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A few years ago, I put Pennsylvania down as one of the places I wanted to explore, and I decided this summer

would be the time. As I worked out a route, I realized I would be within spitting distance of New York City, so I put together a walking tour covering everything I wanted to see. Then, because I was going to be in town, I figured I would go see the new West Side Story. (I even thought about visiting the area where the movie was filmed, but there's nothing to see there now.) However, because of Covid-19, all of the theaters are closed until September.

Then, after looking at the map some more, I decided I should visit upstate New York, especially the Catskill Mountains because that's where Washington Irving set his story "Rip Van Winkle"  and worked out a nice little route for the area.

I also realized that the neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant (from the Billy Joel song) was right across the Brooklynn Bridge. I added that to my itinerary, then added Flatbush (The Lords of Flatbush). By then, the New York City visit was going to take two days. Luckily, there's an RV park at the end of Long Island that has a few tent sites.

I finally went back to the Pennsylvania route, my original destination, to finish it up, and realized I was trying to do too much. (Note: I'm already taking five days just to get to Pennsylvania.)

Consequently, I'm going back to my original plan and will save New York for another time.


Day 1 | League City to Culture ETX (Lufkin) to Lake Bistineau State Park 

             Lake Bistineau Park Trail Map

A former student and her husband own a fancy restaurant in Lufkin. I'll go there first (4 hrs) and then head on into Louisiana and Lake Bistineau State Park (2 hrs).

I should get there early enough to set up camp and hike a few trails.


9 - 2 Lufkin and lunch

2-4   Lake Bistineau

Day 2 | 6 hrs to Lake Lurleen State Park 

Lake Bistineau to Lake Lurleen State Park 



8-2 drive time


Again, plenty of time to arrive, set up camp, and hike.

Day 3 | 6 hrs to the Frank Gross Recreation Area/ Campground / Blue Ridge Mountains

other nearby campsites

Upper Chattahoochee River Campground is up a windy mountain road but it's closed.

Cherokee Campground is a possibility.

Deep Hole Recreation Area/ Campground - No reserve, 8 spots

Mulky Campground - No reserve, 11 spots

Toccoa River Sandy Bottoms Recreation Area - No reserve, 4 spots



8-2 drive time but arriving in the middle of the day make getting a spot more difficult than arriving in the AM.

Day 4 | 6 hrs to Rocky Knob Campground, Blue Ridge Highway 

"Rocky Knob Campground is located at Milepost 167.1 on Blue Ridge Parkway, 1.8 miles south of the intersection of the Parkway and State Route 8, about 8 miles (13 km) from the town of Floyd, or about 90 minutes south of Roanoke by car. Visitors are advised that directions from resources like Google Maps and GPS devices are not always correct and should be double-checked."


8-2 drive time, set up camp, explore

Day 5 | 3 hrs to Loft Mountain Campground and the Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail loops around this campground.

Plenty of time to hike 10 or so miles of the Appalachian Trail


8-12 drive time, then hiking

Day 6 | 4 hrs to Hershey, PA

                  Hershey's Chocolate World

                  Hershey Story Museum

            2 hrs to Allentown and Bethlehe


Day 7 | 1 hr to Bushkill Falls Trail

             1.5 hrs to Hickory Run Boulder Field

             .5 hrs to  LeHigh Gorge State Park/ Buttermilk Falls

             .5 hrs to Seven Tubs Recreation Area 

             1 hr to Ricketts Glen State Park (has camping)

Day 8 | 2 hrs to Pine Creek Gorge (PA Grand Canyon) / viewing from Colton Point State Park 

             1 hr to Cherry Springs State Park (has camping)

             1.5 hrs to Kinzua Bridge (no camping)

             45 mins to Twin Lakes Recreation Area (has camping)

Day 9 |  2 hrs to Penn State

              2.5 hrs to Ohiopyle State Park and Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater House

              1hr to Cooper's Rock State Forest / Campground 

Day 10 | 5 hrs to Lexington Kentucky

               (8.5 hrs to Nashville)

Day 11| 6.5 hrs to Memphis, Tennessee

             If leaving from Nashville, it's

             3 hrs to Memphis, then 2 hrs to Little Rock and 2 hrs to Texarkana / Millwood State Park

Day 12 | 3 hrs from Texarkana to Lufkin and 3 more hours to home