Thursday, October 18, 2012

What can I do about Smart Meter

Hopefully, you have read my first 3 pages to understand why your bill is too high.  So what can you do.
1)  Contact your electric company and tell them I am mad as hell and won't put up with their rate increase.  You will not get any satisfaction here, but they need to hear your complaint.
2)   File a formal complaint at  If you call, they will just forward you back to the electric company who will patiently listen to you and tell you to go back to cpuc. 
2a)  It is important to indicate that you feel your rates have risen since the new smart meter and you wish to go back to the analog meter but don't want to pay their $75 fee or the $10 monthy fee.  Also, be sure to tell them you don't trust their usage figures since they will not provide meter readings.
3)  Contact any and all representitives who will listen to you.  The Governor would not take my call, the district attorney hung up on me,  Senator Feinstein referred me to cpuc.  Your local representitives seem to be the best bet at a minimum.  If you have a city councilman, or mayor, call them.  And follow up on any progress, if any.
4)  Talk with neighbors, friends, colleagues, family members, church groups, or whoever you can to get the message out, and send them to Contact newspapers, radio and TV stations and the like to get the message out.
5)  If you are considering solar to your home, be forwarned that this new rate structure throws all your overproduction into the lowest tier currently $.13 per kwh.  On day one you may be paying $.32 per kwh, but on day 2 if you overproduce they pay only $.13.
6)  E-mail me at to let me know what you think.  I may not respond, but will try to keep you informed if I decide to take this to a class action lawsuit.

I am mad as hell and I need your help because I cannot do this by myself.  You and several million of our friends can make a difference.  Thanks for your time.

Smart meter continued (page 3)

Ok, I know families who own large 2 story homes and set their thermostat to 72 degrees all year.  When it's hot the air kicks on and when it's cold the heater kicks on.  These people can afford their $1000 monthly utility bill and wish to be comfortable at any cost.  The smart meter will not effect these weathly folks much as they are consistently in the high tier.  However, if you are retired or living on limited income and watch your monthly expenses like me, or wish to conserve the new smart meter penalizes you. 

I personally feel that we cannot stop technology and I think the smart meter can be a good way to reduce electrical costs by eliminating low tech jobs.  However, I think a government monopoly such as the electric company should pass through the savings to rate payers.  There is an option to opt out of the smart meter.  There is a $75 charge to replace your existing smart meter if you already have one or you can refuse to have them install the new smart meter for the same $75 fee.  In addition, you will now have a new $10 monthly fee tacked to your bill to read the meter.  No other utility company charges to read their meters. 

I feel that they are using these meters to increase our rates without having to ask some regulator to raise our rates.  What is there to stop them from taking the 16 kwh per day and dividing by 24 hours and allow .67 kwh per hour and charge higher tiers on an hourly basis.  Then the first second you turn on the air conditioner you will be in the highest tier.  The really scarry thing about these smart meters is they can moniter your usage on an hourly basis and see exactly when you use most of your energy.  That is when they will charge you the highest rates.  If you change your behavior, they will see it and immediately change.  Please go to what can I do about Smart Meter.

Smart Meter Continued (Page 2)

It gets worse.  On Sept. 20, 2012, they said I used 102 kwh plus the 18 kwh I produced in ONE DAY!!!  That is 120,000 watts in one day.  To put this in perspective, it is the equivalent of running 50 100 watt light bulbs for a full 24 hours.  That is 6 times my daily summer usage.  They are telling me I used 22% of the full month of my July - Aug. billing period.  Ambient temperature that day was 96 degrees, which was below our peak summer temperatures this year in Nuevo, Ca.  My bill for that day was calculated and billed as follows:  16 kwh @ $.13 + 4.8 kwh @ $.16 + 11.2 kwh @ $.25 + 16 kwh @ $.28 + 54 kwh @ $.32 = $27.41

OK, Let's take an extreme example and assume that we had a heat wave for 7 days straight and I am billed for 102 kwh times 7 days equals 714 kwh as in the example above.  I close up my house, disconnect the electric for the rest of the month on a 30 day billing period.  Under the smart meter the utility company bills me $191.87 for the 30 day billing period.  With the analog meter my bill would be $107.94.  This is a wopping 78% increase in my monthly bill with smart meter.  And according to the electric company, my rates stay the same.  With the smart meter they were able to bill me 27 cents for each kwh I used, while the analog meter I only pay 15 cents for each kwh.  Let's further assume you generate just 7 kwh per day excess electricity for the following 23 days with your solar equipment.  Your bill with smart meter is $170.94, with analog is $74.04 a whopping 131% higher.  This is why I call this the smart meter a ripoff and why your bill is higher.  People who paid to have solar equipment are really getting screwed.

