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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

RV Road Trip 2013 | On the Road to Gettysburg

Our bed inside the RV
Brrr!  I woke up at 7 am because it was cold, we were tired, and we all woke up hungry in our RV at the Delaware Water Gap/Pocono Mountain KOA Campground.  I hadn’t moved all night because I was inside that mummy sleeping bag and yet, I was still freezing cold.  My son’s promise that I would be warm was not true as I was still too cold for words.  My first day of sleeping in an RV and I was ready to bail and head for a hotel somewhere warm.  But I had to push through feeling uncomfortable and persevere.  This wasn't the first and I'm pretty certain it won't be the last time that I'll have an uncomfortable place to sleep.

Delaware Water Gap/Pocono Mountain KOA Campground
The bathrooms and showers were at the entrance where we had come in last night.  Although not a terribly long walk, the boys were far braver than I was as the thought of taking a shower in the cold while I was still unbelievably cold was just not going to happen.  They went up and showered while I sort of freshened up the best way that I could in the camper with the intention of showering at our next stop.  It was at this point that I learned that a trip in the RV meant that the word cleanliness would soon be open to interpretation.

Snacks on the road
Breakfast was a simple one thanks to some advanced planning.  I made Mocha Chip Vegan Muffins from the Vegan Brunch cookbook by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and those were a lifesaver.  I also packed some hot chocolate packets, Starbucks Via packets for instant coffee that taste like it’s brewed coffee, and Silk vanilla soy creamer.  Additionally, since we had a rather large refrigerator, we also have on hand yogurt and fresh fruit although my husband and son gravitated toward snacking on junk food more than on good food.  This is where I had to make a mental note for future trips to make sure that our main meals have enough nutrition in them to counteract the trash food.

We had a water situation on our first day, which was finally resolved when Rich discovered that the washer was so clogged up on the main faucet that water wasn’t coming out.  He was able to chip away at the buildup and replace it and that let the water come out easily.  We stopped at a Walmart on the way through to Gettysburg to pick up a few of the items on our list.  This list kept growing by the minute as we needed D batteries for the lantern I picked up, AAA batteries for a speaker for our iPads, orange juice, blankets (so I don’t freeze at night), and matches so we could start a fire at the campground.  Although I had planned in advance by picking up batteries, I inadvertently picked up C and AA batteries, which of course, we didn't need.

We were on the road by 11 am and it took about 4 hours to get to Gettysburg.  Before getting to the campground, we stopped first at a Walmart to grab a few items and then at a Giant supermarket.  Why both? My son wanted hot dogs for the campfire, but Walmart didn’t have any.  I desperately wanted a sleeping pad for the bed as my back was killing me.  The mattress in the camper is an extremely thin one and after being used to a pillow-top mattress at home, it just wasn’t working for me.  Other supplies we picked up included a line in cable for our iPhones for the camper while we were driving, a couple of little flashlights, and some more food supplies including jelly and bread (as I already had peanut butter).  We also learned that if we were really desperate and couldn't get to a campground, we could always park at a Walmart parking lot.  I'll have to pay more attention the next time I go to see how many RV's are parked there.

Gettysburg/Battlefield KOA Campground
Arriving to a campground early is ideal and I definitely would advise that over arriving at night like we did the first night.  We were able to get set up and enjoy our surroundings and plan out the following few days.  This was our first night to have a campfire, which my son, the Eagle Scout, insisted on starting.  Keep in mind that I have never camped out so all of this is new to me.  Granted, some might say that sleeping in an RV is not camping out, but this is camping to me.  I wanted to do all of the things that I associate with camping like cooking hot dogs over the fire and make smores, things my husband had done as a kid while he was in Boy Scouts, but stuff I had never done.  Although my son was a Scout and had even hiked part of the Appalachian two summers ago, he had never cooked hot dogs or smores over a fire, so I knew I had someone on my side of this argument.

Nature trail at the Gettysburg/Battlefield KOA Campground
On site at this campground is a nature trail so we took off to see where it led.  It wound around the campground and it was cool to get a perspective of the area from up high on the side of the hill that we were on.  While up there, we saw a couple of deer that weren’t terribly fearful of us.  Talking about being close to nature!

Delaware Water Gap/Pocono Mountain KOA Campground
For some reason I thought there would be lots of people camping out since it was April vacation break. Apparently, that's only true in Massachusetts so although we had left our state, we did run into more than one family from MA.  Another reason might be because it is so darn cold outside that no one in their right minds would want to go camping, but for newbies like us.  I, however, embraced that there were so few people at our new Gettysburg campground as opposed to my husband who was actually hoping there would be more people.  Just to set the record straight, this is in direct contrast to the way that we usually are because usually he doesn't want to see or hear anyone anywhere near him.  The campers can get kind of close to one another, but we never heard anyone at any of the campgrounds we stayed at during our trip.

Delaware Water Gap/Pocono Mountain KOA Campground - Playground area
We chose KOA campgrounds for the same reason that one chooses a hotel or car brand: consistency.  I hoped that there would be a certain quality expected at each one and I was correct.  Our first campground, the Delaware Water Gap/Pocono Mountain KOA Campground, was quite crowded as you can see in the above picture.  I could not imagine staying there or anywhere else with that many people, but I think lots of people enjoy that, especially since there is so much more to do than sitting in your camper.  You can see the playground area above and what's great is that they also allow pets.  You can walk your dog and take him/her to the Mighty Bone pet area complete with a course they can run over, under, and through.  Many of the campgrounds have pools and other outdoor activities as well.

For the rest of the evening, we sat around talking for a few hours and even played a game, Banana, similar to Scrabble with tiles, but with different rules.  Cristian lit our fire and we cooked hot dogs (regular for him and veggie dogs for us) as well as marshmallows.  If it was up to Cristian, he would have eaten the entire pack of hot dogs.  Then it was time for bed as we had a full day of exploring Gettysburg ahead of us.  Make sure to come back to learn about all of our activities in Gettysburg during our stay!

Marian Krueger


  1. Great to read this. We haven't tried this type of holiday but have been to campsites and stayed in mobile homes which I can just about bear. I love the cooking outdoors and the scenery but I need my comforts of hot showers and comfy beds!

  2. Trish it really was fun, but you'll hear more about the bed situation in upcoming posts. Stay tuned!


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