Libbys on the Loose:2 Humans. 2 Great Danes. 1 RV.: August 2015

Monday, August 10, 2015

Our first RV damage: We knew it would happen sooner or later!

It pretty much goes without saying that anytime a "new" piece of equipment is purchased (especially one that the familiarity or experience is absent), the probability of an "oops" is inevitable.  I certainly didn't think that we were exempt from this, but after a few months of getting the fiver in and out of a number of tight spots free of damage, our level of confidence in our abilities was pretty high!  But the day came.  

After spending over a month in Charlotte, NC, the RV park that we were staying was unable to offer us a spot through the dates we needed.  So, in the interest of escaping to higher elevation and being in closer proximity to Asheville, NC, which we both were dying to visit, we decided to find another site to set up shop for a week or two.  In addition to that, one of our favorite bands, JJ Grey and Mofro was playing at Pisgah Brewing Company, so we wanted to find a place as close as possible, but still being relatively close to Charlotte since Jeanine was still going two times weekly for physical therapy.

Enter Sky Island Retreat RV Park and Campground.  If you haven't read the review, it's worth the couple minute read.  While we had no complaints about the staff, service, or location, it is a little bit difficult to get in and out of.

First off, if you plan to visit this spot, take the time to either call the campground and talk to one of the staff to get directions (probably Debbie).  Reason being:  The GPS directions will try to take you in through the back (now closed) entrance, which, from what we understood, was significantly more difficult to get into than the way we (eventually) entered.  After getting turned around a few times (they admittedly needed to update their website directions) due to the failure of instructions to make a right off the interstate, we finally found the entrance.  Getting in was easy providing you came from the correct way!

The entrance is a bit narrow so you'll want to take it easy going through the "gates".  They are a bit narrow.  Once you pass the CaddyShack mini golf course, you'll see the office straight ahead at the bottom of the (pretty) steep hill.   I decided that since we didn't know what site was ours yet, that it would be best to just pull straight forward into the office parking lot.   In my mind, it would be easy to back straight out and partially back up the hill.  And, in theory, that should have been what happened.  Unfortunately, due to a lack of rear vision and my confidence gained in trailering, upon backing up, our beautiful 36' Holiday Rambler was no longer without a scratch.

I swear, that damn tree just jumped out in the middle of the road!  Someone failed to tell me that the road had shifted about three feet in the opposite direction to where I was backing!  It probably wouldn't have been so back had I stopped when I met resistance.  I was under the impression (and was correct!) that the trailer metal stops in the rear wear just dragging (like they're supposed to) on the driveway.  So, in an effort to 'get past' the spot they were hung up on, I pressed harder in reverse.

Crash.  That's about all it took.  Two pieces of window glass, our rear ladder, and a bottom portion of the passenger side fiberglass was cracked.  As luck would have it, rain clouds gathered overhead and very quickly started lightly raining.  After assembling a few trashbags and some (cheap) duct tape, I was able to seal up the hole created by the lack of window glass.  This wasn't the best solution, but it would prove watertight until we found a better way - carpet protection tape.  This roll of plastic sheeting with adhesive on one side (used to cover and protect carpeting) proved perfect for making a watertight seal both on the inside and outside of the window.  We will be keeping a roll handy!

Needless to say, after sealing up the window, I was still more than pissed.  I am not a professional trailer driver by any means, but I have driven quite a few miles and backed up what seems like a million times, but when you damage your 'new toy' it's difficult not to bruise your ego at the same time.  My pride was hurting a bit - especially because I didn't have Jeanine spot me when backing up.  I guess I got a little too confident.  Being the good wife she is (and since it was after 5 o'clock), she decided the answer to repairing my pride was somewhere at the bottom of a very expensive bottle of tequila we brought back from Mexico.  It was just what the doctor ordered!

All told, according to our awesome Geico representative the damage tallied to just over $3000 in damage (seriously, we've been with Geico for over 20 years - love them!).  Had it not been for the cracked fiberglass, the bill would have stayed quite a bit lower, but due to having to repaint, blend, and the associated labor with removal and reassembly of parts, the tab quickly soared.  Although disappointed, at the end of the day, that's what insurance is for - in case s*#@ happens!  One this particular warm day in July, that did indeed happen.  Though unfortunate, it didn't ruin our great time at this great place - we still highly recommend it!

