Bowmansville (Lancaster County) *Sun Valley Campground* Aug 2014

This was our first “homebase” as we moved out of our house and into our 5er.  I had spent a day driving around going to different places, and most were not able to accommodate us for the entire time we needed.  This was the last place on my list and I was feeling pretty frustrated and disappointed.  They had a spot available and the price was right, so I signed on the dotted line and whipped out my credit card.  I had been hoping to go back to Bill with 3 or 4 options, but this was IT – the only place that had a spot available for the month of August.

It is a large campground, with around 200 sites.  We stayed on site #21.  There are a lot of seasonal sites there.  They have a nice pool and lots of planned activities for kids.  I did not really look into that too much, as we don’t have small kids with us, but they have a list they give you when you check in, and also a big black board near the entrance with a list of what’s happening.  Lots of people there have golf carts, I think mostly because it is hilly and people don’t want to walk up and down the hill when going down to the store and pool.  There store is smaller, but has a variety of convenience items.  Best part of their store is they have a snack bar, and the best best part of that is the ice cream!  We had some a few times while there – YUM!  I must tell you I did not try the other snack bar items (burgers/dogs, etc) but I saw people getting them and going back again, so it must have been ok.  They claim to have WiFi, but we were only 2 sites from the store, and it was horrible!  Also, the Verizon service there was horrible!  They do have cable, and that worked very well, with about 20 channels.  They also have a pavilion with entertainment on the weekends – some sounded ok, some not so much.  There is a fairly large kids playground also, I know if I did have young kids, we would have divided our time between that and the pool.  They also have a laundromat with 6 large washers (3 were out of order) and 4 large dryers.  The room and machines were clean enough, could have been a bit brighter and would have been more useful if they added a table to use for folding.

So, after saying all that, we will not be returning to Sun Valley Campground and this is why:  First, when we arrived, I knew which spot we were going to and Bill walked up to see it while I checked us in.  I hadn’t realized it, but he recognized right away he was facing the wrong way to back into it because of the angle of the site.  So, a lady had come out of the store and gave us our map and showed us how we could just “go up around the park” and just come back down and we would be facing the right way.  Ok – should be no big deal, right?  WRONG!  If I had been driving my car, the ride “up around the park” would have taken maybe 4 minutes.  With the rig, you expect it to take a bit longer – we took well over an hour!  Reason being, the road was extremely narrow with trees, huge boulders, etc all in the way.  Thank goodness for the campers themselves for helping guide Bill along, someone watching every different angle to make sure we wouldn’t hit anything and more than once actually moving a rock (they were HUGE, some of them, probably 3 or 4 feet high) so we didn’t hit it.  We were asked several times – where are you going?  Which site?  WHO sent you this way?  Are you crazy coming this way?  Problem was, once we were committed, we either continued forward or back-up, neither option was ideal, but at least forward you were going to end up where you needed to be and you have more control.   Bill was so frazzled by the time we actually got into the site, I felt horrible!  Lesson learned – scout any route yourself – do not trust any campground employee to tell you where to go site unseen.

Second reason (which really isn’t the fault of the campground) but we left for a weekend to visit friends in East Stroudtsburg, PA and when we came back is when we got damage to our rig b/c of the pin-pad at the gate.  Bill was so focused on how he was going to have to back up the hill vs. going up and around the park again, that he turned the wheel too soon and we hear this horrible scraping noise!  UGH!  I wrote about that when it happened, no need to say anything more about the actual event.  What I do want to mention is that no one – not one person from the campground came out to see us and just say “are you ok?”.   Again, the actual campers that were waiting behind us to enter were more helpful than the campground employees.  Two guys got out and pulled on the pin-pad to pull it off our rig as best they got to minimize the damage for us.  I guess I should be grateful that they didn’t charge us anything for hitting it, but it really wasn’t damaged at all, just loosened a little, which they added a 2×4 to it and called it a day, no big deal to them.  I watched the guy do it the next day, took 5 minutes.  I am not excusing that we hit it, but the damage to our rig was WAY worse than the damage to their pin-pad.

Smaller things that just added to the above include: the sites are all gravel, little to no grass, which is very hard on my dogs little paws.  Also, our site was very exposed, as in we were on a main road in the front and a side road on the whole driver side.  We were totally exposed on the driver side, no trees or bushes or anything as screening between us and and the road.  Across the driver side street were cabins, which were loud on the weekends.  OH – and while sitting at the picnic tables to use the internet on my laptop, I got stung by a yellow jacket!  OUCH!

So, to say at this point, I have a bad vibe from this place would be an understatement.  I feel somewhat bad bringing up the pin-pad incident as a reason for not returning, but it was more due to the lack of concern on the part of the employees.  I was so glad to be out of there.  I will admit the price was right, but we really had no business being there in our 40′ long, 13’6″ high rig and when I told them our size, they should have said they couldn’t accommodate us.  That would have meant I needed to keep looking for a place, but I’m sure I would have found something.  Oh well, live and learn.  I have added questions to my list when I call and check into places now.

This place (for us) is a definite LEAVE ‘EM!

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