We stayed at the branches at niagara this past summer. Nice campground, big sites and nice people. Niagara is definitely worth the trip. We traveled from tampa with 2 young kids and would do it again. Even my 7 year old was amazed by the falls. Pictures or videos don't do it justice. If you just want to see the falls, there is no reason to go to the Canadian side, you can see it just fine from the boats and tours.
We went last summer in mid-july. Very hot and uncomfortable, even for us floridians. I hope June makes a difference for you. You sound like you are giving yourselves plenty of time. If we go back, I would definitely do a guided / bus tour. I know they offer a lot of packages for the triangle, we just winged it and that did not go so well. (Especially with 2, hot younger kids)
I never even thought of using the stabilizing jacks to help from the sway. It was really moving when those big rigs would pass. I don't know if I would use them to jack it up, but, I should have used them to "stabilize". I did drive up on my 2x8's, but even when it was almost high enough, it was just seemed too unstable, so one more 2x8 would have made it higher than I liked it... that was more slop than I wanted to deal with, maybe I was being a whimp!
I may buy a smaller floor jack that is easy to bring with us, the one I have at home is way too heavy and big to travel. I will also add my jack stands to the list, since I had to have both tires off to repair them, I didn't like my 30 foot Trailer just hanging out on the truck's bottle jack for a while.
I usually take pride in my tire changing times.. Kind of like the old man in "A Christmas Story" when the kid curses when he looses the lug nuts... I will figure it all out, this was just a first on the side of an interstate, so I was nervous, and with 2 young kids, I really didn't want anything stupid to happen.
Part 1.. We had our first blow out on the road last week. (We were on I-75) Not too much damage down below, maybe because I stopped immediately as I knew exactly what had happened and I was only going 60 in the right lane. Or maybe I got lucky..
I am a very prepared and organized person, I had everything to change the tire (so I thought) BUT, I didn't count on the highway shoulder to be at such angle that my truck jack would not work. (Meaning I felt it to be unsafe with all the sway from passing trucks and cars) In comes a Good Sam service about an hour and a half later with their 3 ton floor jack with no problem. My jack may have worked, but I didn't want to chance it.
Lesson learned, but, my question to any of you...
If any of you have changed a tire on the interstate, what have you used?
Part 2.., Here is the best part, leaving stone mountain, all packed up and pulling out of the site, our neighbor yelled for us to stop. As we were passing his site, both tires were quickly going flat as air rushed out if them. I immediately reversed and backed into our site. No one could figure out what popped them (nothing was in them and nothing was on the ground) This time, we were in a nice and flat area, so I took both tires off and had them patched at a nearby good year tire store.
4 hours later, as I installed the tires, the kids and the wife looked all around for what punctured the tires. Finally, under a bunch of leaves, my wife saw what looked like a tent stake in the ground nailed into a rail road tie. I called the office and they came down to take a look. No one had an explanation, so we just took some pictures, they removed it (not easily, they ended up just nailing back in) we made sure the office knew what happened and we had to get on our way, long trip back to Tampa yesterday.
So, 3 tires, one trip. BUT, we had a great time at Stone Mountain! one of our favorite campgrounds.
This past weekend was our first time there for Halloween and I would highly recommend it if anyone is on the fence. Young or old, the decorations are incredible! Our kids were amazed, everyone was having fun and we must have walked 10 miles! A lot more entertaining than my very family friendly neighborhood that we live in. My 11 year old son was Walt Disney (mustache and all) that was a great custome, some people would my boss is back from the dead!
We called yesterday to book next year and they said it was all filled up! We bought our tickets for this year last September, I really didn't think they would be filled up already, but I will keep trying, definitely worth it.
My only comment is that I wish they made the golf carts park at the beginning of each loop, and not be able to drive around the loops during trick / treating, it was very hectic in some of those center loops.
Can't really judge your family, but you all seem more of a north west group! As I stated on an earlier post, I have to do more of a glamping trip with my family... shopping (the one thing you said wasn't your thing), touristy stuff, etc. which is why we just did the north east tour this past summer.. From Florida... To Niagara Falls.. Then followed the yellow brick road home (I-95) through all the traffic, congestion, and expensive traps. BUT, we had a great time!
I would vote north west!
It will be going up with the house, so it will be permitted. I have worked in the 7 counties surrounding tampa, The county I am building in is one of the toughest in regards to inspects and requirements. I will be doing electrical and plumbing myself once all is completed.
Majorgator.. Thanks for the input. What exactly did you use for chambers? Do you empty them? I am not familiar with that, or atleast that term.
Krobbe.. Awesome garage! Budget will stop me from going that long, the wifey will have something to say about that as well! Is the door on the left 14' and how wide? How about the other? I just picked up my camper from storage for our Fort wilderness Halloween adventure, and I just did some more measuring. I am thinking the big door should be 12 x 14. Small door 8x8, I imagine the setup similar to yours.