Disclaimer: We are not paid writers, neither for our writing or our opinions. We represent our experiences with products, services, etc, with 100% accuracy and give our unbiased feedback.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Full-time living in an RV... with two Great Danes!

Guinness at about nine weeks
By now, if you are a regular follower of our blog and/or social media, you are well aware that we travel with two Great Danes, Nyx, a two year old black female, and Moose, a five month old harlequin male.  In case you missed the post about Guinness aka "Squishy", he was our Wobbler's Syndrome baby that passed in April.  He was with us four amazing years - more than we could have ever hoped.
Guinness in one of his favorite spots

One thing that we didn't consider was that the name and our logo makes a lot of the people we meet think that the caricature of Guinness is Libby.  To add to that, they wonder where "Libby" is and why she is on the loose.  After explaining that our last names are Libby and that Guinness was part of our inspiration to start out on this journey, it all comes together for them.   But there is still the question:  "How do you live in an RV with two Great Danes!?"

Guinness and Nyx

In the beginning of our planning (in fact, the first full week), we had a 23' toy hauler travel trailer - with no slide-outs.  Two 100 lb+ dogs along with two humans in such a small area proved to be difficult and, as you can imagine, some complications.  For a few nights, it wasn't bad.  We had a loveseat in the back "hauler" area and the puppies' (Guinness and Nyx) beds were on the floor in front of it.  It was "cozy" to say the least.
Our 23' Weekend Warrior Toy Hauler

In the making of the decision to go full-time (went hand-in-hand with our home rental), part of that decision was to upgrade our RV.  After spending a full week in it this past February, by the last day of that week, we headed straight to the nearest RV dealer (that stocked what we were looking for).

As luck would have it, RV Direct America in Titusville, FL had the selection and the 90 day warranty that we were looking for.  Since we were going to be living in it full-time and we didn't have the funds (or desire) to buy a brand new one (weren't sure what exactly we needed yet), it was an absolute must to have a warranty.  In addition, since we were staying at Manatee Hammock Campground for at least a month or two, any warranty work that needed to be done was able to be performed on-site without us having to move our "home".  Although we didn't have any major issues (most of the problems were resolved before we took delivery), anything that did come up, RV Direct America  was willing to send a tech to our site to fix it - talk about service!

Fast-forwarding to summer, we are now in our Holiday Rambler 36' 5th wheel - complete with FOUR slide-outs!  Needless to say, it was like moving from a small studio apartment to a house. Instead of an elevated area in the front with a mattress, we had a full on bedroom, complete with cedar-lined closet.  A queen-size bed, full set of dresser drawers, and its own flat screen TV.  To call this an upgrade would be doing a disservice to the word "upgrade"! The only downside to a bigger rig was that (as I discovered) I was going to need a bigger truck.  Not because the truck I had previously couldn't pull it (2007 Dodge Ram 2500), but because the payload was not sufficient for the pin weight of the trailer.   We ended up with a 2011 Dodge Ram 3500 4x4.   While it hasn't been the best, we'll save that trial for another story.

So, to the story's title, how exactly do we live with Great Danes in an RV.  For one, they are not typically high energy dogs (once they are adults - about three years old).  That being said, a well-exercised dog is a happy owner, especially with young Danes!  Imagine two 100+ lb dogs "playing" inside the smaller space of an RV - you get the picture.  Two things go hand-in-hand here.

The first being good training.  Moose and Nyx are our fifth and sixth Danes.  That's not to say that we are experts by any means on the breed, but we have had the help and guidance of a lot of experts in both training and (unfortunately) medical issues.  We are both on the same page about being firm with our training while still allowing the doggies to be doggies.  For instance, when it's time for their "meals"(they get two meals a day with added treats but we free-feed them by keeping their bowls full of their normal food), we always make them lay down and wait until it's time to eat.  This helps us to keep our established dominance with them, especially our young Moose!  The key to training dogs is much like (we've heard) raising kids - if the parents aren't in agreement and on the same page, the kids will exploit one or the other to get what they want.  This happens with dogs, too!  Repetition and consistency will go a long way to aid in training.  By constantly doing these things, each passing day gets a little easier handling them.

