Where We've Been (46 out of 50 States)...Where We Are!

Where We've Been (46 out of 50 States)...Where We Are!
We are extensively traveling around...working and having a blast...Life is Grand!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Our Vacation Continues

What a difference a day makes…one night we paid the most we have every paid for a site and the next we paid under $20 for a just as adequate site at Kit Fox RV Park. We have stayed here several times when we had been in the area and will continue to stay here whenever we are nearby.

How is it that many of these resorts feel they can get away with highway robbery? It is still a site, not a hotel room. We still provide our own living space and do not need any services that hotels offer, but somehow they still feel they can charge these exuberant prices for a site. We never use any of the facilities. We use our own showers, bathroom, and every so often we use their laundry facilities that we pay extra for anyway. How do they justify it?

Our next stop was Jackson Rancheria Casino RV Park. This place was 100 times better than the Marina Dunes RV Park and for more than 50% less…how does that work? They are still on the high side, but compared to others they are less expensive, plus we had another play day.

We have been staying a few days at each location, just enjoying some play time at the casino and then some down time relaxing and writing. Once again, we know that we need to write and take photos and share our stories with our readers. Every time we decide to stop writing, we get yet another comment from one of our readers that hit a chord within our souls and tells us that we must continue our dream lifestyle. Life seems to happen that way.

After a few days at Jackson Rancheria Casino and RV Park, we drove about 40 miles to our next location. The drive was spectacular, we love taking many of the roads less traveled. We took 49 north to Placerville KOA which happens to be one exit away from the Red Hawk Casino. They offer a free shuttle, we had a blast. We got there in the morning and stayed until the wee hours of the next morning, we remain ahead of the game and continue having so much fun. Life is good.

There was a special rate at the Placerville KOA, so we stayed for three days, playing, resting, cleaning the rig and doing some laundry before moving on to our next adventure.

For more photos, check out our Picasa Web Albums.

Placerville KOA

4655 Rock Barn Road
Shingle Springs, CA 95682

With an online casino discount, we paid $100 for 3 nights. Our site included, electric, water, sewer, free cable, free WiFi on a not so level, gravel pull-thru site. Our Verizon phones and MiFi had great reception.

The staff was so friendly and willing to go out of their way to make our stay perfect. They allowed us to check in at 10 am without an extra charge, they also allowed us to move our site when we mentioned a few of our wants. Customer service always changes our outlook on a place and makes our stay much brighter, allowing the little nuances to slip past us.

There were traffic noises since the park is located right on a highway. We do not mind the consistent noise like traffic, we do not like the loud noises like dogs barking and loud rude people late at night, which this park did not have any of that.

The grounds were not immaculately taken care of, the grass was dry in many areas, leaves everywhere, and the sites were gravel and not very level, but there was not any trash littered in the park.

The amenities that were located at the front office were kept clean and well maintained. The laundry room was small but the washers and dryers worked so well, we were in and out very quickly.

The pool, spa and game room were all closed during our stay since only polar bears swam during this time of the year.

Pet Policy – Pets are welcome, but they must be on a short leash at all times. They are not to be tied outside alone for they tend to get lonely and bark for you to come back. Sorry, NO Pitbulls/Pitbull mixes allowed. They have a special place of their own by the petting barn. If an accident occurs before you get there, please pick it up so nobody steps in it.

By calling the casino number given to us by the office at check-in we had a very accommodating free shuttle service to the Red Hawk Casino, located one exit away. The casino is huge and we found ourselves able to play any machine even at the busy times since there were so many machines to choose from. If we are ever in the area again, we would stop by for another visit.

For more photos, check out our Picasa Web Albums.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Our Great Escape…A Visit to Hearst Castle…Traveling Highway 1 & So Much More…

We escaped and had a successful closing of the Pumpkin Patch…so much we actually left a day early. We had the place cleaned up a before 10am on November 1st, so we decided to begin our vacation earlier than our original plan.

