I normally select and reserve all the campgrounds while we travel. While we had been making plans during late March / early April, Barry found one online and thought it looked like a great choice….our criteria: full hook-ups, concrete parking site, quiet, dark at night, good WiFi, clear view of the SW sky for the Dish…..
He found Alliance Hill RV Park just south of I-10 but near Marianna, Florida. He needed to travel north about an hour to Dothan, Alabama for a sales call; this seemed like a great site. The beach is a little over an hour south of here. The website looked good enough, there were good reviews; but you know that feeling that something is just a little bit off? When I called to make our reservation, a friendly older gentleman answered and said he would be please to confirm our dates. Yes, he said, just call me the day before, and what is your name? There was no exchange of RV Club info, no address, no email, no deposit…..just see you soon. Hmmmm…..
I called the next day, same man answered, “Yes, ma’am. See you tomorrow.” Who runs a business like that? We pulled in a bit late in the afternoon on Wednesday, May 17. We had driven 7 miles south of I-10 and turned on Alliance Road….the campground was about 2 miles east on opened to a security gate. I called and Glenn said, “I’ll be right there.” We saw him come out of the office inside the park and drive up to the gate, turn his car around, then come back to talk to us. “How long did you say this RV is?” and turned to look around at the mostly empty sites. “Hmm, maybe I’ll put you…..” and he looked over at first one site, then another, and then a third before deciding on one. He opened the gate and we drove through and followed him around a gravel loop road, across the grass (“It’s really hard.”), across one parking site and finally into our site. Glenn advertises this park as a Luxury Campground, no tents, no old RV’s, full hookups, pool, clubhouse, dog park, WiFi.
As mentioned above, this site had all the criteria to make this a great RV campground for us. Except, there was zero shade and it was unusually hot for this time of year. Humid and in the 90ºs everyday with a hot breeze lightly blowing. And there were gnats during the day and mosquitoes at night…..lots of them. Every time we went outside, whether to walk the dogs, enjoy the sunset, clean the bugs off the windshield, etc., those gnats were on us. They landed in our eyes and nose and ears, on my fresh wounds from a stupid fall in Mobile, on the dogs, every where. They came in the coach with us and we had to swat at them constantly. And the dog park was at the bottom of the hill, un-mown, and a walk through tall grass while swatting at those pesky gnats……
But there was a bit of heaven here…….due south was Panama City Beach. On Friday afternoon, we drove south to find the Gulf. We picked out one of the only true on-the-beach bars and sat there for several hours. We had snacks and drinks, then dinner and lots of sweet tea and a piece of Key Lime pie while we watched the waves and surf and sun-bathers. We talked and relaxed, we listened to everyone around us talk and tell their stories to each other.
We were in no hurry, and it was fine.