July 3, 2016 (by Angela)
Once again, Jim and I found ourselves refreshed after a night of sound sleep in a Harvest Host location. In almost no time at all, we had gotten dressed, eaten something, straightened up the camper, and were ready to head out, almost as early as the day before. The farms and forested areas of Ohio are amazingly beautiful. I kept trying to get some good pictures of the gorgeous farms as we drove, but it was very difficult to do in a moving truck with a huge mirror in my way. I don’t think I could every get tired of viewing these places.
With an early start and only about three hours to our next destination, we decided to make a stop just outside Columbus, Ohio, to enjoy a brunch at Cracker Barrel. It was plenty cool enough to leave Chewie in the truck with the windows cracked and a bowl of water; it was just barely above 60 degrees.
As we were waiting on our order, it dawned on us that this was our first true restaurant meal of our trip. All other meals were eaten in the 5th wheel (or truck after being prepared in the camper) or at our Harvest Hosts winery stops. With bottled water cold in the frig or in the cooler in the back floorboard of the truck, we had not even had to purchase drinks as we traveled; diesel for the truck was just about it.
Meadow Lakes Campground near Wooster, Ohio, allows check in at or after 11 a.m., and we arrived around noon since we had taken our time and took the leisurely brunch stop. The campground is lovely with a huge tree canopy covering most of the camp sites. There are two lakes, and the atmosphere is very relaxing. In honor of the 4th of July, beginning at 2 p.m., the owners provided free music and food to all campers. Hot dogs, baked beans, chips, and desserts were available and much appreciated. After dark, the park provided a free firework show for its guests.
Despite all of this good, our first impression was not so good. Although we had made reservations three months in advance, when we arrived, though we were expected, we were told that the camp site amenities for which we had made our reservation were not available. The owner then listed off a series of options for one day, and then he could move us to the site with all of the services we had reserved. Upon our arrival, the campground was busy, but it was no where near full. It seems a poor business practice to not provide what was reserved in advance.
In the end, I could not stomach setting up and then having to move a few hours later, so we opted to keep the site in which we were put upon arrival – only 30 amps to the 50 requested – and no sewer line drainage (we’d only have been able to drain grey water at any site – black tanks must be emptied at dump stations or through the weekly pump-out service (extra fee) usually done on Sundays). There is one more concern about our site – actually all sites – should it rain heavily right before we need to head out. The sites are grass, and I’m hoping there is not a lot of rain at the end of the week. I’d hate to get this big baby mired down.
About an hour after arriving, we told the owner of our decision, which was of course dependent on the site being available for the week. It was, and we will not move. We were refunded the difference of what we had paid and the cost of the site we were given.
The frustration of not having what we reserved open to us upon our arrival dissipated quickly because the campground is simply enjoyable, laid-back, and relaxing. I can’t remember how long it has been since I’ve seen Jim so chilled. The other benefit for us is that our site is near the one and only “free” WiFi spot in the campground, so we can actually pick up on it from our site. Otherwise, it is $3 per day to have WiFi for individual sites.
I think we are really going to enjoy our week here and will look back on it fondly.