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Old 01-11-2010, 07:09 PM   #1
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From Missouri to Buttonwood M&G

Gary, your post on Shenandoah reservations reminded me that winter is the time to plan summer excursions.

The weekend before Buttonwood we'll be at a wedding about an hour south of St. Louis. So, we're planning a leisurely 5 day trip to Buttonwood before heading home. (Jon, does driving in a circle count for coming the furthest distance? The lower tier of IL, IN, and OH and all of WV are unfamiliar territory. I'm thinking of taking US50 east of St. Louis all the way to Parkersburg or Clarksburg, WV. At some point I'd want to tie in to I81 to Harrisburg and then Mexico.

Even on the map, US50 east of Clarksburg does not look like an RV friendly road. Should we take I79 north and then I68 east to I81? Kitty, Gary or other locals... any route suggestions? I'm also interested in camping in the Clarksburg area Thurs. night to get to Buttonwood late Fri. afternoon. How's the camping at Tygart Lake SP? They only accept mail in reservations postmarked Feb. 15 or later and only for 8 sites. Is this a lost cause for June 10? There's also Coopers Rock SP and a couple of MD parks further east on I68.

We're also planning on a SP in each of IL, IN and OH. Any suggestions here too along US50? JohnB or others from IL or IN??

Thanks.

Henry
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Old 01-11-2010, 07:28 PM   #2
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Henry,

I would highly recommend, that you avoid US50 east of Clarksburg. Lots of mountains and not very RV friendly. I don't know about 50, west of Clarksburg.

Your idea of taking I79 up to I68 is much better. I68 has some good sized hills, but we did them fairly easily, last July. The view from the top of Sideling hill is awesome! Before attempting the I68 route, I would suggest that you make sure your TT brakes are adjusted and working properly.

If you want the easiest (IMHO) route, take I70/I76 all the way from St. Louis. You'll have to get on the PA turnpike, unless you divert to I68. I68 will take you back to I70 and allow you to avoid the tolls on I76. You can get on I81 in Hagerstown, MD and take that to Harrisburg.

Let me know what you think..

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Old 01-12-2010, 08:45 AM   #3
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We thought to avoid most of the Interstate as we have 5 days to cover between 800-1000 miles. We've also driven all of I70/76 except through OH so are looking for something new. There seem to be more SP along US50 in all these states too, although I haven't looked for private campgrounds yet. That will be next.

Henry
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Old 01-12-2010, 09:53 AM   #4
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Henry,

I was returning from my first ever trip out west, and thought I too wanted to avoid interstates SO I opted for RT50 thru WV. BIG MISTAKE, HUGE MISTAKE. It is a 2 lane, very windy, up/down road, with at least one rather sharp "s" curve. Lots of up & down. Thought I would NEVER make it to Winchester, VA. And I was only driving a Subaru wagon towing a small Jayco pup. I won't even travel RT 50 with just the truck. Gary had the best suggestions, come across on RT 68 ( couple of good size mountains, BUT nothing compared to the mountains out west) Beautiful ride, road in good shape. Will bring you right into RT 70, then 81.

Aah, the PA turnpike, no thank you. Have driven RT 68 more times than I can remember, towing Sunlines, or driving my 40' school bus and it is by far my choice when I head west from here. There are a few state parks on 68, but I really don't know anything about them, but you have time to do some research.

Let us know if we can be of any further assistance,

Kitty
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Old 01-12-2010, 12:09 PM   #5
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I68 is an easy road to tow a trailer. Keyser's Ridge in Garrett County, route 219 south, has a McDonald's with a huge parking lot to accommodate RV's, etc. Cumberland, a little further east, is not RV friendly in most cases but I68 goes right through town so you don't have to leave the interstate. Rocky Gap State Park is just east of Cumberland and you can check it out for camping. I've not been there so don't have any info on it. Deep Creek Lake in Garrett County also has some camping and a state park there as well. There is also a KOA near Hagerstown.
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Old 01-12-2010, 06:08 PM   #6
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Thanks for the advice and suggestions. As often happens with a trip like this, one attraction can make everything else fall into place. When I checked Gary's reference to Sideling Hill I also found some interesting sites around Cumberland--Scenic RR and C&O Canal. So we'll stay two nights in Rocky Gap SP and that's a nice distance from Buttonwood then too.