We stopped for two nights in Gilroy, California, a drive of just 80 miles. We did our major WalMart shop, we both got haircuts, and then hooked up for the night. We took long showers and just relaxed the rest of the evening. The next day we did our laundry, cleaned the inside of the rig, the outside will have to wait for now, and we took some time to rest our weary bones. We once again chose to stay at Gilroy Garlic USA RV Park, be sure to check out the reviews of all the parks we are staying in while traveling California.

We are noticing outrageously high rates that many of the RV Parks, Resorts and Campgrounds here in California are charging…unbelievably ridiculous. Some worse than others, but for all of them…NO RV site is worth, 60 to 70 dollars per night, but unfortunately that is what we have been paying for many of them.

We decided to wait to visit San Diego some other time, just too much traveling when we are trying to get some rest. Instead, we plan to meander around Central/Northern California, looking for exciting things to visit and play at some of their casinos…we love play days and possibly visit some of the local wineries!

Since we had already made a reservation at the Flying Flags RV Resort & Campground in Buellton, we decided that would be the furthest south we would head. One of the main reasons we chose this resort was they offered a free shuttle to the Chumash Casino Resort and nearby wineries. After checking in, we found out that they still offer this service but they only ran every 4 hours…what an inconvenience. The wineries in the area, were actually wine tasting rooms, the actual wineries were miles away. We do not like wine tasting rooms, we prefer to do the winery tours with free tastings.

We did stop at the Pea Soup Andersen’s Restaurant and had a bowl of their famous Split Pea Soup in a Bread Bowl. Now, don’t get me wrong, it was delicious, but my mom made the best split pea soup ever. Her soup was thick from soaking the peas overnight, and she boiled the peas along with the ham bone from our Easter dinner for hours, then she threw in all the leftover ham, then chopped up onions and potatoes into small pieces so they all sort of merged with one another. It would take a miracle for any place to beat her soup.

Then we decided to take a very scenic drive along the Pacific Coast, Highway 1 from Morro Bay to Monterey, stopping in San Simeon to view the Hearst Castle. We took the first time tour, which gave us an overview of the entire estate. First, let me say, the bus ride alone is worth the $25 per person we paid. It takes you up the windiest roads with a fantastic view with every twist. My camera was going non-stop for the entire ride, as well as when we arrived at the top to the castle.

Wow, to have that much money to one day decide that he had all this land and was tired of living in a tent, decided to create this castle…28 years later it was completed. Truly it was never completed, as he always found new and different things to build or add to this magnificent creation. We, on the other hand after being out here the first year full-timing in a tent decided we were tired of living in a tent and bought Maggie. Not the Hearst Castle, but we love her just the same. Can’t even imagine living like that…maybe that is why we struggle so much, we think we want to live high on the hog, then we realize we are not cut out that way.

When we set out on the drive, we hadn’t made any plans where we would stop for the night since we didn’t know how long it would take, we were very surprised with the twists and turns of the entire highway and it was almost dark when we finally hooked up at the most outrageously priced RV site at the Marina Dunes RV Park in Monterey. Check out the separate review for all the details.

Since we had to wait until the office opened in the morning so we could pay them, we took a walk on the dunes to the ocean. It was a great morning walk, the ocean, lakes and most water really puts me into a great frame of mind, almost a meditative state of mind that leads me to better decision making and a very productive life. A few moments on the water make up for months of no time on the water.

We took a ton of photos, we have them in separate albums, one dedicated to Hearst Castle, another from the scenic drive up the coast as well as each of the RV parks we stayed. We also did separate reviews, so please check out our photos at our Picasa Web Albums page and our reviews on separate blog entries.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Jackson Rancheria Casino RV Park

12222 New York Ranch Road
Jackson, CA 95642

With a 10% discount using our Good Sam card we paid $70 for 2 nights with no additional taxes for a water, electric, sewer, WiFi and cable back-in site on a concrete slab with a picnic table. A bit pricey but not as high as many of the California parks we have stayed in lately. We did use their free WiFi since our Verizon phones and MiFi was very slow.

The last time we were here, we showed up as we always do but they were full. Apparently this happens a lot since they cater to many clubs. We recommend reservations or at least as we did this time, we called ahead to see how full they were going to be for our timing and then called the night before to assure we had an available site and we did.

