For some time we wanted to spend about a week camping on the East Coast of the United States. We had a 5-night stay at the Virginia Beach KOA in Virginia. We had planned to leave at least 2 days in advance to make the most of these few days of well-deserved holidays.
Life and work being what they are, Karol had to work a few hours, and I also had to work for one night. So we made the decision to leave much sooner. We booked for the KOA Cape May at New Jeysey for 2 nights and modified our reservation in Virginia for almost a week.
Since the road between the house and the New Jeysey is quite long and we had to work before departure, we made the big decision to sleep on the way in a Wal-Mart parking lot in Glenmont in the suburbs of Albany in the state of New York.
So, we start our journey …
August 14: Departure from home shortly before supper time. The customs crossing at Rooses Point Post went very well. We had the records of the trailer and the truck in hand, the paper of our veterinarian (in English) indicating that our Miss Lili had her rabies vaccine. There was some waiting at the customs, but that’s normal with about 3 vehicles in front of us.
I had a slight apprehension with the crossing of the Adirondack. Although we had already done the Laurentides and the Eastern Townships without too much trouble, I wondered how our Touareg would react well. We were very pleasantly delighted by this crossing. Gasoline consumption was around 12.9 mpg. It should be noted that it is I who changed the transmission ratios between 4th and 7th gear as needed. I must also note that all the way, I keep the transmission in a semi-automatic mode to help the whole mechanics.
We arrived at Wal-Mart in the late evening. There were already a few RVs parked and we went all the way to leave the parking free for the guests. We had the chance to exchange with another vacationer on our vehicles. He was surprised that we had a Touareg in front of our trailer and our fuel consumption. For his part, he had a big Nissan Titan XD diesel and a trailer of 26 ‘with the consumption of barely 11 mpg. So, that is saying that his diesel drank a lot more than us on gasoline. But this could be part of a very long debate (SUV versus Pickup and gas versus diesel).
August 15: We left relatively early because we wanted to arrive in the afternoon at Cape May. The trip was very well done with normal traffic for a Thursday. When we arrive at this first KOA, registration is a snap. We are given the instructions for use on hours of tranquility, different places on the campsite, etc. As we were only there for 2 nights, we wanted to take a break and go to the beach.
It was nice and hot. A chance we had air conditioning to keep us cool in the trailer. But before enjoying it, it was necessary to install the trailer. The land we were given was # 31. Although it was located in full sun, this one was of a beautiful dimension. Very long, not excessively wide, with a concrete slab for the picnic table. The land was a 3 plus services. Basically we had water, electricity (choice of 15, 30 and 50 amp), sewer and cable.
Speaking of the entrance to the cable, I do not know about you, but on several trailers of the Imagine series of Grand Design, the entrances for the bedroom and living room are reversed in the Nautilus. Before thinking of inverting the catch, I even thought that the main entrance of the land was in default. In the end, we had 45 channels at our disposal.
In the evening we went to the dog park with Lili. The park is huge and fenced. Bags for poops are available in large quantities. The only thing missing is a water faucet.
August 16: A beautiful day is coming with a blue sky and a few clouds here and there. A visit to the dog park for Lili to stretch his legs. While Lili was cool in the trailer, we headed for the beautiful beach of Cape May. Parking on adjacent streets is free. Do not arrive too late if you want to enjoy it. The cost to enjoy the public beach is 6$ per person per day.
The sea in the Wildwood / Cape May area is not the hottest, but it’s better than Old Orchard. The beach is long, sandy and very well maintained. After a few hours spent at this one, we went back to the campsite. Lili was wisely lying on the sofa in a cool place. We went for a swim at the pool. It’s not super big, but enough for camping.
In the evening, we tried better than we can to make a small campfire. But the wood that is sold at the campsite shop is too wet because of the very strong dew every night. Our fire kept going out on its own despite the addition of paper and kindling.
