Sunday, May 16, 2021

Camping at Eisenhower State Park at Lake Melvern was a Success with Cold and Rain

Lake Melvern Damn from One of Our Walks

Carrie, Oliver, and I went on our first camping adventure May 10 - 12, 2021. Our location was Eisenhower State Park located on Lake Melvern. Carrie had researched a number of camp sites and spots at various sites. We settled on 5 Star Camp Ground located in the Eisenhower State Park. We selected lot 514 and after arriving, we changed to 516. Going in the middle of the week, there was no one else in our camp area that was camping, so we were able to change without any issue. We were pleased with site 516. Great view of the lake, paths to hike, and most important, a good spot to pitch our tent. 

We both took off work for our camping adventure. I ended up taking the whole week off even though we were camping three days. We attended Erins’ graduation Friday following our camping trip, so it worked out to take the whole week. Plus, as it turns out, after camping three days, I could use the rest on Thursday. It also helped that I needed to mow, so that happened Thursday.

Packed Full Car with Camping Items

Carrie did a lot of research on camping. She has been watching video blogs (vlogs) and we have watched a few of them together. She got a lot of great ideas from the vblogs. Ideas from lights, washing dishes, to how to cook. We had also ordered a number of items to take on our trip which was from her research and included mats that self inflate and have foam, better sleeping bags, a rug for the tent, and then spots for our shoes inside and out of the tent. This means we had a lot of items to pack for the car. Not to mention items for Oliver that we were taking too. A three day, two night, camping experience meant we had the back completely packed with items with the seat next to Oliver also packed to the ceiling. I believe Carrie was holding items in her lap as there was no place else to put it in the car. Luckily, the drive to the camp site was only about 45 minutes.

Our Camp Site Before Setting Up with All of Items

Site 516 was close to the water with a little trail down to the water. We later found out it was a hot fishing spot to catch Crappie as we saw people in there fishing throughout the three days we were there and they were catching a lot of fish. One guy on our last day caught his limit, left, and came back to fish more. We watched them catch fish and decided at some point our future camping experience, we will fish and enjoy that experience too.

Really, site 516 was perfect with the location, the fire pit, and then we ended up putting our tent to the west of the large tree in the picture to the left. It was a nice flat spot for the tent. We used a tarp to set our tent on so that moisture from the ground would not come up through the tent. As it turned out, good we did as it rained on us pretty hard on the second morning we were there… More on this later on in the story.

Wide Shot of Our Camp Site

It did not take long at all to set up our tent and get situated with our camp site. Staked out Oliver while we set up our tent, got the picnic table situated, and made preparations for a light lunch which included chicken salad sandwiches. It was a good way to start our camping experience. Check-in for our site was anytime after 2 pm, so we had a late lunch and a chance to enjoy the scenery. As we were beginning to set up our tent, we noticed a tick on the tent. It would be one of two we would see the whole time we were camping, but still have to be careful. We will be inspecting Oliver, and ourselves, over the next several days. We did take bug spray for ticks, chiggers, and mosquitos, so hopefully that helped for us. Then Oliver of course takes a pill to prevent ticket or flea bites that I had just given to him a week earlier. 

Fire Pit and Grill Combo Unit

Monday afternoon following lunch, we spent reading, and looking at the beautiful surroundings. We went on a late afternoon walk down the road to see what was beyond our camp site. We found the bathroom facilities that included a swing set we would return to upon our return back to our camp site. Following our little walk, we returned to our camp site to prepare for dinner. We were grilling skirt steak with veggies in aluminum foil to make fajitas. We thought we had read on the Eisenhower State Park site that there were full grills on site, but we found only in-ground grill with the ability to do a fire pit from the same location. It worked out well, but took a little bit to get the hang of the fire using charcoal. It took a while to cook the veggies or at least longer than we thought it should take, so Carrie finished them off in a pot over a flame. Overall, the dinner turned out great and following dinner we had a fire pit where we sat around, drank wine, and played games. It was a little chilly that first night, so the fire helped. Oliver started having some reaction to the smoke where he was having problems breathing, so we decided to call it a night and head to bed.

