Table of Contents for This Series
Camping two weeks in a row is excessive! But as it turned out, two of my favorite campsites came available this month at nearly the same time. One at Hunting Island State Park last week. And this week site # 30 on the Corps of Engineers campground at Modoc, South Carolina. Since this campground closes for the winter soon, I just had to take it. More on this particular site in a moment.
Corps of Engineers campgrounds have several advantages. Especially for older campers. Those of us over 62 are eligible to buy a National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Senior Pass for $10.00. That Pass is good for life. No renewal necessary. So keep it in a safe place!
With this Senior Pass we get a 50 percent discount on the already low camping rates at all Corps of Engineers campgrounds. As well as valuable discounts at other federal recreation facilities.
Further, it’s convenient and economical to make reservations in advance on line. Through the National Recreation Reservation Service. They don’t charge all of those transaction fees, taxes, and so on that we find on our Reserve America bills. Those extra fees add up!
Another advantage of Corps of Engineers campgrounds is their ample budget. Well, “ample” is a relative term. The Corps’ campground budget faces pressure every year in Washington. But they’re still much better off than South Carolina’s state campgrounds.
This allows them to hire the personnel necessary to maintain their facilities. Both for daily routine maintenance, and for the essential non-routine larger jobs, such as tree pruning and road repairs.
I encounter few government organizations that consider current funding sufficient to accomplish their missions. If they did, their managers would expand their missions and ask for more funding! But relatively speaking, the Corps campgrounds have a budget advantage over their South Carolina state neighbors.
This COE campground is situated on two long, narrow finger-like peninsulas that extend out into J. Strom Thurmond Lake. Another of those huge man-made lakes created some time ago by the Corps for energy and conservation purposes. I don’t think this one is quite as large as Lake Murray. But it’s very big.
As you can see on the map, site # 30 is right on the tip of the southern peninsula of the campground. Meaning it has complete water and lake views on three sides! With some pulling and hauling, I’m able to maneuver the Aliner so its front window points directly out into the lake.
This gives impressive lake views on three sides as I sit here at the computer.
And one of a nearby small island used only by geese and the occasional resting kayaker from the left side. And the shore beyond with its privately owned “cottages.” You can imagine the sorts of houses built along this shore.
Now, there are a couple of disadvantages to site # 30 as well. First, it offers little shade. The Park folks have planted a few trees around the site that have grown considerably during the years I’ve been coming here. But they have a ways to go before they provide much relief from the sun.
So, in the hot summer months your rig on site # 30 will be in nearly full sun for much of the day. A challenge for our air conditioners in South Carolina climate during the summer months.
The second challenge is wind. And that’s year-round. When winds on the lake reach 20 or 30 miles per hour, this site gets its share. Large Class A motorhomes find the broadside wind a challenge. Even without their awnings extended. And awnings are likely to be damaged or blown down if they are left out. There are sites in this park better protected from the wind on either side of these peninsulas.
Fortunately, this little Aliner does quite well in winds that discourage the larger rigs. It doesn’t have slide-outs, of course. Nor any built-in awning. With its stabilizer jacks, two colorful wind straps in place outside, and the side-to-side pole bracing from the inside at the very top of the A, it doesn’t mind the wind. Even side winds. 20 and even 30 mph winds are no problem at all. Of course, there’s a limit!
More on this campground and the surrounding area tomorrow. Click here for the next entry.