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Alex Moiseyev photo and video

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Day seventeen - Disney Animal Kingdom

Our destination on Wednesday was next Disney World theme park - Animal Kingdom. From personal impression it is just little smaller than Magic Kingdom, but much better organized in terms of access and park structure.
Parking is very large but close to the gates - depending on where they have parked you (all parks have staff pointing you a spot) you may take a tram or just walk to the entrance.

Park itself is not that much about the rides - it is mainly about animals and their geographical habitats. It is not a zoo, though - it is a little bit of everything. There are some live animals in cages or larger enclosures (couple of gibbons simply walked ropes above the walking path). Some attractions are more museum-of-science types of exhibitions and shows talking about exploration of live nature from different standpoints. Then there is a safari ride - 20 minutes trip in the open off-road vehicle that shows you tons of animals - few kinds of antelopes, elephants, rhinos, lions, crocodiles, buffaloes - you name it. It is a lot for 20 minutes - you do not see animals long enough to say if they are real or fake (we have never reached an agreement within our group which ones were live and which not) but definitely, I have never seen these kinds of animals so close and so active daytime. Cheetahs in the zoo are usually  sleepy daytime - ones here were running.

Like in other parks, whole territory is split into zones which in Animal Kingdom are mostly different world continents (so, safari is in Africa, Everest ride in Asia etc). Africa is actually pretty decent imitation of remote African village.

Few rides that are there are quite decent - Peter and myself have enjoyed "Trip to Everest" and dinosaur ride - last one looks like great stylization of "super-science-fiction" scenes from 25 years old James Bond or Van Damme movies.

Day sixteen - Blizzard beach


Very tired from long day in Magic Kingdom, we have decided to choose more relaxing park and took off for one of the water parks. There are two water parks in Disney World, and we ended up in Blizzard beach simply it was first one we noticed on a road sign. In all respects we have gotten much better experience than in Magic Kingdom.
From the very beginning: park is much smaller and parking is small enough so you can just walk to the gate. There is no bag search at the gate and nearly no restriction regarding what you can bring with you - we saw people pulling large wheeled cooler.
Park itself has a large pool with generated 2-3 feet waves - not enough to make playing in the water difficult, but quite enough for kids not to get bored. Surroundings and most of the rides imitate ski resort, nicely contrasting with 96 degrees in a shade.
There is much less rides than in other parks, but lanes on most are short which makes them quite accessible. One that we liked most was advertised as "longest raft slide in the world" - they put whole family in one large round raft and send it down long curvy open slide - indeed, unusually long.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Day fifteen - Disney Magic Kingdom


15th day of the trip and first day of our Disney World vacation. Highlights of the day:

Place we are staying called "Lake magic RV resort". Located reasonably close to Disney World (10 minutes to drive) and to major highways. Sites are large, there are two pools (one was closed for repair during our stay - they were rebuilding hot tub. Hey, who needs a hot tub there - water in main pool was 91 degrees!). No playground. No fire rings - too dangerous for open fire. No shade of any kind except your own awnings or whatever you have. Nice and clean showers and restrooms. Territory is huge - probably 500 sites or so, and 80% empty (may be more - there are many permanently set up cabins and park trailers, it was impossible to guess if they are occupied or not). So, pretty quiet because of low occupancy.

Getting tickets to Disney is not trivial exercise. There are multiple options and multiple places offering the tickets at different prices, so apparently we supposed to do some homework before shopping for tickets (well, he did not so we had to improvise). First we stopped at one of "cheap Disney tickets" places. What they offer is indeed much cheaper than gate price, but these guys somehow manipulate with used tickets. Request to pay cache and at the same time give them a credit card # "that will never be charged" scared us away, so we ended up buying tickets at local AAA office. Those are not as cheap, but still lot cheaper than at the gate without any tricks with used tickets.

