Saturday, May 11, 2013

Park of the Sierras

SKP - Escapees    Get it?
About a year ago, when we first decided to live in our motorhome, we joined an organization called Escapees. It is a kind of national club for full-time RVers. They offer classes and big get-togethers where members from around the country congregate. We went to their full timers boot camp in February where they taught us all of the things that can go wrong with an RV like burning to the ground with you inside it. Very encouraging. The Escapees organization owns a handful of RV parks around the country but they also have a somewhat larger number of affiliated parks that do not belong to the organization exactly but offer exclusive low cost camping opportunities for Escapees members.

Park of the Sierras is one of the affiliated parks. It operates as a cooperative. The 300 some odd members of the Park are all equal owners. They each get to use a camping spot which is assigned by the co-op. They don't actually own the spot, they own their 300th share of the Corporation and essentially lease the spot until they either move on or pass on.  When a member is out of the area, their spot can be offered for traveling Escapees members for inexpensive camping because Escapees put up a significant portion of the stake money to get the whole project started.

Park of the Sierras is located in the town of Coarsegold, about 10 miles from the south entrance of Yosemite national Park and this is where we went after we left Tehachapi. Because of the way the park operates, there are some oddities in the administration. For example, there are no check-ins on Sunday. Guess what day we arrived. Since no one had informed us of this, the first night, we found ourselves boondocking in the parking lot. That was kind of annoying but everyone was so over-the-top friendly that it was hard to hold a grudge. Early Monday morning we got signed in and given the parking space in the photo. Compared to most motorhome parks where you are packed in side-by-side like sardines, here we were about 100 feet from any of our neighbors and sat up on a hill with a beautiful view over the valley. It is a nice set up. There is a huge clubhouse available with seating for probably 150 people, a library, a fairly impressive video lending library and other amenities, all literally built by the members, either current or former.

Doggy paradise
The favorite part of the park for the four-legged members of our entourage was the very nice fenced dog park. This was terraced as it sloped down the hill toward the valley and had a lot of outdoor carpeting which kept the dogs from getting too terribly filthy. At about 75 feet on a side, there was plenty of room for the dogs to sniff the apparently intoxicating aromas of previous visitors.

At six o'clock every evening the dog posse congregated at the park to chat and admire each other's dogs. With every new arrival, the dogs were all introduced first then, if they remembered, the names of the humans might be mentioned. It was a friendly group made up primarily of elderly widows who, I think, mainly showed up to demonstrate that they were still alive. If someone did not appear on a given day, one of the other members would go check on them afterwards. It was a nice, neighborly group and we joined willingly as by far the youngest in the crowd.

It soon became apparent that many of the regulars never took their motorhomes anywhere. A lot of the sites had wooden entry stairs, attached patios and small fenced yards and vegetable gardens around motorhomes that obviously had not moved in a number of years. Talking to the dog ladies, we learned there were a fair number of members that had a permanent motorhome they lived in and a second motorhome they traveled in which was stored in a lot somewhere down the valley. I enjoy being in our Allegro, but if you're not going to take it anywhere, I think it would make more sense to get a nice double-wide and not pay for the engine and tires just to have them rust and rot.

Overall, this is one of the nicer motorhome camping spots we have stayed in and we will probably be back somewhere down the line.

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