New England has many scenic parks with RV-friendly campgrounds between its forested mountains and Atlantic coastline. These parks from Connecticut to Maine are some of the best home bases while exploring this beautiful northeastern region.
1. Franconia Notch State Park, New Hampshire
Franconia Notch State Park lies between the Franconia and Kinsman mountain ranges in northern New Hampshire. Highway 93 runs through the park from Flume Gorge to the northern end near Echo Lake.
The park has a bike path and hiking trails of various lengths. Some of the routes start directly from the campground. The Flume Trail (pictured above) is a relatively easy 1.8 mile trip through the natural gorge along a boardwalk. Avid climbers can also take on the more challenging trek up Mount Lafayette.
Go swimming, kayaking or canoeing on Echo Lake, or take the scenic aerial tram to the top of Cannon Mountain. An enclosed cable car will take you on an eight-minute trip up the 4,080-foot peak where you can get views of mountains in four different states and Canada. The summit also has walking paths, an observation deck, cafe, and restrooms.
2. Nickerson State Park, Massachusetts
Not many places compare to Nickerson State Park as far as scenic camping on Cape Cod. This huge park encompasses over 1900 acres on the peninsula and eight freshwater ponds for swimming, fishing, and boating.
The campground has over 400 sites within pine and oak forest, some with water views. During the day you can rent or take your own bike to traverse over 8 miles of paved trails. The park also connects to the 22-mile Cape Cod Rail Trail which you can take out to Cape Cod National Seashore.
3. Hammonasset Beach State Park, Connecticut
This Connecticut park has more than two miles of beach along Long Island Sound. There’s a large campground just a short walk from the shore with over 550 grassy campsites.
The park also has picnic areas and a boardwalk that spans about 3/4 of a mile along the water. A nature center is within the park as well and offers a variety of educational programs.
4. Camden Hills State Park, Maine
Maine’s coastal Route 1 passes through Camden Hills State Park near the village of Camden. The park has hiking trails up coastal mountains and a campground that can accommodate RVs. Some of the wooded sites are on a fair slope, so be sure you know how to properly level your rig.
You’ll want to take the scenic drive up Mount Battie Road while you’re here. It leads up to a historic stone tower (built in 1897) where you can get mesmerizing views of Camden Harbor, Penobscot Bay and the surrounding islands.
5. Ellacoya State Park, New Hampshire
Ellacoya State Park provides access to the southwestern shore of Lake Winnipesaukee, the largest lake in New Hampshire. You can enjoy lunch in the picnic area and go swimming in the lake on a hot summer day. The lake has a 600-foot long beach and across the water you can get views of the Sandwich and Ossipee mountains and the occasional sailboats.
The campground has over 100 sites for RVs of all sizes, available through reservations only. Each site has full hookups, a picnic table, and fire ring.
6. Elmore State Park, Vermont
In north Vermont this park is nestled along the shore of Lake Elmore and home to Elmore Mountain. You can take a trail up to the summit for a great day hike at about 4.3 miles and about 1243 feet in elevation.
On hot summer days the lake is perfect for water activities. The park has a sandy swimming beach and a historic CCC-built beachhouse with a snack bar and boat rentals including canoes, kayaks, row and pedal boats. A short walk from the lake, the campground has 45 sites for tents and RVs as well as restrooms and hot coin-operated showers.
7. Pawtuckaway State Park, New Hampshire
This park in southern New Hampshire surrounds Pawtuckaway Lake and the Pawtuckaway Mountains. It’s in a perfect location less than an hour from coastal beaches to the east and Manchester to the west.
Between the hiking trails up the mountains and water activites on the lake there’s lots to do during the day. The park also has a large 192-site campground as well as bathrooms with showers. The wooded sites are rustic and many have views of the lake. Each spot has its own fire ring, picnic table, flat area for a tent, and parking space.
8. Lamoine State Park, Maine
Lamoine State Park is a less crowded place to camp on the Maine coast near Acadia National Park. The park has about 62 campsites along Frenchman Bay, some are big grassy sites and other smaller sites are right on the water. No hookups are available but they do have a dump station and potable water.
You can relax and watch the fishing boats come and go, or make a short drive to Acadia National Park to see the sea cliffs, forests, mountains, and historic lighthouses.
