close to the next guy’s awning. While we do not need but so much space, this is one of the parks with the smallest spaces we have stayed in. Luckily, our neighbors moved on, leaving empty lots on either side of our chosen spot.

Our RV at Styx River RV Resort

On our ride, we made mention of Laurie wanting to be close to the pool and hot tub. That’s when we found out that the hot tube, still listed on their website and brochures as of 4/23/2015, was condemned due to sanitation reasons several years ago and removed. In the photo below, you can see where it used to be.

Styx River Resort Indoor Pool Area

The rest of the amenities were ok, and most weekend warriors would find them acceptable. The park’s one redeeming factor for us was its great internet. They have lots of access points, and perform per-device load balancing – basically, one Netflix user isn’t going to kill everyone else’s internet.

Heading into our first night there, it was karaoke night. Loud, outdoor karaoke, that went on until about quarter till midnight before dying off; but, the rest of our stay was pretty quiet.

According to staff, the park has lots of add-ons they are working on that will be coming soon. But, we haven’t seen a whole lot of construction going on while we were here.

Most shopping and big box stores and within a 20 minute radius, and access to a highway is within about 5 minutes.

We didn’t mind staying here, you can’t beat the price of free. But, we definitely wouldn’t spring for their package.

Their website doesn’t show you much of their actual park, so here are some shots for your viewing pleasure.

 

Have you stayed here? What did you think?

Rating by Alan Cook: 2.0 stars

**

Suwannee River Rendezvous Resort

Suwannee River Rendezvous

828 N.E. Primrose Rd.,
Mayo, FL
32066

386-294-2510
www.suwanneeriverrendezvous.com

Of the parks we have stayed at so far, this is the first we were kind of sad to leave.

Their pool complex was pretty amazing, and included a hot tub, and heated conversation and swimming pools.

Suwannee River Rendezvous Pool Complex

Suwannee River Rendezvous Pool Complex – Photo Copyright Suwannee River Rendezvous

The only downside we had, was the internet was pretty unreliable. When it went down, however, we were often able to use our camper’s internet set-up to connect to other networks. When this was not possible, we were able to use the internet in their clubhouse, located right on the spring and Suwannee River.

Other park features included a large dog park area, reasonably priced onsite laundry, Grandma’s Kitchen (the fish dinner was great!), spacious shower rooms, a playground and much more.

We really enjoyed our stay, and will be staying there again next time we go through Mayo, Florida.

Rating by Alan Cook: 4.5 stars

****1/2

An RV’s Best Friend – a Spill Proof Dog Water Bowl

Gypsy Drinking from Spill Proof Water Bowl

Water Boy Spill Proff Water Bowl

One thing is for sure, when it comes to living in an RV water is not something you want damaging your floor. When traveling, the movement could cause Gypsy’s water bowl to flip and spill everywhere. Add to that, she started her life with us enjoying flipping her water bowl over, sending a flood across the floor. We knew we needed a solution, and that is when we discovered the joy that is a spill proof water bowl.

My only complaint is the shape and size can make it difficult to clean. Gunk can build up – as with all water dishes – and the handle is not an easy area to clean.

Other than that, this thing is awesome. Gypsy can’t flip it, it doesn’t spill everywhere when traveling, and it holds a decent amount of water. Overall, we have been very happy with our WaterBoy.

Rating by Alan Cook: 4.5 stars

****1/2

J-B Weld KwikWood Review for Camper Wood Repair

JB Weld for Camper Repair

J-B Weld KwikWood Review for Camper Wood Repair

In one of our many inspections, we noticed water damage to the cabinet under our kitchen sink. In looking at options, we came across J-B Weld’s KwikWood Wood Repair Epoxy Putty and decided to try it out. As you may well know the “wood” in most travel trailers is composed of pencil shavings and Elmer’s glue. Even the smallest amount of water can make it bulge and crumble.

We checked out the selection at our local Home Depot where they were neither friendly or helpful (wish we had gone to Ace Hardware for this job). We read that the Kwikwood would do the job. Kwikwood is a two step simple process. The putty is an easy to cut two tones roll. All you do is cut off the desired amount and mix the two colors until uniform. Make sure to use gloves during the whole process.

After mixing the putty you have abut two minutes too use it before it dries. This was not an issue with the small area we needed to work wit. My gloves ended up being too large and made it difficult to apply the putty evenly. We easily fixed the mistakes in the sanding process. This putty does have a bad odor so cracking a window and of course following all safety instructions on the packaging is advised.

After allowing the KwikWood to dry, we gave it a sanding to smooth out (most of) the inconsistencies caused by the too large gloves and clumsy fingers..

After sanding, we use some of our Minwax Golden Oak stain, left over from stage two of our camper desk build, to make the section more closely match the rest of the cabinet.

 

Rating by Laurie Clark: 4.0 stars
****

Best Lightweight RV Mattress: Innerspace Luxury Products RV Mattress Review

Innerspace RV Mattress Review

Innerspace Luxury Products RV Mattress

When we first bought our used 2008 Forest River Wildwood 29TBSS it had a rather suspect looking sticks and bricks style mattress in it. We knew we would need to throw it out. We initially replaced it with our pillow top queen mattress from our sticks and bricks apartment. We really had to squish that mattress to fit into the slightly shorter bedroom in our travel trailer. The mattress was really heavy which made lifting the bed to access storage a grumpy two person job. Trying to put sheets on a mattress that has been shoved into a space half a foot too small was a painful and nearly impossible feat. This was still manageable until winter hit. We wintered in cold Richmond, Va. Anyone who has winter camped knows how awful condensation can be. We found when wrestling the sheets onto the bed that the wall the mattress was jammed up against was dripping with condensation. We could not

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