Gunter Hill COE? Great!
Our Tiffin experience finished for now, it's time to head back out on the road. While fun and informative, 4 ½ weeks at Camp Red Bay cannot remotely be described as “glamping”.
We need some trees and water surrounding us, so we made a reservation for Gunter Hill COE, just out side of Montgomery, Alabama, a short 3-4 hour ride from Red Bay. Recreation.gov is the way to reserve spots in any Federal campground across America, so we started looking at descriptions of campsites furnished by the folks at Recreation.gov.
Not a good idea.
What looked to be one of the best sites available was site 131 in one of two campgrounds at Gunter Hill. It was listed as being suitable for an 85' motor home, with 50A service and water (no sewer). The campground was listed as “ANTI”, short for Antioch. There is another campground called Catoma, but no sites were available for the time frame we needed, which was over Labor Day. But hey; 85' long site, right?
Come to find out that the site was long enough, but severely sloped down towards the back. We also found out that Antioch was a more “primitive” campground; older, heavily wooded and narrow sites with sandy / gravel bases. And while you can drop a travel trailer or fifth wheel onto a heavily sloped sandy / gravel site, a motor home does not play well in that environment. After placing three 2x8” blocks under each jack, our 36LA was STILL not level. Even adding 2 more 2x12” blocks under each jack got us to where we could level, but by morning the soft sand had shifted enough to make our jacks unstable.
In addition, our heavily wooded site was sitting right under some hickory trees, and the nuts would drop down a hundred or more feet and crash onto our roof, waking us up and scaring poor Grover! One hit so hard it knocked off a ceiling vent cover and sent it crashing to the floor. Antioch is great for tents, travel trailers and fifth wheels, but NOT motor homes!
After a drive through Catoma campground, we contacted the office to get our reservations changed once a suitable site became available on Sunday afternoon.
Catoma is night and day different than Antioch. Every site has a concrete pad, 50A service, and something rare at COE parks – sewer connections on almost every site. The sites are wider, with picnic table, fire pit and lantern stand. And they are ALL level. We didn't see any site there that we could not back our 38' motor home into, and there were more than a dozen pull-thru sites for the really big rigs with trailers. Our new site 22 had a small view of the lake across the street through some trees, but it was a water view nevertheless.
And NO HICKORY TREES!
Met a great couple over at Catoma. We were walking Grover and passed by another Open Road tucked waaaaaaay back in a site that had to be more than 150' long. Quick check on the slides and noticed it was a 36LA like ours (so we knew they had impeccable taste), so we stopped by to say Hi. We had been playing Facebook tag letting each other know where other Tiffin owners were in the park. Beverly and Billy have had their 2019 just a little longer than we have had our 2020, so the usual stories were swapped about differences between each one, and of course modifications, hacks and equipment. Really nice people we hope to see down the road again.
Overall, we're really happy with our stay at Gunter Hill, especially in the Catoma campground. Definitely one to revisit again!
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We're Dave and Barbara Richard, and we're living the ultimate retirement experience - traveling the U.S. and Canada in style in a Tiffin Open Road 36LA Class A motor home, playing golf and stopping at every weird and wacky roadside attraction we can find.