Thursday, December 6, 2018

New Jersey - Day 5

Clarksboro KOA
Wednesday, 5 December 2018

This morning's weather report says - surprise! - that the Jersey coast, where I'd been thinking of moving today because it'd be warmer, is actually expected to get at least 3" of snow, while the Philly area might or might not get a bit in the afternoon.  They were a little off: it started snowing here at about 10:00 this morning and kept it up all day long.

Campground choice
That only one campground called me back after waiting 2 days for return calls means to me it's the only other one that's got space available.  I took a good look at my new map and realized that New Jersey really is a small state and, unlike in Connecticut, this KOA is pretty much in the middle of the state.  Plus here there are highways going almost everywhere, where in CT a lot of the state was served by more rural roads.  Plus plus there's the significant price difference between my only 2 choices.  So I decided to stay here for the whole month.

KOA said I'd have to move to a different part of the campground, out of the short-term stay area, but the dogs and I have been walking over to the other area every day anyway, so that didn't seem to be a problem - especially not when I realized I'd still be close to the showers and laundry area.

First I had to disconnect my frozen water hose, which I'd left plugged in because the original forecast was for temps right at freezing, and instead it got down to 24° overnight and my hose was stiff with frozen water.  No advance warning about the snow, lousy prediction of temps - I'm beginning to lose faith in this particular group of weather people.

Once we got moved, the critters and I just hunkered down for the rest of the day while the snow and the temperature kept falling.  Cosy, though, now that I have plenty of propane.

RV choices
By the way, for folks who are thinking of getting the kind of RV that has slides, I have some ideas you may want to keep in mind. 

For the last few nights, I've had neighbors on both sides who came into the campground just for one night, and who arrived when it was starting to get dark or after dark.  When I get to a new campground, I plug in my electric cord and maybe plug in my water hose (and maybe not) and I'm done.  For these folks, that's just the start.  They're out in the dark working to stabilize the RV so they can put the slide(s) out safely, and if it's a trailer and not a motorhome they're also putting down struts on special pads (so they don't sink into the ground) to get it level.  It's a time-consuming process and I don't envy them a bit.

I know slides would be the answer to my wish that Hermione Granger could just magically expand the interior of my RV without expanding the exterior, but I seriously wouldn't want the hassle.  Especially not since I'm traveling alone.

In addition to thinking about the mechanics of it, think about what you'd have inside if for some reason you couldn't put out the slide - because of high winds or because you'd stopped on the side of the road or in a parking lot or because you got in late and were leaving early - whatever.  I've seen some RVs configured so the mattress was rolled in half when the slide was pushed in and the people wouldn't really have a bed unless they could put the slide out.  That sort of thing.

I decided no slides just because I have no faith that they'd work for 4 years with no trouble and then I'd be stuck with a problem.

Something else to think of is the idea of towing a vehicle behind a large RV.  Aside from the difficulties in driving that kind of setup, there's the difficulty in dealing with it once you get to a campground.  First it's finding a campground that will take you - they adore me when I say I have a small RV with no slides and no towed vehicle - they always ask, and they always say oh yes we can find room for you, when it's clear they'd have said no to a larger setup. 

And not all campgrounds can offer pull-through sites.  When they have to back into the site, people first detach the towed vehicle and drive it out of the way, then they go back and maneuver the RV into the space, and then they stow the extra vehicle and the towing gear in front of the RV.  Not so much of a problem for 2 people traveling together but a huge nuisance for 1 person.

Every decision you make about how you're traveling can limit where you can stay.  It's bad enough if you're traveling with pets.  NJ's state campgrounds, for instance, have a limit of 2 pets per site, which leaves me out now that I've got Lily.  (You wouldn't think indoor cats would count, but they do.)  And many campgrounds don't allow any dogs at all, or don't allow what they consider "aggressive" breeds (and why oh why don't they include Pomeranians and some terriers and other small dogs in that category?).

Anyway,  these are just thoughts I've been having while watching what happens with my and other people's choices.  It's quite obviously a very personal decision, and I guess what I'm really saying is think it through - all the way through - very carefully before you invest your money.

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