It gets more complicated, because the winter rates start Oct. 1 and go through May 31, so two months of the year they have to prorate your bill because you go down to 10.5 kwh in the low tier rate.  The electric company refuses to give their customers a calendar monthly billing which should be no problem with the new smart meter as they are not read anymore.  Please go to page 3

Smart Meter Rip-off

Have you noticed higher electric bills since Southern California Edison Company replaced your analog meter with the new smart meter.  There are many advantages to this new meter.  It's digital, so it is easier to read, you can moniter your usage online, and the electric company can lay off all meter readers which saves them money.  Did the electric company reduce your rates for that savings?  No, they are actually using the technology to raise your rates without you knowing it.  They actually confuse the public and send you an 8 page bill with all kinds of information regarding transmission charges, delivery charges, taxes and the like.  I am a degreed acountant and find it difficult to figure out.

 Since the electric company has a monopoly to provide your electricity, the government regulates how much they can charge you.  They determined that a small apartment needed a minimum amout of electricity to operate their household per month.   That is how they came up with these tiered rates.  The tiered rates are also meant to encourage conservation.  People with smaller houses would generally use less energy and would not be subjected to the higher rates.  So the government and utilities agreed on a monthly allowance of energy usage.  Currently in my area, they agreed to 480 kwh per month during the summer months, June - September and 315 kwh the rest of the year.  People with analog meters pay 13 cents for the first 480 kwh used during the summer months, 15 cents for the next 144 kwh, 25 cents for the next 336 kwh, 28 cents for the next 480 kwh, and the final tier is 32 cents per kwh.  Because the electric company bills for different number of days in a billing period, they divide this 480 by 30 days which gives you a daily allowance of 16 per day. Their billing period changes from month to month from 28 to 32 days. 

As you can see, it is in the electric company's best interest to shift your rates to a higher tier whenever possible.  Tier 2 is a 16% increase, tier 3 is a 92% increase, tier 4 is 115% increase and the final tier 5 is a whopping 146% more per kwh.  With the older analog meter, your meter is read once monthly and you are charged based on your monthly useage.  If you use less than 16 kwh on average for the billing period you are billed at 13 cents per kwh.  You do not pay higher tier rates until you exceed 480 kwh on a monthly basis.  So if you noticed you are using too much energy at the beginning and middle of the month, you could reduce your usage the rest of the month, maybe go out of town for a week. 

Lets see what happens with the new smart meter.  With this new meter, they no longer give a full 480 kwh at the low tier unless you use the full 16 kwh every day.  Your bill is calculated every day based on that daily usage.  Under this plan you cannot conserve energy another day to reclaim your overusage from a previous day.  This is how they throw you into higher tiers and increase your costs even though you may not be using more energy.  Each day you get 16 kwh, if you exceed that amount you are thrown into a higher tier for that day by this calculation.  You get 4.8 kwh(30% of base) at tier 2 rates, 11.2 kwh(70% of base) at tier 3 rates, 16 kwh(100% of base) at tier 4 rates, and the balance into tier 5 rates.  With central air conditioning on hot summer days it is very difficult to stay in the low tier for the day. 

Here is an annalysis of my August 17 bill.  This billing period was for 29 days, all in the high useage summer period.  I used 454 kwh this billing period.  Under the analog meter all my units would be in the first tier at 13 cents per kwh.  This is because I qualify for 29 days times 16 kwh per day which comes to 464 kwh in the first tier.  454 kwh times 13 cents equal $59.02 which is what my bill would be with the old meter.  They billed me $68.98.  This is a 17% overcharge and this is on a relatively small bill. 

In the understanding your bill, they hide their overbilling by showing your average cost per kwh.  What they do is shrink the tiers to justify their overcharges.  As you can see in the chart, they reduced my tier 1 rates to 287 kwh, 77 kwh in tier 2, and 90 kwh in tier 3.  Based on their average cost per kilowatt hour chart, I should get 30% of my base kwh which comes to 86.  So this chart is not accurate.  They use it to hide the days I went into the 4th tier and did not know it.  Please continue to my next post Smart meter continued.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Our Private Resort

