Welcome, and thanks for visiting our blog. Follow us as we explore this beautiful country and enjoy life's simple pleasures.


Travel Time! Lena, IL, to Richmond, VA, to Modoc, SC


Wednesday, 9/25/2013

Volunteer Village

J. Strom Thurmond Lake

Modoc, SC

We’re now back at J. Strom Thurmond Lake volunteering with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).  We’ve had a great “vacation,” and now it’s back to work!  Here’s a recap of our September travels.

Tuesday, 9/3, we left Lake Le-Aqua-Na State Park just north of Lena, IL, and drove east to Rockford, IL, and then south to Shelbyville, IL.  Then just a few miles east to Lithia Springs Campground, a Corps of Engineers (COE) park at Lake Shelbyville.  It took us just over 6 hours to travel about 265 miles including two stops, one of them for fuel near La Salle.  We were in site #123, a full hookup site, for $24.

This is a nice campground, but it has very limited to NO views of the lake.  Full hookups at a Corps park was a nice bonus!

Wednesday, 9/4, we left Lithia Springs, driving south to I-64, and then east to Lynnville Park just west of Lynnville, IN.  It took us 3 hours and 40 minutes to travel 158 miles including two fuel stops, one near Effingham, IL, and the other near Haubstadt, IN.

Lynnville Park is a local city owned park offering full hookup or electric/water sites.  The full hookup sites are pull-through, and the electric/water sites are back-in.  We opted for the electric/water back-in site #33 for $15/night, a $3 savings over the full hookup site.

Unless you’re a fisherman this park isn’t a destination park, but it worked well for an overnight stop for us.  It’s conveniently located not too far off of I-64.

Thursday, 9/5, after a quick stop at the dump station before leaving Lynnville Park, we travelled east on I-64 to Outpost Campground & RV Park near Salt Lick, KY.

It took us about 4.5 hours to travel about 222 miles including two stops, one of them for fuel near Waddy, KY.  We had site #17, a full hookup pull-through site, for $25.

This is another place that’s good for an overnight stop even though there are quite a few “permanents,” and the location is about five or six miles from I-64.  It was very peaceful and quiet.

Friday, 9/6, we left Outpost and headed east, still on I-64, to Summer Wind RV Park near Dawson, WV.

It took us almost 5 hours to travel 210 miles including a fuel stop near Catlettsburg, KY, along with two other stops.  We had a full hookup 30 amp pull-through site, #C3, for $22 and change with the Escapees discount.

This is a very special place for Terri and me because it was the first stop on our full-time RV adventure back in August, 2011.  Summer Wind has new owners as of the spring of this year.  Fortunately the camp host, Russ Phillips, has returned for another year.  He’s a super friendly guy, and he always greets us with a big smile.  The new owners from Louisa, VA, have done some nice improvements already including new fencing and landscaping.
DSCN3026      DSCN3030

Right now there’s only one 50 amp site, but the owners are hoping to upgrade several 30 amp sites to 50 amp over the winter months.  This cute little trailer arrived late, around 10 o’clock!

Russ was right there to greet them and help them get settled in for the night.  When I took the above photo the next morning, they had already taken down the canvas “room” which they had attached to the side of the camper.  The “room” probably doubled their square footage!  Their four “kids” stayed out in the “room” overnight!!

Russ told us later that they’re all rescue dogs that the couple fostered, but they just couldn’t give them up once they had taken them in.

Saturday, 9/7, after fueling up the truck we left Summer Wind RV Park and continued east on I-64 to Small Country Campground near Louisa, VA.   It took us just over 4 hours to travel about 182 miles including a fuel stop near Raphine, VA, along with two other stops.  One of the stops was at the Virginia Welcome Center where Terri noticed this interesting bush.

We stayed at Small Country a couple of years ago in 2011.  Like last time, we stayed in a “super site” with full hookups and a DirecTV connection.  They call these sites “pull-through,” but they’re NOT.  Each “pull-through” is long enough for two rigs with separate utility hookups.  So, if someone is in the “back” space of the site, you have to back into the “front” portion of the site.  Or, if someone is occupying the “front” portion of the site and they don’t leave before you, then you’ll have to back out of your site when you’re ready to leave.  There were only three sites to choose from, and they were all “back” portion sites. So we chose #10 and pulled in.
DSCN3046      DSCN3048

Look how close I had to pull up to that Open Road in front of me!  And guess what, I had to back out in the morning when it was time to go!  In my opinion, those “super sites” aren’t so super!  So for one night we got a full hookup 50 amp “pull-through” site for $26.82 with the Passport America discount.  We chose to stay here because the Richmond NASCAR races were this particular weekend, and we couldn’t get a site at the Ashland Americamps RV Park until Sunday.

