Pete

Jan 162017
 

Charleston, SC RV Park Review – Lake Aire RV Park

We spent some of the winter months in the Myrtle Beach area. We decided to take a few days for a visit to Charleston, SC before heading home to New England. Our first choice in Charleston area RV parks was full. Based on what we read online, and its proximity to Charleston, Lake Aire RV Park was our second choice. Hopefully, this RV park review will give you at least an idea of what to expect should you stay here.

Charleston was originally formed as Charles Town in the late sixteen hundreds. Its famed Fort Sumter was the site of the opening shots of the Civil War. There are so many attractions, both historical and modern, military and otherwise.

Unfortunately, this trip we only had time for a small sampling. We took a boat out to Fort Sumter and toured Boone Hall Plantation. We strolled through the historic Charleston City Market. Then we got a taste of the city’s history, architecture, and culture on a horse-drawn carriage tour.

Where is it? —

The park is a dozen or so miles west of downtown Charleston, off of Highway 17 South.

Lake Aire RV Park & Campground
4375 Highway 162
Hollywood, SC 29449
www.lakeairerv.com/
(843) 571-1271

Getting There —

Coming from the Myrtle Beach, SC area, we took Highway 17 South. We were towing our fifth-wheel, so just outside of Charleston we took a right onto Route 526 to loop around the heart of the city. On the other side of Charleston, we got back onto 17 South roughly another 6 miles. Then we turned left off of 17 onto Highway 162, passing a small gas station on the right, and crossing some railroad tracks. The park entrance is less than a quarter-mile farther, on the left.

Coming from farther south, using Highway 17 North, Route 162 is approximately 45 miles from US I-95. After passing the junction of Highway 165, Highway 162 is about another 6 or seven miles, on the right.

Nearby Attractions –

There’s so much to see and do in the Charleston area. I’ll list just a few:

  • The Charleston Visitors Center, on Meeting St. in downtown Charleston – lots of great information and extremely helpful people
  • Fort Sumter National Monument
  • Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site
  • Horse-Drawn Carriage Tours (we used Old South Carriage Co.), boat tours, walking tours
  • Charleston City Market
  • Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum
  • Plantation tours – Boone Hall (we enjoyed this), Middleton Place, Magnolia Plantation & Gardens
  • Tons of museums, historic sites, places to eat, entertainment of all sorts

The Sites —

Most of the sites are pull-throughs, although there are some back-ins and quite a few tent sites. All the RV sites were gravel with some crushed rock, and sparse grass between sites. Our site was was pretty level and others appeared to be the same. The interior roads are a bit narrow, especially if you’re trying to maneuver a larger RV, but they’re manageable. We had a 50 amp site and the power was reliable. Water pressure was ample and consistent. While the sites are big enough, a bit more space between them would suit us better.

Amenities —

Lake Aire has most of the normal RV park amenities:

  • Laundry
  • Bathrooms with showers
  • Wireless Internet — like a lot of parks it worked but was none too fast
  • Private fishing lake (catch & release)
  • A small swimming pool
  • Pavilion with tables for group gatherings
  • Playground
  • Dump station

Rates —

We thought the rates were reasonable. 50 amp, full hook-up sites (like ours) are $42.00/night. Similar 30 amp sites are $38.50. Water & electric and tent sites range from $36.00 down to $19.00/night.

We got a 15% Escapees Club discount, better than the 10% Good Sam Club (to which we also belong) discount. Note that there is an 11.5% tax on top of the quoted rates.

The People —

Yeah, I know…ducks aren’t people, but this guy became our buddy. He showed up about every day and hung out under our picnic table. Guess he liked the snacks! We’d never seen this type of duck before, but Google told us it is a Muscovy duck.

We dealt with a couple of different humans in the office. They were friendly, polite, and helpful.

What We Liked Most —

  • We were in the “front” part of the park, near the lake. It was neat, clean, and quite pretty there.
  • The laundry was a fairly short walk from our site and while small, it was pretty clean and got the job done.
  • We used the bathroom in our fifth wheel, but the park’s facilities, although showing their age, appeared clean.
  • Good food markets, a Walmart, and other stores were only a few minutes away.
  • When we had some serious trouble with our tow vehicle, the park extended our stay a couple of times while we got things taken care of.
  • The park is reasonably close to Charleston’s attractions.