The first night it was really cold in our tent. It was around 45 outside and could feel every bit of it in the tent. From being outside around the fire pit, Oliver was pretty cold or at least we thought he was cold. We kept him bundled up and checked on him throughout the night. I know Carrie and I both commented the next day how cold we were as my nose, shoulders, and arms were cold. Hanging my arm out of the sleeping bag and I could feel the cold take over my whole arm before withdrawing back into the sleeping bag for warmth. 

Carrie and I both commented at how poorly we slept the first night. My issue was that each time I was about to fall asleep, I would hear a train and the whistle from the train. I think they were going all night long about every 30 minutes. It sounded as though they were right outside of our tent. At one point, I thought they were done, but then they started up again about 3 am and went until about 6:30 or 7 with every 30 minutes I could hear the rumble of the freight cars before the train would blow the whistle. It was a bit frustrating, but learned something that first night that Carrie had prepared for as she knew I would likely be snoring without my CPAP machine, so she wore ear plugs, but even then she said she did not sleep well.

Inside Tent Tuesday Morning During Rain Storm

The following morning (Tuesday), I got up about 6 am as I could not sleep hearing the train whistles all night. I took Oliver on a short walk to let him out. It was rather nice at 6 am. Still chilly but that was about all. We knew prior to leaving for our camping adventure that there was a chance of rain all three days. We watched the percentages go up and down the weeks leading up to our camping dates. The first day was nice overall with it being cold in the evening. Tuesday the weather said chance of rain 40% and it would start about 9 am. Sure enough, after returning from walking Oliver, Carrie was up for a short time, and then about 9 am it started to rain. It rained constantly until about noon. We remained in the tent the whole time. Having not slept well during the night, we used the time to try and sleep. I slept off and on through the morning while taking pictures and even a video of the rain from within the tent. Not the way we had imagined our first morning camping to occur, but we have to roll with the weather and made the best of the start of our first full day of camping.

The afternoon was much better on Tuesday. We went for a long walk all over the camp site. We made the full loop that we had walked partially on Monday afternoon. We figured out where the beach, other camping sites, and the cabins were located. We returned back to our camp site where we spent the remainder of the afternoon with chairs in front of our tent facing the lake, reading, and drinking beer. This was our second interaction with a fisherman fishing at the “hot fishing spot”. This time I watched him catch fish after fish. It looked like fun and made me want to fish again.

Tuesday night we had planned to grill and fire pit again, but as the evening started, the chill set in again, and it started to sprinkle with forecast saying it would rain until about 11. So, we changed our dinner plans and instead of grilling, we did leftovers from the night before, potatoes, peppers, onions, and cheese in a pot over the gas stove we had taken with us. It turned out great with some tortillas that we warmed over the open flame. As we finished dinner, the rain was picking up a bit more, so we decided to turn into the tent and watch a movie. We set up our cooler so we could easily access for beverages, and then set up the iPad so we could watch a movie we had downloaded prior to leaving from Netflix. A nice cozy evening and we were sleeping by midnight.

Oliver and John Walking on Wednesday Morning

Our second night of sleep was much better. Carrie loaned me some ear plugs so I would not have to listen to trains throughout the night. I am not sure I moved the entire night. I woke up about 6 am again, but felt much better after a full-nights sleep. We awoke to a much warmer morning and then sun was shining. It was beautiful out as we got about our day. I took Oliver on a walk and opened the screens on the tent so that light showed in from the front and back of the tent. As I returned from taking Oliver on walk, Carrie was up and preparing for the day. Carrie made us coffee and then eggs, bacon, and cheese along with toast. A perfect morning to finish our camping adventures.

Wonderful Camp Site to Start Our Camping ExperienceOverall, we were very pleased with Eisenhower State Park at Lake Melvern. The camping site, services, and views were just what we needed to help us start our camping adventures. We both look forward to many more camping adventures to come in the near future. We are already looking at locations and talking about making plans for our next site.


  1. Nothing like getting back to nature and roughing it a bit . . . with ipad and movies . . . :) Happy you 3 had a good time on your your outdoor excursion. It a appeared you had a very nice view from your camp -- Tim

    1. Tim,

      Yes, I was surprised I had cell signal in the area. When we drove by Pamona Lake, had no cell signal there. I did disconnect completely and not do work, so that was nice. We loved the camp site at Lake Malvern and looking forward to going back.


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