Tidewater Camp Skills Weekend March 7-9

Discussion in 'Southeast, The Lair of the Dragon - The Blue Ridge' started by Tidewater KLR, Feb 1, 2014.

  1. Tidewater KLR

    Tidewater KLR High Speed Hiker

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    2/16/2014 UPDATE - It's a go... Friday 7 March - Sunday 9 March
    Location: Merchants Millpond State Park NC, Family Campground
    Park Info: http://www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/memi/main.php
    Campground Registration Encouraged, but sites available on first come first serve basis too.
    Reservations Online: Merchants Millpond Campground Reservations
    Campground Check in is 3 pm Friday, Check out is 3pm Sunday.

    Tent Pads are 16X14 2 tents per site, 2 vehicles per site. Max 6 persons per site.

    I've got site 20 Reserved, recommend sites 16-19 if you want to be together as a group, the other sites are very nice and a bit more secluded.

    Tidewater KLR




    Hello Tidewater ADV Riders,

    I'm loosely organizing a local Pre-Seaon Camping Skills weekend Friday March 7 to Sunday the 9th. Not a riding weekend, I'd like to keep it close and focus on the Moto-camping part. The idea is to break the gear out and give it a shakedown. Share info on gear, trail repairs, and destinations. I'm working on getting a couple of Eagle Scouts to judge best campsite and best chow.

    I've got a request in to use the Pipsico BSA reservation just outside Surry on the James. If that doesnt work I'm looking for suggestions on other Primitive campgrounds in the area. Maybe First Landing? Chipokes campground is closed until late March. Newport News has a large campground, but it is regional not State and may have long-term residents- dunno. KOA is an option too but a bit pricy at 30+ a night.

    Chime in if you'd like to join me.
    #1
  2. Tidewater KLR

    Tidewater KLR High Speed Hiker

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    While waiting to hear from Pipsico, I visited the Newport News Campground today. It's deserted and ready for us. Pipsico would be good if I can get it otherwise, NN park with work real well. Max limits per site is Two tents and 6 people for about $30 per site. The only real drawback was the road noise from Jefferson Ave and I-64. But that's not unusual on a road trip anyway.

    I'm prepping for a Month long tour of the U.S. going Coast to Coast and will use this weekend to test my gear, rain or shine. If the weather is good, I'll have ADV Astro and support team to serve as Base Camp.

    TKLR
    #2
  3. deejmeister

    deejmeister Been here awhile

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    I'm not a huge fan of camping at NN park because of the road noise. If I was just looking to test my gear with the sound of traffic in the background I could just do it in my back yard.

    I'm definitely in if we can get pipsico or another, otherwise at the very least I'll come shoot the shit with you at NN until the park closes.



    #3
  4. nuggets

    nuggets It's all my fault...

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    I agree with DJ about newport news park. I would like to suggest Chippokes Plantation State park, or Chickahominy Riverfront park. I am a tentative in. I will be in the ADV windstar with my spawn if I make it out.
    #4
  5. Tidewater KLR

    Tidewater KLR High Speed Hiker

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    I know NN is noisy, but it's close and will be open. Already visited Chippokes - the campground is closed till April. This may be the same with Chickahominy.. I'll check - thanks for the lead.

    We can also stay at the KOA on VA Beach for about the same cash. They have lots of tent sites.

    again, it's not really the distance traveled. But doing it with a loaded bike and not being able to quickly walk back into the house to recover a forgotten item.

    I'm in DC for a few days, will work on this next weekend..


    Later,
    TKLR
    #5
  6. nuggets

    nuggets It's all my fault...

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    Pipsico would be pretty awesome. that is a really nice place.
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  7. deejmeister

    deejmeister Been here awhile

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    Merchant Millpond State Park in Gates County looks nice and they're open year-round.
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  8. dawgwhat

    dawgwhat No Earthy Idea

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  9. Tidewater KLR

    Tidewater KLR High Speed Hiker

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    Good suggestions. Concerned they are getting a bit remote- long drive for those starting Fri eve. I'll look into them. I'm not a big fan of setting up in the dark. Not for this camp anyway.
    #9
  10. deejmeister

    deejmeister Been here awhile

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    Pipsico is further than any of the other suggestions. The rest are within an hour. I realize it's not about the distance travelled, but I think most would prefer camping with some solitude.



    #10
  11. Tidewater KLR

    Tidewater KLR High Speed Hiker

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    Agreed, I'm in north Suffolk and Pipsico is less than an hour. VA Beach is a 45 minute drive for me. That would be a very long ride for the Beach crowd.