We have been home from our last trip about 7 weeks now and I could not resist posting the sunset from our backyard.  We have been experiencing some unusual weather here with tropical weather comming from Mexico.  The sunsets here are spectacular.  Three weeks ago a tornado touched down 3 blocks from us and took out 28 telephone poles and our electricity.  Fortunately, we just cranked up the generator in the motorhome and camped out in our backyard that night.  Power was up and running in 6 hours, but we enjoyed all the convences of air conditioning and TV.  While we enjoy travelling across the United States, it is always great to come home to Our Private Resort.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Yosemite Lakes Campground

On July 12, 2012, we arrived at this campground, located just 5 miles outside the west entrance of the Yosemite National Park.  We stayed for 4 nights.  We came in from the opposite side from highway 395.  Be prepared for a long steep grade to the entrance of the park.  At times our coach shifted to 1st gear and 20 MPH.  We made it to the top without incident and it certainly is beautiful at the 9500 foot high elevation.  Some of the mountains here are solid rock.  Since this was not a good year for snowfall, the waterfalls were quite sparce.  Shortly after entering the park you will see some beautiful alpine meadows and lakes.  Parking is very limited throughout the park, so we decided not to stop with our 65 foot rig. 
We selected an open site in the campground for satellite reception.  This campground offered full hookups with 50 amp electric and sewer on the Toulalome River.  No cell phone or wi fi.  They advertise wi fi in the clubhouse but it was not fast enough to read my e-mail.  There is no pool, but people swim in the river.  This park has the capability of being a 4 star resort if only they provide about $ one million maintenance upgrade.  This is also a thousand trails resort.  I rate this park M***.

We took Buddy for a day trip through the park one day for his daily swim and also hiked one trail to a big stand of redwood trees.  We cut it short as Buddy in his old age was getting tired.  We also observed Bridle Falls where Buddy was a hit with the crowd.
We will head home after this stop.  It has been a great trip.

Falling Leaf Campground

We arrived here on July 8, 2012 for 4 nights.  This is our absolute favorite federal campground.  Located in Lake Tahoe; our favorite destination.  This park will accomodate any size rig.  No hookups, no dump station, and could not get satellite reception from this site.  Cell phone was weak - 2 bars.  We love this park.  It is located close to the casinos and fallen leaf lake is just a short jog from the campground.  The big lake, lake tahoe is just across the highway and probably one mile walk to the water.  Be prepared to make reservations 9 months in advance to enter this campground during the summer months.  Our site had to be at least 1/4 acre with new table, fire ring, and new asphalt pad. Our site was on an inside loop which was very challenging for our 40 footer.  I would recommend selecting an outside loop site.  We rate this campground F****. 
Our friends, Kathy & Grant Stephens arrived on July 9 with their friends Jack & Vicky from New York.  Her son Mike & Lisa and family were staying at a timeshare hotel near the casino's.  One day they took the rafting trip down the Truckee River and the weather was fabulous; in the 80's which is warm for Tahoe.  We were rafted out from the Rogue River so planned to meet them at the take-out point where there is an outdoor bar and grill on the river.  We missed them, but I managed to consume one $8 river rat special. (basically a mai tai without the umbrella and fruit)  Ouch!!!  I am glad I ordered the small 12 ounce drink. 

We took a day trip to the big lake one day and found a secluded beach on the Nevada side of the Lake.  We hiked about 1/4 mile down a fairly steep trail to the water with Buddy.  Buddy could not wait to enter the water with the other dogs on this beach.  He swam for about 30 minutes before he returned to our beach.  I also took a dunk in the cold Lake Tahoe water.

Ponderosa RV Resort

We arrived here on July 6 for 2 nights.  This park is located on the American River in Lotus, Ca.  This is a Thousand Trails park.  We expected sewer hookups, but the few available were reserved for their own members.  Navigating the roads in this park is very challenging for a 40 footer.  Campsites were very narrow and we were not able to get satellite reception, no cell phone service, no wi fi.  We were able to get 50 amp electric for an additional $3 fee per night.  There were 3 very nice sites called super premium sites on the River, but I don't know who qualifies to use those sites.  This campground is also selling or leasing sites in this park.  We would not return to this park and rate it M**.  It was very hot in the mid 90's so we really needed 50 amp electric to run both air conditioners.  We took a day trip to Placerville on the second day, a 30 minute drive down highway 49.  This was the center of the gold rush in California and many criminals were hung in this city.

