Aurora RV Park, Clear Lake, Nice, CA

7 09 2017

Aurora RV, Nice, CA – Lakeside sites

Welcome to Clear Lake, the largest natural freshwater lake in California.  We’re parked in sites 5, 6, & 7 at the Aurora RV Park & Marina, literally on the edge of the lake in Nice, CA.  These 6 sites are premium back-in sites, narrow, but with a grassy area and picnic table overlooking the lake.  Each of these sites offers 30amp power, water and a sewer port.  All hookups are on a raise pedestal, making the run to the sewer port a bit of a challenge.

Across the street are the majority of the sites, 8 extra-long pull-sites, about 30 back-in sites around the perimeter and 8 standard pull-throughs.  The park is in the midst of what appears to be refurbishment and reconstruction near everywhere – there is a new pathway out to a pier, awaiting concrete pour.  The office/laundry is under construction, awaiting final framing and flooring and wall covering.  Bathroom/shower rooms are also awaiting a new coat of paint and flooring.  Planned for the future is a swimming pool and hot tub.  Inside, a large meeting area is also scheduled for refurbishment along with an new outdoor grilling area.  Someday, hopefully in the not too distant future this will be a resort-level RV park.  But, for now – the staff does a terrific job, the free kayaks are fun, the WiFi is exceptional, the utilities are fully functional and the laundry room – while a bit worn out, works great.  We’d come back!  Oh, and they honor Passport America discounts!

We’ll spend 2 nights here on Clear Lake before heading out to the California coast at Trinidad.  More from the Emerald Forest RV park there…


Inn Town Campground, Nevada City, CA

4 09 2017

Inn Town Campground, Nevada City, CA

Happy Labor Day from Nevada City, CA – our first stop on the new route which will take us south of the fire that has closed highway 299.  We’re parked in sites 16, 17 & 18 at the Inn Town Campground, just off of highway 20.

These sites provide water and electric and we’re able to find some OTA TV during nighttime hours.  Once the sun comes up, these channels fade off into pixelation.  The campground WiFi works well.

This is a large complex of 18 RV sites, about 30 tent sites and 21 “glamping” sites. These glamping sites consist of a fully furnished tent with outdoor porch, fresh linens, heated bed mattress and electric lighting.  The campground also provides a beautiful common area with library & kitchen, a small camp store, a refreshing outdoor pool and a few shower houses scattered throughout the complex.  With all these amenities, the prices are higher than average here, about $60 for an RV site, up to $150 for a glamping tent and up to $50 for a tent site.  Our 3 sites overlook the nearby Narrow Gauge Railway Museum – a worthwhile stop for those with rail preservation interests.

On an outing for fuel and a few groceries we discover the historic old downtown area of Nevada City.  In a short excursion we also check-out the nearby Scott Flat Lake Park. This park would provide ideal camping for smaller RV’s or tents since many of the sites overlook the beautiful Scott Flat Lake.

After two nights in Nevada City we’ll continue across Highway 20 toward Nice, CA.  More from Clear Lake country…

Fallon RV Park, Fallon, NV

3 09 2017

Fallon RV Park

We’ve nearly completed our “Nevada Crossing” – we’re about 75 miles from the California state line along I-80.  But, before reaching California, we’ve stopped at Fallon RV Park in Fallon, NV.  With about 65 sites, this park is a mix of nicely shaded sites and those that bake in full sunlight.  Most of the full-hookup sites closest to highway 50 have nice shade and grassy areas.  Those toward the rear are in full sunlight with dusty gravel pads.

After a very long and seemingly complex check-in, we’re parked awning to awning in end site #20 and #21.  With temps pushing into the triple digits, A/C’s are maxed out and we’re anxiously awaiting sunset when temperatures inside the hot trailers get a bit more livable.  But, we’re reminded that our conditions could be worse as “Burners” begin to arrive at the park.  These are attendees of the annual Burning Man Festival in the Black Rock Desert north of Fallon.  Their vehicles and trailers are completely covered in the fine white powder of the desert.  RV windows, vents and even outdoor speakers are sealed with blue tape in an attempt to keep the dust out.  But, watching one new neighbor, this seems pointless as she sweeps a good coating of what looks like powdered sugar out the door.  Wow…what a cleaning nightmare awaits! Departing the next morning, even interstate 80 shows the impact of the nearly 60,000 Burning Man visitors with a line of white dust running through the center of the lanes.