About 25 miles south of San Francisco is the picturesque seaside village of Half Moon Bay. While visiting this area with endless beaches and photo opportunities, you’ll hear the term “Coastside” used frequently. It refers to the San Mateo County Coastside, which is made up of more than 300 square miles of breathtaking California countryside.
Half Moon Bay. Photo via Wikipedia
The Coastside offers easy access to sandy beaches, redwood forests, and open spaces, and encompasses the cities of Half Moon Bay, Montara, Moss Beach, El Granada, San Gregorio, La Honda, and Pescadero.
Set in the heart of the Coastside is Pelican Point RV Park, which is a short walk to the Pacific Ocean in one direction and the town of Half Moon Bay in the other.
Featuring 75 sites, this is one of the best RV parks in the area. A pet-friendly resort, Pelican Point also offers full hook ups, free Wi-Fi, cable TV, a dump station, convenience store, restrooms, and showers.
Half Moon Bay Golf Links – The Ocean Course
The Coastal Trail begins right outside the park, and is popular for bicycling, walking, or getting to the beach.
For golfers, accessing the nearby Half Moon Bay Golf Links is a must. Though pricey, it is well worth the money to experience golf with a backdrop of incredible scenery.
With 180-degree sweeping ocean views, Half Moon Bay Golf Links features two breathtaking courses: the firm and fast links style of the Ocean Course, and the American traditional parkland style of the Old Course, with its iconic cypress trees and dogleg fairways.
Half Moon Bay Golf Links – The Old Course
The par 72, 7,001-yard Old Course was designed in 1973 by Arnold Palmer and Francis Duane, and later re-worked by Arthur Hills in 1990. The counterpart Ocean Course was also designed by Arthur Hills, opening for play in 1997. The par 72, 18-hole championship Ocean Course stretches to 6,854-yards.
Half Moon Bay Golf Links is also part of the castle-like Ritz-Carlton hotel and spa. Like the golf, they have great food and amenities, but it comes with a price.
Nestled on the northeast corner of Lake Fayette in Fayetteville, Texas is Oak Thicket Park. With only 21 sites to park an RV, and none of them being pull-through, this park is not for everyone. However, if you are okay with backing in your rig amongst the trees, you might be able to find a little slice of heaven off the beaten path.
Known for it’s fishing, Lake Fayette is often home to tournaments throughout the year. The park itself has multiple fishing docks and its own boat ramp. The parking lot near the ramp is often full of empty boat trailers.
Lake Fayette is renowned for its fishing.
You can hear the sound of motors zooming around and hulls slapping the surface of the water in the distance. Even if you aren’t a fisher, there is plenty to do in the area.
Things to do
Round Top, Texas is about a ten-minute drive down the country highway and is renowned for its vintage market held every spring. Even if you don’t catch the big fair, there is still plenty of shopping, art galleries, and delicious eats! If you haven’t had Royer’s pie, do yourself a favor and try the nationally acclaimed Sweet ‘N Salty.
Visit Blissful Folly Farm nearby and try their mead.
Once you’ve gotten your stomach nice and full on home cooking, not much further down the road from Round Top is the Blissful Folly Farm, home to the Rohan Meadery.
Mead is its own classification of alcoholic beverage, separate from beer or wine. It is fermented with honey, and is therefore often referred to as honey wine.
The meadery tasting room is set back a little ways on the farm, surrounded by chickens running around loose, and honey bees buzzing around, minding their own business.
If you go on a Saturday, you can often hear live music out on their shaded patio. After you’ve tasted all of their creations, settle in with a delicious pizza and a growler full of your favorite mead.
Back at the park
Once you are heading back to Oak Thicket Park for the evening, make sure you already have everything you need, because there is not a camp store on-site.
RV sites at Oak Thicket Park are fairly roomy.
Actually, Oak Thicket does not offer much in terms of amenities. There is only one bathhouse in the entire camp circle and it wasn’t exactly clean. Some people won’t mind this or they will shower in their own RV. However, if you choose to battle through the bug-infested entrance, the shower water gets plenty hot and has decent pressure. Just make sure to bring bath sandals.
If you walk around the campground a bit, you will notice that every RV space is fairly roomy, leaving space between each spot.
