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2007: RV Vacation to Southern Arizona
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December 28, 2007: Today is a travel day leaving Congress, Arizona with a destination of Tehachipi, California, more than 400 miles ... our longest travel day. We get Breakfast in Kingman
an early start ... before sun rise (another first for us) and arrive in Kingman, Arizona before 10am ... in time for breakfast at a favorite period diner. As we drive into California, we gain an hour by moving into the Pacific Time Zone. That put us into Tehachipi by 3 pm but the weather is looking threatening so we chose to stay in an Escapees recommended (and discounted) RV park rather than boondocking. During our trip 3 weeks ago to Arizona, we almost froze in Tehachipi and did not want a repeat. This RV park had only 30 amp service but we used all 30 amps the entire night and kept toasty warm. The cost of the space was only $18.30 for the night. You can see our TV satellite dish set up, that was another reason for the park. We wanted to see Oregon State University play in the Emerald Bowl. Oregon State won.
Parked without unhitching in a Tehachapi RV park  
Arrive at Park of the Sierras December 29, 2007: Another travel day from Tehachipi to Coarsegold, California. We are at Park of the Sierras, another of the Escapees parks and so far the best one we have visited. This looks like an authentic stage
coach except for the TV antenna, vent cover and holding tank vent on the roof. We plan to be here for five nights which will give us enough time to visit Yosemite which is only 29 miles away. We will also join all the park members and visiters for the New Years party in their huge club house.
Chukchansi Casino December 30, 2007: The Chukchansi Hotel Casino Resort can be viewed from several of the lots at the Park Sierra RV Park. It is a huge Indian casino. One of our park
neighbors have invited us to join them for a $6 buffet brunch on Wednesday. Today's activities were laundry and house cleaning until noon. Then a 2 hour tour of the 161 acre park in a golf cart. John was our tour guide and gave a detailed history of the park as well as pointing out the significant utilities and locations in the park. The weekly ice cream social was at 2:30pm today and we couldn't miss that. After the ice cream social, we took a quick drive to Coursegold and through the parking lot of the Chukchansi Casino.
December 31, 2007: Micki accepts our paperwork to become leaseholders at Park Sierra. This means we have applied to be leaseholders at another Escapees park. Each Co-Op park is slightly different. This park requires a $1,000 deposit which is fully refundable. The lease is $15,266 with an annual maintenance of $970. At this park, unlike Saguaro, it is unlikely to We sign the paperwork to become leaseholders at Park Sierra
have additions to the lease fee due to site improvements since a storage shed and concrete pad are included with the lease. Like the Saguaro park, once you are a leaseholder, your only fee to park here is the annual maintenance fee. When you end your lease (for any reason) the leaseholder fee you paid is refunded to you. We are number 154 on the Park Sierra list and number 430 on the Saguaro list. We have applied to both parks because we expect it to take 5 to 10 years to reach the top of the list. Who knows what we will be thinking in 5 - 10 years. Right now, I like Park Sierra much more than the Saguaro park with the biggest negative being that it is located in the state of California. I was a California resident from 1958 to 1990 and swore I would never live here again. Like I said above ... who knows what I will be thinking in 10 - 15 - 20 years? The weather and terrain at Park Sierra make this park very attractive. View Larger Map
News Years Eve at the Park Sierra Club house
This is the New Years Eve party at the Park Sierra Club House. It is a 4 second exposure so the blurred figures are the dancers. The screen is to project a TV image of the dropping of the ball in New York which happens at 9 pm. That's the end of this party so all us old folks can get to bed on time. The bright light above the dancers is a mirrored ball turning slowly to reflect dancing light flashes in the room.

Our first glimpse of Yosemite
January 1, 2008: We visited Yosemite National Park on this first day of 2008. Click either of the photos to enlarge. The top photo is the first glimpse we had of Yosemite Valley. Highway 140 arrives in the valley along the Merced River. You can see it lower left. El Capitan is to the left of the valley with Half Dome to the right of the valley. Yosemite Falls is a trickle in the photo to the right taken from Yosemite Villiage. Click the photo to see Yosemite Falls from a valley meadow. I was surprised how busy the valley was on this holiday. I figured everyone would be watching the bowl games. We listened to our favorite bowl games on satellite radio while touring the valley. Yosemite is a place you need a week or more to explore. We planned only a driving tour today. Yosemite Falls from Yosemite Villiage

January 2, 2008: An interesting vehicle that both the Saguaro and Park Sierra RV Parks have in common is the golf cart. Nearly everyone has one. They are used to wheel around the park to attend meetings or refill propane bottles. This will be our last day a Park Sierra. We are ending our vacation two days early to try to beat a huge storm approaching the Pacific Northwest. Before we leave, we visit the buffet at the Chukchansi Casino. It is by far, one of the best we've ever seen. The cook behind the display is making Mongolian Barbeque to order. The buffet is divided into Asian, American, Italian, Salads and Soups and Desserts. Gwen stands at the dessert counter wondering what to try next. If you want a cream pie, they must be requested from the dessert monitor. Everyone has a golf cart
An outstanding buffet at Chukchansi Casino
Incredible desserts We left Coarsegold after saying good-bye to new friends. We met my sister, Dorana in Sacramento to retrieve our truck and trailer tire chains. I had left them with her to lighten our load thinking we would never need them. The storm is such a threat, we picked up the chains.
Dorana meets us in Sacramento to retrieve our tire chains
January 3, 2008: Last night we parked in the Rolling Hills Casino parking lot along with many other RVs. As it turned out, The Everest next to us was Dick and Mary Ellen from Medford, members of Escapees Chapter 37. This was an accidental meeting but we enjoyed breakfast together. The storm arrived in the mountains between California
and Oregon about the same time we did. We barely got over the passes before the Interstate was closed due to poor road conditions. We pulled into our Applegate RV spot at about 2 pm. We didn't have to install the chains but only because the chain controls went up about ten minutes after we passed through. We didn't get stuck on the hills because I have four-wheel drive. On downhill runs, I slowed to a crawl and reduced the brake pressure on the trailer wheels to keep the trailer wheels from locking up.
January 4, 2008: This first day back in Oregon has been wet. It was raining when we left, it seemed to rain while we were in Arizona, and has rained the last 24 hours. Thompson Creek is normally 15 feet behind our space but is now only 5 feet behind. Click the photo below to see the downstream view.
Thompson Creek is swollen.
Below is our accounting for this vacation. Our goal was to drive to New Mexico. We cut that short to spend an extra week in Benson, Arizona. I guess New Mexico will have to be next year. If you wish to compare the expense report from this year to last year, click here.
Beginning night: December 6 Ending night: January 3 Total nights: 29
Miles driven: 3,933 Diesel: $1,063.85 $.27 per mile
Camping Fees: $350.69 Propane: $105.69 Electricity at Escapees RV Parks: $77.50
Groceries: $295.83 Restaurant/Tips: $371.37 RV Parts : $39
Entertainment: $153.06 Snacks: $69.97 Total: $2,524.96
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