Tompkins COE Campground – PENNSYLVANIA (Tioga)

CAMPGROUND REVIEW

Campground/RV Park:  Tompkins Corps of Engineer Campground –
PENNSYLVANIA
Location:  Lawrenceville, PA
Date(s) Stayed: 5/31/15 – 6/13/15
Length of Stay:
 2 days (had a reservation of 2 weeks)
Site #: #65…then #19 both Back-in
Cost per night (with
taxes): $17/night
Discount Used: 50% off with National Park Access Pass
(Disabled)
Connections:  Electric
& Water; separate Dump Station
Stars: 1.5

We arrived at Tompkins COE
Campground entrance building at 5:30pm; after a tiring drive through the
mountains of Pennsylvania.  The woman
Camp Host handling our check-in was sweet and gave us our paperwork from our
reservation, vehicle passes and pertinent campground info.  Our reservation was for site #65 in which we
made months prior on Reserve America. 
When we found our site, we were stunned and disappointed.  On the Reserve America site, it listed #65 to
be 55’ long.  It was 37’ (we measured) so
we had to go back to the entry building office to get reassigned a site.  Things quickly went downhill from there.  Because we were looking for a two-week stay,
the Camp Host(s) said because every weekend, every site was taken, that we were
out of luck.  We sternly told them that
we made this reservation two-months prior and that we should be made an
exception based on the inaccuracy of the Reserve America site listing (which
the info is given by COE) and to find us a site.  They clearly didn’t know what to do to find
an answer for us; all they offered was a full refund.  They didn’t even think of offering us a spot
in the dry-camping section for an overnight so we didn’t have to go back on the
road fatigued.  This was not an option
for us because of the area, not many campgrounds as well as finding something
that will accommodate our size.  We asked
that they find us ‘something’.  They
called another COE (or so they said) campground but they were already to
capacity.  We then said, since they can’t
find us ‘one’ campsite for a two-week stay, let’s look into breaking the time
period up.  The woman wasn’t too
enthusiastic nor knew the RA site and how to manipulate it to accommodate our
reservation promise.  Finally, she found
three sites for us to go check out.  Out
of the three, only one would work, so we unhooked and as soon as we were
getting into the truck to go tell them, their maintenance person drove up to
tell us ‘all of a sudden, a reservation was made on RA for that site’.  By this time, we were frustrated and
angry.  I then, went up to pretty much
tell them how horribly we were treated. 
Finally, they found a site #19 for M-F and then we move to the SITE NEXT
TO US for S & S and then back again to #19 for the following M-F and we
were on our own to find somewhere else to stay the following weekend.   Now,
here’s the kicker.  It took ALL of our
blocks we brought to level our rig; it was so bad that on one side, all three
tires of our rig were off the ground. 
Our rig felt incredible unstable.   The site was not long enough for us; nor our
ability to use our back deck when extended. 
We had to unload our motorcycle(s) on the narrow road prior.   In
addition to that headache, we had absolutely NO connectivity to the internet OR
phone service.  The campground is located
in the middle of a ‘bowl’ between mountains. 
This also was not an option for us as we needed connectivity because we
had a son who was deployed overseas as well as family in the area with health
issues.  We had to find somewhere else to
go. 

As a whole, this campground needs
SERIOUS updating from the get-go.  The
COE needs to re-measure every site and post more accurate site lengths on the
Reserve America website.  Do not trust RA
site measurements and good luck finding someone to get that accurate
information.  They need to prune and thin
some of the trees.  The campground roads
were very narrow; only one-lane wide at best. 
If you were trying to park your RV and needed time, no one could pass or
get around you.  Most sites had seriously
low overhanging branches that would damage even the smallest of RV’s or
campers.  Most sites were not level;
understandably because it’s in the mountainous region but still, could have a
little ‘engineering’ done to make the sites more level.  Some sites that were blacktop surface had
divots and holes from campers who’s jacks may have sunk in; needs to be filled
in.  Each site was provided a picnic
table and firepit; both were in fair condition. 
The picnic table required us to put a blanket on the seat as to not get
splinters or paint chips.  The bath
houses were clean however, needed serious updating with new lighting and
moisture control.  The laundry facilities
were there, however, we weren’t there long enough to evaluate them.  Quiet time is 10am-6pm.  No more than two vehicles and six people per
site.  Pets are welcome but must be on a
leash. 