What We Liked Least —

  • There’s a very active and noisy train track close to the park. It didn’t bother us all that much, but was still a nuisance when trying to get to sleep at night.
  • When it rained, the site got quite muddy and it was hard not to track it into the rig.
  • Some RV parks require their seasonal and longer term residents to keep their sites clean and neat. Not so much here. Parts of extended-stay areas of park were kind of junky looking.
  • Lake Aire RV Park has a very minimal camp store as part of the office. They do sell ice and propane and a few other items, but its a good thing stores aren’t too far away.

Conclusions —

I’ve read glowing reviews of this park, and some terrible ones. Our experience here was somewhere in the middle. It was fine, but not outstanding. Our RV park reviews and opinions are, of course, based on our own particular wants, needs, and expectations. Lake Aire is certainly a handy place to stay while visiting the Charleston area. Next time we visit, we’ll likely try another nearby park to see how it compares. All in all though, we’d not hesitate to stay again at Lake Aire RV Park.

 

 January 16, 2017  Posted by at 9:57 pm RV Park Reviews, Travel Experiences No Responses »
Oct 282015
 

Use Your Noodle 3

A quick tip to help keep your RV refrigerator fresh smelling over the winter months. We all turn off, empty, and clean our RV refrigerator and freezer as part of the winterizing or storage-prep process. Most of you also know that it’s a good idea to leave your RV’s refrigerator and freezer doors open a bit while it’s not in use. This just allows air flow and helps to prevent any musty smell or condensation inside the refer.

How do you keep the doors ajar? We used to use a couple of the spring bars you put across the shelves when traveling. Just lay one on a shelf and adjust the length so it sticks out far enough to hold the door open. We’ve seen someone use a folded kitchen towel, and you can buy “door stays” at RV supply stores.

After using these pool toys to help us secure our dinette chairs (post is here), and to make protective pads for an RV cover (post is here), we said “Hey, let’s use our noodle – again!” We cut a couple of 4-5 inch lengths of left over noodle and slit one side. Then we slipped them over a couple of convenient protrusions on the inside of the doors. Bingo! Easy, lightweight, and reusable.

 October 28, 2015  Posted by at 6:16 pm RV Do It Yourself 8 Responses »
Oct 232015
 

Use Your Noodle 2

Here’s an RV Do It Yourself tip to help you secure your free standing dinette chairs to make sure they stay put and don’t bang into anything during travel.

Over the past summer, we bought a fifth wheel that has a dinette with free-standing chairs. The previous owner (it’s a three year old rig) hadn’t used it much and said he’d never even seen any tie-down straps for the chairs. Some RVers don’t secure their dinette chairs. Others report damage caused by unsecured chairs during a panic-stop or accident. We opted to be safe rather than sorry.

Having used the noodles to make pads for the RV cover, we started thinking about how we could use them to solve this problem. The pictures show what we came up with:

We leaned the chairs into the table so that the chair backs touch the edge of the table, making sure the chair legs clear the wall and the couch.

The noodles we used are about 3 inches in diameter and approximately 52 inches long. We used two noodles. First we slit each of them lengthwise through one side into the center hole. Then we cut each of them into four 13 inch pieces.

The pieces could now be slipped over the outer stiles of the chair backs as shown to provide padding between the table and the chairs.

To hold everything together while on the road, we considered rope, bungee cords, and nylon strapping. We ended up using Velcro One-Wrap strapping and it works great. This stuff sticks to itself and holds firmly, so no knots, hooks, clips, or buckles are needed. It’s easy to remove and simply wrap around the noodle pieces for storage between trips. We bought two 3/4 inch wide by 12 foot rolls. The strip securing each opposing pair of chairs is roughly 9 feet long.

The sketch attempts to show the whole thing from the top of the table. You can see how the Velcro strap (in red) runs around the backs of of the chairs, then under the table and around the center pedestal. There’s another strap for the other pair of chairs, but I just showed one for clarity. One side of the Velcro strapping is soft and fuzzy. We’d suggest you make sure that side is the one that comes in contact with the table and chairs so there is no scratching of the surfaces. Finally, adding a short strap at the top of each pair of chairs, as shown in the last photo, made everything very stable and secure.

