First time on the other side of the campground! McKinney has a total of 149 sites, but we have always stayed on the side with sites 50 and lower.
Someone canceled site 109 about a week before the 1st and we were the lucky ones to scoop it up. Yes, it’s harder and harder to reserve the best sites–especially for the holiday weekends. Do not get discouraged!
Site 109 is in a loop next to the boat ramp and marked with a grave site. I could find little information about the grave site or person buried there, but the marker says its the wife of G.B. McKinney born in 1832 and died in 1858.
One negative about this loop is the distance from the bathhouse. Its location is up hill on the main road, quite a walk. I imagine if you need to use the bathhouse you are probably driving to this one.
Site 109 requires a sharp turn to the left before being able to back into the site. It was not hard to do, however during this turn we damaged the trailer light cord (more on this later.) The site states that the max trailer length is 25 feet, don’t tell anyone–our trailer is 26 feet. We had zero problems fitting into this site. Once we backed down the hill the site was level side to side. It included a large deck with a bench that wrapped around one side. The site provided lots of shade with the many trees around it. Between 1-2 p.m. we did receive some direct sunlight where we wished we had the shade tent put up, but it didn’t last long.
Here’s where I am going to do something I’ve never done in my blog. I would NOT recommend this site to someone with small children or over the age of 50 who is looking for direct water access from the site. On the website it is listed as waterfront– you pay extra for that view and access to the water. While the view is great, getting into the water is difficult. Once down the path, you are met by large rocks that you must climb down and the rocks continue into the water where they are covered by slippery algae. Did we get in the water everyday at our site? Yes, but both of us wore Chacos and I was on all fours making sure I did not slip. If your family usually gets in the water at the beach or from a boat, then site 109 is a great site!
Site 110 (at the end of the loop) had a SUPER long driveway. The view at the end of the site is gorgeous and they seemed to have an easier time getting in and out of the water. It’s not an easy beach entry, but hopefully these photos give you a good idea. This site will be on our list to reserve in the future.
Our first stay at McKinney we crossed quite a few sites off the campground map. The reason for this was our lack of confidence backing the camper into the site or because we did not care for the deck sites. Site 109 was the exception. What I have found in most of the deck sites at McKinney is the poor placement of the fire-pit (as picture below). I would like to be able to put four chairs or more around the fire, but the sites with the deck only allow for two at the most to sit in front of it. We keep saying we need to drive through the campground again and redo our map of sites to stay in or cross off the list.
July 4th weekend fell during this visit, and we had multiple firework shows that could be seen from our site. If you are waterfront for this holiday, chances are you will be able to see something.
As mentioned earlier, we pinched the cord that connects from the trailer to the truck. This cord controls the trailer lights and trailer brakes. Day one of our trip we did not open up the cord to see what the damage was on the inside, but I did notice that the right trailer light was coming on and off when Heather moved the cable. We worked together to put it in just the right spot to keep the light off. Friday night we had a bad storm come through and spent the evening watching tv in the camper. After our showers we noticed a strange smell coming from the drawer above the water heater. We turned the water heater off, but went to bed not knowing what it was.
Saturday morning I noticed the trailer light was back on and when I went to touch it–it was scorching hot. Putting two and two together pretty quickly we realized that the light was on all night and could have done some serious damage to the camper. We posted on the Grand Design Imagine fb group and had a couple people lead us in the right direction-giving us confidence into creating the temporary solution ourselves. Heather cut open the power cord to see that the black and red cords inside were damaged and touching, probably causing the one trailer light to come on. We bring our well-stocked tool kit with us every trip and it includes electrical tape. We taped up the individual cords and then the main cord itself. This solved our problem until we can have the entire cord replaced.
Things we learned:
- Camping is not for the fainthearted. Be prepared for damage to happen and unless you want your camper to sit at a dealership for weeks (missing out on camping opportunities) then you will have to fix it yourself.
- Along with number 1, the camping trip will not always go as planned or necessarily be easy. I am the type to let something like the damage to the cord ruin a whole day, worrying about what it will cost to fix it, etc. Thankfully, Heather can calm me down and distract me with all the fun that is to be had on the trip. Things happen, they can be fixed.
- McKinney still doesn’t have a hose to flush your tanks at the dump. We knew there would be a long time on Sunday and we didn’t even try to wait in it. After being at the campground for a week we wanted to be able to flush the tank, so we drove over to Cabelas where there was no line and a level drive. All the tanks are empty and clean!