There are also dense trees and brush so you don’t feel like your neighbors are invading you. If you explore a little further, you will find a couple trail options near the entrance of the park. One is a small loop, easy for families or walking your dog. The other is a three mile trail connecting you to Park Prairie Park on the other side of the lake.
If you like to wander around a bit, Oak Thicket Park is a great home base to fall asleep at night under the bright Texas stars, and a beautiful spot to wake up with the morning birds.
RV Life by Dave Helgeson - Adventures In Rving - 6d ago
In the last installment I shared my discovery of the encyclopedia repository in the old mining camp of Reilly, California, and suggested camping in the nearby ghost town of Ballarat.
Remains in Ballarat. Photos by Dave Helgeson.
Ballarat is a forgotten mining ghost town. It was founded in 1896 as a supply point for the mines in the canyons of the Panamint Range to the east. A young immigrant from Australia named George Riggins gave Ballarat its name when he proposed it should be named for Ballarat, Victoria in the heart of Australia’s gold country.
In its prime, Ballarat boasted seven saloons, hotels, a post office and more. But like most mining towns the mines played out and the town was mostly abandoned by 1917.
Today, all that remains are the crumbling remains of adobe walls, with the one exception being the “general store” where for a few bucks (bring cash) you can buy a cold soda and learn some local history from Rock Novack, the town’s caretaker.
More remains in the old mining town.
A couple of notable stories you might hear:
One colorful character that continued to call Ballarat home after everyone else abandoned the town was Charles Ferge, aka Seldom Seen Slim. Slim was a vanishing breed of prospector who, despite the extreme summer temperatures, spent more than fifty years living and working his claims in the area. Ballarat was his home until he passed away in 1968 at the age of 86.
He is buried in the town cemetery, with a grave marked by a plaque and ornate fence. The epitaph on his grave marker proclaims, “Me lonely? Hell no! I’m half coyote and half wild burro.”
A darker story involves the old green Dodge Power Wagon permanently parked in town. The truck was driven by “Tex” Watson, one of Charles Manson’s followers, as he fled from nearby Barker Ranch prior to a raid of the ranch to round up the Manson family. The truck broke down as he made his escape forcing him to hitchhike back home to Texas.
This old 1942 Dodge Power Wagon was said to be driven by Tex Watson, a follower of Charles Manson.
Police eventually caught up with Tex and arrested him a month later. Pentagram, a symbol that the Manson family used to represent themselves, is drawn on the ceiling of the truck and is the only clue of the trucks dreadful past. The Barker Ranch is located in a canyon southeast of Ballarat now inside the boundaries of Death Valley National Park.
It began as a mining camp and recreational property from the 1940s to the 1960s before being rented to the Manson Family. The Ranch burned in the spring of 2009 under suspicious circumstances.
Camping in Ballarat
Travel the Trona Wildrose Road to N36° 02.020 W117° 16.898 where you will find the Ballarat Road. Travel east approximately 3.5 mile on the Ballarat Road to the ghost town of Ballarat and the Ballarat campground.
Boondocking in Ballarat.
Ballarat Road is suitable for any two-wheel drive vehicle and is currently being well maintained by a mining company operating south of Ballarat. However, the road is washboarded and if you choose not to navigate it with your RV, head two tenths of a mile north on Trona Wildrose Road to N36° 02.196 W117° 16.851 where you will find a turn-off heading east to a nice boondocking spot (pictured).
You can then take your tow vehicle or dinghy into Ballarat. While camped in the Ballarat area you might be treated to an impromptu air show of fighter jets from nearby China Lake as they practice low altitude flights in the valley.
For those who need a wheelchair or have physical mobility challenges, getting out to explore the world in an RV has its own allure, and its own obstacles. While travel in an RV can open up a lot of options to provide convenient travel with the comforts of home, it takes a bit of customizing and research to get a camping set-up that meets your mobility needs.
This Alpine Coach has been fitted with a wheelchair lift. (Photo by IRV2 member Algoma)
Newmar and Winnebago are two of the few RV manufacturers that specifically tailor their off-the-line models to accommodate individuals with physical challenges, including innovative floor layouts, lifts, widened entrances and pathways, lower counters and cabinetry, roll-in bathrooms, grab bars, and conveniently located controls.