I followed all of US50 between Parkersburg and Clarksburg using Google's satellite view and it looks like a reasonable road and is 4 lane all the way which is a big plus. So we'll take that from St. Louis and then Interstates from Clarksburg. Then the other overnight stops are falling into place too giving us reasonable driving distances each day ending up at Rocky Gap. The reservation window for June is open for pretty much all parks now and I'll get onto that in the next day or two. Right now there's still lots of choice even of electric sites, but the middle of the week in early June is likely still getting the jump on the big crowds.

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Old 01-17-2010, 02:41 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EMD_Driver
Henry,

I would highly recommend, that you avoid US50 east of Clarksburg. Lots of mountains and not very RV friendly. I don't know about 50, west of Clarksburg.

Your idea of taking I79 up to I68 is much better. I68 has some good sized hills, but we did them fairly easily, last July. The view from the top of Sideling hill is awesome! Before attempting the I68 route, I would suggest that you make sure your TT brakes are adjusted and working properly.


Gary
H'mm Sideling Hill, is this the same road?



I have a few stories to tell about that road and a Sunline. Beautiful but I will never attempt it again unless I have my F350. The Burb transmison hit about 245F and the engine hit "hot" and I sweat a few bullets all the way to the top. I'll have to track down the route numbers. We end up on it coming out of Cowans Gap SP in Pa.

Henry, let me look where you are starting from and I'll report back. If you come up far enough towards I70 I have a few options for you and then even over to Buttonwood. Even southern OH has many nice SP's and you can come up north from there. Western OH as well.

Be back soon

John
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Old 01-17-2010, 03:35 PM   #8
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Hi John,


Here's a couple of pics, of the summit of Sideling hill....




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Old 01-18-2010, 12:34 PM   #9
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Hi John,
I like Gary's picture better... it looks like they cut a bunch of the "hill" off on the Interstate and that's the road we'll be on to Buttonwood after Rocky Gap SP in MD. This is certainly a pretty fair altitude judging by the background in Gary's first picture. Diane said the Interstate is ok and judging by the western Interstates that I am familiar with, the grade, gentle curves and 3 lanes going uphill should make it manageable.

It looks like we'll stay in a private cpg. in Coolville, OH--just west of Parkersburg--as that is a good distance to Rocky Gap SP the next day. The night before, Stonelick, Rocky Fork and Paint Creek are all possibilities.

Then again, we might take SR32 east of Cinccy as it is all 4 lanes, but no SP. Any advice would be appreciated.

Henry
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Old 01-20-2010, 08:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by henryj
Hi John,
I like Gary's picture better... it looks like they cut a bunch of the "hill" off on the Interstate and that's the road we'll be on to Buttonwood after Rocky Gap SP in MD. This is certainly a pretty fair altitude judging by the background in Gary's first picture. Diane said the Interstate is ok and judging by the western Interstates that I am familiar with, the grade, gentle curves and 3 lanes going uphill should make it manageable.

It looks like we'll stay in a private cpg. in Coolville, OH--just west of Parkersburg--as that is a good distance to Rocky Gap SP the next day. The night before, Stonelick, Rocky Fork and Paint Creek are all possibilities.

Then again, we might take SR32 east of Cinccy as it is all 4 lanes, but no SP. Any advice would be appreciated.

Henry
Hi Henry

Sorry this took so long.

Well, I looked up Sideling Hill, PA. This much I can tell you, the “Interstate” Gary posted is “not” the same road I was on going over Sideling Hill, PA. The road I as on started out like this…


Followed by this


Ending up like this. Parked off the road letting the Chevy rest as the line of 50 cars behind me passed by.. There was no interstate to be found… I do believe (“I think”) I was on Route 30, Lincoln HWY starting at the south end of Cowans Gap SP heading north west up to I 76 to go west to Ohio. Looking at a aerial map, that may be the same mountain range, just not the same road as down on I68.


