Tag Archives: Army Corps of Engineers

2017 – Coon Creek Cove Campground – Kaw City, OK

20170918_121759.jpg Coon Creek Cove Campground is a Corps of Engineers campground located on Kaw Lake, just east of Ponca City, OK. The campground is situated on a finger of land, affording water views to nearly every campsite. Several have water access. The campground roads are paved and the sites are gravel. Each site has a covered picnic table and fire pit. They are reasonably level, mostly with shade, and 30 amp electric and water. There are no full hookup spots. We arrived on a weekend and the place was nearly full with lots of people fishing, boating, and jet skiing. Several children were playing in the water. By Sunday night most everyone had left and there were lots of prime sites available to travelers. Generally speaking, the sites looking out over the lake itself are on a bluff. Those on the cove are closer to water level. We were mildly disappointed that the weeds between us and the lake on our bluff side spot were tall enough to obstruct what would have been great lake views.

I had no problem getting satellite TV and my Verizon 4G was weak but usable.

Probably the biggest negative to this campground is getting to it. It is about 30 miles from I35 and the roads get increasingly rough, narrow, and hilly as you travel. Whether or not traveling these roads is worthwhile for you depends on how long you plan to stay and how much you enjoy a lakeside campground.

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2017 – Cherry Glen ACoE Campground, Ankeny, Iowa

This is our third stay at this campground, so my review will be a short one.

Previous reviews: from 2013 and from 2015.

campground.jpg We actually prefer tailblazing and finding new and interesting places in our travels. However, it is nice to visit family and friends too – and that brings us back to some places again and again. I’ve been reminded that there are advantages to that too. On previous visits we learned the campground and this time we put that knowledge to use as we made advance reservations for a site we knew we would like.

As you might guess, not much has changed since our last visit. The campground is still a great one with big, shady sites. We got one of the sites with water so we didn’t have to fill the fresh water tank upon arrival. The 50 amps came in very handy as we endured some 90 degree days.

One pleasant change is that my Verizon 4G signal is better than on our previous visits. We got a fairly solid 2-3 bars.

The place was packed out over the weekend, but rather empty during the week – something to keep in mind as you consider staying here.

20170717_113740.jpg The Neal Smith trail is still inviting, but not so much with the high temps and humidity.

This place still gets a thumbs up and will be our northern Des Moines campground of choice on our next visit.

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2017 – Shortstop: Gunter Hill Park – Montgomery, AL

20170403_184225.jpg We’ve come to love Army Corps of Engineers campgrounds. There is always a lake nearby, the sites are spacious, and the price is right (especially using our half price America the Beautiful pass). Not all Corps campgrounds have sewer hookups, but when we come across one with full hookups we feel like we’ve hit the jackpot.

Gunter Hill Campground, near Montgomery, AL, is all the above. It’s in a beautiful setting with really nice, paved and large sites. With the state capitol nearby, there are plenty of local attractions. The only negatives are a poor Verizon signal, a neighboring race track that can be noisy at times, and getting a satellite signal from some sites is impossible. This is a popular campground and reservations, especially on weekends, is a good idea.

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Reflections on our 2015 Adventure

We enjoyed our 2015 Adventure very much! It took us to the northern Midwest with an emphasis on Wisconsin and Michigan and included some great stops along the way, both coming and going.

100_4806.JPG Our favorite campgrounds are Corps of Engineers. They almost always offer great campsites in pretty settings. Our America the Beautiful pass gives us half-price camping at these parks, making them not only great spots to camp but also provide a real savings too. Some of these campgrounds only offer water/electric hookups but others offer full hookup sites. You probably need to plan ahead and make reservations if you want to stay at these popular campgrounds on busy summer weekends.