Part of the campground (newer
sites – not where we were located) overlooked the COE Lake.  Those sites were nice with a view and a
little more in the open; not so overgrown with trees like the rest of the
campground.  Those site were either
packed sandy gravel or black top. 
Leveling blocks still necessary but not as bad as the other
campsites. 

If you’re looking for a ‘campy’,
heavy foliage and trees, tight maneuver sites with very little expectation,
this campground is for you.  If you care
about your rig, its stability, its outside fiberglass and decals, then this is
not the place for you. 




We do not plan on staying at Tompkins COE Campground again until they make
updates and improvements.

Artillery Ridge Campground – Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Location: 610 Taneytown Road, Gettysburg, PA 17325
Phone: 717-334-1288
Email: ArtilleryRidge@comcast.net
Date(s) Stayed: 5/26/15 – 5/31/15
Length of Stay: 5 days
Site #: #404 pull-through
Cost per night (with taxes): $38/night Mon-Thurs and $50/night Fri-Sun
Discount Used: Passport America
Connections:  FHU
Stars: 3.5
Artillery Ridge Campground is great for those wanting to visit Gettysburg.
It is a family campground as well as for equine campers.  We chose Artillery Ridge based on other campground reviews found on the internet.
We made our reservations two months prior; the person on the phone was
very helpful in finding us a site that would accommodate our site and our wishes.  We found the check-in process was easy and quick; they were waiting for our arrival and had our paperwork ready.
The campground is located on the edge of the battlefield so you get the full feel of being there.  The center of Gettysburg is about 10 minute drive from the campground and only about 3-5 minute drive to the Gettysburg National Historic Site Visitor Center.
The roads into the campground are packed gravel; some have ruts from wear and weather.  Our campsite was in the back behind the horse stalls in the equine section; during the week it was rather quiet and on the weekend, it picked up with horse trailers.
We chose that are of the campground because of length of sites.  We enjoyed the outdoors; lots of birds, squirrels, bunnies, chipmunks and close proximity to the horse corral.  It was very warm during the day and sometimes, depending on the direction of the breeze, we can get a whif of horse
manure but it wasn’t too bad.  We are not horse experts but in our opinion, the horse corral could have used a little care, leveling and grass.  It looked like
a big muddy (when wet) dirt mess.   Most nights we were able to sit outside to
enjoy.  The campground had many mature trees throughout; none of which impeded our site or parking.
Our site itself was a packed gravel as well; not too difficult to level.
There were grassy patches throughout.  Each site was provided a picnic table and firepit.  Spacing between sites was average; about 20’ between sites.
Two sites over from ours was a permanent resident that a collector of junk outside (2 grills, 2 lawn mowers, etc.) in which he did not keep up.  In the area of our site stood two ‘tiny house’ residences.
The bath house was average.  They were clean; showers a little outdated
and small.  We did not see or use the laundry facilities so we can’t give an review on those.  The campground was family friendly; has a playground and pool near the entrance.
We did not use either so we can’t give an assessment of those.  There is a good sized camp store at the entrance in the same building as check-in.
It everything from basic staples, fishing supplies, pool towels and swim
noodles, and a great array of Gettysburg souveniers.
Special note: the entrance/exit is on a busy road.  When leaving the
campground, be vigilant as there is a blind curve in which motorists don’t
realize the campground entrance.   When leaving with your camper/coach, we recommend driving to the left of the campground sign before entering the road; you get a better view of the blind curve of those approaching and can enter the road more safely.

More about Gettysburg that we’ve blogged…

Fort Belvoir Travel Camp – VIRGINIA (military) (Alexandria/Washington DC)

RV PARK REVIEW

Campground/RV Park:  Fort Belvoir Travel Camp – Virginia (military)

Location:  Outdoor Recreation (ODR), Bldg 778, 10155 Swift Road, Fort Belvoir, VA  22060  
Date(s) Stayed: 5/21/15 – 5/26/15
Length of Stay:  5 days
Site #: 45 back-in
Cost per night (with taxes): $50/night
Discount Used: none
Connections:  FHU
Stars: 3.5


Fort Belvoir
Travel Camp was beautiful to look at however, it had its issues which earned it
3.5 stars.  To get to the Travel Camp/RV Park, we entered through the
Tulley Gate off of Route 1 (attention big rigs, its tight getting out of the
gate because of posts).  The travel camp is located ‘on post’ therefore,
we had to go through standard  military security and ID checks to enter.
 Once on post, directions given by the Travel Camp office were spot on.
 

