Monday, December 4, 2017

Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge, North Carolina

Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge is on North Carolina’s largest lake, Lake Mattamuskeet, which is 40,000 acres. The lake is 14 miles long and 5 miles wide and varies in depth from 0.5 to 4 feet with an average depth of 1.5 feet. The Refuge was established in 1934 and consists of 50,180 acres of open water, marsh, timber, and croplands. It provides habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife. Over 100,000 tundra swan, Canada geese, snow geese and 18 species of ducks overwinter on the refuge annually.

You can click on any of the pictures to enlarge them. 

We’re here at the refuge workamping for the month of December. We were told we’d be working 24 hours, with Curt doing maintenance and me in the gift shop/visitor center. This first weekend we worked with another couple who have been here since November 1st. There isn't a lot of maintenance on the weekend so the guys were in the visitor center with us when they weren’t busy. The office people, biologists, and maintenance people don’t work weekends. We aren’t sure what our schedule will be after the weekend. 

We have a full hookup site, concrete pad, beside four employee houses across from a canal. There is spotty cell service throughout the refuge, sometimes 3G 3 bar at our coach. We can text and have been able to use our cell phones. We can usually use the internet on our phones, but it’s pretty slow with our wifi hotspot on the computer. At the visitor center there is no cell service at all but we can hook up to their internet. 

Monday, November 20, 2017

Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky

Mammoth Cave National Park is the longest cave system known in the world with 405 miles (652 km) of surveyed passageways. The park was established as a national park on July 1, 1941. It became a World Heritage Site on October 27, 1981, and an international Biosphere Reserve on September 26, 1990. It was believed discovered in 1791, and encompasses 52,830 acres.

We were initially going to stay at a Passport America campground and drive to the cave with our Jeep. One campground was full, and at the other one there was no one in the office and it was locked, but the sign said Open. When we called the phone number, you could hear it ring inside. So we drove our motorhome to the Park. There is a large parking lot for buses and campers. I don’t know how it would be in the summer, but at this time it was almost empty so it worked perfect.

You can click on any of the pictures to enlarge them.

There are eight different tours in the winter schedule. We took the Historic Tour, which was $7/person with the Senior Pass. You go through the natural entrance to "classic" Mammoth Cave landmarks visited by writers, scientists, military figures and celebrities of the 1800s and early 1900s. Duration is approximately 2 hours, 2 miles and over 440 stairs. There were some very large rooms with huge ceilings, and also some very narrow spaces that you side-stepped through and ducked your head (Fat Man’s Misery). There’s an area where they did salt-peter mining with some equipment left. We were able to take pictures, just no flash photography.

After doing this tour, we wished we would have done the Domes & Dripstones Tour instead. We’ve seen some dripstone features before, so we did the history tour. We thought there’d be more history and information given out during the tour, but the ranger did very little talking. Maybe it was just the two rangers who were with us. There are displays in the Visitor Center with a lot of information there.

Per the web site, and rangers, “All participants on cave tours must walk on bio-security mats immediately following the conclusion of their tour. No exceptions. This extraordinary measure is due to the confirmation of White-Nose Syndrome in Kentucky. Your assistance is required to slow the spread of this fungal disease affecting bats.”

               And that’s how dark it is in the cave when the ranger shuts the lights off. (I think they do this in every cave tour.)

If you would like to see more pictures, including brochures, please click here.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Stoney Creek Resort, Greenville, Virginia

Stoney Creek Resort is a Passport America participating campground in western Virginia off highway 64/81 not far from Shenandoah National Park and the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest. It’s a little ways off of the highway, and the hardest part getting to it is going through the town of Greenville. You have to turn on to/off of main street and the streets are NOT big rig friendly.

You can click on any of the pictures to enlarge them.

When turning in to the resort, you see their office/club house/laundry building on the right and a pond on the left. The road you turn on to is full of pot holes. It was raining when we got there, which they can’t help, but they definitely need gravel to cover the holes and the mud. We encountered more pot holes throughout the drive to our site. The roads are narrow, so hopefully you don't meet another coach. There are a lot of seasonal and permanent campers in it, with a lot of stuff in their sites. The people we met in the office were very friendly. We did not use the restrooms or laundry.

We were in site  #159 with 30/50 amp, water and sewer. Verizon worked fine.