About Judy Birchland

Five year full timer who just bought a house in a small town due to shoulder season issues in Manitoba. We go south in winter to escape snow as I have severe snow mould allergy and terrible asthma in the cold.

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Date of Stay:

We stayed two nights visiting family in the area. The owners were friendly and helpful. Our campsite was small but adequate. This is great overnight or a place to park if you are visiting the area as we were. It's a small, pretty and well kept little campground right off the I29, easy in and easy out. The WIFI was excellent.

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Nice state park to stay in. There is a wonderful wheelchair accessible walk through the woods down tot he river that is exceptionally nice.The WIFI was so so. The closer you park to the bathrooms the better the signal. The roads are paved, wide and well laid out. Our site was spacious and paved and we liked it. People come here to try their hand at diamond prospecting so we did as well. We had a lot of fun. The gift shop was great and we were able to get several presents for our grandchildren. We didn't get any diamonds.

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One of the few campground open year round in the north this is a standard KOA with a better than usual store. We seem to always end up back here going north or south from Canada. WIFI is excellent. staff are wonderful. They have specials to encourage people to return. You can buy propane and the laundry is clean and big. Some permanent residents but it's neat and clean. A better than average KOA. Office closes at 6:00pm promptly. This KOA is in town at the edge of north Sioux City and right off the interstate so traffic and city noise is a problem.

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We stayed here two days during a period of foul weather, severe storms nearby, high winds and rain all day. This KOA has a big red barn with a basement severe storm shelter which is why we picked it. There is a row of permanent residents but those campers are well kept and seemed to consist of young families with school age children. It felt very park like and safe. The office is only open 3:00 to 8:00 pm but the fellow was there was nice and helpful. WIFI was excellent although it would stop and restart every couple of hours. Campground layout was pleasing and well thought out. There was no mud in spite of all the rain we had due to nice grass and gravel/sand on our sites. There is a very nice children's park and fishing ponds. Our site was fine but a bit short. It is set in a place between two interstates so there was some traffic noise but not too bad. A nicer than average KOA. We will stop again, especially if we need a place to sit out storms.

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This state park is on a high peninsula sticking out into the lake. The park has a few shade trees but it is more exposed than not. We arrived in on a day that hit 92F and we baked. The wind was high and our trailer rocked and rolled with the blasts. There were wild fires south and west of us and the smoke was very thick so we didn't go out much. Overall it is a rather standard state park with spaces somewhat closer than I would like. There are some sites with sewer, and since we wanted to do laundry we took one, but they are immediately adjacent to the dump site which meant stink and a lot of traffic. One thing we did really enjoy was there was a spring eruption of migrating birds so we got to see a huge variety of birds in large flocks including northern flickers, woodpeckers, jays, chickadees, juncos, starlings, blackbirds, nuthatches and several other species. We stopped here to be close to the Cherokee Heritage Centre which is 15 miles away. We thoroughly enjoyed the Heritage Centre and the coincidence of the spring migration but otherwise there was nothing special or noteworthy about the park. Regarding service basically there is none. This is a "self serve" park. You arrive and there is no one there, no information at the gate and no directions on what to do. You find a site you like without a "reserved sign" on it and then you park. There are no additional services like firewood. Eventually the very nice and well informed ranger will find you so you can pay him. The ranger knew every local site and had lots of tips.

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One of the nicest Army Corp of Engineers campground we have been to, this park is lovely and has lots to do for families side from fishing. It is obvious the local community has adopted this park and made it much better. We were in Cherryvale which is the only one open year round. Like all Corp sites, the campsites are widely spaced and long. Unlike most corp sites, about half have sewer outlets. In addition, there is that frisbee golf game with the chain "holes" you shoot for, an Audubon bird lovers meeting spot, two really nice playgrounds, a basketball court, group sites for day visits and camping sites, horse trails, and multiple boat launches. There are several sections of campsites on both sides of the lake. Our campsite was treed by old oaks and was high up on a ridge overlooked the lake. On the down side, there was no grass and the ground was hard packed dirt. The drive was paved and there was a paved patio with cement picnic table. At the end of the drive and between the patio they used large white gravel full of white caked dust that got wet and then hardened into ruts but that was our only complaint. The folks at the office don't keep regular hours but when we told them our 30amp was not working they had the maintenance guy there within 20 minutes to fix it.

