Berlin, OH to Vidalia, LA
Vidalia, LA - Events of Tuesday, May 29 to Friday, June 1, 2012
On Tuesday morning, we said our good-byes to Lora and J. Michael and pulled out of Scenic Hills RV Park around 9:20 AM and headed south. Lora and J. Michael, who had a fairly short drive back to Pittsburgh, left a bit later than we did.
Our original travel plan before our detour to Pittsburgh and Ohio was to leave Summerdale, AL, then spend about a week in New Orleans. From New Orleans, we planned to drive north to Vidalia, LA where we had reservations for a front-row site along the Mississippi River for three weeks. In order to fit in the detour to Pittsburgh, we eliminated the stop in New Orleans and shortened our stay in Vidalia.
We had to travel four days in a row after leaving Scenic Hills so we could make it to Vidalia in time for our modified reservation. Some of those were longer travel days than we usually like.
Our first day was a drive of about 6 hours. On top of the scheduled 6-hour drive, we had a 20 or 30-minute delay north of Louisville getting past an overturned semi in the median. The accident was probably due to heavy storms that passed through the Louisville area earlier. Fortunately, the storm missed us. We didn't pull into Grandma's RV Camping in Shepherdsville, KY until almost 3:30.
We stopped at Grandma's last year when we visited Louisville, and we stopped there about two weeks prior on our way north. Grandma's has a combination of pull-throughs and back-ins. The roads are paved, and the sites are all gravel. There are small, paved patios that are not well placed, so they aren't very useful. The sites are all gravel - there is no grass. There are full hookups with 30/50-amp electric and free Wi-Fi. The sites are fairly close together, especially the pull-throughs. There is a good bit of traffic noise from the interstate, and there are also trains.
Our second day of travel was a bit shorter at only 4 hours. Not only that, but we gained an hour going into the Central Time Zone. We pulled into our second night's stop at Parkers Crossroads RV Park in Yuma, TN around 1:00 PM CDST.
Parkers Crossroads RV has mostly pull-through sites. The sites are all full-hookup. We're not sure about the sites in other parts of the campground, but all the sites in the area we were in had 30/50-amp electric. There is also free cable and free Wi-Fi. The Wi-Fi seemed a little slower than our Verizon 3G, but it was usable.
Parkers Crossroads also has a nice swimming pool and a fishing lake.
The roads and most of the pads at Parkers Crossroads RV are gravel, but there are 6 extra-long pull-throughs in the back section of the campground where we were that have concrete pads. Some of the gravel sites didn't look too level, so we're glad we got one of the paved sites.
Three of the paved sites have a good bit of space between them, and the other three don't. The sites are angled which helps create some privacy. However, the angle is so severe that the three sites that are close together have their neighbor's driveway passing right through their living space. We had one of the more closely-spaced sites, and there was no room for our picnic table on the door side of our motor home - it was located on the opposite side of our site. That wasn't a problem for us because we rarely eat outside anyway, especially since the weather was very hot.
The other minor problem was the height of our concrete pad. The others were a little high, but the surrounding ground sloped up to meet the level of the concrete. Our concrete sat about 4" above the ground on the door side. Our steps hung over the edge of the concrete making the last step about 10" high. Fortunately, either the campground or a previous long-term guest left a nice wooden platform to ease the transition from the last step to the ground.
The campground itself was quiet, but there was a fair amount of traffic noise from the 4-lane road that runs past the campground. Fortunately, the traffic diminished at night.
The price at Parkers Crossroads RV of $28 a night isn't bad for full hookups, free cable and free Wi-Fi. We recommend requesting one of the longer, paved, pull-through sites especially if you have a big rig.
We hit the road again the next morning for the third leg of our trek to Vidalia, LA. It was another 4-hour drive to the North Abutment Corps of Engineers Campground in Grenada, MS. We usually don't stay at Corps of Engineers campgrounds on travel days because very few of them have pull-through sites, but this one does.
According to the reservation web site, many of the pull-through sites are non-reservable. That meant there was a good chance we could get a pull-through in the middle of the week without making reservations so we could save the reservation fee. Half-price camping of $9 with our America the Beautiful Pass made it even better.
North Abutment COE is a beautiful campground located on Grenada Lake. There are several camping loops, and all the loops have a mixture of back-in and pull-through sites. Many sites are shaded, but some are open. The roads and pads are all paved, and the sites are gravel. The campground is either fairly new or it has recently been redone because all the pads looked like new concrete, and all the sites have 30/50-amp electric. There are also water hookups.
The campground is set up for self-registration, at least that's the way it was when we were there in the middle of the week. We found a nice pull-through site that was out in the open so we would be able to use our rooftop satellite dish for TV and not have to fuss with the tripod. Another plus was the fact the site had a nice view of a small, secondary lake.
North Abutment COE was nice break in our rather hectic travel schedule. It was nice to be back in nature at a quiet Corps of Engineers campground with widely-spaced sites rather than at a private campground close to our neighbors and close to the interstate.
Speaking of being back in nature, we had a persistent visitor while we were at North Abutment. There was a bluebird who kept returning to our mirrors all afternoon, all evening, and the following morning to try to chase away what he must have thought was another bluebird that was invading his territory.
We were on the road again the following morning for the final leg of our journey to Vidalia. It ended up taking us about 5 hours including a stop for fuel. We pulled into Riverview RV Park around 2:00.
Riverview has mostly pull-through sites, full hookups with 30/50-amp electric, and free Wi-Fi. The Wi-Fi was faster most of the time than our Verizon 3G; but the Wi-Fi dumped us offline frequently, especailly in the evening. There is also a swimming pool and hot tub that are open year round. The roads are gravel, and most of the pads are paved. The sites have grass between them, and they are fairly widely spaced.
The campground is located on the earthen levee on the Vidalia, LA (western) side of the Mississippi River directly across from Natchez, MS. The levee is slightly higher than most of the sites, which means you can barely see the far bank of the river from your RV. You have to walk to the top of the levee to watch the riverboats and barges pass by. However, the levee is a little lower at the south end of the campground, so if you have one of the last 6 or 7 sites, you can not only see the river from inside your RV, but you can see it from sitting under your awning outside your RV. We had the 5th site from the end in the front row, so we had a great view.
As we mentioned, Vidalia is located right across the river from Natchez, MS. Established by French colonists in 1716, Natchez is one of the oldest settlements on the lower Mississippi River. It has a rich history as a ceremonial and trade center for Native Americans and as a center of commerce for European colonists and American settlers. Natchez remained largely undamaged during the Civil War, so many historic homes and buildings remain today. Natchez was the main reason we decided to stop in this area, but there are things to see and do on both sides of the river, so stay tuned.