Nyx and Moose
The second is keeping the dogs exercised - especially since they are both still growing puppies.  One of the things that we look for in an RV park or campground is either a designated dog park or area, or a large field where they can run wide open, or at the very least, somewhere nearby that they can play.  Even on the days that we are travelling, we keep our time on the road limited to six total hours or less.  We rarely drive more than two hours at a time without a good rest stop, both for us and the kids!  We normally take Moose for a short walk in the morning, one midday, and one evening - mostly for going to the bathroom.  Since he is still very young, we have been teaching him how to stay close since we do not use a leash on him much yet. For his age, he's already listening amazingly well and staying close!

Of course, Moose does have Nyx as an example. She stays closer and listens better off-leash than she does when she's on - weird!  Nyx is able to walk much further with us since she is over 2 years old.  Since her growth plates are closed (Great Dane growth plates close at about 18 months), the potential for irregular bone growth and a host of other potential problems decreases dramatically. Disruptions in the growth plates in these big guys can cause serious health complications later in life. We've had enough health issues with our previous Danes, so we have been extremely careful following the expert guidance of Nyx and Moose's respective breeders.

So with these two very large dogs, one has to wonder what happens when they decide to start playing in the RV.  Fortunately, they are pretty good at listening and keep most of their playing to outside.  However, there are times when we just like to let them go at it (within reason) for a bit.  No joke, it  sounds like a herd of elephants stampeding through the RV, but they love it and are generally pretty agile - we just make sure to supervise and watch them closely.

We did have to make some light modifications to our rig since Moose is still very young.  Since he's still crated at night and when we leave for short periods, we did have to remove the dining table and chairs.  While this would normally cause issue, thankfully, my in-laws got us a lightweight portable picnic table for my birthday.  It's small enough to set up in the living area, but large enough to seat four adults and has room on the table for a full meal.  Since it's so lightweight and easy to setup (just unfolds), if we want to, it's easy to set up for a great outdoor dining experience!  Check out our Amazon Store where we be adding this awesome picnic table!

Another potential challenge are RV parks that don't allow larger dogs.   The only place that we had issue (so far) with this was in South Florida.  From Ft. Lauderdale to the upper Keys only allowed small dogs.  While this is frustrating, we understand that each place has its own set of rules.  That being said, we are also staunch believers in pets being members of the family, so we simply boycott these places!

There you have it.  Hopefully this post disposes of any preconceptions or preconceived notions about traveling with larger dogs.  It's really not difficult and we wouldn't have it any other way.  While it is certainly a challenge, we imagine it's along the same lines as full-timing with kids (from what we've heard from other full-timers with children!).  Training, exercise, and consistency are the keys to ensuring that traveling with your big babies is a enjoyable as ours!

Did we get it right? Do you have experience or knowledge about this post? Please make yourself heard! Comment below and we will respond as soon as possible. As always, thanks for following us! Disclaimer: We are not paid writers. We write for enjoyment and to share information about our travels with our families, friends, and our followers. The information that we provide is based on our experiences with the products, services, etc, that we write about.  Our opinions are 100% non-biased!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Which should I buy?! 5th Wheel or Class A Motorhome?

That's the million dollar question - which kind should I buy. When we first started out on our journey, I was hellbent on getting a class A motorhome.  What better way to travel the country than perched up high above the road with a panoramic view of everything around you.  Never having to stop (except for fuel) and the ease of setup and breakdown, it seemed like it had everything we could possibly want - until we started really breaking down what was important to us in an RV.

When we first started looking, the only thing I had on my mind was jumping from place to place never spending more than a day or two in each locale.  Much to my surprise, this was not the case. The majority of our stays have started with a one-night planned stay and quickly turned into 4 or 5 or more nights.  We have both come to terms with the fact that travelling without a schedule keeps our plans open to enjoy places longer that we enjoy.  This was the case with Sky Island Retreat.  When we booked our stay there, we had only intended on staying a few nights.  But after spending some time there, meeting the staff, and interacting with some of the other campers, we ended up staying a full 12 days!
How cool is this?!
"So what", you say?  It's just as easy to move a Class A (easier) than it is to move a 5th wheel. A class A is pretty much self-contained.  You can park it, put the jacks down and crank up the generator without ever having to step foot outside.  This is absolutely the most convenient when you've been driving all day and arrive on site after dark, or in the rain, snow, etc.  With the 5th wheel, you should get out, unhitch, etc, but it's not absolutely necessary.  Providing you are relatively level (Steps for setting up your 5th wheel), you can leave the 5er attached to the truck (make sure you disconnect the 7 pin electric plug from your tow vehicle), drop the landing gear and rear stabilizers and put the slides out.  If you have a generator, you can also start it up without having to plug in.  So, from a convenience standpoint, there isn't a huge difference.