Hayward Flat Campground

On July 3, 2012, we arrived at this federal campground for 3 nights.    Be prepared to travel some long winding roads to get here from Redding.  Once here, it was totally worth the drive.  It is located in the Trinity National Forest on Trinity Lake.  This is the thirt largest lake in California.  Our campsite had a filtered view of the lake due to the thick stand of trees, and only about 200 feet to the water.  All sites are paved and a lot of room between sites.  No hookups, no satellite, no dump station, and you are shaded all day by the pine trees.  Verizon cell phone gets three bars and I am using my wi-fi hot spot now.   Our site was pretty steep, but we managed to get into it and get it pretty level with our jacks.  We paid $7.50 per night with Aggie's senior pass and there is free firewood all over the place.  We had some cut and stacked at our site when we arrived.  This is a boaters paradise and most campers spend their days out on the lake with their boats.  While they must drive 20 minutes away to launch their boat, they may tie their boats to shore here.  The water is warm, in the 70's and daytime temps in the 90's, but comfortable under the trees and we did not need to use air conditing.  The park is very quiet day and night.  I rate this park F****.  We will come back again with our boat.
We took a day trip to find a secluded area of the lake so Buddy could go for his swim.  We pulled off the highway and ended up at an entrance to a cemetery.  We met some young kids riding a four wheel jeep loaded in mud.  I asked them if this dark full canopied road led to the lake.  They said it sure does, but it is really tight.  They led the way and tight it was; I have the scratches on the Tahoe to prove it.  Once we navigated this rocky, rutted path for about 1/4 mile it opened up to the lake which is the last picture.  Buddy got his swim in and we relaxed for a few hours overlooking this little cove which we had all to ourselves. 

Sundial Bridge

We visited this unique bridge in Redding on the Sacramento river.  It is the only bridge of its type in the United States.  No posts touch the water and the bridge adjusts itself of load capacity and direction of the sun.  It is a pedestrian bridge and can handle more that 6000 people.  It appeared to have alternating panels of plexiglass and aluminum on the floor of the structure and you could see the water below which was moving very fast while we were there.  There are 82 miles of paved and unpaved walkways surrounding this bridge in Turtle Bay Exploration Park.  There is also a museum, an arboretum and botanical gardens.  We walked across the bridge and let Buddy go for a tethered swim in the Sacramento River.  We walked one trail along the river and read interesting signs along the way about the local indians, plants, insects, and facts about the rock mining they did in this area to collect gravel and rock to build the Shasta Dam.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Redding RV Park

We arrived here on June 29, 2012, and will stay here to rest for 4 days.  We are finally back in California (Redding California).  We stopped here to visit Shasta Lake, one of California's largest lakes.  The lake is full.  Last year the lake was a good 100 feet lower.  The weather here is more to our liking, 89 degrees.  I will store my sweater & jacket until we hit Lake Tahoe.  This is a very nice park.  Clean and well taken care of.  There is a small swimming pool on the property and a clubhouse that I did not tour.  All sites have full hookups and 50 amp electric.  We were assigned a pull through site which was plenty long enough, maybe 70 feet, but very narrow.  We had the widest lot in the tract, most will not accomodate a picnic table.  All driving surfaces including parking pads are asphalt and look to be pretty new, but camping pads are only 10 foot wide and another 4 to 5 feet of grass till you greet your neighbor.  This campground is located next to the 5 freeway and generates traffic noise all day and night.  They also provide free internet access which is very good.  I paid $30 per night with RPI and Good Sam discounts.  This is located in Redding with all shopping and restaurants nearby.  We dined at Olive Garden yesterday just 2 miles from the park.  I would stay here again.  I rate this park P***.

The Rogue River

On June 26, 2012, we headed south to the Rogue River to remenice about a campground we visited with our sons Matt and Keith 25 years ago.  We found it and discovered it has changed very little.  The trees seemed larger and the boat ramp was larger and finished in concrete.  They also added an asphalt parking lot for all the river rafters who put out at this point for a 4 to 6 day journey through the wilderness and to the ocean.  We arrived at Alameda County Park early afternoon and quickly found a site that was not reserved.  This is a small park with only 26 spaces.  Most campers only spent one night here to set up their rafts for an early morning departure the next morning.  We had to renew our campsite every day because you must make reservations 2 days in advance and there is no telephone reception, internet, or satellite reception from here.  The county park only takes cash, no checks or credit or debit cards.  For $19 per night you get an unobstructed view of the Rogue river and a natural setting in the woods.  We had no trouble with mosquitos and the temperatures were very comfortable.  There were no hookups here; there was a dump station here but it was not level and was only accessible to campers on the way into the park.  Too difficult to find an area outside the park to turn around our 40 footer.  We were able to dump at their sister park up the street a few miles.  We enjoyed our stay here and rate this park F***. 
We decided to take a 5 hour raft trip down the river and rented a two person kayak.  When we did this trip with the boys it was an easy float trip with a few ripples.  The river was very high for this time of the year and the water was running very fast at the rate of 36000 gallons per second.  They rated the section we rafted class 2 but the larger rapids were 3 foot waves and the first big set of rapids tossed us out of our kayak into the cold 60 degree river.  Aggie thought for sure she was going to drown, but I managed to hop back into the kayak and then pull her onboard.  We limped to a sandy beach area and Aggie wanted no more of this adventure.  She was ready to find the nearest road and hitch a ride back to Galice where we rented the kayak.  I had donated another pair of prescription eyeglasses to the Rogue River.  I will never learn, but I was able to replace them the next day at Lenscrafters in Redding, Ca.  We met a group, Dave, Tilda, & Maurice who entered the river with us on a larger raft.  They stopped to rest after that last set of rapids and kindly invited Aggie to ride on their larger raft.  Aggie is forever gratefull to them.  We arrived at the halfway point in Galice and ended our trip there.  We had enough excitement for one day. 

