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Trick’in our Truck – for Safety, Comfort & Towing our Avion Travel Trailer

Lets face it, you can have a great route planned, your RV all geared up, food stocked, LP topped off,  campground reservations made BUT

BUT!!!! if your ride is uncomfortable, unsafe or not helping you with towing along the way—the TRIP CAN BE UNCOMFORTABLE, UNSAFE AND COULD END IN DISASTER for you, your truck and your beloved RV!

We purchased our 2011 GMC 2500 HD Denali Crew Cap truck in 2018.  It had just under 28K miles and in super condition.   It is a 4×4, 6 Liter gas engine with a 6-speed transmission and a 4.10 rear axle.   Here is a promo video of it when it was being sold by the dealership we bought it from.  It was a search on CARFAX that finally landed us our “Merlin”– so nicknamed because it was magical how our “must have list” of truck features was finally found….albeit in New Jersey!  So after calling them and putting down a small refundable “on hold” deposit with a CC, we made an overnight trip to NJ from our home in upstate NY traveling 5.5 hours to arrive as soon as the dealership had opened that morning.

OVERVIEW OF UPGRADES & SYSTEMS WE HAVE IMPLEMENTED SINCE PURCHASE:(Below this list we go into each upgrade in more detail with photos, etc.)

  1. Installed Sumo Springs Front & Rear Bump Stops,  Bilstien Shocks and SuperSprings Low Leveling Metal Springs on the rear to assist with suspension and overall handling.
  2. Installed ROCKSTAR Rear Mud Flap System to prevent rock chipping of trailer
  3. Installed DECKED Storage System in Truck Bed to increase storage capacity
  4. Installed Front Grill Guard to prevent excessive damage to grill and engine in case of accident or wildlife damage (affectionately called our “Moose Guard”- we live in the Adirondacks!)
  5. Installed Class 2 Hitch Receiver to hold spare tire or front storage flat rack on the front
  6. Installed WEATHERTECH Interior Mats to maintain carpet
  7. Installed Window Film in Cap to provide privacy and security of stored items or if using for overnight sleeping
  8. Purchased and use the TST brand, 507 model TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System)
  9. Purchased and use the GARMIN RV specific GPS system
  10. Removed our back seat, covered back panel still utilizing the seat hooks and use bungy straps to secure items we use at every camp set up (other than boondock 1 nighters at Walmart, etc.)

Still to be done before we go full time in Spring/Summer 2023:  Installing a Meckman 400 AMP Alternator (to recharge our Lithium Ion Battleborn Battery system as we are driving)

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LET’S GET INTO THE “WEEDS” OF THE DETAILS!  we have included “where to buy” links where possible.  Feel free to reach out to us with any questions you have on any of the information we have in this post!

  1.  SUMO SPRINGS, BILSTIEN SHOCKS & SUPERSPRINGS INSTALL TO SUSPENSION:

Why?  We improved the ride and alleviated any “squatting” of our truck by adding additional suspension aids.

What? The old/original bump stops were old and very rough.  Sumu springs have a dampening cushioning effect which takes the rough ride out of the vehicle because they are open foam and they engage softly and become firmer with weight- hence a better ride when your truck is heavy and towing a heavy trailer.  We installed them front and rear.  We then added the SuperSprings to the rear.  They mount to the leaf springs on the back of the truck. These add support and weight carrying capacity to the leaf springs.  This helps alleviate the “squat” to the truck when hooking up our Avion travel trailer.  Use the link above to view the product and see a company video about these Supersprings and their application and purpose.