That's a full patio on the back of the 5th wheel!
Interior space was a big concern for us.  If you've taken a look at any of the pics or posts about our kids, you know that interior space is a major deal.  Since Class A motorhomes serve two purposes, one being housing and the other being propulsion, it's difficult to get both in the same package size as a 5er.  From our research and shopping, we've found that we would have to go to a 40-44' Class A to gain the same interior space as we get with our 36' 5th wheel.   Not to mention, if you have a vehicle that you want to tow, this is going to add extra weight and length to the motorhome resulting in even poorer fuel economy than they already get.  In addition to the size limitations, there are, of course, the additional costs to consider.

With a motorhome, the costs can be quite a bit higher than a truck/5th wheel combination.  Of course, this is all relative to what you're looking for.  For instance, for us to get a Class A with the same features, space, etc, we would have had to look at something 8-10 years old and $125k - $150k and still would have 50-75k miles on the clock.  In comparison, if you have the same amount to spend, a brand new 5th wheel can be had for about $100k (often less depending on the size/features and assuming you don't find a deal at an Rv show or a leftover) with a brand new truck for about $50-55k - both with full bumper-to-bumper warranties.  For the same investment, to have something brand new (with the latest technologies i.e. LED lighting, wired for solar, etc) and full warranty as opposed to purchasing a Class A that's 8-10 years old, it makes the most sense to us.

There are other considerations, too.  Let's say that you have an issue with the engine, transmission, etc, on a Class A.  If you have to take it to a shop to have repaired, guess what's going with it - your home!  With a 5th wheel, if you have a problem with your tow vehicle, it doesn't force you into finding a place to stay!  We can tell you from experience that it's not always easy finding a reasonably-priced hotel when you're travelling with two small-pony-sized doggies!

So, if you haven't figured it out by now, we've swayed more towards the fifth wheel option.  That's not to say that it's the end-all be-all decision and that we will never want to move on to a class A motorhome, but for the amount of travel we've covered thus far and what we've figured out about the ways that we travel, the 5er will continue to be our choice.  From a cost, space, and travel pattern standpoint, it fits best into the way that we live.

Hopefully, we've been able to shed some light on how to best make the decision on our method of travel.  If you have any questions about our thinking and/or our methodology, we would love to hear from you!  Good luck!

Did we get it right? Do you have experience or knowledge about this post?  Please make yourself heard!  Comment below and we will respond as soon as possible. As always, thanks for following us!
Disclaimer: We are not paid writers. We write for enjoyment and to share information about our travels with our families, friends, and our followers. The information that we provide is based on our experiences with the products, services, etc, that we write about.  We write 100% non-biased!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Set-up Checklist for 5th wheels - A Beginner's Step-by-Step Guide

No one likes to look like a rookie when they first get their new RV.  Most people won't have the means or finances to buy a brand new rig their first time around, so to expect to get a full education on how your equipment works may be a little bit much -  Many reputable RV dealers make sure that their buyers are well-educated on how things work, but there are even more out there that could care less whether or not you come back and buy another RV from them, use their service department, or buy accessories - they are all about the sale and that's where it ends.  No matter how you buy your rig or from where, demand that you get a full rundown on how all the systems work, how to operate each of them, and the order for setting up when you arrive at your destination.  This includes campsites with full hookups and dry camping or boondocking.  You need to know how to operate all systems under any conditions!

When we bought our 5er, the maintenance guys (and the sales guys) did a Micro-Machine guy (extremely fast-talking) run-through on how to set up for our equipment for camping.  Fortunately, we took notes and paid close attention.  Since we had to go through this quick set of instructions, I would assume that we aren't the only ones!  To that end, even though this is a short list of how to get things set up correctly, it does a pretty good job of detailing the correct order to keep from damaging something on your fifth wheel.

Don't let this be you!

Once you get acquainted with your rig, it pretty much becomes second nature on the setup and breakdown of everything.  But what about when you first start out?  Many times, the owner's manual doesn't give instructions or the process of how to go about getting everything ready when you arrive at your campsite.  So, based on the way that we set up (opposite for breakdown), here are the instructions that we use in the correct order get ready to camp!