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Sometimes you pull into a campsite and your heart sings and your spirit lifts and you think "This is why I do this!" That's how I felt coming to Cedar Lake. Cedar Lake is a small lake with a color like a glacial lake, pale blue/green and gorgeous. It is fed by two creeks. There are three major sections for camping. The east side has many lovely unserviced campsites. There is a section of serviced campsites including some with sewer on the south side on one of the two creeks. There is a third group of sites above that on the west side of the lake that have water and electric. The upper area overlooks a lovely brown sand beach suitable for swimming. Half the sites, including all the sites adjacent to the beach, are reservable. Half are first, come first serve. Everything about this campsite was perfectly suited to my tastes. Big, spacious, private, paved drive, fire pit, barbecue, picnic table, and two places to hang things. We started with a lower level campsite with sewer in order to get our laundry done. We moved to a west side campsite high over the lake on the ridge where we could see both sunrise and sunset the next day. There is a three mile hike around the lake that is a delight. There are numerous other longer hikes. The west campground is adjacent to an equestrian camp so we got to see horses coming and going. Two caveats. The lower campsite with sewer is in a flash flood zone. Part of why we moved up the hill was because the forecast was for thunderstorms. Also signs say the lake can be contaminated with toxic blue green algae in hot weather. During our stay, it was just heavenly. Abundant wildlife, birds, turtles, beavers, and deer and blissful long paddles around the perimeter of the tiny sheltered lake, hikes on pathways with blooming wildflowers and the sound of creeks. During the weekend it got a bit noisy and busy so go weekdays if you have a choice.

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Exceptionally nice state park. When you arrive at the main office, you can either go up the hill to the spillway area or continue down the river to the lower campsites. Going up, there are many unserviced campsites in three sections, half can take a larger rig and some are right on the water for $14. There are 15 non reservable campsites with water and electric. The upper area has paddle boats & canoes for rent, tackle shop, boat launch, easy lake access, miniature train, stables and a lodge. The lower section ends at the old dam that is like a waterfall and very pretty. The lower area has a good restaurant (We loved the fried pie!), nature centre, a museum of forestry, a gift shop and three camping sections Buckthorn, is reservable, Acorn and Cypress are not. Acorn and Buckthorn are all spacious and on the water for $27. There are also five sites specifically designed to accommodate the handicapped above Acorn. Cypress is non reservable, away from he water and has many very narrow turns and all back in sites, When we were there, it was wet and muddy on either side of the narrow roads. We did not get stuck but we saw other longer rigs that did sink right to the jacks because they could not make the tight turns without going off the roads and into the muck. The sites are close together and set at haphazard angles so you don't have much privacy. Our site was, like most, short and we had to unhitch to fit in. $24 but we got $2 off as nonresident seniors. The area below the dam has lots of tempting rocks to climb on and it looks perfect for wading. It isn't. There are sirens that go off to announce water level changes at the dam and they are big changes. A man comes around selling snow cones for $2-3 and they are the best snow cones I have ever had so try one. We might go again if we can get a reservation first and it isn't spring break. The campsite was completely full during our visit.

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Gilliam Lake is a smallish lake built by the Army Corp of Engineers. It has three campground sites. Two are above the dam. Little Coon Creek is simply 10 sites, all back in, on both sides of the road down to the lake just before a large boat ramp. It has modern washrooms and showers. Big Coon Creek is on the next lake inlet and also above the dam. It has 31 sites, all back in. It was mostly full when we were there. It is a fisherman's dream with room for a big rig, a big boat trailer, and a truck. All the sites are paved and have a barbecue and fire pit. The washrooms are new and clean. There are also showers with abundant hot water. There is a nice sandy beach and four playground structures including one in the water at the beach. Gillham Lake itself is infamous for rising many feet in under 24 hours in heavy rain. The locals told us you have to watch the weather and be ready to clear out fast if it rains heavily. We saw evidence that is is the case in the form of high water lines and deposited logs on the shores. One women told us about pulling her rig out in pouring rain and high water and barely making it just last year. (The third campsites is Cassatot Reefs and it is on the Cassatot river below the dam and does not flood.) The roads into both Coon campgrounds are each about 3-4 miles of very deep drops and very steep hills that required I use 4 wheel drive and low gear to climb. These roads were really narrow and curvy in a few places. Not for driving by the faint hearted, an overloaded rig or one with poor brakes! Both Big Coon and Little Coon are served by a single dump site at the park entrance so you have to haul your full tanks up the hills to dump so keep that in mind.

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Gilliam Lake is a smallish dammed lake built by the Army Corp of Engineers. It has three campground sites. This 30 site campground is the largest of the three campsites because it is strung along the river just past the spillway with most of the sites overlooking the river. It is a pleasant and pretty stretch with long cement walkways by a park-like setting on the river bank with benches and swings. The campsites are set high above the flood plain on a ridge. There are three sets of pretty little rapids between deep pools. These campsites are smaller and older and do not have room for a separate boat and trailer in addition to a rig. There is a canoe launch and the current runs swiftly. These campsites are also mostly not paved but are packed gravel. Washrooms and showers are older style flush toilets. The dam was built to protect downstream houses and so of the three, this campground below the dam is the least likely to flood. The road into the campground is about a mile and has two very steep hills. The dumpsite is at the entrance so be ready to haul your wastewater up those hills when you leave.

