Sunday, August 9, 2020

ThousandTrails: Santa Cruz Ranch RV Resort.

Name:  ThousandTrails Santa Cruz Ranch RV Resort (ENCORE)
Location:  Scotts Valley, California
Sewer:  Yes
Water:  Yes
Power:  30A
Cable:  None
WIFI:  Yes - slow.
Cellular:  Good
Comments:  The location is what makes this campground

This is an ENCORE park in Scotts Valley, California nestled in near the old Seagate Corporate HQ.   As an ENCORE park it has limited availability to Thousand Trails members with certain enhancements.  In this case, they reserve 10 spots for Thousand Trails.   There is a small section reserved for tent campers.

Scotts Valley is a small town once famous for being the home of Seagate Technologies and Borland Software.   Both these businesses are now gone - Seagate to nearby Cupertino and Borland to that great computer store in sky.  But the bones of those once great companies remain.  The RV park is nestled in near the old Seagate Headquarters at 917 Disc Drive.  Hmmm.

 Scotts Valley today seems to be a bedroom community for Silicon Valley workers willing to brave the rigors of the CA-17 commute.   Grocery stores (Nob Hill and Safeway) and other amenities usually found in suburban locations are near the RV park. 

In the park itself, spots are very narrow and short and paved.  With a 37ft Motorhome we barely fit with impinging of the white line that we were warned both verbally and in writing about.   The toad just barely fit behind.

There were small sections of grass at each with a nice serviceable picnic table.  There is a pool and hot tub available to all residents but due to the covid 19 restrictions, we did not avail ourselves.  The park has a large laundry room and the prices are very reasonable.  The park is well maintained.

Most of the residents of this RV resort are permanent.  It is a sad commentary on the price of housing in the area that these permanent residents, in 2020, are paying $550.00 per week.

The close proximity of CA-17 makes for constant noise though we did not find it oppressive.  We found the staff to be excellent and very accommodating.

What makes this RV resort notable is it proximity to Santa Cruz and the Monterey bay area.  It is at most 10 minutes away from the beach resort town of Santa Cruz and the world famous beach boardwalk.  Most of the attractions of the Santa Cruz were close due to the covid-19 outbreak.'

Monday, August 3, 2020

Thousand Trails: Lake of the Springs

Name:  ThousandTrails Lake of the Springs
Location:  Oregon House, California
Sewer:  not likely
Water:  Yes
Power:  50A in some sites
Cable:  None
WIFI:  At the lodge - slow.
Cellular:  Non existent
Comments:  A true RV resort very appropriate for families with children.

In Oregon House California between Yuba City and Grass Valley is Los Verjeles Dam.  Built in 1918,  this worthwhile structure on Dry Creek is the dam for Lake Mildred or as Thousand Trails likes to call it, Lake of the Springs.

With 556 individual spots, Lake of the Springs is a very large RV, cabin and tent resort that is also open to the general public.  The lake is of course the main draw, as is a very fine lodge.

Once you enter the resort from the Ranger Station, you drive up the mountain ridge past the I and G sections.  These sections are somewhat desert like and probably the least desirable sections in the resort - however they do have a number of sites that are occupied by annual campers.  Probably due to cell phone coverage.

At the peak of the hills you will notice a "cell phone" parking area.  In the cell phone parking area you can - if you have the right carrier (AT&T?) - get a marginal cell,     There is no cell phone coverage in the rest of the resort.  The lodge, further down the hill has marginal WiFi.

If you are in Motorhome with a toad, the recommendation is that you drive all the way down to the resort grocery / ice cream store, disconnect the toad in the large parking lot and then go site scouting.

It appears that most sites have 50Amp power and water and there is a smattering of sewer sites scattered about, mostly near the rest rooms.  The exception is "X" section which was reportedly built for PG&E crew which is all sewer sites and as result usually full.   Thousand Trails seems to be slowly converting the sewer sites to Cabins.

There are plenty of facilities for activities for individuals and groups including a large group BBQ areas and a rarity among Thousand Trails Resorts, a baseball diamond.   They had a very fine children's playground.   Boats can be rented for roaming around on Lake Mildred.

 We were there during the Covid-19 outbreak and lot of the facilities, including a very fine looking pool area and the lodge restaurant were closed.

We were there for Fourth of July weekend - we needed to get the dog out of the madness of the Sacramento fireworks.  The lower sites near the lake were full, but the upper sites near the ridge had plenty of openings.

The staff was pleasant and helpful.

Because of the cellular service and lack of wifi, I would not recommend this campground for anyone work camping - there is an Indian Casino in Oroville that is probably re appropriate.  But if you are looking for a getaway Thousands Trails, this is one.


Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Thousand Trails Yosemite Lake

Another weekend jaunt this time to the Famous Yosemite National Park.

Name:  ThousandTrails Yosemite Lake
Location:  Groveland, California
Sewer:  Yes
Water:  Yes
Power:  30A with 50A in some sites
Cable:  None
WIFI:  Available for fee
Cellular:  Non existent
Comments:  A lot of folks consider Yosemite Lakes the Crown Jewel of the ThousandTrails.  Yup.  I wish all Thousand Trails were as well maintained and managed as this wonderous place.   Spacious sites, very green.   About 8 miles from the Yosemite gate.  The lodge is not be missed.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Thousand Trails Turtle Bay (Manteca California)

A weekend jaunt from our home base in Sacramento to the nearby town of Manteca.

