Romance, WV to Chattanooga, TN
Hixson, TN - Events of Monday, October 8 to Wednesday, October 10, 2012
We left Romance, WV on Monday morning. Our next stop was Lakeview RV Park in Bristol, TN. Not only was it a longer drive than we usually like to make at about 4½ hours, but we drove through quite a bit of rain. At least the motor home exhaust was a lot more quiet than it was on our last drive. We pulled into Lakeview RV about 1:45 PM.
Lakeview RV Park has gravel roads that are nice and wide. The sites are gravel, and the gravel covers not only the pad, but also the patio area. There is a small strip of grass between the sites. The site spacing is a little close; but most of the sites are at an angle, which makes them feel a little bigger. Fortunately, we had an end site, which gave us more grass and more room on our door side.
The campground has a little over 100 sites, but only 4 of them are pull-throughs. The sites are terraced on the sloped banks of the South Holston River. Our site wasn't very level side to side or front to back, and the back of the site was built on fill and was pretty soft after all the rain. We had to use jack pads to keep the jacks from sinking into the soft dirt under the gravel.
Lakeview has full hookups with free Wi-Fi and cable. The Wi-Fi was reliable and fairly fast. Some sites have 30-amp electric, and some have 30/50 amps. Because the weather was so cool, we paid the extra $2.75 for 50 amps in case we needed to run the heat pump or the electric heater.
There is a little daytime road noise from the 4-lane road that passes the campground, and we heard a few distant trains. Overall, however, the campground was fairly quiet during the week; but we could see how it could be a little zooy on weekends, especially on race weekends since the campground is only a few miles from Bristol Motor Speedway.
The regular nightly rates at Lakeview are $35 to $39 depending on where the site is located (waterfront sites are the highest). The rates are considerably higher the week of the spring and fall NASCAR races. Lakeview is a Passport America campground that offers half-price camping for up to 5 nights except during race weeks. Our cost per night was a little under $23 after adding the extra $2.75 per night for 50-amp electric and tax. We thought the regular price seemed a little high, but it's a very nice campground for under $23.
Speaking of the speedway, we booked two nights at Lakeview with plans to tour Bristol Motor Speedway on Tuesday. Even though Tuesday was supposed to be partly cloudy, Tuesday morning was cold and dreary. Therefore, after the long drive in the rain on Monday and with the cool, dreary morning on Tuesday, we decided to skip the sightseeing. Instead, we relaxed a little in the morning and then made a quick Walmart run to restock the fridge and pantry. In the late afternoon, we drove about 20 minutes south of the campground to Johnson City to go to Texas Roadhouse lupper. Thankfully, the sun finally started to peek out from behind the clouds shortly before we left for the restaurant.
As we have said many times before, we love the earlybird specials that most Texas Roadhouse Restaurants offer for $7.99 before 6:00 PM. The specials usually include a 6 oz sirloin, which is what we have; and this time was no exception. Margery had a Caesar salad and a baked potato for her sides, and Paul had a house salad with blue cheese dressing and mashed potatoes. As usual, everything was delish.
On Wednesday morning, we started off on the next leg of our journey. It was a drive of over 4½ hours which included a stop for fuel and a second stop at a Flying J to top off our LP tank.
We stayed north of Chattanooga in Hixson, TN at Chester Frost Park. Chester Frost is a county park that has over 200 campsites. About 40 or 50 of the sites have no hookups and are for tents only. The rest are RV sites with water and 30/50-amp electric.
Chester Frost Park is built on a small peninsula that juts out into Chickamauga Lake, which was created when a dam was completed across the Tennessee River just north of the city of Chattanooga in 1940 by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). Regular RV sites are $23.50 for non-residents. Waterfront sites, most of which seem to be more widely spaced, are $25.
The roads and RV pads at Chester Frost Park are paved, and the patios are gravel. There is a little grass between most of the sites. Many of sites are fairly close together.
Chester Frost Park does not accept reservations. We arrived on Wednesday figuring we would have no problem getting a site. However, this is fall break in the South (we can't figure out why kids who have only been in school a month or so need a break already), so the campground was fairly full when we arrived. We had only 18 out of almost 200 RV sites to choose from. Obviously, there weren't any waterfront sites left, but we did manage to find a site where our motor home would fit (some of the sites are rather short). Unfortunately, many sites, ours included, are not very level.
The park has free Wi-Fi throughout. At times it was fairly fast; but at other times, pages would be slow to load and would hang up for no apparent reason, even at off-peak times. We used the campground when it was working, and we used our Verizon Broadband when the Wi-Fi was flakey. Verizon service is 4G in the Chattanooga area.
We got settled in and hung around the rest of the day. We were treated to a nice sunset over the lake that evening.
It looked to us every site was taken by the weekend, and with the campground being so full, it was a bit zooy during the day with kids running around, dogs barking, lots of vehicles coming and going, loud music and plenty of campfires billowing acrid smoke into your windows. The good news is, it quiets down fairly early in the evening around 9:30 or 10:00 PM. The bad news is, the reason it quiets down so early at night is many of the guys go fishing in the morning, and they leave around 5:30 or 6:00 AM.
There are many possibilities of things to see in the Chattanooga area. If the weather cooperates, we should have some interesting things to report on. Stay tuned.