After grabbing the tickets we went directly to Magic Kingdom - biggest and most popular of Disney World parks. From my impression, most crowded and least pleasant one. To begin with, getting in and out is a nightmare - parking is few miles from the park itself, so you have to park, walk through burning hot parking to a tram stop, wait for a tram (we were able to get only into third one), walk from tram to a monorail or a ferry, wait for a monorail, walk from monorail to an entrance, and finally walk half a mile through main street of the park itself, which has nothing good but crowd and gift shops. Number of people in the park is beyond imagination - the only comparison that comes to mind is Moscow subway in rush hour. Lanes to rides are anyway from 30 minutes to 1.5 hour and more, so one is not physically able to ride more than few in a day.
Rides themselves are much more interesting than ones in some "regular" amusement park like Six Flags or alike. They are longer and mostly enclosed, riding you through multiple animated scenes from cartoonish world. On older rides scenes are "real" (i.e. physical sculptures etc.) - newer ones have some sort of 3D images. All in all, leaving most of the rides we had a feeling that it deserved waiting.
Speaking of waiting, Disney provides a free feature to mitigate wait times, called "fastpass". Unlike six flags, it is free but it gives you no option to bypass the lane - instead, it gives you ability to return later and reduce wait time dramatically. Here is how it works: say, wait time for a ride is 45 minutes - you can wait in lane, or you can get a fastpass ticket and return 60 minutes later (time before you return is always more than wait time and you get 1 hour window to return). When you return, you wait in mush shorter and faster mowing lane - usually 5 to 10 minutes. You can then use your wait time to look around, have lunch, do some shopping etc.
You can hold more than one fastpass, but system limits how frequently you can get one, so you need to do some planning to optimize your time. There is no easy way to get information about waiting times for different rides without walking to the ride itself - unless you download special app for Android phone.
Fireworks at the end of the day is beautiful - but it is difficult to get a "perfect spot" to watch it. You need to be in front of the castle, and this area gets overcrowded an hour or two before the fireworks. We could see all the lights show on the side wall of the castle, but fireworks were partially obscured by trees and the castle itself.
And finally, getting out of park is even worse than getting in because all of the people that park accumulated during the day are trying to get out pretty much at once.

Days thirteen and fourteen – from Great Smokies to Orlando, Florida.

7/17/2011 – 7/18/2011
Blending two days together, and keeping long story short, we have left Cherokee and drove 600 miles south-west through North Carolina, Georgia and part of Florida to Claremont, which is 6 miles west from Disney World Orlando.
Road was not that difficult (or my skills handling trailer on the road improve) – I was mostly keeping highway speed at ~65 mph, which decreased number of big trucks passing us. Road quality is rather good, speed limit is 70, terrain is mostly flat – all in all, life is good. The only rough spot was going around Atlanta, GA – road looks like it in permanent construction and it is 6 lanes at times with some left exits – yuck, it is not nice to cross 6 lanes to exit left with the trailer.
Overnight we have stopped at Cordelle KOA, about 70 miles south of Atlanta. First thing there, it is dry – after high humidity of Smoky Mountains, it was a relief. Kampground itself is well kept, sites are large and level, location is very convenient for overnight stay – it is half-mile off I-75, close enough to get off and on the highway and far enough to keep noise low. And, most of the sites have big trees on them, providing some shade (and they have wi-fi available on all sites close to the office, which is probably half of the kampground). So, I would call it nearly perfect for overnight stay. For longer stay it may be not that good – there is very small playground and small pool and absolutely nothing else to do in or around the kampground.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Day twelve - hiking waterfalls

There are many waterfalls in Great Smokies, but our ability to visit them was restricted by accessibility - most require 5+ miles hike just to get there. So we had to pick ones that were easiest to go get to.
30 moles from Cherokee there is a tiny town called "Brison City". At it northern end there is an alternative entrance to Smoky Mountains National park, and Deep Creek Campground, that starts system of horsse, hiking, biking and tubing trails.
Trail that we have picked is about 3 miles hike connecting three waterfalls - probably most complex hike our team could handle. Weather was not too bad (especially comparing to previous days) but still pretty hot and very humid. We did get to all three waterfalls (pictures to-be-uploaded). To give credits to the park rangers: not only trails are well marked, they are arranged in a way that end of the hike is an easiest part (trail map and guide available at the parking lot for $1).
Last mile of the hike goes alokg deep creek itself, which is rather small river, actively used for tubing (there was two or three tube rentals at the entrance of the national park, plus deep creek campground has its own rental. Watching people tubing down fast river was quite interesting, so we slowed down quite a bit there.
On a separate note, Brison City has cople of features on its own - nice local dark beer and some local fruits and vegetables. Farm markets offer vine ripened tomatoes and they do mean it - they were ready to eat when they were picked.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Day eleven - Cherokee indians


Friday was focused on discovering history of native americans. Although there are many towns named “Cherokee” in US, one in North Carolina is one of two actual Indian reservations – all what has left from once powerful Indian tribe (well, they call themselves “Cherokee nation”). There are few attractions in the town that represent history and traditions of native americans – Indian village and museum of Cherokee history. Both have significant overlap in content – village was much more interactive to my feeling. Exposition has about dozen of sites explaining culture, crafts, lifestyle and political system of Cherokee indians. Couple of unusual things that I didn't know and would never guess: Cherokee did not use teepees/wigwams – they built permanent log houses with gaps filled in with clay. Plus, they have had they own written language – alphabet, with symbols resembling middle-eastern languages.