August 17: Today is a departure for a long road. Initially, we wanted to go by ferry between Cape May and Delaware. Unfortunately, there was no more room available due to delays caused by mechanical failure. We had to make a detour through the land. A chance that Google Maps and WAZE were at the rendezvous.
So after a little over 6 hours drive, we finally arrive at the Virginia Beach KOA. To help you locate for locals, it’s a short walk from the Trav-L-Park campground. We park near the main building to check in. A chance we are KOA members and this gives us a discount, because it is quite expensive as camping. We are given our land number (#373) and an employee comes back to us. The land is on 2 blocks, not too wide, not really long (we are far from Cape May). But there is a large slab of concrete, a ring for fire with a grill and a complete patio set.
The amenities on our ground do not miss. We are entitled to 2 referrals for sewers, the choice between 15, 30 and 50 amp, water and cable (which gives you a choice of 96 channels). The trailer is placed according to the location of the slab. In this way, the 2 doors of the trailer are on the concrete. As the ground is not long, we have to park our vehicle in the parking lot in front of our trailer.
There are many services for families at this campsite. KOAs are very famous at this level. They have 2 swimming pools, one with slide, surveillance is ensured for the 2 swimming pools. There are 2 large parks for children, a reasonably sized dog park is easily accessible with a free bag dispenser and a water inlet. There is also a laundry room located in the main building. The cost is 2$ per machine.
The campground is really well maintained. Garbage cans are picked up every day on all terrains. When someone leaves, the lawn is made necessary and the ring for the fire is emptied. All the employees we met were polite and smiling. Some even came to see our Lili, patting her and play a little with her.
August 18: As I had to work for the office during the night, we decided to take the day a little more relaxed. A little grocery and shopping. End the afternoon at the pool and enjoy a great meal with lobster tails, jerk shrimp and garlic bread. Okay, we open a nice bottle of wine to help bring it down.
August 19: As Karol also has to work remotely for the needs of her job, we decided that Monday would be hers. The day is really hot and humid. It is close to 104°F with the humidex factor. In the late afternoon, we took the opportunity to cool off at the pool while Lili was well air conditioned in the trailer.
For supper, we made a big special while going to eat at Whiskey Kitchen. It is a warm and welcoming place. The employees smile and are helpful. The portions are generous and will satisfy you. They use local products to encourage businesses and make them known. Prices are very suitable. When the weather permits, you can eat on the terrace with your four-legged companion.
August 20: Another day under the sign of the sun. Lili is set like a clock. From 6am, she lets us know that it’s time for her to go out for her pee. I’m taking care of it. We enter the trailer and return to bed. Around 7am she lets me know that now is the time to go out again. Okay, I’ll get up and let Karol sleep. I make myself a coffee in passing and I settle outside to enjoy the tranquility of the place. There are a few people outside and some are getting ready to leave the campsite.
While drinking my coffee and watching the latest news on my cell, I hear the American national anthem play hard enough. The sound comes from neighboring streets and caravans. I know we are surrounded by military bases, but the sound really comes very close. I look at the time and it is 8am. I understand that the « curfew » ends at 8am, but from there to make me listen to this music so early in the morning, there are limits. I have nothing against patriotism and freedom of expression, but I think it’s a simple matter of politeness.
At the end of the morning, we take the small wooden bus (trolley) to go to the beach. This leads us to the main parking lot near hotels and the beach. The best beach entrance we think is right next to the excellent Waterman’s Restaurant. If you want good cocktails with generously garnished seafood, this is the place to be. Yes, there are many others. But this one was recommended to us and we are doing the same thing.
There are quite a few people at the beach, but it’s easy to find a good place. You can walk for several miles without realizing that the beach is so long. Unlike Wildwood’s beaches, it is less wide, but the sand and water are warmer.
In the middle of the afternoon, we leave the beach for a bit of shopping history to serve our friends. Then we head to the parking to take our bus. This one also goes to about 20 minutes. Its journey is very simple between the beach, the aquarium, the campsite Trav-L-Parl and the KOA. It’s pretty hard to get lost.