  1. Once you've placed your rig in the space that you are parking, make sure that you can both reach the hookups (electric, water, sewer, cable, etc.) and that your slides, if you have them, will clear both the hookups and any other obstacles.  
    HiJacker Autoslide
  2. Chock all wheels, front and rear, to ensure the trailer doesn't shift to the front or rear when you release it from the pull vehicle.  
  3. Level the rig.  Using your levels (if you don't have levels attached to the side/front of your rig, get some!), ensure that your side-to-side and front-to-rear are both level.  You'll want to make your side-to-side level by using either leveling blocks or by moving the rig from side to side until you've leveled it out.  Front to rear leveling can usually be accomplished with the front landing gear.  NOTE:  depending on your pull vehicle's height, you may have to skip to step 4 before leveling front to rear.  An unevenly placed rig can introduce a host of problems.  In some instances, if your rig is not level, it may cause your refrigerator to fail to work properly.  
  4. Disconnect your trailer from your pull vehicle by dropping the landing gear far enough to allow the disengaging of the kingpin from the 5th wheel in the bed of the truck. Make sure you also disconnect the electric trailer brake emergency line and the 7 pin electric brakes/trailer hookup. 
  5. Connect the electrical cable to the pedestal ensuring that you are using a surge protector to protect your RV from any issues in the campground's wiring.  You'll also want to connect your electric so that you aren't using your batteries' power to put slides out, adjust landing gear, and lowering/adjusting your stabilizer jacks.  
    Pretty sure that Smart is a diesel!
  6. Once you've leveled front to rear, drop your rear stabilizing jacks.  At this point your rig should be solidly planted and ready to put slides out.  
  7. NOTE:  Depending on where your sewer hookup is located, you may want to connect it before putting the slides out.
  8. Circle the trailer and check again to be sure that nothing is going to interfere with the slide-out's movement.  Last thing that you want is to open your slide into a tree, truck, pedestal, etc. Once you've confirmed that all slides are clear, put one slide out at a time - this keeps from overtaxing your electrical system by pulling too much amperage at once.  Also, if you can, try to keep from turning on your AC until you've got all the slides out.  Since the seals aren't designed for halfway-out, you'll be letting warm air in when the slides are being moved anyway.  
  9. If you haven't already hooked up the water, sewer, cable, etc, go ahead and do that now. Once the water is hooked up, you can safely turn on your water heater.  NEVER turn on the water heater unless you're sure that there is water in it.  That's the quickest way to burn out an element!  In addition, if you don't already have one, you should have a water pressure regulator.  This will ensure that the water pressure doesn't exceed the pressure your rig's supply pipes are designed for. 
    What it feels like when a pipe bursts in your RV
      Protect your self from the campground!
  10. That's pretty much it for the outside stuff.  Moving inside, you'll want to check everything inside of cabinets (carefully!) for shifting or movement.  Even though you secure things before getting on the road, they can still have a tendency to move.   
  11. Untie/undo all of your tables, chairs, TVs, computers and anything else that is strapped to keep from moving in transit. 
  12. Make sure your fridge (if it's propane/electric) was set on LP or Auto for when you were in transit.  It should still be cold and ready to use when you get set up.  If you failed to do this, make sure you turn it on ASAP!
  13. Check tanks to ensure they are empty then run water to remove air from lines.
  14. Ensure your black tank has been treated before use. 
  15. Raise TV antenna or put out dish if you are using either one.  
  16. Crack a beer, pour a glass of wine, or mix up a cocktail!  You're home!

Did we get it right? Do you have experience or knowledge about this post? Please make yourself heard! Comment below and we will respond as soon as possible. As always, thanks for following us! Disclaimer: We are not paid writers. We write for enjoyment and to share information about our travels with our families, friends, and our followers. The information that we provide is based on our experiences with the products, services, etc, that we write about. It is 100% non-biased!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Rainy day fun and Mount Mitchell State Park Review! - Burnsville, NC

Mount Mitchell State Park
2388 NC-128 Burnsville, NC 28714

Having the highest elevation east of the Mississippi is the distinction that can only be held by one mountain.  For the longest time, I thought that it was Mt. Washington in New Hampshire.  How wrong I was!  Mt. Washington stands at 6289' which is a full 394' lower in elevation compared to Mt. Mitchell.  To add to that, Mt. Mitchell's climate is much more suited for visiting more months out of the year.