The good:
The area was
absolutely beautiful.  The park overlooked the Potomac River; the view and
feel is spectacular!  Lots of wildlife, two Osprey nests, long pier for
fishing and nice walking trails on the park and in the woods.  The park
seemingly has been updated with new buildings, laundry, bathrooms and walkways.
 The laundry has three washers/dryers each ($1.00 each) with nice folding
table and chairs to sit and wait.  The bathrooms were immaculate; tile
floors and showers, stone or faux stone counters, etc.   The convenience
and distance to DC is great; although outside the post on Route 1 is rundown
but a jaunt down to Olde Town Alexandria is nice.  The post, being the
supposed ‘primo’ of military posts/bases because of its proximity to Washington
D.C. boasts it’s amenities.  Everything under the sun is on this post;
commissary, PX, fueling stations, movie theater, gyms, etc.

The
not-so-good:
The whole
campground is built on a river bank and very hilly which means the sites are
not level.  Be prepared to work with your leveling systems.  Bring
lots of leveling blocks.  This was ‘big talk’ amongst fellow RV’ers.
 Second, the cost.  C’mon, its a military post which is supposed to
serve ALL paygrades of the military, not just Senior ranks.  Even Retirees
will go elsewhere because most are on fixed incomes.  This is ridiculously
expensive for a) being a military post and b) the fact of the instability of
sites (lack of being level).   Third, get some WiFi towers on post.
 Ridiculous to be on such a large post and near major metro area, that
you’d expect better WiFi signals.  Finally, none of the gas stations on
post have diesel.  99% of 5th wheel RV’ers are pulling with diesel
engines.  We had to waste $8 in diesel just to go get it filled prior to
leaving.


So all of that
said, while it is in a beautiful area with great views and updated facilities,
its lacking in very important issues.  This Travel Camp we would have
expected to be at least a 4-5 stars but because of the not-so-goods dropped it
to being a mediocre RV park/Campground/Travel Camp.

Ivy Acres Lodge & RV Park – SOUTH CAROLINA (Piedmont)

CAMPGROUND REVIEW

Campground/RV Park:  Ivy Acres Lodge & RV Park – SOUTH CAROLINA
Location:  201 Ivy Acres Drive, Piedmont, SC 29673
Phone: 864-220-9680
Date(s) Stayed: 4/21/15
Length of Stay:
 1 day
Site #: #315 pull-through
Cost per night (with
taxes): $32/night
Discount Used: none
Connections:  FHU
Stars: 3

This RV park was easy to get to;
I-85 exit 39, only 1.3 miles.  The drive
into the park was a narrow driveway/road. 
The office was a large house so we didn’t know if we should ring the
doorbell or just walk in.  Check in was
easy; they were expecting us.  We have to
admit the grounds were beautiful, hilly and encouraged a good walking
workout.  There was a fishing pond in the
small valley surrounded by woods.  We
enjoyed sitting at various benches placed throughout the area.  Note that this is an adult only park for 45+
crowd, however children are welcome but management must be notified before
arriving so they can make appropriate accommodations.   Parental/Grandparental supervision required
at all times (probably because of the pond). 
Rates are for two persons per site; $ for additional campers. 

The campground area we were in
were much to be desired.  They were just
gravel sites with barely adequate hookups. 
The ground was very uneven therefore we had to use our blocks and play
with our leveling system.  The sits were
very close together.  There were mostly
permanent sites but they were generally kept separate from the temporary sites.  No ATV’s or dirtbikes allowed.  No firepits however, they had designated
gathering pits available loaded with wood for fires each evening.  Trash pickup was every morning by putting it
at the end of your site.  We did have
internet WiFi connection (AT&T) at the campground.   From what we’ve heard, there is a Camping
World about 30 minutes away.



In our opinion, this campground
is good for a pass-through overnight; not long term.  

