Experience our Week in Auburn + Opelika from June 5th to June 11th, 2017.
This trip revolved all around Auburn University Golf Camp. Our son narrowed down the choices to Auburn’s or Clemson’s Summer Golf Camp. Thankfully, he picked Auburn because there are not any decent campgrounds that have the wifi requirements we need near Clemson…. or any decent campgrounds, period. The area is definitely missing out on a fabulous business opportunity for tailgaters!
Auburn is a University town. Period. The town eats, breathes and sleeps orange. Despite it being a busy University town, it is super easy to navigate and get around. The amount of activities and restaurants are daunting and you will need more than one week to enjoy the best parts! We tried and found that we gained 5lbs just from the fabulous food. Opelika is the next door neighbor of Auburn. It’s a quiet sleepy town who has a revitalized Historical District that is a must see. Walking or driving around the Historical District is like stepping back into the 60’s. Auburn + Opelika go hand in hand like peanut butter and jelly.
Monday, June 5th, 2017
Auburn is only a short two and a half hour drive away from our home. Driving along in the middle lane, about 30 minutes prior to the Georgia/Alabama State Line, going about 65 mph and all of a sudden, a tractor trailer was broke down smack dab in that middle lane. There was no warning and no way we could stop in time. Seeing impending death come our way, not an exaggeration, thankfully the car in the right lane next to us saw what was going on and at the last possible moment swerved off to the shoulder so we could get into their lane. Angels were on our side for those tense moments!
After that excitement, literally, at the Georgia/Alabama State Line, we had a curbside tire blowout. This happened to us two years ago, oddly in Alabama, but this time it was a bit different. The tire only shredded, not a complete blowout. The radial was sharp and quickly ripped through our tire well into the trailer itself. It kept shredding everything in our trailer pantry and bottom shelf of the closet. For half a mile, there were personal items spewing out of the trailer. Off on the shoulder, we got the tire off and the spare on.
For our week long visit, we stayed at Auburn RV Park at LeisureTime. This is our second visit and we highly recommend this campground. This family run business is run so smoothly and everywhere is clean, safe and beautiful. Some of the sites sit on a hill overlooking the softball fields (there were multiple games the week we visited), other sites are mingled within the middle of the campground and are a good value while a few premium sites are along Parkerson Mill Creek. We stayed in a site along the Creek.
Auburn RV Park has all the necessities that you need to camp: a laundry facility, super clean and tidy bathhouse and ice machine where you can pay a nominal fee to fill up coolers or just grab a bag of ice. The atmosphere is quiet and the sites are well spaced. You will see short timers ( a week or two, tailgaters during football season and quick overnighters) since they sit off the Interstate. Check out our previous review of Auburn RV Park to see why this place rates as one of our Top 4 campgrounds.
Tuesday, June 6th, 2017
The purpose for the trip: Auburn Tiger Golf Camp. Our son was spending the next three days at the University to practice and gain golf tips to improve his game. After many (MANY!) trips to Walmart, which was only 2 miles from Auburn RV Park, to get him supplies that were mysteriously left behind, we finally got him loaded up and ready to carry his clubs into the dorms at Auburn University. This was such a surreal moment. As a mom, I was thrilled for him to take part of this opportunity. But, also as a mom, I was nervous about how close this 14 year old is to actually going to college full time. Yikes! Let’s just put that out of our head for at least another two years!!
But….. first I had to feed the kiddo one last time before he went to camp. Since we were already out and about doing errands, we needed to pick up milk & eggs that we forgot to pick up at Walmart, we zipped into Winn-Dixie on the way back to the trailer. I have an affection for Winn-Dixie. When going to college in South Florida, a Winn-Dixie was the closest grocery store. I could ride my bike there and back to my dorm within 5 minutes. To me, Winn-Dixie reminds me of grocery stores during the 70’s (dating myself!). This one was super clean but dated and like walking into a time warp. The lighting was not bright but the floors were super clean. The available products did not offer every brand but you had no problem finding what you needed. The bakery was sparse but you could select from several different “award winning” pies…. and we did! My son thought I was insane for snapping pictures but I am so glad I did. You don’t see wooden freezer handles anymore or perfectly lined up grocery carts! We picked up eggs, milk, trash bags, blueberry pie and chicken pot pie for lunch.
