FINALLY!!! School is out and vacation has started! We left Saturday morning for our first stop of Texarkana. We do not usually make our campground reservations until we get on the road, mainly because if we are delayed because we find something we would like to stop and do along the way or because of delays due to road construction, this may change where we decide to stop. So, after we got on the road, I called the Texarkana KOA to make reservations. I always have my KOA membership number available because it gives me a 10% discount. If you are not familiar with the KOA membership rewards, you need to check it out…we have found that it is totally worth joining! I also make personal preference requests known to the campground and ask if they can accommodate them.
Our #1 and really our only request is to be near the restrooms. This request is mainly due to the fact that we do not use our restroom in our camper, mostly this is a personal preference. We used a tent and a pop-up camper for too many years to feel the need to use a camper bathroom. Another reason is that having to deal with dump stations and having the smell of a septic below our bedroom or kitchen does not appeal. I know that we will eventually use it as we get older and making the walk to the restroom gets harder to handle, but for now, we are content to get the exercise when the need arises.
We arrived in plenty of time to set up while it was daylight, then found my favorite restaurant, Cracker Barrel, if you like great home made food, it is the best restaurant to go to!
Now, every time we go to Texarkana, we drive down State Line Avenue which is next to the campground to the Court House since it straddles the Texas and Arkansas State Line. It is a cool thing to look at.
We thought everything for the trip was done and ready, but when Jeff went to check out the camper after we had set up, he noticed some bulges in two of our tires and figured that the belt had broken in the tires, so we would need to replace them before going on. The problem with this situation was that it was Saturday evening in a town a long way from home and we would not get to do anything about it until Sunday. As we found out the next day, all of the tire businesses were closed on Sunday. We do have a membership with the Good Sam Roadside Assistance and we called them to find out what they could do to help us. The person who assisted us was very helpful and finally found someone in Arkansas who could get us the tires, but the cost of this vendor was more than we wanted to pay, so we canceled our request and decided we would wait another day if we could not find a solution. We tried Sam’s Club, but they did not have the tires we needed in stock. Then we found out where the Wal-Mart was and they had the tires we needed and a great price on top of that! After we packed up and took the camper to Wal-Mart and they started changing the tires, they discovered that all 4 tires needed to be replaced!!! That was a blow to the vacation budget, but it was cheaper than the other vendor wanted to change 2 tires AND it prevented a possible devastating accident down the road. I am all for safety while traveling!
Having to find tires and getting them changed delayed us leaving Texarkana until 12:30pm. We crossed Arkansas with little trouble, but Tennessee had a lot of road construction going on, so it was after 10pm before we rolled into the Nashville KOA. This KOA is right down the road from the Grand Ole Opry and is an easy drive to the Ryman Auditorium and other attractions in Nashville, TN. This is another KOA we have stayed at in the past, but it has grown some since our last visit here.
We got a decent start on Monday, stopping at the Camping World around the corner from the campground and then onto McDonald’s for breakfast. Our travels continued through Kentucky, Ohio, 13 miles of West Virginia, and finally Pennsylvania before stopping for the night at the Washington/Pittsburgh KOA. It was pouring rain and after 10 hours on the road, we were exhausted. This was a new campground for us and our crankiness and unfamiliarity with it made it difficult for us to appreciate it as we should have. You know our restroom issues and with the rain, it was difficult to get to the restroom that was down the steep hill without possible falling down consequences, though the campground got us as close to the restroom as they could. This resulted in the crankiness situation…I truly felt like a 2 year old not getting what I wanted. Oh well, I guess you never truly outgrow wanting your own way! After the rain stopped later in the night, I did brave the hill and survived without injury, so it turned out well for me. The next morning, we packed up again, paid up at the office, because we came in so late. The campground has beautiful trees all around and nice, friendly staff; it is just not suited to the way we travel. The campground was pretty full, so others do appreciate the benefits of this place.
My next entry will deal with the trauma of traveling to another country! Just kidding…it really was not trauma, just a minor delay while crossing into Canada! Stay tuned!