Day ten – Clingman's dome, Cades cove and Dixie Stampede


Our plan for the day was quite interesting – drive up to the tallest point if the mountains (Clingman's dome), visit Cades cove and finish the day at dinner show, but weather has made some corrections to the plan.
Road to Clingman's dome begins off 441 few hundred feed from Newfound gap overlook. By the time we got there clouds were already very low. Nevertheless, we decided to drive up. Most of the 6 or 7 miles road we had to drive literally through the clouds. It was not that difficult – road is of a good quality and not very steep – it is just about 1000 ft up from Newfound gap to the top of Clingman's dome.
Despite the clouds, parking lot at the top of the road was pretty full – we had to park on one of the few leftower spots on the shoulder rather than on regular parking.
From the end of the driveable road there is a paved trail going up to the summit. IT is not long (0.5 mile) but goes up 300 feet, so it takes a bit of effort to get there. At the end of the trail there is quite large observation tower – spiral concrete ramp that goes up another 50 feet, ending up with a large circular deck. While it seems to be a necessity to get above the treetops to get 360 deg. view, stucture seemed a bit of overkill to me.
Of course, because of the clouds, we did not get much of the view. Actually, we got a perfect view of clouds - around us, above us and below us.
Forecast claimed rain to end within an hour, so when rain hit us n the way down from Clingman's dome, we decided to ignore it and proceed to the Cades cove. Cades cove is about 2 hours to drive from our campground, so we did not want to miss opportunity to visit it “by the way”. In a sense it was a mistake – rain did not stop within an hour – actually, 2 hours later it was heaviest rain I have ever seen and we did not make it even half way to the Cades cove. Given that time was running out, we had to abandon the trip to Cades cove and drive to the Pigeon Forge for final part of the program – Dixie Stampede dinner and show attraction. These “dinner and show” thingies seem to be plentiful at popular tourist destinations – I'm not sure which one is an original, but they seem to be clones of each other with minor variations.
Dixie Stampede one was quite eclectic combination of different historic scenes – native americans, civil war, wild west pioneers, lumberjacks etc. Menu was decent – whole game hen, baked potato, corn, roasted pork and apple pie for dessert. Kids were pretty impressed with both dinner and show and are going to ask for another one soon.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Day nine - Mingo falls and tubing experience

Wednesday was spent in and around campground. Morning was even more cold and wet than a day before - barely 70 degrees. By now we have learned that just like Alaska, Smoky Mountains get much more rainfall than surrounding areas, and greens there form a rainforest. Trees (especially isolated ones) are covered by vines of all kinds, and mountains are green top to bottom, there is almost no bare rocks. So far we were lucky ans all rainfalls were at nights (each and every one, though). But it still feels wet and humidity is around 100%.
So, in the morning we decided to do a local hike - in 2 miles from our camp there are so called "Mingo falls" - one of many small waterfalls in the Smokies, so we just walked there directly from the campground. Road goes along the small river that campground is located on, so it is a nice walk. There was no sun, but I doubt sun ever reaches the road - it is completely hidden by the trees.
Waterfall itself is located on a small creek an is about 150 feet above the road - there is a staircase that covers 2/3 of the raise, and the rest is to be walked up by narrow, very wet and muddy trail. But waterfall is beautiful (Pictures will be published when we get back and/or I have time to sort them out and process them a little bit).
Afternoon was more dry, warm and sunny, and kids tryed to do some tubing inside the camp. We have quickly learned that Sonya is too small for the tubing (actually, for the tube - she simply slips through the hole rather than sits in it). So she was simply playing in the water while Peter tried to ride the tube. Unfortunately, "span" available for him to tube was too short, so not enough fun. Tanya tried to catch him once at the middle of the camp, about 100 yards below starting point, but apparently "finish line" was picked wrongly - they get out very disappointed and decided not to try it again.

