Monday, May 2, 2011

Lake-in-Wood, Part I

Sometimes, waiting until the last minute to plan things is the best idea in the world. We'd been planning to camp this weekend at nearby French Creek State Park, where we'd be able to enjoy all the scenery without spending too much money (staying at state parks is generally the cheapest option as far as campgrounds go). However, when Steve called Saturday morning to make a reservation, we found out there wasn't an available site with electric hookup. We kind of need electric, so it was on to Plan B...which wasn't much of a "plan" but worked out tremendously in our favor anyway!

See, there's a pretty sweet app on the iPad, AllStays Camp & RV, that allows you to search for campgrounds based on location. Then it displays a map so depending on location, you'll be able to see all the nearest campgrounds, low overheads, etc., and from there you can click on the campground you're interested in and get a link to its website.

So, since we'd already discovered French Creek this way, we just followed the map to the next nearest campground, which happened to be Lake-in-Wood Resort in Narvon, PA. Without doing much research -- other than verifying it was dog-friendly -- Steve called and reserved a wooded site with all the available utilities. 
We so excited!
 Getting ready

Slowly but surely, we're perfecting our "leaving" techniques. Packing was a breeze, and hitching the car to the trailer took much less time than it usually does. We did have to make a pit stop at the parking lot of Steve's workplace so we could adjust the sway bars on the hitch. Because the lot there was completely level (unlike the one at the storage facility), Steve was finally able to adjust them to the proper level. I'm not too sure how this all works, but it made a huge difference in the smoothness of our ride. Before, towing the trailer was more "jolty" (slowing down/stopping at intersections was always a little nerve-wracking), and I wouldn't have recommended anyone prone to motion sickness riding with us.

Now, though, you might even forget for a bit that your car is tethered to a 4,600+-lb trailer. Can't complain about that!

The drive

We had no problems for most of the hour-long drive up the lovely Route 23. Once we got deeper into the sticks (it's not real country until you start seeing people in bonnets/overalls/dresses, aka the friendly neighborhood Mennonites), we had to turn off the main road. Steep hills and winding curves time! This was definitely one of those times that served as good learning experience. Steve had to learn how to pull the trailer up hills, down hills and around sharp turns, while I had to learn how to keep quiet, calm and also how to read a map so I could tell him where to turn next.

Now, I'd been reading up on this place we'd be staying at, and the excitement was building to a fever pitch. First of all, the website was written from the viewpoint of "gnomes," which were apparently the mascots of this particular campground. I was psyched about the on-site restaurant, called The Gnome Cafe. At this point, I was picturing a Disney World-type experience, except instead of Mickey and Minnie roaming around and mingling with guests, you'd have gnomes instead. It's official, themed campgrounds are my favorite.


 The minute we arrived at the resort (yes, resort -- this was no dinky little campground!), it was clear how much different this was going to be from our last experience. No offense to Country Acres, but there wasn't much going on there aside from a camp store and a playground. Behold, the view from our car at check-in:

Parking lot for front office, trading post, mini golf and Gnome Cafe

The lake
Site arrival

Before we could fully enjoy the place, we had to hook up at our beautiful wooded site, which happened to be conveniently located on a steep hill and ringed on the sides with ominous-looking rocks. Excellent. Steve had to back in, which took some time because the trailer needed to be right next to all the hookups, and the car had to be completely straightened out. I, especially, was getting nervous about him hitting the rocks, and it was my job to tell him when he was edging too close to doing so (ahh! the responsibility). A kind staffer offered to help back us in, but Steve said we'd "figure it out." Just like a man.

He did it! (Note the evil rocks) 

Not too shabby
Much more to come later!



  2. Thank you for mentioning my AllStays Camp and RV app. I do the app myself and appreciate hearing that it is out on the road and in use, especially on a pretty nice blog. I always welcome all comments and suggestions as well. Even with family in the state, I haven't actually driven my RV in PA yet. - Adam -

  3. Great to meet you Adam, and thanks for checking out my blog! I can't tell you how useful your app is. We're now using it to find campgrounds that are located directly on the beach, so it's been a huge help. Don't know what we'd do without it!

  4. the best way to back in? listen to your spouse and no one else!