Both companies have done their research, and can customize your RV from the ground up to suit your needs. Other post-manufacture upgrades and remodels can be done after purchase if you are handy or have a shop that can do a quality customization for you.
If you’re not certain about the RV lifestyle and how your mobility considerations may fit into an RV, you can rent RVs with accessibility options. Commercial rental services usually have a few ADA RVs for rent, however you can also search RVShare.com for rentals by owner to find an RV that best fits your needs.
A wheelchair-friendly Winnebago. Photo: Youtube
Once you have a rig figured out, it is time to get out and explore! There are some helpful websites and blogs that give a good summary of accessible locations and activities. Karen and Tony with Rolling in an RV have been traveling for decades and assembled an extensive listing of accessible campgrounds, boondocking locations, and activities around the US, including easy-to-use interactive maps.
The Handicapped Travel Club has been around since 1973 and is a great resource with over 250 members and annual rallies and tours. The RVing Accessibility Group is a group that works to raise awareness of recreational accessibility. They also have listings and descriptions of accessible RV parks by state on their website.
Finally, using forums like iRV2.com, you can connect online with others with similar interests and challenges and share experiences and successes in RV travel.
You may not always have cell service or hookups when you’re camping in the woods, but you will get peace, quiet, and cool shade from a canopy of trees. Forest campgrounds are also usually a short walk from hiking trails and rivers or lakes where you can go fishing, swimming, or kayaking/canoeing. These are some of our favorite campgrounds in the woods that have nicely shaded sites for tents and RVs.
Laura Lake. Photo: Pinterest
1. Laura Lake Campground, Wisconsin
Laura Lake is surrounded by the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest in northeast Wisconsin. The campground has rustic back-in sites along the lake and is just a short walk from Lake Gordon where there’s a picnic area and swimming beach.
You can go fishing, kayaking or canoeing out on the lake, or hike a trail that goes around the shore. The sites are private and well-spaced, each with a picnic ring and fire pit. More info.
2. Denny Creek Campground, Washington
Denny Creek Campground is an easy stop off I-90 in Washington’s Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. The sites are spaced out among tall shady trees and some have electric hookups.
Stay at Denny Creek in Washington and hike to see Franklin Falls. Photo: Sean Munson
A few trails start from the campground and several more (like Snow Lake) are only a short drive from the sites. We recommend taking the Franklin Falls Trail from the campground for a two mile hike (with only 400 feet in elevation gain) to a gorgeous waterfall. You can walk up close to feel the mist from the final 70 foot drop of this waterfall, just be careful of the slippery rocks.
The campground is open seasonally from May 10 through September 30. While you’re in the area, make the half-hour drive west to the iconic Snoqualmie Falls. More info.
3. Heart O’ The Hills Campground, Washington
Heart O’ The Hills can be found on your way up Hurricane Ridge in Washington’s Olympic National Forest. You can park the RV or trailer at this campground among old-growth trees and take your tow vehicle the rest of the way up the narrow winding road. The campground is open year round (weather permitting) and sites are $20/night, first-come, first-served.
The campground has sites for RVs up to 21 feet in length and a few up to 35 feet. Like many forest campgrounds there are no hookups and many of the sites are not level. However, from the top of Hurricane Ridge you can get unparalleled views of the Olympic Mountains, check out the Visitor Center, and access several hiking trails. More info.
South Shore Campground, Oregon. Photo: NPS.gov
4. South Shore Campground, Oregon
This campground is along the south shore of Suttle Lake in Oregon’s Deschutes National Forest. The sites are nicely shaded by the tall surrounding pine and Douglas fir trees; about a third of the sites are located right on the lake and the rest are on a hillside overlooking the water. Each spot has gravel parking, a picnic table, and fire ring, and dump stations are located across the campground.
The lake has a boat ramp and a 3.2 mile trail that follows around the shore. South Shore Campground is pet-friendly and open seasonally, from March 16 through October 6. More info.
5. Beartree Campground, Virginia
Mount Rogers Scenic Byway takes you through beautiful countryside in southwest Virginia and passes a recreation area in Jefferson National Forest. This area has a family friendly campground, playground, sandy beach, and picnic shelters, as well as a fishing pier where anglers can catch smallmouth bass and rainbow trout.