    So let's get rid of Newport News because of the sound. I haven't her from Pipsico and it would be a long drive, while this is supposed to be an easy camp.

    How about the KOA Campground at VA Beach? Has anyone actually tent camped there before? I can pretty much guarantee we'll be the only moto-campers there. It's also the only KOA in the area and I've heard good things about it.

    I'm going to try to visit this weekend. See if they would be able to set a side a block of sites for reservations so we are not spread out.

    I also need to check out Big Bear, but again, has anyone got experience there?
    #11
  12. nuggets

    nuggets It's all my fault...

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    Sorry,

    but I forgot the close proximity to SWMBO's birthday. I will not be able to camp out. I may be able to ride out and say hi though.
    #12
  13. Tidewater KLR

    Tidewater KLR High Speed Hiker

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    Well, KOA and Trav-L Lodge across the street are both out. Right on the Road and both have long-term residents. Not interested in RV parks anyway... looks like I've found what I'm looking I have only found some sketchy reviews of Big Bear and haven't been able to get out there. I'm headed to Merchant Millpond in the morning to check it out. This place looks perfect.
    #13
  14. Tidewater KLR

    Tidewater KLR High Speed Hiker

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    Okay, KOA and the Trav-L-Lodge RV campgrounds are out. The lady at the KOA was very friendly but again, these places are both right along the road, and back up to residential. Both have resident tenants too. :huh

    So Merchant Millpond looks perfect for us. A 20 site primitive family camp area we can drive into and set up. I'm headed over tomorrow morning to check it out.

    I'm going to trim the trip to one overnight, just Saturday the 8th. Will arrive in the morning, set up, explore the park a bit, Lunch, then hanging out and visiting with everyone else, plenty of time for a nice meal before it gets dark. Rues say no weapons or alcohol allowed.

    Here is the website for Merchant Mill Park: http://www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/memi/activities.php

    The reservation site shows all 20 drive-in campsites are open for Saturday the 8th.:wink: Only $20 a night too. Reservations are not required, it's first come first serve otherwise.

    TKLR
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  15. Tidewater KLR

    Tidewater KLR High Speed Hiker

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    Merchants Millpond is great for this event, just what I was hoping for. I updated the first post of this thread for everyone to see.

    I reserved Site 20 in the Family Campground. I've got room at my site for 1 rider/bike/tent. All 20 sites were open as of today, and all are nice in a quiet wooded area. The Campground Map and photos are available from the Park website. Sites 16-10 are within site of each other. Sites 1-8 are more secluded.

    I spoke with the Ranger, rules are max 6 people per site, 2 vehicles, 2 tents. So no problem with a rider sharing a site with another.

    Check in/out is 3pm at the Visitor Center. You can park at the campsite site and take a nice hike .7miles or drive around the Visitor Center.
    No lethal weapons, or alcohol. Fires allowed on the fire pits, but you need to bring your own charcoal or firewood. No gathering of materials in State Parks.

    While there are Black Bears, Copperheads, and Alligators in the park, the only real threat to the camper is the raccoon. Each site has a 6ft hanging post for your food bag, or it makes a nice lamp holder. I have an excuse to buy a bear bag now..:rofl

    The Visitor center has a lot of info on the park and wildlife.

    So Who's in? :D

    Tidewater KLR (will be on my V-Strom for this one)
    AKA DSRider650 & Tumbleweed
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  16. deejmeister

    deejmeister Been here awhile

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    I'm still in, I think Merchants Mill Pond is a great choice. I'll probably go Friday night just for fun. See you out there!
    #16
  17. stoked steve

    stoked steve Tag-o-holic

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    I won't be joining you for the camping part, but I'd love to take a ride out there and visit everyone and see your camping set ups.

    All of my camping gear is of the truck variety, big and bulky. But I've wanted to try some moto camping and I'd love to see how you guys do it.
    #17
  18. Beaniman

    Beaniman Adventurer

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    I'm a tentative in, if there's someone who'd like to split a site rental shoot me a PM and I can paypal over half the reservation. :D
    #18
  19. Tidewater KLR

    Tidewater KLR High Speed Hiker

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    Big Thanks for turning me on to Merchants Millpond!

    Looking forward to a two nighter. Early WX forecast says rain arriving Saturday. So Friday we practice evening set up and sat we get to do a real world cold wet test. Perfect!
    #19
  20. Tidewater KLR

    Tidewater KLR High Speed Hiker

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    Common out Steve, no need to camp really, be glad to show youu how much stuff I can cram into the ADV cases. LOL! I'm in DC and headed to REI to checkout a couple of things. :evil
    #20