Now to SP’s in southern Ohio. We have several choices. We are blessed in Ohio with a qty of nice SP’s

You mentioned Stonelick, Rocky Fork and Paint Creek.

Here is a Sunline camped at Paint Creek


Paint Creek is a nice semi small CG. They built the SP around a reservoir I think the Army Corps made back in the late 60’s or early 70’s. It is a nice park for a stop over or to just hang out at the park. There is not much in the area per say. If you pick this park, let me know so I can caution you about the camp entrance and how it sort of jumps out around a turn. Once you pass it, it is miles before a turn around. Ask me how I know this....

Rocky Fork. We have visited this park, wrote down a bunch of campsite numbers but never camped there. There are some sites that back up to the lake. Your rear window can be point at the lake. However the lake sites, there are no trees to be found. The upper campground is more in the trees. This is a nice park. It is about 2 to 2 ½ hours from home so we have not made it there yet. We have many choices closer.

Stonelick. We have visited this park but never camped. We scoped it out for camping but never made it back yet. My foggy memory remembers it as a small park with some wooded sites, some you can see the lake from. It was nice.

If you want to come up a little further north west Ohio is Cowan Lake. Here is a Sunline at Cowan.








We go here a fair amount. A very nice SP. Nice big lake, only 9hp so no large boats, just canoes and sail boats. Has a swimming beach right at the CG. This SP is next to Wilmington, OH. A small college town with most anything you would need to stock up on supplies. They even have a Wal-mart super store.

Over by the South Central is Hocking Hills SP. A place of great natural beauty. CG is on top of a mountain. This was the 1st time I ever used my OnStar. To unlock the truck after we locked all the keys and cell phone in the truck when filling up the camper with water…. Ranger says if Onstar can’t do, he can…. Does it about 3 to 5 times a week…. This area has a lot to hike and see with natural beauty. Old Mans Cave is a gorge that has many tourist trails through it. And there is a lot of similar other natural beauty places in the area. The SP has a pool too. Beautiful park office checkin station.







And more camping with DD and hubby with the grandkids. Son in law is a big photo buff and they have “Shoot the Hills” photo contests every spring. We camp, he takes pic’s in the contest.


There is also Lake Hope in that area. It is right at Zaleski State Forest. I have backpacked Zaleski many times with the Scouts. The SP, Lake Hope is a big park, for sure in the woods and in the side of a mountain. Up top there are some more level campsites to fit the T2499 in. If you want to go here, lets talk about which sites. This area is very beautiful for hiking.

Tar Hollow. It is below Lake Hope. I have backpacked this many times and Cindy and I camped at it in the PU. Many of the sites fit a PU or tents. For TT’s they have a small area of gravel pads with electric. It is a nice park. The main attraction is the park. Hike sort of everywhere. It has a small Lake by the CG. It would for sure be OK for an overnight stop over.

Lake Alma. A nice small SP. We camped there in the PU, never in the TT. Like I said a nice small park and campground, not a lot to do but for sure works for an over night stay. If this is one you may be thinking of, let me know I can help on what sites fit a TT better.

There are more too if wanted.

If you want to come up north towards the central area, East, West or central, let me know. A great number of choices and we visit them often.

Hope this helps and let me know if you need more.

John
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Old 01-21-2010, 02:26 PM   #11
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Thanks for all that info John. I've gone through the maps again and recalibrated the route to stay at East Fork SP on SR32 east of Cincy. That might be further south than you tend to go. I'll pm you for more info.

Winter sure seems shorter when a good part of it can be spent planning summer camping adventures. I've been retired for 10 years this year and have found nothing but a huge upside. "Have RV... will travel" is a good motto. We've never been on any of these roads from MO to PA before and there are hundreds or thousands more waiting to be explored, never mind reruns to favorite spots. And I'm still trying to get the last batch of photos from the fall processed before starting a new set in Mar.

Henry
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