Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Diamond in the Rough

We left the RV Resort at Carolina Crossroads in Roanoke Rapids this morning around 9:30, heading to Cherokee, North Carolina, in the Great Smokey Mountains.  About an hour or so into our drive, it began to rain, but it wasn't bad.  However, the further we drove, the harder it rained.  After about 3 more hours, we decided we had had enough and began searching for a place to stop for the night.  We had planned to stop at Tom Johnson RV Park in Marion, North Carolina, about 95 miles East of Cherokee, but quickly realized that was not going to happen.  So, I hopped on the computer and checked out rvparkreviews.  There was a campground that had great reviews near Hickory, North Carolina, so we decided we would stop there.  I called ahead to make sure they had space for us, which they did.  They have a code-entry gate, so the owner gave me the code when I called.  Maybe that should have been a hint, but we really didn't think much about it.

We got off I-40 at Exit 119.  That's what it said on their website -- "take Exit 119."  No signs -- absolutely no signs indicating a campground anywhere.  The website said it was only a mile off I-40, so how difficult could it be to find?  We came off the exit and came to a stop sign -- "Okay, which way do we turn?"  The sign said "Henry River" to the right and we knew the CG was supposedly near Henry River, so we turned right.  The website stated to make sure we turned on "Whitener Drive," not "Whitener Road," so we're looking for Whitener Drive but never saw it.  We went more than a mile and we were like, "Where in the heck is this CG" -- again, NO SIGNS.  So I called the CG again -- they asked where we were.  Of course, we had no clue, but we know we missed the CG.  She starts asking me questions like do you see old houses, etc.  All I see are signs alongside the road with Bible scriptures.  She says you will come to a section with old houses and all of a sudden, we were there.  Alan pulls into an area where he thinks he can turn around -- WRONG!  It's not raining as hard as it was, but it's still raining.  We get out, look around and there's no way he can make the turn to turn around.  We are stuck!  He decides to disconnect the car.  We have a leather car cover we use when towing and we did not want to take it off because it was so wet.  He disconnects the car and guides me in backing it up.  He then turns the MH around and reconnects the car.

After all was said and done, we found ourselves at the site where "District 12" of the Hunger Games was filmed.  Now we haven't seen the movie, so we have no idea what the Hunger Games are -- other than the advertisement we saw on TV.  However, our grandkids sure know and thought it was "cool" that we ended up there.

I managed to snap a couple of pictures while Alan turned the MH around and hooked the car back up.  If you have seen the movie, maybe you will recognize something from the pics.

We managed to get back on the road and the CG owner stayed on the phone with me until we were actually on the right road to the CG.  You must turn left on Costner Road, then right on Whitener Road, but again, NO SIGNS.  The owner told us the County will not allow signs because they do not have a bathhouse or allow tents -- all RVs must be self-contained -- and the DOT says your CG must be accessible to everyone before you put signs on the highway.   

A quarter of a mile or so down Whitener Road the road turns to gravel and you come to the coded gate.  (I'll get a pic of that tomorrow when we leave and post it tomorrow night).  

By this point, Alan is NOT a happy camper.  When that gate opened and he saw the road beyond going down into a valley, I do believe if he could have turned around -- again -- he would have.  Anyway, we made it in -- the owner is super, super nice and was very apologetic about the problems we had in finding the campground.  By the time we got settled in and had some dinner, the rain stopped, the sun came out and we were able to explore our surroundings.  

It turned out to be a very nice little park we dubbed as a diamond in the rough.
Laundry -- 2 washers & 2 dryers
Catch and Release Pond
We even found the Henry River

We are happy and thankful to be back on the road and are looking forward to exploring Cherokee, the Great Smokey Mountains and beyond.



  1. We've had a few campgrounds that I was sure didn't exist even though I talked to them. One in Iowa - the campground owner actually had to come find us to lead us to the campground. Just adds all that excitement to an already stressful day. Tomorrow will be a better day.

  2. glad you landed safely! least it wasn't dark and rainy!!..enjoy your stay..looks like a good spot to stay for a bit!

  3. Days like that are always so stressful! Did your GPS not know where the campground was, either?

  4. So glad you arrived safe and sound after your 'adventures!' What a lovely campground to reward all of the day's trials.

    Here is a link to a Focus on the Family review of the Hunger Games:

  5. Glad you found the place. Nothing like a little stress to end a travel day. We had a similar experience in Mississippi. Beautiful area to investigate.

    We probably looked at Hickory as an overnight stop on our way to Blue Ridge, GA. Instead we stayed at Catawba Falls RV Park in old Town just east of Asheville.

    Not sure where you guys are headed. You are about 200 miles from us in Blue Ridge, GA. I am sure I can arrange for a couple of free nights here at the Windy Valley Llama Farm. Great location for day tripping around the area. Let me know if you are interested. You can use contact form on our blog or can email me at jerry at waggintailsrv dot com.

  6. You're absolutely right - that campground does look like a great place to stay. The Hunger Games? I keep reading about this but still haven't got a real clue what it's about. I'm going to have to Google it and find out!

  7. Sorry you had so much trouble!! Just be safe in your travels and try not to get too stressed out!!

  8. As you handle stress, I really feel for you. I am having a terrible time with any stress that comes up. You are such an encouragement and all I can say is that God knows what he has planned for your and your travels.

  9. I didn't see the movie but I have read all three books in the Hunger Games series. I recommend them for grownups as well as kids. They make you think!!

    I HATE when you have to unhook the car and get turned around! But at least you found a good spot finally.

  10. I love the Great Smokey Mountain area. Hope you are doing well now and haven't had too many hard RV driving days since this one. Happy Mother's Day by the way.