Fort Benning Uchee Creek Army Campground – ALABAMA/GEORGIA (Military)

CAMPGROUND REVIEW – Military


Campground/RV Park: Fort Benning Uchee Creek Army Campground

Location: 7 Uchee Creek Rd, Fort Mitchell, AL 36856  (706) 545-4053 or (706) 545-7238
Date(s) Stayed: 3/18/15 – 4/19/15
Length of Stay: 1 month
Site #: 52 and 411
Cost per night (with taxes): $648/month
Discount Used: none
Connections: FHU’s
Stars: –1


Fort Benning Uchee Creek Army Campground is an Army managed (more like “mismanaged”) campground located ‘off’ post.  Being totally transparent and honest, we would NOT stay here again nor would we recommend this campground to any military RV’ers, friends or family..  Beginning with the staff, except for a sweet young lady “Nadidia”, they seriously need to hone their customer service skills.  Most of the office staff have foreign accents that may be difficult to understand.  Watch your credit card!  They overcharged us even before we left.  We spent 30 minutes there telling them how much we owed because they couldn’t understand fluent English or mathematics.


We made a reservation over 2 months in advance, explaining to the woman who was taking our reservation that we needed a big rig site for our 43′ 5th wheel toyhauler.  When we arrived to our assigned site, it was awful.  We literally had to shoehorn our rig between trees that were inches from our slides when they were out on muddy packed dirt site.  We were unable to put our awning out because the trees and branches were too close and low hanging.  The sites were dirty, unkempt, overgrown and firepits that needed cleaned with sterile gloves.  We literally had to clean our site just to be able to enjoy looking at it.  The picnic table was falling apart.  Not 30 minutes later after hooking up our electric, we experienced a power surge that could have fried our whole rig’s electric/electronics had we not had our power surge protector.  Still, it damaged our refrigerator which cost us $120 service call.  After experiencing two more days of power surges, we went to the camp office to ask to move to the BIG RIG sites over in the 400 section (why they didn’t put us there to begin with is beyond us!).  We would have asked to move earlier however, the MWR office sponsored a “civilian” archery competition in which they had already rented out all of their other sites to “civilians”.  That weekend was total mayhem!  No MP’s or security at all.  Participants in their cars, trucks, and golf carts were speeding through the campsite (the speed limit ranged from 10-20mph). Made a very unpleasant weekend on top of the already power issues and filth we were experiencing.


After the weekend was over, we packed up and moved over to our new site which was much improved and cleaner with asphalt pull-throughs.  However, the electric power still had serious issues throughout our stay.  Every night precisely at 6:00 pm, power would go out for approximately 15 minutes (dinner time?) and with frequent power outings/surges. We were told by one of the staff that came to look at it that they have had nothing but problems with the underground cable/wiring.  Their provided ‘free WiFi’ worked sparsely.  We tried to use our AT&T hotspot and Verizon WiFi’s which  worked only 10% of the time.  We couldn’t even get a signal for our phone calls.  We assumed that because of the location of the campground to the air strips, that the air traffic control may have been jamming disallowing our use.   If you are an RV’er that relies on internet, buyer beware.  Several times we had to take our laptop to the PX food court to do research and make reservations.


The laundry was expensive for being a military facility.  There were no tables to fold your clothes on.  The bathrooms were dirty.  The Camp Host’s idea of cleaning the bathrooms was just refilling the toilet paper.  Again, I mention there is NO SECURITY even though its a military owned campground.  In fact, the gate on one side is in the stuck position of up.  ‘Anyone’ could drive in and access the campground; not a safe place for military families to enjoy security while their loved ones may be deployed.  Also, it is quite a drive just to get to the campground; 10 mile drive just to get to the gate to get on post and about 17 miles to the commissary/px.


This military campground was quite expensive for what it was and offered; at least in the spring month that we were there.  The pool and pool area was disgusting.  The whole grounds severely needed landscaping help.  What we’ve heard from several ‘upper level’ military members is the MWR there mismanaged their books and now are trying to recoup the funds on the backs of those who use the RV campground.  Also, this was the first military campground that charges military retirees based on rank, but either way, it was the most expensive ‘military’ campground we’ve ever stayed at.  Average is $450-500/month.  Uchee Creek was $648!!!  We’ve stayed at gorgeous RV RESORTS that were less money. 


Unfortunately, it hurts our hearts to write such a negative review of a campground, let alone a military campground.  But we are honest and want folks who may consider staying here to be aware of the mismanagement of this Army MWR.