2.  ROCKSTAR MUD FLAP INSTALLATION:

Why?  After taking a long trip from our home in eastern upstate NY to MI we found a plethora of super small rock chips in the front of the 73 Avion we owned then.  They happened literally the last 15 minutes of the trip.  We had to go through a road construction zone where the crew was milling up the road- we were going less than 15 mph when it happened!  Now with these mud flaps we get far less mud, grime, and rock chips on our precious Avion (we now own an ’87 and use a Hensley hitch which is different than the GenY hitch in photos shown)

What? We got lucky that our local auto detailer (who had rehabbed our Avion rock guard and spare tire cover) had this ROCKSTAR mud flap system for sale in his shop- so no shipping fees!  He was ready to retire it from the showroom since it was a few years old.  We got it for less than half the going price for the same guard system.  This is the full bumper type that is installed, not just flaps screwed on.  The system CAN be completely slid off and removed if desired but it is very heavy and awkward for one person to do.  We have it installed by sliding  it over our 2.5″ hitch receiver which a 2″ hitch insert in it-the guard is fastened to that insert and locks in place.   Besides…we think it looks pretty jazzy!

Considering installing mud flaps?  Please read our more in depth article that covers installation tips, etc. Read more….

Link to Amazon listing– very similar to ours

3. DECKED TRUCK BED STORAGE SYSTEM WITH DRAWERS:

We cannot say enough about this system.  Yes, it is pricey, and we also paid to have it installed professionally by our local auto detailer.  But we have found over and over again it is a lifesaver.  It has actually increased our bed storage capacity since it covers over the wheel wells making a flat surface area to allow for more large storage totes.  It’s flat surface can now even fit a double sized air mattress easily to do overnight sleeping in the truck bed very easily and comfortably- + added bonus, you are not laying on metal truck bed.  The 2 full slide out drawers serve as awesome, double LARGE tool boxes-easy to pull out and access everything easily and within sight.  Kevin recently purchased some of the DECKED tool boxes that are made to fit inside, this is an option but not necessary.  Previously, he used other canvas tool bags, tool cases, etc. before this just fine. These drawers negates the need to have multiple tool kits packed in the truck cab or loosely flying around the storage with other RV gear. Your tools are all in one place and always quickly available-which for us is key!

Another plus of this system for security purposes, is that anyone looking into your truck bed through the windows will only see a floor.  They will not see any tools (which tend to be eye candy for many).  You really cannot tell that there is a DECKED system installed since the tailgate covers the drawers completely.  There are also two small, easy access storage compartments on either side end of the floor top.  We keep bungies, flares and other safety equipment in them for easy access.

Hey…it even has a built in bottle cap opener in the center!

Here is a Link to their site

4. & 5. INSTALLED FRONT GRILL “MOOSE” GUARD & HITCH RECEIVER FOR OUR SPARE TIRE:

Why? We have seen way too many front grills demolished by deer & moose hits and vehicle accidents.  We live in the NY Adirondacks afterall!  We also know that our full time RV life will include many areas where there are very large moose, caribou, deer, bison, etc. as well as crazy drivers. 

What? In order to better protect our truck’s major asset—its engine and grill–we installed this beefy grill guard 3 years ago. We did have to remove the factory tow hooks off the front to do the install, but the grill guard has built in hooks on its beefy frame.  Because the guard was heavy enough steel, we had a local welder install a hitch receiver on the front so we can now put our spare tire mount on the front.  We will carry our bikes on back of the Avion.  We actually have found the weight added by the grill guard and the spare tire has helped to equalize our our truck’s weight distribution especially when hooked up to the Avion and its tongue weight. 

Bonus!  This front grill guard also makes a dandy beach towel drying rack!

Here is a link to one we found that is very similar to ours on Amazon

6.  Installed WEATHERTECH interior mats 

Why? Let’s face it, as RVers we spend a lot of time in our vehicles in all sorts of weather, juggling all sorts of drinks, snacks and foodstuffs while plying the highways and byways of our country.

What? Our local auto detailer loves us!  We purchased these from them as well after carefully reviewing a whole lot of online sources and reviews.   These mats are molded and custom fitted to this model year-they fit perfect, do not slide around and are so easy to remove to hose off.  They protect our carpet from dirt, grime, stains, mud, snow, ice, etc.  Once we go full time in Spring 2023 this truck will be our home, this will be our everyday, only vehicle.  We want to do the best we can to maintain its condition and cleanliness.

