Summerdale, AL to Berlin, OH
Berlin, OH - Events of Monday, April 27 to Friday, May 1, 2015
We got up on Monday morning, packed up the 5th wheel, pulled out of Rainbow Plantation and began a journey north toward Berlin, OH. We like Berlin, not only because it is located in the heart of Ohio's Amish country, but also because it is located about two hours west of where Lora, J. Michael and Lydia live near Pittsburgh. We are heading north a little earlier than we normally do because we have several family activities scheduled with Lora, J. Michael and Lydia in May.
We broke the journey to Ohio down into 4 legs with drives of a little over 4 hours per leg. Our first overnight stop was at Birmingham South RV Park in Pelham, AL. Birmingham South has gravel roads, and the sites have gravel pads. There are 40 or 50 full-hookup sites, some with 30-amp electric and some with 30/50 amps. The site spacing is fairly generous for a private campground. We got a pull-through that was relatively level; and, although many of the pull-throughs are a little short, we also got one that was long enough that we could leave the 5th wheel hitched up.
Our site also had a good view of the southern sky for our satellite dish, but most of the sites have at least some trees.
There were also some heavily shaded sites, but most of those looked to be occupied by seasonals.
Birmingham South has free Wi-fi that was fairly fast in the morning, but which bogged down a bit in the late afternoon. Fortunately, there is a good Verizon 4G signal so we could use that when the Wi-fi slowed down. There was some traffic noise from the 4-lane highway that is close to the campground. The traffic on that road diminishes at night so you can then hear the somewhat more-distant whine of the interstate. All in all, however, we didn't find the traffic noise to be that bad. The cost for our 50-amp pull-through site was around $37 plus tax.
On Tuesday morning, we headed out on the next leg of our journey with another drive of a little over 4 hours to Cages Bend Corps of Engineers Campground in Gallatin, TN, located northeast of Nashville. The campground is situated on the shores of Old Hickory Lake, which is a dammed up section of the Cumberland River.
As with most Corps of Engineers campgrounds, the sites are widely spaced. Most of the sites are all gravel, but there are a few that are paved. The roads are paved, but they are very narrow with steep drop-offs on one or both sides in some places. There are also a fair number of trees. Fortunately, our satellite dish was just able to clear the trees behind our site to lock onto a signal; but if the trees grow much, we would need to find a different site or use our tripod if we return in the future.
All sites have 30/50-amp electric and water only. Obviously, there is no Wi-fi, but there is a good Verizon 4G signal in the area. However, the signal faded to 3G at times, and that may be more frequent on the sites that are down over the hill near the lake. The cost was $10 per night (half price) with our America the Beautiful Pass.
We scheduled two nights at Cage's Bend because we don't like to travel more than two days in a row if we don't have to. We didn't plan to go anywhere, so we didn't even unhitch. We just chilled out around the campground to take a break from traveling. It was the middle of the week so it was nice and quiet.
We did take a walk around the campground to check out some of the other sites in case we ever want to come back. There are some nice lakefront sites, but unfortunately, we only saw one where we thought we could get satellite reception.
On Thursday morning, we hit the road again to our next overnight stop at Big Bone Lick State Park in the northernmost tip of Kentucky a little south of Cincinnati. We got an earlier start since we would be losing an hour going from Central to Eastern Time. Big Bone Lick State Park has about 30 sites with electric (30 amp) and water hookups only. The water hookups are shared and are located between sites, so some of the hose bibs are pretty far away. Fortunately, we carry 75 feet of drinking water hose, and we needed all of it.
The roads and pads are paved. The sites are all back-ins and are widely spaced, and most of them are short. Fortunately, we managed to find one that was not only long enough for us to leave the rig hitched up, but it was also one where we could get good satellite reception. Unfortunately, our site was sloped to one side so we had two wheels in the air to get close to level. The cost for our site at Big Bone Lick state Park was around $28.
Big Bone Lick State Park gets the "Big Bone" part of its name from the fossils of mammoths and other large animals that were found there. It is believed the animals were attracted to the area by a salt lick deposited around a spring, which is where the "Lick" part of the name comes from. The state park also has a visitor center/museum featuring fossils and displays about some of the animals whose fossils were found there.
After a one night stop at Big Bone Lick, we headed out on the final leg of our journey to Berlin, OH. This leg was almost 5 hours by the time we added a potty break and a stop for fuel. We pulled into Scenic Hills RV Park close to 2 p.m.
Scenic Hills has around 140 full hookup sites, about half of which have 30-amp electric and half of which have 30/50-amp electric. The roads are semi-paved (tar and chips). The sites are on three levels. On the middle level where the office is located, the sites are all gravel. The sites on the other two levels have gravel pads with grass between the sites. About two-thirds of the sites are pull-throughs. We got a back-in site in the back row of the upper level.
The campground has free Wi-fi, but it tends to be slow to very slow. There is a good Verizon 4G signal where our site is located, but our past experience has been the Verizon signal is very poor on the northern end of the lower level because that area in behind a hill.
The nightly rate at Scenic Hills is $35 with various discounts for stays of three nights or longer. We got the monthly rate of $595, which works out to less than $20 a night.
As we said, we headed north a little earlier than we usually do, and the weather was a little cool on the way up and when we first arrived in Ohio. The campground was indicative of how early it was because it was almost empty as you can see from the photo below showing some of our neighboring sites.
Although it was cool when we first arrived, the weather forecast was predicting a warming trend. Not only that, but this is a good time to be in Amish country because the farmers are plowing; the trees are getting new, bright-green leaves; the redbuds and some of the fruit trees are starting to flower; and the tulips and daffodils are blooming. We'll definitely be enjoying the scenery over the next month. Stay tuned.