Concert in the Park

While at Cascade Meadows we took a day trip to Bend, Oregon to enjoy this free concert.  It was an outdoor amphitheater in the Old Mill District, and people brought their own chairs or blankets to sit on the ground.  They sold beer and wine there as well as other drinks and food.  You could also BYOB (bring your own bottle).  There is also a large shopping center attached to this park with restaurants and stores.  Buddy came along for this trip and he was in his glory.  Plenty of dogs to play with and afterwards we took him to a doggy park which is attached to this park.  There were fenced running areas for both small and large dogs.  There was also an area on the river where the pooches could pop in for a swim.  Buddy slept well that night.

High Desert Museum

This was a very interesting and informative museum.  It somewhat reminded me of the Cody Museum in Cody, Wyoming.  There were many exhibits on the life of local indians and lifestyles of the early settlers of this area.  There were live and stuffed animals.  We observed a live bobcat, lynx, porcupine, otter, and bald eagle.  A currator would discuss the habits and lifestyles of these animals at different exibits at scheduled times.  We toured a 1900's style logging mill and actors dressed in period clothing answered questions from tourists about lifestyle during that time.  The grounds are situated in the forest and you are welcome to bring your lunch or dine at their restaurant inside or under the trees.  Plan on at least 3 hours to complete this tour.  Notice the unique fence made of little branches.

Cascade Meadows

On June 23, 2012, we headed south down route 97 toward Bend, Oregon.  We have traveled this route before and it is a pleasant drive along large farms that grow mostly hay and grass seed.  We passed through a very severe thunderstorm on this route, but managed to pass without any complications.  We stayed at this membership park located about 20 miles south of Bend, Oregon on highway 97.  This park is located at the 4000 foot level and was cold and rainy every day - welcome to Oregon.  We ran our heater all night as the temps dropped to 40 degrees.  We refilled our propane tank when we left.  The pictures of this park do not do it any justice as it looks like motorhomes are parked in a pasture.  They are, but the sites are level, full hookups with 30 amp electric, and huge sites.  Notice the distance between sites.  The area between campers is our site.  We paid $10 plus tax per night with our RPI membership.  It is located right along the highway so there is a little traffic noise.  There was a pool on the property and I noticed some kids swimming in there.  The outside temperature was 65 degrees----buurrrrrrr.  I won't go in my pool until temps reach 90 degrees.  I rate this park M***. 
We spent 3 days here and visited the High Desert Museum and went to a free outdoor concert in Bend, Oregon.  (separate posts)

Columbia River

After leaving Seaside, we decided to head east in search for warmer weather.  We headed northeast to Portland, Oregon; and followed the Columbia River east.  This is a huge river and acts as a natural border between Oregon and Washington States.  We planned to stay at an Army Corps of Engineers park (Le Page).  We called in advance, but they were too busy to return our call to tell us that the park was full.  It worked out to our advantage as we found great FREE camping on Army Corps on Engineering property just one exit west of this park.  We camped under some very large, mature trees which provided lots of shade and I was still able to get satellite reception.  We had a full tank of water and all holding tanks were empty.  We parked on a level, paved asphalt street and I did not have to level the coach.  I rate this park F***.  I would definitly stay here again; the price is right.  We just relaxed here and took Buddy for a few strolls along the river.