Here is link to WeatherTech

7.  INSTALLED WINDOW FILM ON SOME BED CAP WINDOWS:

We installed this film early on after purchasing our truck.  We used household window privacy film purchased at Lowes.  It was very easy to use and install.  We have found that since the side slide windows have built in screens- we have not been able to install it there as the screening is unable to be removed easily.  We thought this was going to be an issue  however, now that we have put in our big black totes (with yellow tops from Lowes/Home Depot) they essentially block any views in from these side windows.   What you see is black tote side- so hence not really an issue anymore.  To date we have only covered the two odd sized large side windows in film for privacy when/if we sleep in the bed overnight or to provide some security of goods we have in the back.  We have NOT covered the back window yet because we still keep some totes out of the bed and can use the rear view mirror in cab to view rear when not hitched up.  Once we go full time and the back truck bed is fully loaded we may also install a limo film over all the windows. 

Link to Lowes- the actual film we used.  There are many other great design options available. Just be aware some are more transparent than others which may not give you the privacy you may want. 

Note- even though this is sold as household window film we have had excellent results using it in our truck bed cap.  It has held up well, no fading, peeling or failure due to swings in weather temperatures, etc.

8. TST Brand, Model 507- TIRE PRESSURE MONITORING SYSTEM

Another key safety factor (has saved our butts twice in just the last 2 yrs) is getting a Tire Pressure Monitoring System.  We have installed the monitors on BOTH our Truck AND our Avion Travel Trailer.  Some only install on their trailer.  In our opinion that is insufficient, as evidence by,  on a trip out to Indiana from upstate NY we got a signal our rear passenger side truck tire was losing air.  As it turns out, the valve stem had gone bad.  It was 9 PM at night and luckily we were on an interstate highway that had a large truck stop and the shop is open essentially 24/7 to assist truckers.  We limped in before our tire became too flat to travel-thanks to the TPMS warning!  It was fixed in less than 15 minutes and we were on our way.

Here is a great vendor (TechnoRV)  that we have purchased other equipment from. The link below is a current model, similar to what we have but with some improved features:

LINK to TST Tire Pressure Monitoring System 

Note- When we purchase new tires (we do at least every 5 yrs regardless of miles or condition) we will then order a new, current model TPMS system and we will be purchasing the type of sensors that are “internal sensors” that are mounted inside the rims, then the new tires are mounted and balanced-making the sensors less susceptible to weather conditions, with more longevity and less maintenance.

VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: If you purchase the type of sensors that mount on the tire valve stems–Due to the extra weight that the actual screw on monitors make onto valve stems it is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED that you switch out stock valve stems(rubber/plastic which even over time crack and degrade due to weather, sun, salt, etc.) with metal valve stems.  It is not a big deal but will greatly enhance the longevity of the system all around.

Presently, we remove our sensors after every camping season and store in our house since we store our trailer over the winter months.  We replace with new batteries in each sensor at least every other year to ensure they are fresh and sufficiently charged.  The monitor sensors come with a little locking clip that is used when they are put on and removed- this prevents theft for the most part.  Our system is about 4 years old now and we may replace with a newer bluetooth wireless type before going full time- but ours is working fine.  We have run the wire cable in the cab of our truck and Kevin prefers to keep it on his side of the dash when driving- I am responsible for the GPS and monitoring road grades, etc.  on my side of the dash. 

*You can also opt to have the sensors actually installed inside your tires if preferred.  Currently, we like having the option to take them off in winter months when trailer is not in use for right now but may do the internal application once we go full time.  Afterall, you should be replacing your tires every 5 years anyway.

9.  GARMIN GPS SYSTEM ( OR OTHER GPS SYSTEMS)

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We happen to have a Garmin GPS RV System- there are multiple screen sizes available now . It is about 4 years old and hopefully newer models have better voice command and display features.  For our needs it works for now.  We will tell you we do not always rely solely on this system and Luise will often be running her Google Map directions on her cell phone simultaneously especially when in more urban areas where it is easier to use the search feature quickly.  Please do NOT rely solely on Google Maps when towing your RV!  An RV GPS is programable to your trailer’s height, length, weight and width and the routing will steer you onto roads  you can do.  We live in the northeast where there are lots of old bridges and tunnels with weight limits and low heights from RR overpasses, etc.  Google will send you down a virtual rabbit hole!

