Friday, July 30, 2021

Winnebago Grand National Rally Forest City Iowa

 Well, we made it to the GNR in Forest City Iowa.

We boondocked across Wyoming, South Dakota and Minnesota ending up in the center of Iowa in Forest City, Home of Winnebago.

We had a few adventures along the way...

1.  The large wall slide failed.  This is the retractable room in the front.  It had a Schwintec mechanism which is notorious for failing in slides.  We braced it closed - it was trying to come out as we ran down the road and lived with it till we got to Forest City.  

2.  We learned that South Dakota does not permit staying in the rest areas more than 3 hours if you are a normal driver.  Commercial drivers are allowed 10 hours.  That is kind of tacky.

So we got into Forest City, got checked into the Rally Grounds.  Just the size of this place is kind of amazing

We are in the upper left, but all you can really see is the Smart Car because....

We were broken.  When we got to the Rally Grounds we bee-lined for the Factory Service Center across the street.  We got into the queue (Factory Service is a very popular option for Rally participants) and eagerly checked the list every morning.

For the first three days we were on the list!!.  We needed to have to coach across the street by 6AM, so we would get up early, take our showers, get the coach "road-ready" and drive it across the street.   We would then go back across the street for the morning coffee and donuts provided by Winnebago/WIT for the rally participants.

We would go to the plethora of seminars/demonstrations/talks that are at the rally, but we needed to be back at Factory Service everyday at 2:30.  

The folks at Factory Service know people are here at the Rally and don't have any other place to live so everyday at 2:30 - whether finished or not - they gave you your coach back.  In our case it took two days to get the Schwintecs replaced and an extra day on the drivers door seal we asked them to fix.  The drivers door seal was apparently a booger.  On day 3 they went up to bend down our antennas so they could get it out of the service bay and noted that the roof had some issues and needed caulking.   So we signed up for day 4 as a "standby customer".

We got the call at 9AM the next day and had 1/2 an hour to get the coach across the street.  But we did it and got repair work done.

We can't say enough about  Winnebago Factory Service.  They were more than accommodating,  the work was top notch and not all that pricey.  

We will stay until Saturday and then we think we head back to South Dakota to see Mt Rushmore before the Sturgis Motorcycle event - which don't want to get anywhere near.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

On the road to the Winnebago Grand National Rally

 July 19, 2021 - Thousand Trails San Benito to Thunder Valley Casino, Lincoln California.  293 Miles.  Will conquer the Sierras tomorrow.  

Note:  Thunder Valley has a large, flat lot and encourages trucker and RVers to spend the night.  They ask that you register with Security.  

July 20,2021 - Our wedding anniversary spent putting miles down.  We were very disappointed to find that gas prices in Reno are on par with gas prices in California.  However when you get out of Reno the gas prices drop dramatically?  What....?  I guess if you have to truck it farther, you can charge less.  Spent the night in the Alamo Casino truck lot in Wells Nevada.  Not wonderful, but free.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Thousand Trails San Benito

 Name:  ThousandTrails San Benito

Location:  16225 Cienega Road, Paicines, CA 95043
Sewer:  Yes
Water:  Yes
Power:  30A/50A
Cable:  None
WIFI:  Yes - very good.  Roughly $2.00/Day (we could stream video)
Cellular:  T-Mobile:  None.  AT&T is reported to be ok.
Comments:  Large RV Resort in the Central California
July 2021

This is a large RV resort located sort of near Hollister California.  It advertises 627 sites, but not all of which are RV capable.  Most sites have sewer connections - but a few do not.

Power is 30A with a large number of 50A.  There is water to every site.  There are quite a few pull-thrus.

There are a fair number of sites designated for "Tent" camping.  These seem to be sites that have "infrastructure issues", most likely electrical.  

Since it away from the ocean, it does tend to get a bit warm, so 50A for 50A capable RVs is probably a good idea.  Though in this authors opinion, the prettier sites are 30A.

like many of TTs campgrounds, this one is a older, but it appears ELS is spending money to refurbish the campground.  They recently re-paved some of the access roads, they've renovated and in the process of renovating the bathrooms.  While we were there the "Adult" Lodge and the "Adult" pool were closed for renovation.  We note new fire rings in a lot of the sites.

The family lodge and family pool were entirely sufficient given the low occupancy rate (not sure if the low occupancy is due to Covid or $4.10/gal regular)

We found the staff to be very friendly and accommodating.   They were very helpful when we needed to store the rig temporarily to go handle a family emergency.

It is within striking distance of Pinnacles National Park, Fremont Peak State park and the Hollister ORV area.  Slight longer to Monterey with is various attractions.

There is partial week store in the RV park and a "general store" in Paicines that looked pretty small.  Tres Pinos seemed to also have a small general store, so major provisions should be bought in advance in Hollister which is a bit far down Highway 25.

One of the fun things about this park, is the wildlife.  We are not talking about the partying septuagenarians,  but the local creatures.  The deer were not quite hand tame, but they had little fear of humans and were content to maintain a minimal distance.

Lots of quail...

a bunny or two...

A couple of feral pigs...

We didn't get a picture of the bobcat we saw, they are nocturnal and don't care for humans that much.  We didn't see any of the foxes or racoons that reportedly inhabit the area

A travel note:  We will be storing the RV at San Benito for a few days and then doing what we call a "Kamikaze run" to the Winnebago GNR in Forest City Iowa.  We will do 80 from California to Salt Lake City and then we will decide if the approach to Forest City will be from the Northern route or the Southern route.