Day eight - "mom approved white water rafting"

After quite hot Monday day started rather moderately cool - cloudy and in low 70th. Hoping for the best, we decided to move forward with white-water-rafting adventure.
In a whole, white water rafting, kayaking, canoeing and tubing is one of most popular activities in Great Smokies. However, most of them are quite "real" and not suitable for small kids. It took some effort to find a place that offers rafting experience suitable for 4 years old - small family-owned business advertised itself as "mom approved rafting". They have two major differences - rather easy part of the river with only category 1 and 2 rapids, and option to have "guaranteed guide" in your boat.
Rivers suitable for rafting are actually locates to the south from national park, in more flat part of the area - it took us 40 minutes to get there (alternatives are north of Gattlinburg which is even farther away). We were dressed in life jackets, quickly instructed what to do and what not (pretty much do not jump in the water) and put in the raft. Whole party has included four rafts - first and last with guides - college-aged boys with good rafting experience and reasonable sense of humor. 
By the time we have started moving, some sun appeared. It was still not too hot (which is good, because event that simple rafting includes quite a bit of paddling) but we were able to catch some tan.
Whole trip is 5.5 miles  or 2.5 hours, including about 12-15 rapids of different size and complexity (but all pretty simple).  What kids liked the most was ~one hour stop in the middle, where they were given a chance to swim through the rapid without a raft - just using life jackets. Well, adults have enjoyed this swimming as well :)

Day seven - #1 Aquarium in US

While stopping at visitor center on our way to Great Smokies, we have picked up a brochure advertising Gatlinburg aquarium as #1 in US. Well, #1 or not, we have decided to give it a try - given that it was too hot to do hiking and road to the attraction is a main scenic road crossing national park - so, we decided to combine sightseeing with an attraction.
Road from Cherokee to Gattlinburg is about 45 minutes of pure driving. Given that we are staying 7 miles from Cherokee and the road is ~25mph for real,  plus multiple overlooks along the way, it ook us almost two hours to get to the target.
Need to say that driving less stressed than with camper yesterday, we have realized that our 7 miles drive from campground to Cherokee is going trough 6 or 8 other campgrounds, so this is really popular destination. We have also observed how competition works - large franchises like Yogi or KOA have survived, while smaller true private ones have collapsed or at best became anarchic colonies of tireless campers.
Aquarium is great indeed - I'm not in a position to challenge #1 status, but it is a first ime I have seen a huge shark tank that has a walkway in a glass "pipe" under it. Tiger shark (on the picture) was swimming above our heads while we were walking through this corridor. Well, walking is a wrong word - there is a running belt inside, so all you have to do is to watch around (and it also prevents crowd from concentrating in one place - quite smart solution :) ).
Beside sharks one they have quite impressive stingray tank and few smaller expositions on coral life, penguins and pirayas. Given far-away from the ocean location, building and maintaining such an exposition seems major achievement.
Other interesting feature is that all technology that supports the aquarium - computer systems, filtration systems etc. - everything that is usually kept behind the scenes - here is shown through the glass walls, and small exposition explains "how stuff works".
Gattlinburg itself is a funny place. It spans couple of miles along route 441, which is surraunded by mountains on both sides, and there is nothing in town except hotels, shops, restaurants and other tourist entertainment.  Some coastal Maine towns are like this - but Gattlinburg takes it to the extreme.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Day six - driving to Great Smoky Mountains

Once I managed to get rid of the backlog I immediately gained it back :( But to put things in order: our objective on Sunday was to get to our first point of long stay: Yogi Bear Jellystone campground in the Great Smoky Mountains. So we kept driving south along I-81, went from Virginia to Tennessee, then turned even more south to I-26 (I have no idea what it does so far north, but that's what signs says), entered North Carolina, turned East along I-40 and then NC-74, and finally arrived at Cherokee, NC.
There was not too much to mention about the road or the driving - one thing I can't leave aside is quality of Tennessee visitor centers - large, very clean, well equipped and staffed, plenty of information and freezing cold inside - remarkable given 95F outdoors. One we stopped for lunch has had outdoor picnic tables that looked like marble ones.
Anyways, 250 +/- miles and 5 hours of driving later we have arrived at another Yogi Bear camp on the south border of Great Smoky Mountains National park. Campground is slightly smaller and more densely occupied than one in Luray - nevertheless, it has pool, laundry and shower, and is located on the river suitable for tubing and fly fishing (trout).
Our spot is less then ideal - it is first one at the entrance, so we are directly facing the entrance road. It looks like campground is separated in two areas - one behind the office is more secluded and used for long-term/seasonal sites, while one between entrance and the office is used for short-term visitors like us.
Office has a small store (once again, much smaller than in Luray)  but with all the necessities  - ice, firewood, some snacks and fishing equipment. Tubes are available for rent for $10/day which sounds rather expensive. Pool is quite basic - depth varies from 4 to 8 ft, but there is no slide or something like that. There is also nice playground and a small basketball court with one ring.