We have found our model of Garmin is very POOR in the audio command module.  “She” rarely understands our most basic commands by voice and it is extremely frustrating (hence using Google on cell phone instead to ask quick search functions).  This model Garmin also really in our opinion requires a passenger to use while on a trip.  There are many times where Luise will need to scroll through settings to find things we are looking for and also to toggle between showing map and the split screen of Map/Road Grade features if we are on exceptionally hilly/mountainous terrain.   Our model is one that handles truck/RV settings.  This is very important!  You must preset the parameters for your trailers height, weight, width, and length in order to have the system run best and safely for your towing needs.

*The grade feature really came in handy on our trip on the Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkways through the Shenandoah Mountains in 2021.  Using the grade setting showing gives you some very good advance notice of when there will be significant climbing or downward grades allowing some preparation.  Plus its really fun to see just how high in elevation you are at any given point on your trip!

On the second photo above you will see where we are using the setting that shows a photo image of an exit ramp driving view which we really like especially when coming up on multiple lane intersections or ramps.  It gives the driver a clear vision of which lane you should plan to be in.  It is nice when this works, but not all exits have been photographed to show this feature in our experience.  When a photo is not available, a closeup of the exit ramp or intersection in graphic form will show up on that right side of screen.

Below is a good photo showing the road grade  & elevation visual on the right side of the screen.  You have the ability to spread out this graph based on how far in advance you want to see it by miles.  We have it condensed so what you are seeing is probably the next 10-15 miles (yes, we went from over 5K elevation with a peak grade of 21% grade to a low of 1700′ elevation of 3% grade with a few mountain peaks in between on the Blue Ridge Parkway!)

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10.  RECAPTURING SOME STORAGE IN TRUCK CAB- REMOVING REAR SEATS

Removing our back crew cab split bench seats are a bit of a consternation for us.  On one hand we would like them to transport grandkids when/if they camp with us or taking guests with us into town, etc. on a day trip. In truth, those occasions are very rare and we suspect that once we go full time, it may only happen a couple times a year. In reality, gaining some amazing storage back there that is super easily accessible on a daily basis has won out- at least for now.  We removed the split seats (may put one back in since we typically will only have one grandchild at a time camping with us).  Along the back wall of the truck cab, Kevin installed a 1/4″ sheet of luan type board sheet to encase the back but allowed the U shaped bench seat hooks (that hold the seats in place) and these are what we use to hook bungy cords to.  Stored in this space we can put items that we use a nearly every 2+ night camp.  This includes; our 2 folding recliners, 2 everyday chairs, a folding table, our large cooler and a small cooler for drinks,  a first aid and emergency roadside kit and bag of snacks for the roadtrip.  We have found it very handy to have this space available- especially if we have set up camp and/or plan to be away from camp for the day, or it starts to pour rain and we want to get our chairs and small Weber gas grill inside and under cover quickly! (Has happened many times!)  Once camp is set up and this above equipment is set outside, this space in the truck also provides a great place for us to store our Ebikes folded up safe and sound.

Making your RV Feel Like Home- Keeping Things STUCK in Place Even When on the Road!

View of our 32 S model 1987 Avion. This “rare breed” floorplan was only produced for three years by the Avion Coach Corporation.

One of the first things anyone says when they visit us in our Avion is how “homey” it feels, comfortable, cozy and not sterile like many “off the lot” modern RV’s today.

Often, the next question we get is…

“it must take you a long time [when setting up camp] to put out all of these décor items (some would say clutter or chachkies! ) and knickknacks and then store them all away again”. 

Actually—no!  Everything you see in our coach stays in place where it is displayed.   I do not have to move anything except dish soap bottle on the kitchen counter, our authentic cuckoo clock, and the soap dispenser in the bathroom!

