Tuscumbia, AL to Summedale, AL
Summerdale, AL - Events of Wednesday, Oct. 26 to Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011
As we said in our last post, the weather forecast was calling for another cooling trend, so we continued heading south on Wednesday morning. We were making our way to the Escapees Rainbow Plantation in Summerdale, AL near Mobile. Our first day's drive was relatively long for us at almost 5 hours. We got a fairly early start and pulled into Montgomery South RV Park at about 1:30. It's a good thing we got there when we did because we had not made reservations, and we got the last site they had available.
We have stayed at Montgomery South a couple of times before because it is a convenient place to stop on our way to or from Summerdale, and we didn't expect them to be full at this time of year. However, there is a construction project going on in Montgomery, and the campground has a bunch of construction workers staying there. The campground only has 23 sites, and it looks like the construction company bought about a dozen unmarked, surplus, FEMA trailers and set them up at the campground for some of their workers.
The sites and roads at Montgomery South are gravel, and the spacing is not bad for a private campground. There is grass between the sites.
Montgomery South is a Passport America campground with half-price camping. They apparently have only some of their sites designated as Passport America sites because, unfortunately, we didn't get the discount this time since they were full; but we did get the Good Sam discount.
As we said, Montgomery South is a convenient place to stop for one or two nights. They are located near the interstate exit, but that means there is also a lot of traffic noise. There are also quite a few trains.
Montgomery South has full hookups with 30/50-amp electric, cable and free Wi-Fi. We were located near the office, so the Wi-Fi signal was strong, although we got knocked off several times later in the evening. The connection was also pretty fast.
You may have noticed we have added comments to this and another recent post about the strength and speed of the campground Wi-Fi connection. That's because now we sometimes use the campground Wi-Fi as long as the signal is strong and the connection is reasonably fast in order to save the usage of our Verizon Broadband. We had usage limits when we were on satellite internet, too; but the limits worked a little differently. On satellite, the data usage was also linked to time. The data limit gradually recovered during idle periods, so we could download a fair amount of data as long as we didn't do it over too short a period of time. With Verizon, the limit is strictly 5GB of data per month, period. Therefore, we will try to save on that limit when possible by using campground Wi-Fi. The good news is even if we do exceed our limit by quite a bit, the cost will still be lower or the same as satellite.
We also found out about a nice feature that our Cradlepoint wireless router has we didn't know about. It's called Wi-Fi as WAN (wide area network). This feature lets the router receive an unsecured, campground Wi-Fi signal, encrypt it, and rebroadcast it as a secure connection to our computers. When using this feature, we connect to our own wireless router the same way we do when using our Verizon Broadband (except the Verizon modem is disabled) instead of connecting directly to the campground Wi-Fi.
The next morning, we had about a three-hour drive to Summerdale, AL, which is one of our favorite locations. It is close to Mobile to the west and to Pensacola, FL to the east, so there are lots of things to do, lots of good seafood, and lots of convenient shopping.
As we said, Rainbow Plantation is an Escapees campground. It has paved roads and grassy sites. There are live oak trees between most of the sites that provide welcome shade from the hot Alabama sun, but most of the trees aren't big enough yet to block our satellite dish, which we still use for TV. However, the shade means the grass on some of the sites is a little sparse. The good news is, the soil is sandy so it doesn't get muddy when it rains and water drains away quickly. This time, we got a site with grass that was fairly plentiful so we didn't need to put out our patio mat. As you can see from the next photo, we have a nice tree on our driver's side, which faces west, to shade us from the afternoon sun.
The next photo shows a view down the road.
Except for the dry-camp area (since Escapees campgrounds don't take reservations, they all have a dry-camp area for overflow), all the sites at Rainbow Plantation have full hookups. The sites on the eastern end have 30-amp electric, and the ones on the western end have 30/50 amps. There is Wi-Fi available; but since there is a fee, we will be using our Verizon Broadband. Although this is a 4G area, our connection is a little slower than we experienced in Nashville, but it's still faster than our satellite internet.
Rainbow Plantation is one of our favorite campgrounds, and we usually stay here for at least several weeks on our way to and from Florida each fall and spring. The sites are widely spaced, and the campground is nice and quiet. The rates at Escapees campgrounds are very reasonable to begin with; and on top of that, Rainbow Plantation also has special rates from the end of March to the end of December where you pay for 15 days and get 5 additional days free. That brings down the nightly cost to under $12 a night plus electric (usually around $2 a day). Not bad for full hookups and generously-sized sites with grass and trees.
In addition to the regular campground, Rainbow Plantation has deeded lots, seasonal sites and co-op sites. If Summerdale had winter temperatures a little warmer, we would definitely consider a seasonal site or putting our name on the waiting list for a co-op site. But since we even complain about occasional cold days we experience farther south in Florida, we're afraid Summerdale would not be warm enough for us in winter.
Since we are planning to stay at Rainbow Plantation at least through Thanksgiving, Paul has a project or two in mind to get done during our stay. We'll report on those projects as they unfold in the weeks to come. In the meantime, we plan to have a couple of cheat days from our diet to have some fried shrimp at the Shrimp Basket in Foley and a panini or two at Panini Pete's in Fairhope. We also hope to squeeze a little sightseeing in between our projects and our relaxation, so stay tuned.