CAMPGROUND REVIEW: Tomahawk RV Park – NEBRASKA

CAMPGROUND/RV PARK
REVIEW

Campground/RV Park:  Tomahawk RV Park – NEBRASKA
Location:  Broken Bow, NE
Date(s) Stayed: 7/28/14 – 8/2/15
Length of Stay:
 5 days
Site #: #13
Cost per night (with
taxes): $20/night (tents are less)
Discount Used: None
Connections:  FHU
Stars: 3.5
Tomahawk RV Park is a city/town managed RV Park is centrally located
within the town of Broken Bow, Nebraska
Broken Bow is located on the railroad and considered a farming/ranching
town.  The park has all the amenities one
could ask for; level gravel sites, easily in-easy out, children’s playground,
bath house, and within walking distance to the town square.  We gave this park a 3.5 due to
non-availability of a laundry facility (we had to go into town), no campfires
or grills provided at each site and the close approximity to the railroad
crossing.  However, recently within the
past couple years, Broken Bow has ‘quiet crossings’ (no whistle blows) except
for when signaled of impairment on the tracks. 
The sites also are close together but that didn’t bother us because we
were always out learning about the area. 
The park has a wonderful picnic pavilion with lots of picnic tables and
charcoal grills and lighting for evening dinners or picnics. The park was clean
and staff was minimal.  We called ahead
of time to insure availability which they seem to always have.  Their sites vary in size and is recommended
that you only use a site that coincides to your rig size; in other words, don’t
use the big rig sites if you have a small setup.
The town/city of Broken Bow is located on Route 2 in the heartland of farming
and ranching.  It is about an hour drive
to  Fort Hartstuff; a post Civil War
Cavalry Historic Park and a short drive to begin the Sand Hills Journey to
points west.  There are small businesses
and café’s however, there is no Walmart in the town.  There are two or three small grocery stores
that will meet your needs (they sell beer and wine in them!).  Since we ride motorcycles, it’s a nice town
to camp overnight if needed in a tent.
All in all, Tomahawk RV Park met our expectations and we will be back. We
stayed in a 5th Wheel Toyhauler.

Lake Minatare State Recreation Area and Lighthouse – Minatare, Nebraska

AOL - Lake Minatare SRA Lighthouse

 

In the summer of 2015, we were driving around and visiting Chimney Rock, Courthouse and Jail Rocks in the North Platt River region, we happened upon a sign that directed us to the Lake Minatare Lighthouse. Of course, both of us being former mariners, we had to check why a lighthouse was needed in Nebraska. So, we took a drive down to Nebraska’s Lake Minatare State Recreation Area (SRA) to find it.

CAMPGROUND REVIEW: Ives Run Corps of Engineers Campground – PENNSYLVANIA

CAMPGROUND REVIEW


Campground/RV Park: Ives Run COE Campground (Corps of Engineers) – PENNSYLVANIA

Location: 710 Railroad Grade Trail (Ives Run), Tioga, PA 16946     (570) 835-0110
Date(s) Stayed: 6/13/15 – 6/20/15
Length of Stay: 1 week
Site #: 111 (Walk-in Site)
Cost per night (with taxes): $17 ($34 for others)
Discount Used:  50% National Park Access Pass (Disabled)
Connections: 30 amp Electric/Water and Dump Station
Stars:  4.5



Ives Run COE Campground sits on the eastern shore of Hammond Lake in north-central Pennsylvania. Surrounded by lush forested ridges, the lake offers recreation.  The campground is approximately 30 minutes to Mansfield and 30 minutes to Wellsboro and the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon.  This campground is what all campgrounds should replicate!  Nicely manicured, staffed and managed by the Corps of Engineers proved its worthiness with cleanliness, ample spacing between sites, beautiful views of Hammond Lake and nice roads to walk or bicycle.  To reserve a site, you must be registered through Reserve America online.  Because of the popularity of this campground in the summer season, expecting to find a campsite during weekends or extended stays (14 day maximum) is difficult because PA and NY state residents have made their reservations a year ahead of time.  However, the campground has three ‘walk-in’ sites that are left vacant for RV’s and Campers that are passing through.  The three walk-in sites open at 10:00am when the office opens.  You can reserve for three days at a time before having to go and reserve again in person if you need another three days, but be sure to be at the office to do so at 10:00am (be first in line so no one bumps you).  The campground season begins May 1st and ends October 30th each year.  



The campground is absolutely gorgeous!!  Lots of gentle wildlife!!  We oftentimes took three walks a day/night. There is a separate swimming area from the boat ramp. Fishing is allowed with proper license.  We appreciated their rules of not allowing boats/trailers on the campsites.  They have overflow parking down at the boat ramp and elsewhere throughout the park.  The campground rules state that each outside guest that visits your site must pay $3 each.  There is a small campstore for basics (ie. hamburger/hotdog buns, hotdogs, chips, soda, water, etc.)  Quiet time is kindly adhered to.  A roving Park Ranger makes his rounds regularly noting safety issues and adherance to the campground rules. 



Make certain you bring extra leveling blocks; note that this site sits in the mountainous region of Pennsylvania. As with all campgrounds, we highly recommend filtering your water. The only drawback to Ives Run COE Campground is internet capability is seriously lacking because of its location in the mountains (AT&T and Verizon); spotty at best.



We WILL return!  We would have given it 5 stars if internet capability existed.  

CAMPGROUND REVIEW: Tompkins Corps of Engineers Campground – PENNSYLVANIA

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.

National Fallen Firefighter Memorial – Emmittsburg, Maryland

 

On the Sunday right before Memorial Day in 2015, we arrived at Artillery Ridge Campground in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to spend the week touring the National Battlefield. Prior to getting off our exit, we made note of a brown National Landmark sign that read: National Fallen Firefighter’s Memorial. 

Continue reading “National Fallen Firefighter Memorial – Emmittsburg, Maryland”

FAMCAMP REVIEW: Fort Belvoir Travel Camp – VIRGINIA (military)

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.