Tillimook Chese Factory

This was an interesting day trip from our stay at Seaside, Ore.  There is a self guided tour and we were able to observe workers on the assembly line cutting and packing cheese for shipment.  Virtually all the dairy farmers in this area provide milk to produce Tillimook cheese and Tillimook ice cream.  Most farmers in this area date back to 1909 and the farms are passed from generation to generation.  This facility produces 167,000 pounds of cheese daily, 7 days per week.  The cheese is produced into 40 pound blocks and cut into resale sizes from 8 ounces to 32 ounces.  I also noticed 40 pound packages being prepared for shipment.  They make 16 varieties of cheese and we were able to sample six of them for free.  There were no free samples of ice cream though and judging from the tourists visiting today, they really enjoyed the ice cream.  I did purchase some cheese to take on the road, (something with jalapenos in it).
A few other factoids:  A newborn cow is 69 pounds, after one year it weighs in at 600 pounds and after 5 years weighs about 1300 pounds.  A cow drinks a bathtub of water daily and the cost to feed and maintain the cows costs 50% of total income from milk production.  Cows are milked twice daily and there is no rest for the farmer.  His day starts at 3:30AM, milks the cows from 4 to7AM, eats breakfast,  then cleans and sanitizes milking equipment, mends fences, breaks for lunch and at 4 to 7PM milks the cows again.  It is no wonder they have so many kids, someone has to do all this work. 
After this tour, I tasted some wine at a separate wine and cheese tasting retail establishment.  They had farm animals here which included goats, an ostrich, miniature donkeys, alpaca's, chickens and more.  I did purchase three yummy bottles of wine.  None of them had grapes in them.  One was cranberry, one cherry, and one rhubarb.  We also stopped at a wholesale beef jerky factory.  I purchased four pepperoni sticks.

Bluebill Campground in Horsefalls Beach

We arrived here on schedule on June 15, 2012.  We booked this campground because there were no available camping at the Mill Casino where we usually stay due to upcoming FMCA rally.  There are only 18 sites in this campground.  It is well treed and all sites have tables and fire pits.  Asphalt paving thruout and I nabbed the only pull through, but all sites will accommodate a 40 footer.  No hook ups at all and no dump station; not unusual for a federal park.  Camping fees here are $20 per night, but seniors over 62 get 50% discount.  The only bad part about this site is it is located in the middle of a swamp.  Mosquito's were so thick, you would not want to spend much time outdoors.  As a result, we basically had the campground to ourselves along with the campground host most of the time.  An occasional camper spent one night here.  This would be a great park if they sprayed for mosquito's.  I rate this park F*.  Sanford and Linda were able to book a site at the Mill Casino and left early the next morning.  They planned to attend the FMCA Rally and we spent our time visiting Matt, Jamie, and Danika.
Upon arrival, we had dinner with Sanford and Linda at the Mill Casino.  A great buffet which included endless self serve seafood, prime rib, and ham.  I gorged on oysters on the half shell, fried shrimp and scallops, and broiled salmon.  I topped it off with an ice cream sundae.  All this for $18 per person for seniors over 62 and arrive before 5:30 pm. 
We visited Shore Acres State Park, a separate post while here with Matt and Danika.  We celebrated Danika's first birthday at Jamie's fathers house.  Steve and Melanie treated us to a wonderful steak and salmon dinner.  We took Buddy to the ocean for a much needed run on the beach and dunk in the water.  He met another Golden which could have been his brother and his name was Buddy also. 

I didn't spend enough time outdoors at our site to take any pictures of this campground, I will post a couple from Shore Acres.  The bottom picture is called a monkey tree.  I wonder if it will survive in my cactus garden?

Sunday, June 24, 2012


Here are a few pictures of our grandaughter.  She is now 1 year old. 

Thousand Trailes Seaside Resort

On June 19, 2012, we arrived at this membership park for 3 nights.  This is a nice park with nice large sites with grass between each site and many trees throughout.  Sites were level and we had full hookups.  There are two sections of this park.  One section, which is about 1/2 mile hike from the other has 50 amp electric and all facilities such as swimming pool, spa, large clubhouse, and tennis court are located at this side of the campground.  All others are relegated to 30 amp electic.  They do allow you to select your own site.  There is also an abundant list of rules you must follow or be subjected to EVICTION.....  I rate this park M***.  You could walk the short 4 blocks to the town of Seaside where we found some outlet stores located there.  I treated myself to a couple new shirts. 
While here we toured the Tillamook Cheese Factory in Tillamook, about 40 miles south.  We also took Buddy for a stroll along the ocean and a much needed romp in the ocean.

Ferrari-Carano Vinyards

While staying at the Russian River we toured this winery and I sampled some wines.  Did not buy any though.  This is a beautiful palatial mansion.  Can only fit 2 pictures; one of the storage of wine in barrels, the other a pond on the property.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Sonoma Lake, Ca.

