After our brief stop in central Pennsylvania, we pit-stopped in D.C. for a couple days before moving farther south.
We would love to spend more time in our old hometown, but it is one of the most expensive and inconvenient places for RVers to visit. There are 3 campgrounds in the area – one in Maryland and two in Virginia. Since most of our friends are in Virginia, our preference is to stay as close to our old neighborhood as possible, but the campground that is closest, Lake Fairfax County Park, in Reston, Virginia, suuuuuucccccckkkkkkkksssss.
I mean, generally, it’s a nice looking park…
But the sites only have electric hook ups, no water or sewer. Of course, for the reasonable price of $22 per night, who can complain?
Oh that’s right, it’s not $22 per night, it’s $45 per night…
…except on weekends and holidays when it’s $50 per night.
For a parking space with an electric hookup.
For $50 per night, my parking space with a electric hook-up better come with Chris Hemsworth holding a pitcher of margaritas and a bowl of queso:
Actually, for $50, Chris, I’m gonna need you to take your shirt off….
There ya go! That’s better!!
(See? This is why you read this blog. You never know what you’re gonna get! One day, it could be extended discussion about dog diarrhea. The next, it could be half dressed super hot Australian actors… every click of the link leads to a new adventure!!)
Anyway, we got extra screwed because we were there over Columbus Day weekend, and they consider the holiday to go THROUGH Monday night, so we paid $50 per night for Friday, Saturday, Sunday, AND Monday.
And because these overpriced parking spaces don’t have a water hookup, it means we conserve our water supply by showering at the bathhouse. A couple years back, the bath house was actually pretty nice. It’s got multiple individual rooms, each of which contains a toilet, sink, shower, and changing area, which is much nicer than most places.
But over the past several years, the facilities have really gone downhill. Several of the showers don’t drain well which means water backs up (which is gross), the shower curtains are mildewed, the floors are stained, there are cobwebs up in the rafters, and, sometimes, dead bugs on the ground. Yuck.
It’s all fine for $20 per night. For $50 per night, it should be a lot better.
Like, super hot Chris better…
And then, just to add insult to injury, they kick you out at 10:00 a.m. For $50 per night, they want your butt out the door first thing in the morning. (For our non camper friends, typical checkout is 11:00 or 12:00.)
Adding to the disconnect between price and service, this is how they handle their reservations…
Yep – a binder with individual handwritten registration forms with credit card receipts stapled to them, and an old style handwritten calendar book…written in pencil of course, so changes can be made. When calculating our overall costs, the clerk counted up the days of our stay on his fingers and then used a calculator to figure out the total charge.
If only there was some way for a business to easily and accurately handle reservations and payments…
Alas, in 2019, in one of the richest counties in the entire United States, all we have is pencil and paper.
What do we think of that, Chris?
Thanks for your valuable insight, Chris.
Sadly, while Lake Fairfax is completely overpriced for what it is, it’s the best option if you don’t want to sit in traffic for 8 hours a day while trying to get anywhere in the D.C. area.
Other options for D.C. bound visitors are Bull Run Regional Park (review here) which (A) is even farther from the city; and (B) also has very high prices ($45 to $55 per night for a FHU site depending on the season); or Cherry Hill Park, a commercial park in College Park, Maryland, which costs $77 per night.
Obscene. All of it.
The bottom line for us is, if we had better camping options, we’d happily stay in the area for a month or more, but that’s just not possible. So, we made quick work of our visit and missed out on seeing a lot of people we would have liked to see. We did meet up with a couple friends, buried them in Amazon packages (thanks again, Dani and Art), snuggled with their dogs, visited with some colleagues, and attended our doctor’s appointments.
And, as luck would have it, when we were back at the campground, we got to hang out with our friends, Mike and Kathie. They are also from the D.C. area and just happened to be back visiting while we were there. We last saw them in Tucson at the beginning of the year when Thor declared their dog, Opie, his best friend forEVER. This time was about as much fun for Opie as last time…
Mike and Kathie also introduced us to folks we’ve been following on Instagram forever, but had not yet met – John and Sonya from Itinerant Life. They were also camping at Lake Fairfax, but we never would have known they were there if not for them being friends with our friends. It’s interesting to think about how many times we’ve probably been in the same campground with people we “knew” online, but didn’t even realize it. Anyway, we only got to hang out one evening, but we enjoyed talking with them and we’re hoping to cross paths again in the future.
Finally, and having nothing to do with anything, may I present to you my photo essay entitled: “Unhelpful. A Photographic Journey”
And that, my friends, is why we don’t bother exercising very much.
Next up: North Carolina!!
Where we stayed: Lake Fairfax Park, Reston, Virginia