I have a meeting with my shell contractor (slab, block, frame) next week, we have worked together for a while, let's see what we can work out for my "easy" garage. (Compared the the house) if it is close to the same cost, I would prefer block over steel for sure.
We stayed at Kathryn abbey Hannah park last thanksgiving. It was a very nice campground, some sites are a bit tight, but we got a great one. It is just across the street from the ocean. It is about 20 minutes from downtown jacksonville I think. I would go again.
I am amazed at how much your family did. I wish my wife and kids would do all of those hikes and sight seeing! My son might, but not the wife and daughter. As everyone has said, thanks for taking the time and sharing. I hope to see SOME of the destinations you have listed, I just have to make the trip a little more glamping and maybe the rest will follow!
Definitely a great trip log, congrats!
I hope I don't need a snow blower or plow:) if I do, we are all in big trouble! hell yeah, man cave! Maybe when my son turns 13 in a couple of years I will let him in, but that is it! My new soon to be neighbor has an awesome garage with thousands of dollars worth of metal working machinery, mowers, tractors etc.. I am very jealous of his collection, then again he has 25 years on me of collecting things! Hopefully some young neighbor will think the same of collection some day!
I have thought about a small bladder tank out back. We use these for our construction trailers on site at times. The Port-o-let companies install and just call them to empty. I want the garages separate as I can hide the large, tall Rv / shop garage behind trees. The attached garage will be in proportion with the house. Looks a lot nicer. The 2 will be about 75 feet or more apart. We will also have a large drive way going in one side of the property out the other, I will be able to back in with ease ( no hills to worry about in tampa!)
The county requires your house finish floor to be 18" above the crown of the street, in my specific situation, the crown height is 4 feet above the base flood elevation height. We will have to build a stem wall for both structures and bring in a hell of a lot or dirt, which lucky for me, I will get for free! In the end, flooding will not be an issue.
Being in tampa, insulation is not a concern for the detached garage. I may sweat a little a times, but they don't really get that hot with proper ventilation. I like the idea of a drain, maybe just go the outside? I am still in the process of pricing everything out, with all my connections, a stick frame (or block which is what we do all around florida). may not be that much more, and look a lot nicer. Phone calls and the bidding processes starts this week.
Thanks all! I will check out that garage journal for more ideas. We do have a budget, so 30x45-ish will be as big as we need. I will make sure we get the 12 foot doors, I may do 14, but I really don't think they would be needed. We do have a good 15 years before retirement, so I guess you never know what we will want at that time. We are thinking about a pull through, but we really like all the trees around and we would have to cut a lot down to make it work, the trees are why we bought the land.
Our next step is to give the architect my plans I have been working on (not done yet) so we can get them drawn up to send into the county for permits. Hopefully within the next 4-5 months we can get started.
We are so excited, our camper ( and us) will have a new home. After years of looking and dreaming, we finally decided to go big or go home. We just bought (closed last night) on 3.5 acres of land only about 10 minutes from our current home. Amoung the hundreds of bonuses this purchase has, we will now be able to build my dream garage for me.. I mean the camper and "man stuff". We have a lot of planning to do, but being in the residential construction management business, I do know where to start. We will also be building an oversized attached 4 car garage so I can keep my truck happy on a daily basis.
The garage will be a freestanding structure, I am thinking metal / steel as it is much cheaper than conventional framing. It will be big, planning for the future is the plan. I have read many posts about RV garages and making them bigger than you need. I am thinking 30 x 45, 100 amp service, sewer may not be possible as the septic tank may be too far away. but we will see. Still so much to think about. Wish us luck!
I lost all my bikes due to BIKE RACK failure, not bumper failure. BUT, I did have 4 bikes on it which is ofcourse double the weight! I was one of those (it cant happen to me and I dont believe the hype) Well, it did and I lost $1200 worth of bikes.
It can happen, not as much with 2 bikes and a quality rack, but you will see nothing but my factory spare on my bumper.
Since you do plan on traveling alot, Types of tires is one big debate in which you can read many threads on this forum. (maxxis if take a general pole from many on this forum) I will add that it is nice to find a smaller TT with a double axle. These will add a little more weight carrying capacity and a little less stress if you do have a blow out.
We have been many times.. The sites you listed are not the best (thus why they are still open.) You are not too far away, they do open up a few sites that day early morning ( these are for "walk up or drive up people), We have waited till the ealry morning and got nice site, but it is the luck of the draw.
IMO, the best sites are 202 - 230 (these are all on the water and very nice) Yes, some do have limited views, the lower 200's have less mangroves. BUT, since you can only book 6 months in advance, they go quick.