And one more thing: there are no mosquitoes - at least not in observable/noticeable amounts. 

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Day five - driving south

Finally, I cleaned up the backlog and writing my travel log "in real time". Today's plan was to put 200 more miles on the odometer, keeping driving south I-81. Given short distance we decided to give kids some more playtime at Yogi Bear camp and took of at 12:50, just 10 minutes before required check-out time. Driving was quite easy, I'm gaining experience and can keep speed around 65 mph most of the time, so we would be able to do it in 3.5 hours if not a funny accident we have had with our GPS.
Peter has requested an urgent bio-break, and given thet we have all the necessities with us in the camper, I simply took the nearest exit and parked on a shoulder for couple of minutes. All is great, but then we needed to get back on a highway. Smart GPS (I was using CoPilot at the moment) bravely advised "in 0.3 miles turn left, left and left" - which we did, and ended up on a long, steep, curvy, narrow private driveway with no chance to make last "left"  because of the house built exactly where GPS claimed the road should be. We made few unsuccessful attempts to make a three-point turn or move backwards along the driveway, figuring out that backing the camper is not an easy thing at all (not surprisingly). Luckily enough, owner of the residence we have "invaded" has been able to help us - her son is a professional truck driver and happened to leave nearby. She called him to rescue and 15 minutes later he was able to turn the trailer around - at the trickiest point clearance from trees on both sides was about 6 inches!
Anyways, after an extra hour we happily managed to get to Witheville KOA campground. Given it's one-night stop along the way, it is OK - but I wouldn't recommend it for the long stay. Campground is quite large, but only small fraction of sites has full hookup - and these sites are made so tiny, that we even had to park our truck perpendicular to the trailer. Luckily, our neighbors have not yet arrived, so we have two sites for ourselves - which makes it about as large as the site we have had at the previous stop. Without such luck, we would have barely 100 sf or land around the trailer.
Other than tiny sites, campground (ooops, sorry, Kampground because its KOA) has plenty of advantages - it is 5 minutes from highway (far enough not to hear it though), nice small pool with a "powered" slide, playground, on-site made pizza, plenty of shade from the trees and WiFi from the office reaching our site. So I'm writing this from the comfort of our dual-site setting next to the campfire :)

Day four - caverns and maze

Day was quite rainy, but we have beaten the weather because our plans included visiting Luray Caverns, which took most of the day.
Caverns themselves are huge - much bigger and more interesting than any other I have seen. They are heavily "improved" to make a commercial tourist attraction, but except walkways and neutral lighting interiors were kept as much intact as possible.

One of the unusual features offered by caverns - stalactite "organ" - musical instrument in which sounds are produced by hitting a stalactite with a small hammer. It is not as large as real pipe organ - it has only 39 notes, but it is enough to make some music, and it sounds great. We really did hear it - there is no live performance for ordinary tourist groups, but there is "MIDI" recording that reproduces one melody, and reproduction is "live" in a sense that instrument is in action - we could even see one of those hammers hitting a stalactite. During special evants (like weddings) they do live performances as well.
Some technical details: admission for 5 people was about $100, there are only guided tours but they depart every 15-20 minutes. It is not physically challenging, although tour finishes with climbing ~70 steps up. Total distance of the tour is about 1 - 1.5 miles,  vertical distance is ~ 200 feet up and down. Temperature inside is 52F, but with high humidity and no wind at all it feels OK and I have to take off sweater after 1/3rd of the way, so do not bother about getting cold.
Beside caverns themselves attraction includes car and carriage museum, garden maze and local history museum. Kids also get a chance to mine some "gemstones" from artificially enriched sand. Plus all four attractions have their own (sigh) gift shops, so it was enough to keep us busy for 4 hours.
On return to the campground we have found it was heavily hit by rain, and our fire ring is filled with water. It took several hours for the soil to absorb water, but we still were able to start the fire later that night. Other than that, rain and wet grounds did not bother us at all (thanks to the camper), but some people who were staying in tents were not that lucky - we have seen a family in a laundry room that had to wash and dry everything including sleeping bags etc. At least campground has plenty of laundry capacity to handle that :)

Third tay of travel - Skyline drive

We were staying in Yogi Bear campground in Luray, VA. Day was split between visiting Skyline Drive and playing at the pool, water slide etc.