The sites have no hookups, but can easily accommodate most RVs. They’re surrounded by dense trees, and each one is equipped with a grill and picnic table. Near the sites you can swim or rent a canoe to take out on the lake. There’s also a scenic hiking trail that follows around the shore.
The campground is seasonal and will be open from April 28 through October 28. More info.
6. Newton Creek Campground, Wyoming
Only 16 miles east of Yellowstone, Newton Creek Campground is a less crowded place to camp near the Shoshone River. The campground is just off Highway 16 in Shoshone National Forest of northwest Wyoming. Because it’s in the heart of grizzly country, the campground only allows hard-sided RVs (no pop-up campers or tents).
Sites are only $15 a night (no hookups) with a 16-day limit and potable water available. The campground will be open May 18 through September 23. More info.
Jacks Gulch Campground. Photo: National Forest Service
7. Jacks Gulch Campground, Colorado
Don’t be deterred by the steep gravel road to this campground. The drive is well worth it to reach a quiet, less visited location in Roosevelt National Forest of northern Colorado.
The campsites are set among a ponderosa pine forest with colorful wildflowers in the summer and many nearby hiking trails for all skill levels. It’s also the only campground in the area with big rig friendly sites and 30-amp electric hookups.
Jacks Gulch Campground will be open from May 24 through November 4. More info.
8. Shoreline Campground, Idaho
Shoreline is across the road from Warm Lake in Idaho’s Boise National Forest. The campground is at an elevation of 5,300 feet and gets partial shade from the surrounding trees. There are no hookups, but each site has a picnic table, fire ring, and grill.
A boat ramp is just across the road from the campground, and a small sandy swimming beach is a short walk away. The lake is also popular among anglers for catching cutthroat and rainbow trout. If you prefer going off-road, take your ATV on a twenty mile drive along Telephone Ridge Trail #112.
The campground will be open from May 24 through September 13. More info.
If you love outdoor activities, you are going to love Arizona’s Mohave Valley. Located less than 20 miles south of Laughlin, Nevada, Moon River RV Resort is one of the premier resorts in the area. Featuring 84 sites and full hook ups, Moon River RV Resort offers a peaceful country setting that’s just minutes from golf and gaming action, among other activities.
Moon River RV Resort
Amenities within the pet-friendly resort include a heated swimming pool, a large recreation hall that’s complete with a full kitchen, library, DVDs, games, and puzzles. There’s also free Wi-Fi, good TV reception, showers, laundry facilities, and park models for rent.
The Colorado River is about a mile away, and offers water sports like kayaking, fishing, and boating. In nearby Laughlin there are also casino gaming establishments like Harrah’s, Avi, Tropicana, Golden Nugget, Colorado Belle Casino, and Riverside, to name a few.
A slice of Americana can be seen in nearby Oatman where a bit of Route 66 lives on. Located just 13 miles from Moon River RV Resort, Oatman is an authentic western ghost town and mining camp with “wild” burros roaming the streets. There are a number of historic buildings and plenty of photo opportunities in colorful Oatman.
El Rio Golf Club
Given the area’s latitude that yields mild to warm year-round weather, several quality golf courses are available in the Mohave Valley. One of the quality tracks is The El Rio Golf Club, which is right next door to Moon River RV Resort. The course opened in 2004 and was designed by Matt Dye. This par 72, 18-hole championship course stretches to 7,115 yards from the tips.
El Rio is highlighted by scenic views of the surrounding mountains, gentle rolling and forgiving fairways, undulating greens, and four holes with water features. The course is open and in immaculate shape all year round.
El Rio’s clubhouse features Spanish, mission-style architecture, along with a spacious dining room, full bar, outdoor lounge, and private meeting room. The pro shop is fully equipped with the latest in golf apparel, equipment, and accessories.
In addition to El Rio Golf Club, you can find 10 additional golf courses in the greater Mohave Valley area listed here. You can also read more about Moon River RV Resort on RV Park Reviews.
Having the ability to bring your canine companions on the road to share your adventures is one of life’s great joys, and for many of us, one of the reasons you have a furry buddy.
Dogs make great hiking, biking, running, canoeing, camping, swimming, skiing, sledding, Frisbee, you-name-it buddies, and being active is good for both human and canine friends. However, with fun and adventure comes a certain level of risk that you need to be prepared for—cuts, sprains, and other injuries can happen to your buddy as well as to yourself during any outing, and can be of particular concern if you are on the road away from your regular veterinarian’s care.