In the photo above you will see I have opted to keep the upper and lower curtain rails in place and just have narrower side curtains.  These curtains are wide enough to create privacy for the curved front windows when the center pull down shade does the rest at night.  Notice I use the bottom curtain rail to store some things during travel time too! ( I DO take down the white vintage ’70’s swag lamp and it sits in the left corner of the front counter when we roll down the road)

HERE IS A QUICK LIST OF TIPS & PRODUCTS I USE TO KEEP THINGS IN PLACE IN YOUR RV—EVEN WHEN TOWING DOWN THE ROAD!

A 6″ wide shelf behind the sofa creates a great storage space with metal framed fabric bins!

Metal Framed Fabric Bins Sit on Shelf behind our Jack knife Sofa.
See purchasing link below.

The photo above shows three of the five storage bins I purchased at Bed, Bath & Beyond in 2021.  They have a wire frame for durability and are perfect for storing those things that we use routinely when traveling including:  TV and other remotes, LED lanterns and flashlights, Binoculars, Travel Journal, Travel brochures, etc. and a vase of artificial flowers I often put outdoors on our dining table.  We are still able to pull out our jack knife sofa when we have guests staying over. * I left about 5″ in between two of the bins.  This is where I tend to put my beverage water bottle or travel mug of coffee when relaxing on the sofa when we are set up at camp. Source, 2021

Using forms of “anchor” putty’s to hold things in place are perfect for RVs.  Read on to read ‘my reviews’ on three products I have used.

The photo slideshow above shows various items in our RV we leave out and do not move during towing.  Things like a ceramic beer stein with flowers that sits on our front kitchen counter, our mid-century modern looking table organizer (link) with a vintage 70’s table lamp and other items set in place.  In our bathroom, my mother’s china cup and saucer- now a home for a gnome sits on our bathroom vanity and back in the living room/salon even our faux “stag head clock” in our living room–all stay out and stay put every day we travel. 

We have clocked multiple trips over 3000 miles each, up mountains of 17-24% grade roads to 5K elevations (and back down) as well as dirt roads, washboard roads and surviving way too many roads with pot holes and frost heaves!

Review of THREE putty brands I have used: and my recommendation!

Quake Hold (Museum Putty) 

 This is my “GO TO” product!  It is great and what I have used successfully on the ceramic beer stein, the gnome in the tea cup,  the dinette table shelf organizer and our faux (plastic but very real looking) stag head wall clock.  I also put this behind each corner of any framed pictures I put up on picture hooks.  It keeps the pictures level and keeps them from potentially swinging and marring stained walls or wallboard.

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Pro’s:  Terrific holding power, re-useable, no smell, no staining on walls. Holds up well under all interior temperature conditions we have been in so far (-10 to 95 degrees).  It allows you to remove items from their hold by twisting and pulling at the same time.  You will truly be impressed by how secure it makes things and how hard you have to twist/pull to release its hold.  I have not had any issues with its color staining any surfaces.

Con’s:  it is a light off-white in color )they call it “neutral”- so it is not completely invisible when used under items.  You can see this from my photos as little white stuff sticking out from underneath Honestly, it is really hardly noticeable.  Through trial and error I have found the best holding power is when you allow some of the putty to be on the outside of the edge of your item as well as underneath for those items that sit on flat surfaces.  For framed photos, etc. held vertically you do not need to do that.  I simply put pea sized blobs under each frame corner.

Rock N’ Roll Clear Gel Putty

As the packaging says, this GEL is really only for glass and china type stuff.  They do also now make a putty similar to Quake hold but I prefer the quality of Quake Hold better.  I have tried this Rock N Roll Gel and found it does not hold as well as the Quake Hold.  Also a real ‘con’ is that this stuff MELTS when your rig gets hot inside (aka if you are away for the day not using AC/or when stored at home when not camping and temps rise above 80 degrees. Source* (*note, this is not where I purchased from so I cannot validate reputation of online source)

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Pro’s:  it is clear, highly pliable.  Does work well on glass or mirror items (not sure how many of us have crystal figurines on display in our RV’s though)

Con’s:  It melts when temp inside RV gets hot.  It melted and puddled under some items on our dinette table. Does not do well on vertical applications in my experience. (yes, I tried to use it behind corners on picture frames, only to find it melting and running down my wall one summer day!- ugh)  Because of its propensity to melt, I no longer recommend this for RV use.

