Resort A, which sits in the heart of "Amish Country" advertises everything that a full-timer like me might want...
- Workout room
- Indoor pool and hot tub
- Club House
- LP Gas
- Cable TV
- Paved roads and cement patios
I guess I sounded pretty pathetic or desperate over the phone because the lady took pity on us and agreed to charge us only $675 for at least the first month, as long as we agreed to use mostly propane instead of electricity for our heat because the cost of electricity is included in the rent. (Plus, this is not exactly peak camping season for places north of the Mason-Dixon Line.)
After more internet investigation and phone calls, we found Resort B. I called...
The woman on the other end was not as nice and friendly as the rep from Resort A. When I told her I had a few questions about her facility, she touted, "Well have you looked at our web page?"
I told her that I had but didn't find all the information I was looking for. She took a deep breath and started talking, telling me everything I had already read on the website. She talked and talked and talked...consuming my precious cell minutes yet not enlightening me much. (Can't say I was surprised when she said, "Of course you won't be able to use the outdoor pool.") I tried to interrupt her several times but was unsuccessful.
Finally she had to pause for another breath and I cut in, "Is your laundry room open and functioning?" (A good question this time of year because we've stayed places that have unheated laundry rooms so they are closed during the winter months.)
Her reply, "This IS a resort!"
That became her catchphrase.
"I see from the photos on the web you are in a wooded area. Are your sites paved, gravel, concrete, or will we be parked on mud?" (I speak with the voice of experience here.)
Again she came back with, "This IS a resort! We have gravel and concrete pad."
She kept on talking, asking me stupid questions like, "Are you familiar with winter camping?" I guess she thought this was our first time out or something.
I finally asked all my questions--Will we have any trouble getting in or out because of the snow? Do cell phones work in the area? Can we get a satellite signal? Do you have propane on site? etc. Her answers seemed acceptable at the time because this IS, after all, a resort, and we were desperate.
The only real selling points for Resort B over Resort A:
- Price--$400/month plus electricity
- At least 55 miles closer to most of Rick's claims.
The woman told us to try to get there before 4:00p.m. so someone would be in the office to check us in. If not, we were to park in site #66 overnight and we could have our choice of 8 or 9 different sites the next day. I told her we would do our best and the reservation was set.
We were able to make it in before 4:00 the next day. In fact, we beat that time by at least an hour and I called when we were at least an hour away, leaving a message on a machine, telling our exact expected time of arrival.
Following the GPS and road signs, we turned off the main highway and started a steep snowy climb up a BIG hill. (I fought the urge to panic.) Then we turned off that road onto the l-o-n-g icy entrance to the "Resort." (From here on referred to as "Campground.") Snow was drifting across the road from this big field.
Oh, be still stomach.
We stopped at the office,
paid our money, and were told we would still need to wait while they finished clearing the snow from the site where they wanted us to park. (I thought we were supposed to get to pick--oh well, no big deal.)
It took the guy a while to clear the deep snow from our site, and it was hard to tell what was under the layer of ice left behind. I'm pretty sure there is a little gravel and a lot of mud. Where's the concrete pad?
Now I'm going to have to ask you to try to picture in your minds, our spot. It is a "back-in" that is over 200 feet long. The first 160 or so feet we had to back the rig was all downhill. The last 45 or so feet is fairly level ground, at the edge of a cliff, that drops off into the creek bed below. (In the Texas Panhandle, we would call this a river.) Here is the view from the back of our site.
I got out of the truck so I could help hubby watch for trees, low hanging limbs, and piles of ice and snow that might get him stuck or tear something up. I can tell you that my man is good and so is God. I witnessed 24 thousand pounds of truck and camper sliding backwards down an icy hill, headed for a cliff, trees, and a frigid river, finally come to an almost perfectly level stop at just the right spot--a few feet short of going off the cliff and just right for all our hoses and cords to reach the hook-ups. Whew! Thank you Lord!
Keep in mind now that I was tromping around in snow up to my knees, wearing my vented tennis shoes and jeans, and I was cold. My nose started to run.
I walked around to see how the hooking up of our utilities was going and saw the water faucet to be about 3 feet above ground, and it is not one of those nice frost free jobs. No, it is just a plain old faucet that we are responsible for making sure doesn't freeze. Our hose is one of those nice hoses that is heated, so no problem with winter camping there, but I believe this is the first campground we've ever stayed in that claimed to be year round but made the guest responsible for keeping the faucet from freezing. Luckily we carry a supply of heat tapes, but they were so cold and stiff we could not get a tight wrap on the pipe.
The guy who cleared the snow and helped wave hubby down the hill, disappear for a few minutes then returned with some items--
a towel, two old chunks of carpet, pipe insulating foam, and some thin, egg carton weight, Styrofoam. Tossing them down in the snow, he said, "maybe you can use some of this stuff to help insulate the pipe and faucet." Um, okay. Thanks. I think.
The day just keeps getting better. Let me see now, what is it? Oh yeah, a dashing and bold adventure!
After hubby got the water hooked up, and while I started trying to invent an insulating shelter for the pipe and faucet, he unhooked and attempted to drive the truck back up the severely sloped section of our site. Remember I said the hill was icy? Yeah, our rear wheel drive with no weight in the rear end truck was stuck on the ice.
There was a kid, a young man I'd guess to be in his late teens or early twenties, helping out with this bold adventure. He watched hubby spinning tires on the ice for a few seconds then he disappeared. Soon he returned with a bucket and a big garbage bag of saw dust. "Here, sprinkle this on the ground and it should help give you some traction. And here is a shovel in case you need it. Now we need to get out of here." (The snow was falling heavily by then.) He sprinkled a little of the shavings in front of our tires before he went away.
Left alone to fend for ourselves in the silence of the falling snow, I looked around at our circumstances. Suddenly this picture popped into my mind. (From The Shining)
Only, in my mind, I'm the one swinging the ax!
Somewhere from deep inside I started to laugh. It was that so-hard-you-can't-breath kind of laughter, and I couldn't stop. The more I looked at the useless sawdust and the pile of insulating possibilities, the harder I laughed. Hubby, with nose dripping and a grimace, looked at me with great concern. It was a moment I hope I never forget.
It is a gift from God to be able to laugh instead of cry when tears and snot would only make ugly icicles on my face. God is SO good!
I laughed out my frustrations and felt much better. I fashioned a protective covering for the water pipe that has yet to freeze up. The sawdust didn't do anything to help the situation at all. Hubby dug with the shovel and spun the tires until he finally had the truck at the top of the hill.
We went to the nearest Wal-Mart for some groceries, hot chocolate mix, and some of these.
There are more challenging days ahead, but for now, we are settled in as best we can be. No satellite TV but local stations via "air" are available, cell phones work well, Wi-Fi is iffy and limited, and the snow continues to fall. We still have running water, my tummy is full and I'm warm. The dashing and bold adventure could be worse.