Nashville to Summerdale, AL
Summerdale, AL - Events of Monday, October 21 to Tuesday, October 22, 2013
On Monday, we continued on our way south to Summerdale, AL where we'll spend most of the rest of the fall before heading into Florida for the winter. Summerdale is a favorite location of ours, and we usually spend a month or so there in the fall on our way to Florida and another month in the spring after leaving Florida.
We scheduled an overnight stop in Montgomery, AL. Even though we got a relatively early start, we didn't pull into The Woods RV Park until about 2:30 because at 5½ hours, it was another one of several drives that we've made recently that was longer than we usually like to make. The Woods RV Park has over 100 sites, all of which are full-hookup pull-throughs. All sites also have 30/50-amp electric, and there is free cable and free Wi-Fi. The Wi-Fi was fairly fast, and we had a strong signal. The campground is also in an area where there is a good Verizon 4G signal.
The roads and pads are gravel, there is grass between the sites, and the sites are all nice and big (40' x 80').
The Woods RV is a Passport America campground. Although they take reservations for regular sites, you can't reserve if you want the PA rate. However, we had no problem getting a site on a Monday in the off-season. The discounted rate for our site was around $22.
On Tuesday morning, we were off again on our way to Rainbow Plantation in Summerdale. Rainbow Plantation is a campground that belongs to the Escapees RV Club. Up until this year, the Escapees never took reservations at any of their campgrounds, but that is all changing. Rainbow
Plantation is one of several Escapees campgrounds that are part of the initial, gradual roll-out of their new reservation system. We made our reservations a couple of months ago when they first announced the beginning of the roll-out. They hope to have the reservation system up and running at all their campgrounds by the end of the year.
The Escapees have several different types of parks - some are campgrounds only, some have co-op sites only, and some have a combination of campground and co-op sites. When they're not using them, owners of co-op sites can put their sites into a rental pool if they wish. Those sites will not be subject to reservations and will continue to be first come-first served.
We pulled into Rainbow Plantation around 12:30. The office is still on summer hours and is closed from 11 to 3:00, but since you can now reserve a specific site, we didn't have to wait to see what site we would be assigned and were able to proceed directly to our space. We went down to the office later to register and pay.
The Escapees used to charge extra for metered electric, even for one-night stays. There are new camping fees that now include the cost of electricity at a flat rate. The new camping fee for members at Rainbow Plantation is $20 a night or $123 a week, which is pretty reasonable for a large, 50-amp, full-hookup site. About half the sites have 30-amp electric and cost $1 a night less. There are also off-season specials that are a really good deal, but they're only available on 30-amp sites.
Although there is a dry camp area available for $5 a night, all the regular sites have full hookups. There is also W-Fi available for a fee.
In the past, we had a strong Verizon 4G signal at the campground, but this time 4G seems to fade in and out later in the afternoon and evening. Every time that happened, we got knocked offline, and we frequently had to reboot the modem to get back on. We improved things by going into the setup menu for the modem and changing the automatic setting to manually lock the modem to 4G. Locking the modem onto either 3G or 4G depending what's available in the area in which you are located seems to eliminate the need to have to reboot the modem several times a day. You just have to remember to change the setting back to automatic or to 3G when you move to a different area.
The roads at Rainbow plantation are paved, and the generously-sized sites are mostly grass, except for some bare spots under the live oak trees. We reserved a site that has a tree on the western side to provide shade from the afternoon sun, but it has no tree on the door side so there is nice grass for Freeway.
The campground is usually only sparsely populated when we arrive around this time of year; but this year, it seemed emptier than in the past.
We theorized the low occupancy when we first arrived was probably because the weather has been fairly warm this fall, and a lot of people hadn't yet felt the need to head south. However, the weather up north was definitely cooling off. The lows the last two nights we were in Nashville were down in the mid-30s, and it was predicted to be about the same, or even lower, for the entire following week. There was even sn*w (can't bring ourselves to type out that s-word) in the forecast for some areas in the upper midwest. Our theory about the weather seems to have been borne out because quite a few people started pulling into Rainbow Plantation a day or two after we did. Although the campground was still far from full, within two days of our arrival, there were more RVs all around us.
We plan to relax for the next month or so while we're in Summerdale, so our posts will probably be a little less frequent. However, we're bound to find a few things to do while we're here, so stay tuned.