This place is really a class act. Upon checking in, they give you coupons that give you some great savings. Not only at the Casino but for future stays here at the RV Park. Also, due to some sort of environmental thing once you check in you pull into an area where they dump you and give you a liquid to use in your black tank while you are parked.

Their amenities are very well maintained. The showers, restrooms and play areas were immaculate. They have two spas and a nice size pool that we did not partake in since it was frigid the few days we were here.

Pet outside your RV must: Be attended and leashed at all times. Be kept quiet and under control. Never be tied to anything. Be cleaned up after immediately. N pens, cages, or kennels permitted outside without prior approval. Management reserves the right to require any guest to remove a misbehaving pet or vacate their site if a pet is a nuisance to others.

The free shuttle service runs every 20 minutes or so and we had a fantastic lunch for only $5 each, using the coupons they gave us at check-in. The casino had some good slots and was fun at first, then after lunch the place got crowded and stayed that way until late into the evening.

With or without the coupons we received we will be keeping this gem on our radar for future visits.

For more photos, check out our Picasa Web Albums.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Marina Dunes RV Park

3330 Dunes Drive
Marina, CA 93933

We paid $70.56 using our Good Sam or AAA discount for a water, electric, sewer, free WiFi (our phone and MiFi worked great), free cable (that did not work) on a level, gravel, back-in site for 1 night. Yes, you read that right, it was for one night.

We arrived late in the evening, after dark and self-registered for our site. Nowhere anywhere on the forms was there a price, just a really great way to check someone in after hours. There were laminated forms on a board with all the information about the site, the size, the services, but no price and informed us to come into the office in the morning and settle up. Needless to say it was major sticker shock for us, but we paid it and moved on.

The park was small and covered with many trees which gave it a very private feeling. It was not open to see other RV’s; we could hardly see our neighbors. We took a walk in the morning before the office opened at 9 am and took some photos of the area, nice facilities and amenities. Including the grounds, they were all maintained, but not kept very clean. This was unacceptable for the price they charge.

Pet Policy – “We love pets, but they must wear a short leash when outside their rig and please, don’t leave them alone. They get lonely when you’re away and let everyone know how upset they are. Please walk your pet outside the Park and pick up after them.” We encountered poop right outside the park and along our walk to the dunes. We also had a few barking dogs throughout our short stay in the middle of the night and bright and early in the morning.

Due to the exuberant nightly rates, we will not be staying there again anytime soon.

For more photos, check out our Picasa Web Albums.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Hearst Castle - Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument

750 Hearst Castle Road
San Simeon, CA 93452

Open daily at 8 am – Advanced Reservations Recommended.

This is not anywhere remotely near anywhere else, so you will have to make it a trip of its own. The drive along Pacific Coast Highway 1 to get there and then the bus ride up to the Castle are both breathtaking and worth the trip. The roads curve and wind and twist and with each turn there is a different view to enjoy. On the bus ride up to the castle, you might see deer, horses, cows, zebras, buffalo, and if you are truly lucky you may even see the more exclusive animals that still roam the hills.

Once arriving at the top, you are greeted by your host who gives you a guided tour for about 40 minutes before letting you go to explore on your own. They offer several types of tours, we opted for Tour 1, the Experience Tour – Recommended for the first-time visitors as it provides a broad overview of the many facets of Hearst Castle and it is the least strenuous of the tours. Not so, we still walked hundreds of steps.

Many of the tours duration is a few hours, so be prepared to have that time available so to experience it all. The other tours they offer are more of specialty tours that includes the Upper Floors, the North Wing, as well as Garden Tours and Evening Tours for your personal pleasures.

We took so many photos that do not even begin to tell the story of how exquisite this castle truly is. The workmanship and the priceless items on the premises is beyond our comprehension, they are each grande on their own without being so professionally gathered together with each other item.

We highly recommend a visit here, if for nothing else the fantastic photo moments the area offers.

For all of our million of photos we took during our visit, check out our Picasa Web Albums.