There are other ways to secure dinette chairs, and some RVers don’t even bother. We decided to do it and we wanted something that would work and would be inexpensive and fairly easy to use. The two noodles and the Velcro straps cost us less than $30 and everything is lightweight and reusable. While you do have to crawl under the table a bit to put the straps on, it’s pretty easy to do.

So far we’ve used the pool noodles to pad slide-out corners, to make protective pads for an RV cover (post is here),  to help secure chairs for travel (this post), and to help winterize the refrigerator (post is here). I’m beginning to think these foam noodles may join good ol’ duct tape in the “don’t leave home without it” category.

We’d love to hear how you secure things for travel. What has worked for you? What hasn’t? Leave a comment

 October 23, 2015  Posted by at 6:00 pm RV Do It Yourself Tagged with: , , , ,  2 Responses »
May 282015
 

No SecretsWould my app spy on me? Do I need to worry about phone apps and my privacy? I’ve worked with and around computers for many years. I’m no guru, but I’m pretty comfortable with technology. What I’m NOT comfortable with is the apparent war between some popular technology and privacy!

We recently left the world of “dumb” cell phones behind, switched carriers, and got Android-driven smart phones via Consumer Cellular™. Yeah, we’re of AARP age, traveling more in the ol’ RV, and wanted to spend a bit less on cellular service than we were with one of the “big three” providers. The move reduced our bill by at least a third and the service and coverage seem fine. Time will tell if it was a good move.

I used to use my cell phone just, well…as a phone. Now, everything is all about apps, Google, and the Google Play store! There are some really neat apps available, and loads of them are free, at least for their basic features! I wanted to download a weather app. The Weather Channel app looked great. Lots of features to keep us informed about current and forecasted weather anywhere in the country. Sounded very handy for RVers.

I hit Install and got a list of things to which the app requires access. Before I hit Accept to start the installation, I decided to read the “fine print” and here’s where my “privacy gene” started to get outraged! I can understand why the app might need access to my location so it can quickly give me weather information for wherever I am. I also get that it might need to know about my Wi-Fi connection and the kind of device I’m using.

But, here’s the thing: WHY does a weather app need to know my identity and/or Google (or other) account information? WHY does a weather app need access to my photos, videos, audio, or other files I may have stored on the phone? WHY does a weather app need – and this seems like THE BIG ONE to me – not only my phone number, but also “…whether a call is active, and the remote number connected by a call.”

Now maybe I’m reading that last one wrong, but it sure sounds as if I’d be granting permission for this app, any time it’s running, not only to know when I’m speaking with someone on my phone, but also to collect the caller’s phone number. Whoa! Why do “they” need to know who’s calling me? What do “they” do with this information? Where is it stored? Who has access to it? What other information can/do they collect?

Needless to say, I didn’t install this app. I looked at other weather apps and found that some of them require access to the same information. I won’t install them either. A couple only need access to location and Wi-Fi info. and that makes sense to me.

Am I being paranoid? Should I just accept that privacy is a thing of the past? Should I believe that these app developers and providers all have only the best of intentions? Maybe, but you know what they say about old dogs and new tricks.

I’d welcome your comments and thoughts. I’d like to learn more about this topic. Maybe my thinking is all wrong. Maybe…

 May 28, 2015  Posted by at 10:51 pm This 'n' That No Responses »
Mar 172015
 

Digby, Nova Scotia Campground Review

Digby Campground SignDigby,Nova Scotia is a picturesque little seaside community noted for its large scallop fishing fleet. Back in the 1800’s, Digby had quite a shipping fleet as well. Interestingly, it was one of these ships that, in 1872, discovered the famous ship Mary Celeste afloat, but with no one aboard.

Digby Campground is very small, with under 50 sites. All are back-ins. The campground is on the side of a hill and the rows of sites are terraced. Some of them, particularly in the upper-most row where we were, are none too big for most RVs. We had a full hook-up site and everything worked just fine. Once we got positioned in the site, we were quite comfortable, although space for our truck was pretty tight.