Museum Putty Wax

I have used this on a variety of surfaces from metal to wood to ceramic and it does work but I find it not as convenient as the white putty Quake Hold above- nor does it have the same holding power for heavier things, especially those made of wood and/or sticking to a wood surface.  

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Pro’s:  it is somewhat clearer and less conspicuous when used than Quake Hold putty.  It does a decent job of holding not too heavy items.  Somewhat easier to twist/pull items you need to reposition.  Does not stain finishes.

Con’s:  Due to its consistency, I find it harder to get out a blog from the container- I use a bottle cap with its serrated edges to dig into the container to get out sufficient for use.  It is simply too hard to dig any out with your fingers.  It is a wax base and therefore may also have a tendency to melt in hotter environments.  For this reason I would not recommend a vertical application either.  In my experience it does not work well on wood items  but works ok on plastic, ceramic and glass.

LAST BUT NOT LEAST….WHAT TO DO WITH “RUN-AWAY” PAPER TOWELS!

How many times have you opened the door of your RV after a day of travel to find your paper towels have unrolled and are strewn across your kitchen floor?

These ARE THE ANSWER!

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Viva Paper towels do cost a little more but they will not unroll after a day of road travel.  They are also darn good paper towels and very absorbent so in truth you will use less overall.  We currently have this vertical paper towel holder but in our old ’73, 28 foot LaGrande model we had a traditional horizontal holder above the counter and we never had unrolled paper towels with Viva brand– AND I did road test others like store brands and Scott’s brand and other name brands and none did the job of staying on the roll on the road!

PARTING TIPS….. FOR HANGING PHOTOS, FRAMED ART, ETC and other WALL DECOR ITEMS:

Most folks already know that 3M stick on hooks are a Godsend for RVers.  We use them all the time! 

BUT I have found that if you really want pictures or things of any weight like barometers, framed art, etc. I use these stick on Velcro strips.  Specifically, the type that have the lock-n-grip type, not the traditional type that has soft fuzzy on one side and teeth on the other.  I use the heavy duty type of Velcro that have teeth which interlock when put together.  I  always purchase the one that is rated for heavier than my item really is.  These work really well and so far (knock on wood) I have found that I can also peel off the Velcro strip I may have secured to our Avion wall board since it is a vinyl composite board, not paper applied to wood.   I have also used the Command Brand similar type too on less heavy hanging items, apply as directed.

DISCLAIMER: As with all the products we have discussed here, it is best you test out products first.  For wall applications, your interior walls may have had some sort of after market application that could make it different than ours.  Please don’t send me a bill for any broken item!  [smiling]

Well, that is my review of keeping things in place!  We all love to have a homey feel in our home on wheels!  Hope you have found this little article helpful! 

Let us know what types of tricks/products you have found help with this issue! To be sure, a simple search on Amazon nets many companies touting great sticking power of their putty’s and other products.  

Please visit our YOUTube Channel and please subscribe!    We have great videos on many topics from renovations, tips, other favorite gadgets, as well as travel videos and campground reviews.  We appreciate your support of our efforts to help others along the way!

-Luise

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West Point NY- Military FAM camp Review: Round Pond Recreation Area

View from check in building to beach area across the pond.

We stayed two nights at this FAM camp on our way back from our month long trip on the Blue Ridge Pkwy and Skyline Drive.  It was in late June 2021 and we made last minute reservations enroute back to our NY home- not wanting our trip to come to an end we decided to explore this campground.  We chose it because of its proximity to the museum at the very famous West Point Military Academy (aprox 3 miles away) and only a short detour from our planned route home-and after staying here –that would be the ONLY reason we would say it was worth the visit. Please read on for the details of our visit…..

We were in Site 9. Basically a short gravel pull off spoke from a larger gravel open parking lot. It worked for us as we had a lot of laundry to do and proximity to Laundry building was about 100 steps-making it great to put laundry in and go back to RV rather than have to watch and wait. It was ALSO one of the ONLY sites that could handle the length of our trailer (32ft). We did disconnect and parked our truck broadside across our front. Site was W & E only.

