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.