We took a day trip with Sanford & Linda to see this lake.  There is a nice marina at the lake.  We viewed the lake from a viewpoint above the lake and stopped for snacks.  Buddy came along for the ride and enjoyed a short walk.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Russian River

We arrived here June 9, 2012, for 3 nights.  This is a membership park, but thousand trails rents sites to the public here.  There are 30 amp electric at all sites and all sites are paved, some level, some not. There are no sewer at sites, but there is a dump station with fresh water.  Most have tables and a barbecue grill.  Have not seen any fire pits and if you bring your own it must be covered.  Very dense with trees and less than 10% of spaces have satellite reception.  We could not get one.  It will be a long 3 days without my TV.  There is no view of the river from any sites so you must hike to the river.  Buddy enjoyed a good swim in the river with another labrador dog yesterday.  It was good to wash all that salt water from the previous day.  While there are a lot of big motorhomes and fifth wheels in here, the park is very tight.  I hope I can get out without any damage.  Aggie loves being under the trees.  I rate this park M**. 
We hooked up with Sanford & Linda Simmons here.  They will be travelling along with us up the coast to Coos Bay, Ore.  We took a day trip to Sonoma Lake & tasted some wine at Ferrari-Carano Vineyards.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Pismo State Beach North

On June 7, 2012, this is our first stop for 2 nights on our Oregon trip to see our son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter.  We have stayed here several times and it is our favorite in this neck of the woods.  Actually, it is right on the pacific ocean off hwy 101 and most sites have pull through sites.  The campbook states 36 foot max, but we have had no trouble parking our 40 footer here.  No hook-ups here, but the sites are large and private and there is available water and a dump station.  All sites have fire ring, table, and barbecue grill.  I rate this park F***.  As with all California State Campgrounds along the coast, you must make reservations well in advance during the summer months to camp because they usually sell out quickly.  This park does not take reservations in the winter except for holiday weeks.  We paid $35 per night less $2 discount for seniors over 62.  There is also an $8 fee to make reservation.  Winter rates drop to $25.
We took a day trip to Avila Beach and let Buddy go for a swim in the ocean and romp with the other doggies on the beach.  We hiked onto the pier and I invested in 6 cherry stone clams from Maine to eat on the half shell.  Inflation is alive and well here in Avila - I shelled out a lot of clams for those clams.  $1.65 apiece.  The sales clerk said she would open them for me for only $3 apiece.  I elected to open them myself, thank you.  It has been years since I have had these and they were great! 
There is a campground here and it is first come, first served - no reservations.  At $60 per night you get full hook-ups.  No room for tables or fire ring.  If you have room to park your vehicle in front of your RV, you have room to put out your awning or you can elect to put your slides out instead.  You have a great view of the ocean on the opposite side of the street.  I would elect to pay $40 to dry camp on the oceanside of the street.  Dry campers can purchase water for 25 cents per gallon at a central location.  I don't know about a dump station.  I would rate this campground P***.

We actually stayed here last November to observe the monarch butterfly's.  They nest in this park every year in October to November.  They fly down from Canada and can cover up to 100 miles per day on their journey.  Once here they nest in a stand of Eucalyptus trees and mate then die.  Their offspring continue their journey as far south as Mexico.  They count them yearly and run into the tens of thousands. This pelican allowed tourists within 2 feet of him before opening his large mouth as if to bite his antagonizer. 

Lake Henshaw

On Dec. 31, 2011, we camped here with our friends Cathy & Grant.  We camp together every new years.  We have camped here before but it has been years (pre-motorhome & pre travel trailer years).  We basically had the campground to ourselves which was pleasant.  There are hook-ups here but it is in what I would call a run down mobile home park with 30 year old plus travel trailors deposited in there.  We elected to camp in the dry camping area.  This campground is located accross the highway from the Lake.  It is a fishing lake and used to have some huge catfish in there.  The last time we camped here we rented a row boat and I caught the only fish, a six inch catfish.  We inquired of another fisherman with his legs over the side of his boat if he had any luck.  He answered, no, I come out here to drink beer, if I catch a fish it is a bonus.  We did not notice any anglers here on this trip.  You just find a place to park and that is your site.  We found a spot with 2 tables and a fire pit.  I believe there is a swimming pool here, but we did not notice it this trip.  They have a general store and restaurant on premises and we dined there one night.  Our camping rate was $20 per night + $2 per night for Buddy.  I rate this park P***.