Digby Campground Office

 

Where Is It? —

Digby is on the southwestern coast of Nova Scotia in the Bay of Fundy & Annapolis Valley region.

Digby Campground
230 Victoria Street
Digby, NS
www.angelfire.com/biz2/DigbyCamping
(902) 245-1985

Getting There —

We drove from Truro, in central Nova Scotia. We decided to take the best roads as opposed to the shortest route. We took Route 102 south out of Truro, then tuned west on Route 101 just north of Halifax. We followed 101 all the way over to the southwestern coast of Nova Scotia, getting off at Exit 26.

There, we turned north on Route 303, past McDonalds and Tim Hortons. We followed that until we turned left on Victoria Street (Kentucky Fried Chicken at the corner). Follow Victoria Street past the intersection of Route 217 and down a bit of a hill. Digby Campground is at the bottom of the hill, on the right.

Nearby Attractions —Prim Point Lighthouse

  • The quaint town of Digby, with its fishing fleet, shops, restaurants, museums. We greatly enjoyed simply strolling along Water St. right on the shore.
  • Prim Point Lighthouse – a short drive out of Digby, a pretty place with a nice picnic area and a great view of the shoreline and the Bay of Fundy.
  • A nice selection of whale watch outfits out on Digby Neck, Long Island and Brier Island. We went with Pirate’s Cove Whale & Seabird Cruises on Long Island, had a good time, and saw several whales.
  • Annapolis Royal is only about a half hour’s drive from Digby. While there we explored Fort Anne, poked around a farmers market. After leaving Annapolis Royal, we visited the reconstructed early 17th century Port Royal Habitation.Digby Campground-Our Site

 The Sites —

As previously noted, the campground is on the side of a hill and the rows of sites are terraced. All of the sites are back-ins. We were on the upper tier, in the back, and our site was none too big for our 30′ rig and 20′ tow vehicle. We had to park the truck crossways in front of the trailer and, even then, it still stuck into the next site a bit.

The site was fairly level and all of the hook-ups worked fine.

 Amenities —

Digby Campground Pool

  • 30 amp. power (no 50 amp.)
  • A small pool
  • A small miniature golf course – although not too well maintained when we were there
  • No cable TV and not much over-the-air reception
  • Free WiFi but, like many campgrounds, so-so signal strength and not much bandwidth.
  • Small laundry facilities, bathrooms and pay showers

The Rates —

Digby Campground Mini-Golf Course
We paid $35.00 (Canadian) per night, plus $5.25 per night tax, for a total of $40.25 per night.

The People —

The owners live on site, and are super nice people. They were very relaxed and friendly and as helpful as could be. They manage and care for the campground themselves. We didn’t see any other employees.

What We Liked Least —

Digby Campground Laundry

  • The site was somewhat small for our rig and tow vehicle
  • No ice available at the campground – their chest freezer had quit at some point and had not been replaced
  • No camp store – although it’s a pretty short drive to a Walmart and a couple of large food markets
  • Deb said she was glad we have our own bathroom after seeing all of the cobwebs and the many spiders on patrol in the laundry and bathroom/shower areas.
  • No cable TV
  • WiFi that, at least for us, was so slow that we pretty much gave up on it (no, we weren’t trying to stream video or music)Digby Campground Bathrooms

 What We Liked Most —

  • The owners’ friendly and helpful attitudes – once, when we needed ice, the owner’s wife gave us some out of her home freezer. They were great in helping us make reservations on a good whale-watch cruise.
  • While the campground is small, it’s quiet and very pretty.
  • There is a nice view out over the water.Water View from Digby Campground
  • It’s quite close to downtown Digby, with a pretty walking trail from the campground into town.
  • It is also handy to several area attractions we wanted to visit.

 Conclusions —

Our RV park reviews are based on our particular likes and dislikes. We hope you’ll find some helpful information here.

We were kind of “on the fence” about this campground. We agreed that the pros definitely outweighed the cons, so we gave it 3½ out of 5 stars. Even without some of the amenities of larger, fancier parks, the people and the location made the difference for us. If we’re in Digby again, we will stay here.

 

 March 17, 2015  Posted by at 1:10 pm RV Park Reviews, Travel Experiences No Responses »
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