We stayed at the Thousand Trails Turtle Bay.

This is a small (they say they are the smallest) Thousand Trails along side the San Joaquin River.   It is down some narrow roads not far from the site of the now defunct Manteca Oakwood Lake Resort and it's famous water slide.  Sadly nothing remains of the famous water park except perhaps the old RV park which seems to be full of permanent RVs.

A quick summary which I may cross post to the Thousand Trails facebook group

Name:  Thousand Trails Turtle Bay
Location:  Manteca, California
Sewer:  Some.  Have to request a sewer site
Water:  Yes
Power:  Appears to be 30Amp only
Cable:  None
WIFI:  Available for fee
Cellular:  Good. (T-Mobile)
Comments:  Spacious sites, very green.  Appears to have a large day-use business of people picnicking and fishing (stripers).  Friendly staff.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Home From Alaska

We made it home and have started resuming our working lifes. 7761 miles and 1214 gallons later.

I thought it would be good idea to share some of what we learned on our 2019 trip:

1. The ALCAN is very drivable. There were sections that were under repair and a couple of sections

that needed repair. I would feel comfortable driving the ALCAN in any car in good repair.

2. Top-Of-the-World - not so much. We did it in a 37 ft Motorhome. Probably won't do it again.

3. Road contruction in Canada/Alaska can be a trial. Just take it easy and wait for the pilot car.

4. You can hear just about anything when talking to people. For example we heard everything about the Daulton from "put two wheels on it and it will destroy your car" to "its paved all the way to Artic Circle and a Smart Car drove it to Prudhoe Bay."

5. British Columbia and Yukon are a trip. They deserve much more from the Alaska Traveler that just a pass thru

6. Related...Liard Hot Springs should not be missed. Plan on spending a couple of days in Whitehorse.

7. For Ford owners: Tow/Haul is your friend but...

8. Disengage Tow/Haul before turning off the highway. The downshift can be impressive.

9. With proper fuel management, you can avoid the $1.90 per liter gasoline.

10. I was impressed with Fairbanks. Not so much with Anchorage.

11. Room darkening curtains are a must.

12. The best cinnamon buns in the world are at Tetsa River Glenn Lodge

13. Get your RV to Alaska 2020 stickers early. We missed ours.

We are going again next year.

Whitehorse to Anchorage

Destruction BayFrom Whitehorse, we continued on the ALCAN.  Wildlife sightings weren't quite as prolific as they were during the previous leg - a couple of foxes were about it.

The run into Destruction Bay was pretty much a cake walk.  The reason we mention this, is that Destruction Bay is one of the places that is legendary among ALCANers  as having incredibly rough roads.

Well, the Canadian government finally got around to re-doing the roads.  There were a couple of sections under construction that were not so much fun, but pretty routine.

Destruction Bay itself wasn't too much - just some houses and the usual road side businesses.
Alaska Border Crossing 

After Destruction Bay, we crossed into Alaska at what I think is the second most remote border crossing.  I had a brain fart and when asked if this was my first time into Alaska, I said "yes!" Even though we had all been many times via airplanes and cruise ships:  I was thinking "first time driving."

Fortunately the Bofrder Agent laughed it off and proceeded to warn us about the road ahead.

He was not kidding.  Just after the border station, was some of the worst road we had encountered to date.  The road typifies the word "frost heave".  We went up and down, up and down for quite a few miles before the road smoothed out

Tanana River

It was pretty late when we crossed into Alaska show we boondocked at a roadside boat launching ramp on the Tanana river.   This is just off the highway immediately past the river.  It offers reasonably flat parking, quiet and we were quite happy to boondock in the one of the long parking places designed for vehicles with boat trailers.

We will caveat this by mentioning that on the other side of the highway and the other side of the river is a rest top commemorating the old Tanana River Bridge.  It is quite pretty and interesting but it is not RV - particularly big RV friendly - you can get turned around in there, but parking might be an issue.

Nobody came to launch or unlaunch a boat the time we were there.


They say in Alaska "All roads lead to Tok".  And that is pretty much true.

Tok has a Valero station that is worth mentioning.  Not only fuel, but it offers free dump and RV wash.  It has earned a spot in the GPS.  From Tok we took the Tok cutoff and met with many miles of construction.

One of the more spectacular parts of the Tok cutoff was the Matsunga Glacier.  The road parallels the glacier and the runoff.


During this trip, we stayed in Anchorage twice.  I was not terribly impressed with Anchorage.  The only thing of note was the headquarters of Great Alaskan Holidays.  It turns out none of the Ford dealers in Alaska can service Motorhome chassis and Great Alaskan is the recommended service center for Ford Motorhomes.

Hmmm.  The Ford dealer in Whitehorse could service it....

Seward and Homer

After the first stop in Anchorage, we went to Seward.  Seward is a waterfront town that at one point was the shipping center of Alaska.  It was virtually wiped out in the Alaskan Earthquake and it was deemed unsafe to rebuild the port facilities.

So the good people of Seward rebuilt their waterfront as a large recreational area with camping for both tenters and RVs.  They charge a reasonable fee for nice flat sites

At Homer we stayed in two commercial RV parks  and a city run dry camping on the spit