It rained extremely heavy all day and Parkerson Mill Creek was rising higher and higher. We were not in danger of going underwater but if it rained heavy for another day, we would be moving our trailer! This is not a normal occurrence and I doubt if you ever experience it here.
During my pre-trip research, I was searching for Farmer’s Markets in the area. A quick search brought me to the Harman Family Farm Tomato Drop-off service. I am addicted to farm grown Summer Tomatoes. Give me a tomato, two pieces of white bread, a heck of a lot of mayo with salt and pepper and I am a happy happy girl! Here’s the deal: place your order before Monday at Noon, pickup in Auburn or Opelika on Tuesday evening. There is a low minimum order required… trust me, you will have no problem making the minimum order. My order was way above the minimum. These tomatoes were sooo good! I recently stumbled upon an article about this inspiring family that I encourage all to read.
What???? There is a Shakey’s Pizza in this town???? The same Shakey’s Pizza that we went to as a kid??? No way! You know that we are going to stop by and grab a pizza. Well, this is a “real” Shakey’s Pizza but, sadly, it in no way resembles the Shakey’s Pizza of the 70’s. The glass walkway where you watch them throw the pizza, the dark atmosphere where the tables are covered with red and white Italian style tablecloths… and oh, those hats and pitchers of soda. Yep, pitchers of soda. This was waaay before the idea of “free refills.” I can still hear my Dad, in his deep stern voice that reminds me of John Wayne, telling me and my two brothers, “once that pitcher of soda is gone, you are drinking water!” Ah, the good old days. We got a pizza to go since the atmosphere was not the same. The pizza was good, much better than the major pizza chains, but nothing special.
Wednesday, June 7th, 2017
Today was the first “kid-free” day for us at the campground. It was also the day to search for new trailer tires for our Airstream Argosy since the radial was shredded. There was also quite a bit of clean up and some interior repairs to do to the pantry and closet that were also shredded. On Monday, I had a mini breakdown from the two road incidents and seeing the damage to the inside of the trailer. Pieces of glass, wallboard, road dirt, chunks of tire were everywhere. Nothing that a broom and a bottle of wine could not fix though! I lost a lot of vintage dishes and party supplies that are somewhere on I85 at the Georgia/Alabama State Line but that is only stuff. We are blessed that we did not roll the trailer or cause someone else to have an accident.
While the kiddo was at camp, we were working remotely while camping. If you have ever camped, you know not to trust the advertising of free wifi at 99% of the campgrounds. It’s a downright lie or a Unicorn, you decide. Usually, that free wifi is for one person for 10 minutes a year once in a lifetime. You think I am being sarcastic? Seriously, all campgrounds could do themselves a big favor and truly offer free wifi to every site. Thankfully, Auburn RV Park offers free wifi access for two devices per paid customer. The wifi is seriously fast because they do not allow streaming (Netflix) or gaming (Xbox). Mike was able to work remotely without a hitch. Another reason why we love Auburn RV Park!
Since Mike could not leave the Argosy because he was working, I did errands and brought back some good ole’ Fried Chicken for brunch from Pannie-George’s Kitchen. Pannie-George’s is just a hop, skip and a jump away from Auburn RV Park.
Having brunch back at our site on the Creek at the campground, we dug in. Everything was homemade. The Mac and Cheese was creamy with just a touch of salt. The mashed potatoes had a couple of tiny lumps that I just love. It saddens me to say that the fried chicken was just ok. It did not have a lot of flavor and they must have some skinny chickens in Alabama because the chicken breast hardly had any meat on it. Dipping the chicken in the included hot sauce, made it more tasty.
We actually cook a lot in our Argosy. We don’t usually do typical “camping” food but rather food I would normally cook at home. We have a grill, induction burner and a mini convection oven. Inside the trailer has everything we need to cook a fabulous home cooked meal and dessert. We are “foodies” and don’t dummy down our food for our son even when camping. Tonight, we were craving Italian food so I made my version of a bolognese along with fresh tomato and mozzarella salad. Eating creekside with the sound of the water running over the rocks is about as romantic as you can get it while camping. The pups loved it too!
Keep Reading the Travelogue: Auburn + Opelika, Part II