Skyline Drive is 150+ mile road build nearly at the top of Appalachian mountains. When I read the description I first imagined "mountain road" - something like Mount Washington auto road - barely paved, narrow, with few tiny observation overlooks. Totally wrong expectation - Skyline drive offers great driving experience, stunning views from the road itself and plenty of large, well built viewpoints.
Access to the road is $10, but we were excused from the fee because power at cash register went off :)
We did not make all of 150 miles though - just 20 miles took us an hour and it was enough of sightseeing for the day.
We also took a park rangers advice and did a little hike - 0.7 mile downhill to a beautiful 70 ft waterfall and back up. While it is much cooler in the mountains - just about 75 degrees - walking almost a mile uphill was quite an exercise for most of us.
The rest of the day was spent relaxing with the campfire, swimming in the pool and taking turns on the water slide. Kids seem quite happy about activities offered at the campground.
BTW, campground also offers cable TV - but channel lineup is barely useful. Free WiFi is available within 50 ft from the office - campsites are clearly out of range. But if you do not mind going online from the park bench next to the office, signal quality is OK for surfing.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Day two - Luray Yogi Bear campground

Driving from Clayton Park, PA, to Yogi Bear Campground in Luray, VA.
Second day of trip was a little heavier on driving side - around 300 miles. While most of the driving was along I-81, there were two quite difficult pieces at the very beginning and at the end of the day - long and steep inclines, that I could not make faster than 20 mph. Other than that, driving was easy - we have crossed Pennsylvania, small strips of Maryland and West Virginia and large part of Virginia. Speed limit in WV and VA is 70 and it makes sense, because road quality is great.
Campground we are staying in is advertised as "camp-resort" and it indeed meant to be a children paradise. It has 2 pools (for adults and for kids), tiny splashing pool for toddlers, huge water slide that even adults do enjoy (slide is $17 per person for the length of stay) and huge air-filled pillows to jump on. Plus very large activity field, mini-golf, snack bar with soft ice cream and arcade games. There is also "fishing pond" with few small catamarans and paddle boats, but I doubt there is any fish in there.
Camping area is huge - I could not imagine from the map and description how large this campground is. We have arrived on Tuesday, so half or more sites are vacant, and lines at activities are short - but on the weekends it may be crowded I guess.
Sites and facilities are well maintained and clean, RV pads are leveled and some of them have raised and leveled concrete pads - nice convenience in case of a rain, because rain water does not run away easily (soil is pretty rocky and does not absorb water quick).
We are staying here for two days, so kids will have plenty of time to entertain themselves, which they are pretty happy about.

Sabbatical - first day of travel


 Firs day of our trip took us from our home in Medfield, MA through Connecticut and New York states to Pennsylvania, Clayton Park campground on lake Henry.
Driving 270 miles with the trailer on the hook was not that bad at all - we managed to get there in a bit under 6 hours, including half an hour stop for lunch. Route was next to trivial - Mass Pike to 84 and last 20 miles on local roads. The only issue was no cellular network around the target, so Google Maps would not be able to reroute or update the maps (lucky we, there was no need).  Highway driving at 60 mph was manageable, although some traffic passing by caused a little sway. Gas mileage was quite bad, though - just around 10 mpg, as opposed to 16 mpg without the trailer.
Clayton Park camp did not impress us much - while it is a large territory, it is mostly occupied by rental units and long-term staying campers, so there is finger-count of spots  for travelers like us.  Despite weekday, all (or almost all as far as I could tell) RV sites were filed. Other than that, location is reasonably quiet and clean. There was plenty of vacant tent sites as well. RV sites equipped with fire rings, picnic tables and gravel area for the trailer itself. Spots are not perfectly leveled, but trailer could be leveled with stabilizer jacks reasonably easy.
Park suited literally on a lake shore, having tiny beach with marked area where the kids could swim, and a boat launching ramp. Opposite side of the lake (somewhat 800 feet away) is densely filled by vacation houses, so we could see some fireworks (leftovers from 4th of July, I guess). BTW, fireworks are legal in Pennsylvania.
Anyways, place was OK for us for one night stay and recovery after first day of travel, but it did not look like I want to return there for longer stay.   Place has a small playground and a tiny swimming area in the lake - other than that, there is nothing for kids to do. Peter spent most of the evening riding his bike around the campground with his newly found friend. Lost in the woods once, but found his way back successfully and was not scared enough to stay on site after that.