We cruised to Quartsite, Az. on Jan 19, 2012, to visit our IRV2 family in the desert for one week.   There is this giant swap meet out in the desert for 2 to 4 weeks every January and thousands of RVs travel to this desolate location.  Temperatures are usually pretty moderate here this time of the year and generally lots of sun.  This is our third trip with the Monaco group and we always look forward to visiting all the great people in this group.  We usually stay at La Paz South, a campground operated by BLM, which has water and a dump station at this location for all the sorrounding campgrounds.  Be prepared for a long wait to dump.  This year it took 2 hours which was longer than previous years.  It tends to get windy here and our 1st year the wind nearly took of our entry door.  We limped back from dumping our holding tanks with our entry door open with bent hinges.  Several of our new friends dropped everything and assisted us with our door.  The rain was blowing sideways at the time, but they took off the door, straightened the hinges and replaced the door for us.  I am deeply indebted to them for their assistance.   There was a tornado touch down in Blythe, the next city over to the west while we were here.  There is a $40 fee for camping which is good for 2 weeks.  For $160 you can stay the whole season (8 months) - too hot to camp in the summer.  I rate this campground F** but rate the Monico group *****. 
If you plan to visit with the IRV2 Monico Group, be prepared to perform maintenance on your coach.  This year I added an automatic entry led light to my coach and had my blue ox hitch rebuilt at the big tent.  Many campers had installed engine upgrades to boost horsepower and torq for $500 - $700.  Last year, four satellite HD dishes were installed and many slide topper awnings were repaired and adjusted. I added a surge guard protecter.  The year before that Harry (happycarz) replaced air driers on coaches.  He got it down to 2 minutes as we timed him.  In addition to that, campers show off their new gadgets and upgrades to their coaches, the latest was adding multicolor led's to their entry handle.  The last two years, the RV dealer brought a new Knight & Diplomat motorhomes to tour at our site.  One SOB (some other brand) camper actually bought a new Diplomat while here. 

Silent Valley

On April 3, 2012, we visited this park with our good friends Grant & Cathy Stephens.  We camp with them several times each year and always have a great time.  This is a great park in Idyllwild, Ca. in the San Jacinto mountains only 45 minutes from home.  We have camped here several times and enjoy the facilities.  Sites are all paved asphault and level.  They all have full hook-ups with 50 amp electric, sewer & water.  There are swiming pools, clubhouse, general store, tennis, fishing pond, mini golf course, horse shoes and much more.  Lots of level pull through sites and it is first come first served, so you have your choice of some 800 sites.  I rate this park M****. 
Palm Springs is just down the hill so summer temperatures can climb to 100 degrees and since it is at 4000 feet they can get a little snow in the winter.  This is the mountains and there are lots of trees, but I have always been able to find a site where I could get satellite TV.  Did not think to take any pictures this trip as we used this campground as base camp.  We went down the hill to Cabazon to shop the premium outlet stores one day.  The following day we went into the town of Idyllwild and had lunch at our favorite restaurant in this town, which has outdoor dining under the pine trees.

Ramona RV Resort

On April 25, 2012, we decided to spend a few days down in San Diego to celebrate our 41st wedding aniversary.  We stayed here at a membership park.  I rate this park M***.  Our assigned site was level and equipped with 30 amp service and full hook-ups including water & sewer.  I was lucky to have an adaptor connected to our sewer which allowed us to use standard sewer connections.  This campground has closed off all the larger standard sewer connections and replaced them with smaller ones.  I feel they do this to discourage campers from using their washing machines in their rigs, which would use more electricity and water.  This way they can sell their laundry facilities on their premises for additional profit. 
We basically used this park as a base camp to visit San Diego.  We took two separate day trips from this park;  one to San Diego, and the other to Julian.  On the San Diego trip, we found a great doggy beach where dogs can run along the beach and frolic in the water.  Unfortunately, Buddy was back at the Motorhome for this trip, but we will bring him here on another trip.  We then visited Carrillo State Park and observed an interesting movie on gray wales.  We then ended up at the Melting Pot in La Jolla, Ca. to enjoy a unique & delicious meal, courtesy of Keith & Lori, our son & daughter-in-law.  We were dining for three hours and I think I put on 3 pounds. 

The next day was raining on and off so we took Buddy for a ride to Julian.  Julian is a quaint little town that is very busy during apple season with fresh apple pies and fresh squeezed apple cider.  It consists of just 2 blocks of shops and restaurants.  We passed on stopping in town this trip and elected to tour another membership campground in the area.  Buddy enjoyed walking around the campground, but the jury is out if we will ever go camping there.