It is good practice to have some sort of first aid kit on hand that can be available if something happens to you or your dog while you are off having fun.
Traveling with your dog is one of the joys of being on the road! (Photo by IRV2.com member Hondavalk)
There are all sorts of pre-packaged first aid kits that you can get online or in stores that make good starting points. Most (but not all) of the items that are sold for humans can also be used for dogs.
You need to be aware that many over-the-counter medications (such as Ibuprofen) that are safe for humans can be very toxic to animals, and should not be given to them. In addition, some medications that can be given to dogs cannot be given to cats.
Of course, a human-sized Band-Aid isn’t going to be very helpful for an injury on your German Shepherd, so any first aid kit will need a certain level of modification to fit your needs.
The best place to start is a chat with your veterinarian
A good relationship between a pet owner and their veterinarian is the best bet to ensure the overall health of any animal. Your vet knows the specific needs that your dog has, and can help you find items to include in your kit for your dog, the duration of your trip, and the activities you are planning.
They can also identify items in your kit that should NOT be used on dogs, which you might want to mark down so that in the future you can easily identify and avoid them.
Ask yourself before your trip:
What sort of trip are you planning?
How long of a trip are you expecting?
What type of injury might occur?
Where are the closest resources you can turn to for help?
Will you be within cell phone range?
Do you have local veterinary numbers written down?
Does your dog have special medication or medical needs to plan for?
Are there particular environmental conditions (extreme heat, cold, remoteness, noise, poisonous plants/animals, etc.) to take into consideration?
Are there any special logistics, vaccinations, or medications you may need where you are going (ie international travel, or areas where there may be parasites that you do not have in your area, such as fleas, heartworm, ticks, etc.)?
These questions are important to consider for every outing you take. A long weekend trip near your home requires a different level of preparedness than a multi-month adventure across the US with your dog, for example.
Once you have an idea of the scope of your trip, you can better plan what you may need as far as first aid. It may be useful to have several different first aid kits assembled for a range of adventures you may have planned.
Once you have your materials gathered, you need a convenient way to store them. A toiletry travel bag or an old “bum bag” can be used as an easy grab-and-go first aid kit.
For larger adventures, you might consider a small suitcase or duffel bag. Make sure your first aid kit is stored in a place where it can be easily found when you need it.
Take a first aid class
It is always good to have basic first aid training of some sort–from the basic course you can take at Red Cross to extensive wilderness first aid training to deal with emergencies when help is not nearby.
Your veterinarian can also help guide you for what to do on longer, more remote trips where veterinary care may be some time or distance away. If you have multiple dogs, be sure to ask your vet for dosage of any medications (over the counter or prescription) for each animal, and write it down in your kit. Additionally, having some reference books on hand can be helpful.
There are a number of emergency care guides specifically for dogs that are available. It is good to look through them a little before the need arises to familiarize yourself with them. You can even add tabs to sections that may be more useful for your adventure so you can flip to that page quickly.
Putting this all together takes time, but to give you some ideas it might be helpful to peek inside our first aid kits. For full disclosure, our kits are designed for our particular location and canine adventures.
Each winter we travel north to Alaska with our 20 sled dogs and 2 cats. We take multi-day winter camping trips by dog sled through remote parts of Alaska, often covering 300 miles or more at a time. Temperatures can get well below zero, so many things that are brittle plastic or in liquid form cannot be used. Even at our cabin, the closest veterinarian is 2 hours away, and on the trails vet care could be days away. This is likely very different than the activity you are planning, so keep that in mind and modify!
Skin stapler or suture material (with instruction for use from our vet)
Child’s t-shirt (to prevent licking on the torso)
Our biggest first aid kit is the one we use when we are on the road driving. Some of the stretches in Canada and Alaska are very remote, and we need to have everything on hand to keep our animals healthy and comfortable for a long drive. That kit fits in a large laptop case, and includes all sorts of things from sterile fluids to specific pharmaceuticals we may need for our dogs with medical issues.
Again, this is what we use on our travels, so the best bet is to work closely with your vet to get exactly what you may need for adventures you are planning.