Curtis Creek
Curtis Creek Road "Surprise! It's dirt!
From Old Fort, NC where we stayed at Sky Island Retreat , our GPS had us go in a very peculiar way, Curtis Creek Road.  What we didn't know (or understand at that time) was that it was only 18 miles to get to Mt. Mitchell State Park, but it was going to take us nearly an hour to get there!

We soon found the reason.  Not only did the road ascend over 3000 feet in only a few miles, it was dirt - about to be mud from the pending rain!

Fortunately, we were no strangers to "mudding".  With me being from Pennsylvania and Jeanine being from Colorado, neither of us had any shortages of off-road experience.  To add to that, we had been to a few weekend mud jams with our previous Jeep.  This was going to be fun!

Curtis Creek Campground
Although I didn't need it, I felt it necessary to engage the four wheel drive on the truck (after the recent repair on the transfer case!) and give the system a run-through.  Everything worked as it should, so I was naturally happy.  After switching it off, the rain started to come down even harder.  Some of the switchbacks were so tight that even I questioned whether or not I would brave taking the 5er up that road (despite J's skepticism, I would!).  I also noticed that when accelerating out of the switchbacks, the rear end of the truck was losing traction quite a bit.  With my natural love of driving, I decided to push it a bit and fish-tailed around a few - having a blast in the process.  Once I was reminded of the erosion and possible road damage I may have been causing, I went back to driving normally :),

About a mile or so from the Blue Ridge Parkway, we ran into some National Forest personnel who had come across a bit of a bad spot with their vehicle.  While they were cutting up and clearing a (very large, impassable) tree from the road, they mistakenly left the lights of their truck on... without the engine running.  The battery was completely dead so much that it wouldn't allow use of their radio leaving communications at nothing.  Miles from the closest person and also just out of cell phone reception, we came upon them at just the right time. One of the guys was contemplating walking downhill to the first real civilization - about a six mile trek!

After gathering a set up jumper cables and letting their battery get a good charge to it, we sent them on their way and followed them the rest of the way up the mountain.   A few miles down the Blue Ridge Parkway, we arrived at the entrance to Mt. Mitchell State Park.

The summit was a few miles from the entrance but it was a nice drive.  Windows down and enjoying the low 80's temperatures (at the bottom).  By the time we reached the parking lot, the temperature had dropped to a chilly (Floridians here) 59 degrees!  Thankfully, my wife reminded me that it was going to be cooler, so the dress was appropriate.

We weren't sure which trail we wanted to hike since it had been raining on and off all morning.  Most of the trails around the parking lot were short and easy - we wanted something not-too-long, but still challenging.  Jeanine had been steadily increasing her daily hikes/walks, so she was feeling up to the challenge of a little more difficult hike.  Luckily the rain looked to be letting up so we decided to go for a two mile adventure.

On the hike we chose, we made our way to Mt. Craig at 6648' above sea level. The trail from Mt. Mitchell parking lot took us through a strenuous round-trip total mileage.  While we saw only a small portion of the the total trail length of 12 miles ending up at Deep Gap, we would vote this as our favorite hike to date.  Despite the soggy weather and mostly bad visibility due to the low clouds, we couldn't have had a better experience!  We saw signs that there is a primitive, overnight campsite about 5 miles in to the Deep Gap trail.  We hope to return sometime and make it an overnight adventure!

In the two times that we visited the park, we hiked the trails encircling and ascending the summit, including the interpretive nature trail, which we would have normally thought were pretty boring, but this one zig-zagged through a bunch of very different small ecosystems.  We got the opportunity to gain education about the mountain, its history, and its climate.
Our hike of Mt. Craig tracked with our Fitbit

Needless to say, we would definitely visit Mt. Mitchell again.  Since we were there during a busy time, there weren't any sites (primitive tent) available in the summit campground.   There isn't any RV camping available in this state park, which didn't surprise us.  Although it would be neat to stay here, there are other campgrounds available nearby.  Carolina Hemlocks Recreation Area, which we heard about from our neighbor in Florida, is supposed to be really gorgeous, but we weren't quite ready for the lack of hookups.  Plus, it was very hot and humid (yes, coming from Floridians!) during the time we were there, so we decided to hit that one on our next go-around.

Have you been to Mt. Mitchell State Park?  Do you have questions about MMSP or the surrounding areas?  We would love to hear your comments below!

Disclaimer: We are not paid writers, neither for our writing or our opinions. We represent our experiences with products, services, etc, with 100% accuracy and give our unbiased feedback.