For supper, I decided to cook the Premium quality rib eye bought at Farmer’s Market, along with lobster tails and garlic bread. Yes, there was a bottle of wine that was used to get everything down.
Tonight we decide to take the evening relax. The temperature does not allow us to fire … Mother Nature decided that we should stay in the trailer.
August 21: Lili is always a good wake up the morning with these 2 alarms in a row. Karol does not need to work today and the sky tells us that the sun will not be there for most of the day. This is the perfect time to go for a ride with Lili on board. Karol has to do a bit of shopping (again) in anticipation of our grandson’s back to school, Halloween and Lili. Besides, after a visit to Petsmart, our dear daughter weighs 63 lb.
We also found a very nice little restaurant that is « Pets Friendly » about 20 minutes from the campsite. If you’re lucky enough to be in Virginia Beach, have a look at the Hair of the Dog Eatery. I recommend the Brisket Po ‘Boy with Mac’n Cheese. A real treat for the palate.
The rest of the day was like the rest … Relax with a quiet dinner and visit the pool.
August 22: A beautiful day is coming. Karol has to work a little in the morning and then it’s towards the beach. Lili will remain in the trailer with air conditioning. There are quite a few more people this time at the beach, but it’s easy enough to find a place to settle. It’s nice and warm. Even the breeze is hot enough, so just refresh the skin. But the water, it refreshes us to wish.
In the middle of the afternoon, we leave the beach one last time in the direction of the campsite. Tonight for dinner, we’ll keep it very simple with good burgers topped with cheese. Even when camping, we can afford a little.
As the temperatures are very uncertain for the evening, the night and the next days, we make the decision to leave for our return a day ahead. So, after supper, we are busy picking up our things and starting to tidy up the trailer. As soon as we were finished outside, the rain started from the side not to say a deluge fell on us.
With this torrential rain, I noticed a small water seepage at the top of the shower. The same infiltration that had been verified by our trailer dealer. It must be admitted that there is a difference between the water pressure of a garden hose and a flood of rain.
August 23: The sun is present this morning and the humidity is at its maximum. We finish placing things in the trailer, we install our Touareg in front of it. It’s a departure for a long drive to the house. However, we are going to stop for the night in the parking lot of Wal-Mart Glenmont. This same Wal-Mart that served us when we left on vacation.
The road is good with a fairly dense traffic. We stop several times for our little health breaks and for Lili to stretch.
We arrive at Wal-Mart and there is only one other vehicle for the night. Karol returns to do some last-minute shopping and we also take an ice pack for the cooler. We have several beautiful pieces of meat that we do not want to lose.
August 24th: It’s a start for our drive home. There is a lot more traffic this morning in the corner of Albany. The crossing of the Adirondack went wonderfully. We have to stop at Plattsburgh at Market32 to get something to eat for our dinner at home. We take the road again with a stop for refueling. The passage to the small customs of Lacolle happens with a minimum of waiting. The rest of the way is going well.
In conclusion, we had a dream vacation. Everything went well with Lili who was a little star everywhere in his path. We had the chance to try new places for camping and amazing restaurants that we recommend without hesitation.
As for our Touareg, it has behaved very well along the way. We ended our holidays with an average consumption of 12.4 mpg. This is much better than I thought I had. It should be noted that the consumption was higher on the return since we were heavier.
Several people asked us about our equipment while being most surprised by our performance. It must be admitted that a Touareg is an entire SUV. The big difference with this one and a pickup is the length.
Is the Touareg the ideal vehicle for such a trip? Yes and he proved it with the Adirondack and more than 1600 miles on the clock with a weight around 7000 lb behind him.
Will we eventually change this one? Yes for reasons of comfort, space and that Karol does not want to drive the Touareg with manual gear changes on the road.