RV Life by Dave Helgeson - Adventures In Rving - 2w ago
Those of us over 50 fondly (or maybe not so fondly) remember encyclopedias. Before you could find anything you wanted to online, encyclopedias provided a wealth of information contained in a set of voluminous books that required considerable shelf space lined up in order from A to Z.
Every school library had at least one set of encyclopedias, and door-to-door salesman were great at convincing (shaming) parents that every home should have a set if they wanted their children to be successful in life. My dad had a set that he so cherished that he built a bookcase to house them, which I have since inherited.
Author next to ruins. Photos by Dave Helgeson.
I often wonder what I should do with them as I never look at them, and even if I did the information is terribly outdated and not applicable to anything I would need. I would feel guilty if I threw them out, and I am sure a thrift store would pitch them if I placed (snuck) them into their donation bin.
Well, on a recent trip through California’s Panamint Valley, I discovered how somebody else solved their encyclopedia dilemma.
In the mining ghost town of Reilly there are many scattered remains of homes built primarily of native stone, which provided readily available building materials for the residents. One exception is a dugout which was hewn out of the sidewall of a gully.
Seeing the door to this home open, I thought I would take a look inside.
Peering around the door into the living room, I was surprised to see not one, but at least three complete sets of encyclopedias in the abandoned home! Two of the sets were in a bookcase.
While I don’t advocate abandoning personal property on public land, I can fully understand the thinking behind why this person did so: there was no guilt of sending them to the dump.
Given the aridness and heat of their storage location, the encyclopedias are likely to survive hundreds or even thousands of years.
And who knows, when the digital age that we are currently in collapses, these encyclopedias might become highly coveted documents like the Dead Sea scrolls when rediscovered in the future!
Of course the other possibility of why the encyclopedias are in the home is that the door-to-door encyclopedia Britannica salesperson was highly successful with the last resident!
The Panamint Valley is remote with limited communications and services. It can also be very hot in the summer. Carry extra drinking water and always let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return.
You will find “downtown” Reilly at N36° 00.403 W117° 22.191
The encyclopedia repository is located on the north side of the wash that divides the town.
These are your nearest camping options:
Boondocking: The pictured site is located at N36° 00.601 W117° 20.120 which is just down the hill from Reilly.
Campground: The closest campground is across the valley at the old town of Ballarat. Click here for more information.
Quail Creek Golf Resort in Hartselle, Alabama offers a little of everything for the RV-golfer. While the golf course has been a popular destination for golfers visiting north Alabama over the last quarter century, the resort recently added 12 RV sites, with more sites projected for the future.
Quail Creek Golf Course
Quail Creek Golf Resort is 20 miles south of Decatur and 35 miles southwest of Huntsville in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. With a population of 15,000, Hartselle is the second largest city in Morgan County.
Situated within the sprawling 600-acre Quail Creek Resort and Conference Center, the RV resort offers pull-through sites, full hook ups, including 20/30/50 amp service, water, sewer, bathhouse, and laundry facilities. In addition, the pet-friendly resort offers free Wi-Fi, an exercise room, fishing pond, and nature trails.
The par 71 Quail Creek Golf Course features 18-holes and stretches to 6,520-yards. It includes well-manicured greens, fairways, tee boxes, a full service pro shop, along with a friendly and knowledgeable staff. Opened in 1993, this aesthetically-appealing and challenging 18-hole course will test golfers of all levels with its three lakes and more than 40 sand traps.
The Beehive Bathhouse is a can’t miss destination for quality high-end body and bath products. Featuring both men’s and women’s products, the Beehive Bathhouse offers body silk, body spray, hair products, headache relief products, handcrafted glycerine soaps, mustache wax, pure shea butter, cuticle repair salve, and foot care products. Open since 2004, the Beehive received numerous excellent reviews on TripAdvisor.com.
When the weather heats up in Alabama, and it will eventually, a great place to cool off is at the Hartselle Aquatic Center. This large, municipal-operated aquatic center features slides, diving boards, a lazy river feature, spray toys, kiddie areas, and concessions. It’s well worth the price of admission, especially if you’re traveling with children.
El-Marie’s Antique and Art Marketplace in Hartselle is another fun place to spend an afternoon. This unique one-of-a-kind antique and art marketplace is located one block northwest of the historical district. In addition to viewing interesting items, art classes will soon be starting.