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This is a National Forest campground. You enter Minden and then turn just before the main street stores and then take a long winding road through rural areas before arriving at the site. Much of the drive from Minden is through a very poor unkempt neighbourhood which was discouraging. Closer to the Park, poverty gives way to newer suburban development and hobby farms. The campground is not well marked. We saw one sign in the town of Minden and then nothing until we reached the National Forest so use your map or GPS to find your way in. We expect big lots and space between sites in this type of campground but this one is exceptionally so. Our paved site was so large that with our pick up and trailer still hitched (56') we would have room for another entire truck in front of our rig. In addition to the very large wide drive there was a huge pad of fine gravel with an oversized picnic table. This campground could take the biggest rig I have seen. Each site had its own set of garbage cans. Half the sites are reserve and half are first come first served. The place was about one quarter full on the early spring weekday we arrived. We had a nice selection of sites. Firewood was not provided so if you must have a fire, be sure to stop in and buy some from the many places on the way in who are selling. The campground host was friendly and welcoming and proudly boasted about how this campsite won some sort of well deserved award for their super clean bathrooms. This campground is a good 20 miles from any store and you will not pass any stores after you get off the interstate unless you detour through Minden so stock up before you go in.

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We pulled in on a whim because we are fossil fans. The Petrified Forest is privately owned and has an attached campsite with room for eleven rigs. They charge a modest $22/night. The full service campsites are neat, clean, well maintained. A maintenance worker came by for morning clean up and check on things. An employee came by in the afternoon to check that all was well. The road are narrow and the turns on the one big loop are little on the tighter side but not impossible for our rig and there were no trees and hazards near the road. The roads themselves were surface washed out in a few spots but there was also a lot of fresh gravel as if being on a hillside it is constant struggle to keep the roads from washing out. The setting is overall beautiful trees and shady. Some campsites are close together, most are widely spaced. There are both pull throughs and back ins. There are some longer term residents but the owners limit those to 6 months and I presume they are employees because their rigs were all neat and newer. There was a long list of rules but none onerous for a short term stay. We were originally sent to #7 but the very nice lady checking us in said we could change to #8 if we wanted to. This was a good thing because #8 was not long enough for our rig to find a level spot without unhitching. #8 was just long enough that we could be both level and stay hitched. There was no wifi available. Overall a very good value and we were pleased with our stay. I wouldn't go out of my way to stay here again, but it was well worth stopping and seeing once.

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This is an exceptionally nice Army Corp of Engineers campsite on a lake produced by a dam. Fishing appeared to be exceptionally good judging by what we saw being pulled in by fellow campers and the huge number of cormorants, pelicans and an eagle perched in a tree near our campsite. The campground is really large and wide with wide paved roads with easy turns and paved pads and drives. There are a variety of sites, pull through and back in, but all of them are huge. You can get sites right on the lake for an additional $2 charge ($1 if you have senior America pass.) The lakeside plots range from ones where you could walk straight out into the water to those raised up on ridges. We took a ridge site as we have a dog who loves to swim and we were warned about gators in these water. Presumably this is why they only allow swimming in designated areas which are closed in winter. This position also gave us an exceptionally lovely view of the sunset over the lake. Showers and laundry were modern and clean. No charge for showers, $1 for both the washer and dryer. There was only one dump site which meant waiting in line on the way out and the campground was half empty while we were here. I was told it fills right up in summer so the line must get very long. There are a couple of very nice children's playgrounds next to the showers and with campsites right around them. All were full and the playgrounds were busy with happy children and parents watching from their campsite. The campground has a lot of additional services like free life jacket loan service and horseshoes. There is a very nicely designed boat launch. This is an exceptionally lovely campground and we will be back. I'd give it a ten except for the lack of sewer hookups and the line to dump.

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We normally stay the winter about an hour drive from this park and often came here on day trips. This time we checked reservations we were delighted to find one space. So we stayed one night on your way to our winter stop. This is a gorgeous spot. Sand beaches that run for miles are a reasonable walk away. There is a lovely long trail you can walk your dogs on. The sand dunes are spectacular, some as tall as a three story building. (You aren't allowed on them.) And there was an abundance of wildlife. The showers and other facilities were spotless and it was the first place that was entirely wheelchair friendly I have ever seen, including the ramp down to the beach. I wish we could have stayed on longer! The only downer is it is a wild place and there are lots of biting bugs so bring spray.

     

Helpful

Sandpiper RV Resort

Galveston, Texas

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We stayed a week while we did some sightseeing in Galveston. Over all a very nice place. net, well ordered pleasant helpful staff. The pool was cold but the hotter was great. There is a hotel attached to the complex so it is great place for RVers to stay with family. The cable was fine and internet worked so so. You have to change which one you are logged into. We could see the breakers from our windows. We had a huge cement wide pad. Easy on and easy off and a lot of staff always around working and cleaning. 16 block walk to historical downtown and a short walk to the seawall and beach. We slept to the sounds of the ocean. The only down side was there is a green ditch full of water just beyond the fence and at night the mosquitos were horrific.