Western forest fires are continuing to offer very hazy travel and our routing has now been impacted by the Helena Fire outside of Redding.  With highway 299 closed, we’ll detour from our original itinerary which took us north from Fallon to Susanville and Redding.  Instead we’ll travel south and cross to the coast on Highway 20, through Nevada City, Yuba City and the Clearlake area.  More from Nevada City…

Fallon RV Park

Silver Sky Lodge RV Park, Eureka, NV

2 09 2017

Continuing across Utah and into Nevada, about the only highlight of this route is that it passes near Great Basin National Park.  Beyond the mountains of the National Park, the drive seems to be a series of pass crossings (around 7000’ each) and straight line roadways until the next pass.  Just before reaching the center of Nevada, we’ve stopped at Silver Sky Lodge RV park, about a mile west of Eureka, NV.  With around 15 sites, this park provides a gravel parking lot and well positioned full hookups for $25/night.  We parked awning to awning for more privacy and shade.  Our site has one of the few plastic picnic tables and a small 4×8 “pad” of artificial turf – a nice touch on the gravel.   There are a few OTA TV channels available, no park WiFi, but T-Mobile and Verizon both worked fine.

This is a no-frills park, but we’d not hesitate to stop here again on the Loneliest Road in America. Tomorrow we’ll continue west on Highway 50, with our next stop just east of Reno, NV.  More from there….

The Loneliest Road in America

The long, long road…

Silver Sky Lodge RV Park

The Friendliest Town, Eureka, NV

Antelope Valley RV – Delta, UT

31 08 2017

Antelope Valley RV park is just on the western edge of Delta, a small town in west/central Utah along highway 50.  The RV park has about 100 back-in spaces organized around an oval area.  The beautiful grassy area in the center is surrounded by tall shade trees.  There are also a few of these shade trees along the back of the park.  We’re parked in these rear sites, #22 & #23.  All sites provide water, electric and sewer.  The water taps are most inconveniently placed, with the knob and threaded attachment at nearly ground level.  In these locations they take lots of abuse with RVs rolling over them as well as dirt piling up around them.  Between our two sites, only one water tap is usable.

Even though this park is very close to highway 50, we didn’t have much traffic noise during our stay.  There is also a high speed rail line that runs through the corn field behind us.  The northbound trains whistle at in-town crossings, the southbound trains are relatively quiet once they get past the park.  The park’s WiFi does great, with streaming video possible.  And, there are somewhere around 80 OTA TV channels, with all of the majors coming from Salt Lake City.

For our Good Sam discount rate of $32.00, this small park is a good value for a night or two – we’d visit again.

California Bound

29 08 2017

We’re California Bound, expecting to arrive on the northern California coast in about 10 days. Once across Utah and Nevada, we’ll spend 2 nights at Susanville, CA, then 2 more nights near Lake Shasta at Redding.  We’ll cross over to the coast for 4 nights at Trinidad, CA then 3 more nights at Crescent City, CA before starting the return “loop” through southern Oregon.

Our first stop after leaving home is the KOA in Silt, CO.  A favorite KOA, we’ve watched as the owners opened to torrential rains and a muddy mess of a campground about 3 years ago. Now nicely landscaped, we enjoy the spacious riverside sites the best.  Our second night finds us back at Green River State Park.  We visted this park last year and would note that it still suffers from over watering and a fly/mosquito problem.  But, for a quick overnight – the cottonwood treed oasis is just fine.  Tomorrow we’ll continue to western Utah at Delta.  More from there…

Douglas, WY – Eclipse Day

21 08 2017

Eclipse Viewing Equipment

It’s eclipse day and all around final tweaks, tests and re-calibrations are being done to insure the best views and images of the 2 minutes and 22 seconds that we are all here to see.

Totality begins on the Oregon coast at 11:15AM (MDT). It takes only about 30 minutes for darkness to arrive in Douglas where we enter totality at 11:44AM (MDT). Just over 60 minutes later the shadow will have finished crossing the US when the South Carolina coast enters totality at 12:46PM (MDT).

Special thanks to Jim Matzger, a fellow camper at the Douglas KOA for these images:

Going Away!


Light Returns!

The eclipse starts at around 10:30AM with no perceivable difference to this beautiful sunny day in Douglas.  Eclipse glasses are the only way to note the very small “bite” out of the upper corner of the sun.  By about 11AM, the lighting is different – different colored and different intensity. And the shadows of tree leaves and other objects take on a strange oval shape.  But still the only way to see the eclipse is through our glasses. However, just as totality occurs, a quiet hush falls over the campground followed by a roar of applause  – and everything changes.

Removing our glasses, it’s not completely dark, the hazy orange twilight sky is all around us, birds have quieted and it’s cooled nearly 15 degrees. The sun is a glowing halo in the sky.  A few of the campground lights twinkle on and headlights can be observed on the vehicles moving along the highway.  The 2:22 minutes of totality goes by very quickly and without warning, we begin to see and feel sunlight returning.  Again donning our glasses we see the sun beginning to peek out around the edge of the moon.   And, the event is over!  Under nearly perfect weather conditions, perhaps even enhanced by some of the smoke haze of western forest fires, we’ve all just experienced what is undoubtedly the best North American eclipse of our lifetimes.

Comments from friends outside of totality run from “non-event” to “kinda weird”.  Many around the campground talk about two completely different experiences from past eclipses – outside of totality is like seeing a mountain peak, totality is like being on the mountain peak.  Outside of totality you’ll wonder what the hype is all about, inside totality you’ll begin planning to be there for the next one!