Sunday, 9/8, we left Small Country and went to the Ashland Americamps RV Resort located just north of Richmond, VA.  Our driving time was just over an hour, and total mileage was only 55.  This is where we stayed while we listed and sold our house back in 2011, and we also stayed here for a month in 2012.  Because of our extended stays here the last couple of years, we’ve gotten to know the managers, Terrie and James.  They’re excellent managers, and we always look forward to seeing them!  We were able to get the same site as last year, #B6.
DSCN5632      DSCN5654

This RV park used to be a KOA, however the owner just recently discontinued affiliation with KOA.  There have been many improvements completed recently including upgraded WIFI and cable TV, a brand new fitness building, and a total remodel of the camp office building with an all new laundry room and banquet room!

We stayed a total of 15 nights.  During this time we took care of some annual doctor and dentists visits, Terri visited with some former co-workers, and we spent some time with our friends Russ and Sheri.  We made time for a couple of our favorite pizzas too.  A white pizza from Giovanni’s one weekend…

and a sausage pizza from Anna’s another weekend.

And I stopped in at a weekly Saturday night car show on my way to pick up the white pizza.

This group gets together almost every Saturday night throughout the summer, weather permitting.

On Monday, 9/23, we packed up and headed south to Bass Lake Campground at Dillon, SC.  It took us 5 hours to travel just under 280 miles including a fuel stop at Kenly, NC.  We stayed at this campground last year for about 5 weeks.

Bass Lake is a Passport America park with a nightly rate of $19.44.  Once again, we were assigned the exact same site as last year, #A10!  Except for the I-95 traffic noise, we like this park and I’m sure we’ll stay here again.

Tuesday, 9/24, we left Bass Lake and drove south to our current location near Modoc, SC, in the Volunteer Village at J. Strom Thurmond Lake.  It took us a little over 4 hours to drive a distance of about 195 miles, including a fuel stop in Latta, SC, as well as two other stops along the way.  We’re in site #9 this time. Smile

Earlier this year we were in site #8, which can be seen on the extreme right side of the above picture.  We have great views of the lake again!
DSCN3099      DSCN3101
DSCN3102      DSCN3103

To summarize our September travels, we traveled 1,566 miles from Lake Le-Aqua-Na in Illinois to Richmond, VA, to Modoc, SC.  Travel time including stops was 33.5 hours.  Over the eight travel days, we AVERAGED 4.2 hours and about 196 miles per day.  This includes only miles traveled with the rig and doesn’t include miles driven during overnight stops like trips to the grocery store, doctors, etc.  A few of the travel days were much longer than we prefer, both time wise and mileage wise, but were necessitated due to time requirements beyond our control.

We’ll be here at J. Strom Thurmond Lake until at least the end of January.  It’s great to be back, and we’re looking forward to getting back to “work.”


Let the fun times begin!


  1. What a great summary. I really appreciate all the detailed campground information. Wonderful that you can say work and fun in nearly the same sentence!

  2. Glad your travels were uneventful. Enjoy your stay at the Volunteer Village...lovely sight. Hoping the lake levels have gone up since we were there in July 2012. It appears from your photo they have:o))

  3. We're traveling faster than we'd like too, but we do what we have to do. Ended up in Effingham not Lake Shelbyville :(, probably in the long run better as it's more convenient to my folks, but costly having Walmart less than a mile away. Have fun!!

  4. I'm not sure how much work you'll actually get done with Paul and Marti there. :)

  5. I'm thinking the pizza was just an excuse to go see those great cars!

    I think Judy may have something there... :cD

  6. You guys did a lot in a month, and I'm glad that we're not the only ones that drive more than 4 hours in a day :)

  7. I'm glad to see you've got that PDD under control! (for the most part) Don't let it rub off on you over the winter now :)

    If you were in site A10 in Dillon, were you next to the log cabin 5th wheel with the fake chimney???

    1. Oh Yes! In fact it was there last year too! It's quite the conversation piece. :)

    2. Haha! We think it's very "creative" :) We were in A6 last week :)

  8. Wow! Don't envy those back-to-back driving days, but then you are ...YOUNG! (Sorry, just had to do it!). We're working our way to the east coast. Now across the lake from you at the Army's Pointe West Resort and looking forward to seeing you next week at the Carolina Clan rally. Hope you had an easy transition back into work.

  9. This is written by Mike's second ma. Make Mike take off his hat, and see his bald spot. Mike and his parents are and were great friends and camping pals. Ask him about good chili. How about a YELLOW Rock