This is an older campground and has seen better days as evidenced by the following some vintage log structures that in the hey dey must have been used for great gatherings, poorly maintained RV sites and roads. The check in building is modest with only basic snack foods available for sale. This is where they do the boat rentals, etc. By the signage inside the check in building it seems that the park is much more focused on being a day recreational area for those who live on the Army base. There are lots of rentals for grills, camping and sport equipment, fishing equipment, party equipment, etc.

It is a shame as an Army facility that maintenance is not better. West Point Academy is known for schooling outstanding engineers and this campground would be a great class project to have cadets put in some elbow grease!

What you DO get staying here is a “boom boom” to rattle your teeth when the nearby Army installation is testing their ordinates. Kevin, having served in the Army felt right at home! LOL

We paid $28 per night- way too much in our opinion for what condition and amenities the campground provides for a W & E site only. They do have a dump station, laundry facilities, playground and in season- boat rentals/fishing, etc.

You can see this is the condition of our Site #9. This area sites 9-13 are pretty much out in the open, some privacy at the rear when you back in.

There are some beautiful, vintage log constructed buildings around the campground but as far as we could see they have not been used for a long time and are locked up tight.  This is surely the case of the one at the beach. It is completely closed off and inaccessible. 

The beach was not well maintained at all– goose poop everywhere!  Lily pads and other water plants nearly clogged most of the swimming area-so you can feel them on your feet and body when trying to swim. Thank goodness we had our floats so was not too bad once we got out to the little deeper area.  Worse part is the beach is fenced and gated and the hours of use are very limited!  We were shoo’d out by a guard at 4 PM.  Hours for swimming I believe were 11 AM to 4 PM.  That is ridiculous since there is no lifeguard so why the restrictions?  Their website says they have guards during summer months. We suspect this early locking of the beach is only for the convenience of the staff.  It is not like there was evidence of any beach cleaning/sweeping or raking.  There was some litter/trash left on sand and again…more goose poop than we have ever seen anywhere- it was like dodging landmines trying to get from the gate into the water!

Beach front lodge is locked off, this is gravel access to our site. Lawn not mowed, picnic tables in fair condition.

We did not use the playground below but it seems that would be the best feature of this campground’s amenities.

Our trip to the West Point Military Academy Museum was a highlight for us. 

Museum is only 3 miles from campground. Free parking in front of building. Free entry-at least when we were there.

We had never been there before and as history buffs we were in awe of their collection of everything from Roman through modern military history.  Also included is a complete history of the Academy itself with interesting collection of evolution of the cadet uniforms, sports and rivalry with Navy, etc. This museum is definitely worth the visit!  They also have a nice gift shop full of Army and WP souvenirs, logo items , etc The museum is modern, well kept and very well done. Exhibits are well cataloged and include easy to follow descriptions. There is an elevator for ease of floors. See slideshow below…

Something VERY important to note!  The entrance to this campground is up (and down) a 24% grade narrow winding hilly access road to get up to the campground from the highway.  There is only this one road up and down. There are NO mirrors mounted on side of curves to help you see anything that may be coming around a bend.  Thank goodness we did not have to negotiate an oncoming vehicle much less a fifth wheel because we do not think the two will fit.  Again, this is a project that should be upgraded due to the size of most RVs these days.  If you have a big RV we are suggesting you pass by this campground.  The site we had was one of a handful that can handle anything over about 26 feet.  Many of the sites are on small winding roads, uneven and trees make negotiating into sites a challenge.

Sites 9-13 would be the only ones we would say could fit any modern 26foot or larger trailer or RV.  There was a 40′ Class A in site next to us. They are Water & Electric only sites- but dump station is right nearby (maybe too close in the dog days of summer-the smell might be bad if you are there on a Sunday when everyone is leaving and dumping!)

Would we stay there again, simple answer is no.  Sadly there are little to no other campgrounds (public or private run) in this immediate area to offer any other choices.