Topping our list this year in order of our visits are these Corps of Engineers Campgrounds:

PHOTO_20150727_142048.jpg We also found some great city and county parks like Castle Rock, Friendship, WI (people kept asking us how we found this local, but out-of-the-way camping gem), Holtwood Campground, Oconto, WI, and Finn Road Campground at Essexville, MI. While these campgrounds don’t offer us the great America the Beautiful pass prices, they are still economical, great campgrounds that beat most private campgrounds we visit.

IMG_4220.JPG Our membership in Thousand Trails is our best choice when it comes to finances and we stay in them whenever we can. However, we don’t want to limit our travels to only Thousand Trails. Depending on the parts of the country we visit they are more or less a part of our plans. This year we were in areas where there aren’t as many Thousand Trails so we didn’t use our membership as much. Also, these campgrounds are generally not our favorite places to camp. Some are quite nice and others aren’t nice at all. We are glad we have our membership and plan to use it a lot in the future, although there are a few Thousand Trails we would likely skip all together.

P8129962.JPG I think the sightseeing highlight of the year for us was Pictured Rocks National Seashore at Munising, MI at Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The natural beauty is amazing. Running a close second was Mackinac Island, MI, just a couple of hours east of Pictured Rocks. This is a world class tourist destination that shouldn’t be missed.

I think Michigan in general, and the Upper Peninsula specifically was our most pleasant surprise of the Adventure. The area is interesting and beautiful. I don’t know what I expected, but the UP was a fun place to visit and I’ll happily return in years to come.

2015 - Cundiff Family on a rainy day at Silver Dollar City - Branson, MO.jpg One lesson learned in this Adventure is how much fun it is to rekindle old friendships. Since Jackie and I met while in college at Olivet Nazarene in Illinois, and thanks to Facebook reconnects, we were able to visit with people from those days. It was so good to get together in person. Also, we met up with RV friends, both old and new, as we traveled. We even enjoyed a weekend with Jackie’s brother and sister-in-law plus time with my sister. Our son and his family joined us for a fun, if wet, time in Branson, MO. While we love traveling, there’s something special about these friendship connections that does nothing but add to the joy of our journeys.

20150327_142949.jpg We have yet to have a full-scale mechanical breakdown while on the road but this year we came very close, not once, but twice. Both times Good Samaritans came to my rescue and repairs were made. I’m very thankful for help beyond the call of duty. Also, I was reminded this year of just how much I dislike threatening weather while in the 5th wheel. We had multiple instances of severe thunderstorms with rain, wind, lightening, and hail. I try to not overreact to these storms, but I spent too many nights watching weather radar and listening to the weather radio.

100_3734.JPG In 2015 we decided to try out volunteering at the San Jacinto Monument Texas State Historical park in the Houston, TX area. We spent the first months of the year there, helping out at both the Monument and on the Battleship Texas which is on the same property. In return for volunteering 25 hours a week we were given “free parking” there. We enjoyed the experience enough that we signed up for another stay in the new year. For us, this is a great win: it is interesting and fun, close to family and many friends, and a real money saver. We also enjoyed being part of the community of volunteers and staff. That’s not to say there are no negatives, but overall, it’s a positive experience.

As you can see we had a good 2015 Adventure and, yes, we’re already working on the 2016 Adventure. We plan to head for the Rocky Mountains – Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, and then across to the Black Hills of South Dakota!

Shortstop: Twin Dikes Park, Lake Sam Rayburn – Jasper, TX

100_4850.JPG We always like Corps of Engineers campgrounds and Twin Dikes Park on Sam Rayburn Reservoir near Jasper, TX is no exception. This is a great campground. There are a variety of spacious well-laid-out campsites ranging from full hookups with screened shelters (even running water in the sink) down to nice tent sites nearer the lake. The full hookup loop has 30 amp electric while the water/electric sites have 50 amp service. The park is clean with wide paved roads and paved campsites. This is a first rate campground in a pretty setting. I was able to get two of my three Dish satellites for TV and our Verizon 4G signal was very good. This is a popular campground that stays busy, especially on weekends so reservations are highly recommended. The next time we come this way we’ll plan on a longer stay.

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