We’ll be in California until at least late Spring next year, when we’ll head to Oregon and Washington. We have been enjoying the wonderful scenery that this state has to offer. It’s amazing how we can drive just an hour away and the weather be completely different from where we're camping. I’m learning to check the temperatures at our destination before heading out on a day trip. We were staying near Hollister in July and drove down to Carmel-by-the-Sea. I froze my patooties off! I looked like a million dollars and was dressed perfectly for Hollister, but stuck out like a sore thumb in the chilly breeze off the Pacific. The locals knew that flimsy dresses were not going to keep them warm enough. I learned a good lesson that day. Layer.


There seems to be a trend with fellow campers that  surprises me. I call it “Rectal Cataracts” – it’s a ‘crappy’ outlook on life. (you can substitute your own word for crappy) A common conversation with RV’ers is to ask where you’re headed. Since we’re staying mostly in the Thousand Trails Parks, several campers will have already been where you’re headed and will have something to tell you about the next resort.


Tahoe National ForestIt seems like most people will tell you something negative. That just baffles me. Our current resort, Snowflower near Emigrant Gap in the Tahoe National Forest is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. Its way up in the mountains, 5,800’ elevation. Our campsite overlooks a beautiful lake, surrounded by evergreens and the pine-laden fragrance in the mornings just takes my breath away. We’ve been hiking and cooking out, just really enjoying Mother Nature at her finest; even saw some snow flurries one day last week.


Well, when we were at our last site, a fellow camper asked where we were heading. “Oh, be careful up there. Better play it safe and park down by the pool where it’s level.” That’s a big black-top section called “the cliffs” and we may as well stay at Wal-Mart’s parking lot, thank you very much.


Turns out, it wasn’t very difficult to navigate up into the forest and are we ever glad we did. I’d much rather hear the sound of my shoes crunching on pine needles than see the sun reflect off a parking lot.We were warned to watch out for the bears, but have not seen one. That might be kind of cool, if I'm in the RV and the bear is not!


When heading for our previous resort in Lotus, CA, we heard a similar tale of woe; “Man, that place has the worst speed bumps.” There’s some truth to that – just past the ranger station is a doozy of a speed bump, but once you’re in, get ready to enjoy the beautiful American River, with its kayakers, white-water rafters, fishing and great walking trails. I hated to leave, and not because of the speed bump!


On Wednesday we will head for Oregon House, nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Mountains, not far from Sacramento Valley. Its 3,500’ lower in altitude so it’ll probably be a bit warmer than here, but some more of that rustic woods camping. We can’t wait. Since not too many campers are up here on the hill with us, we’ve not heard anything negative about this next destination.

I think we’re going to start working our way south in about three weeks and plan to spend our winter in Southern California. We’re planning on Thanksgiving with my brother and family in the Fresno area and Christmas with Cory and Jana in Los Angeles. We have reservations in early December for Santa Barbara. We wanted to stay there in July but waited too long and couldn't get a reservation.


What this whole thing teaches me however, is if I want to see the bad in something, it’s surely there. But if I look for the good, I’ll find that too and that’s exactly what we plan to do! Happy Camping; the Helms' adventure continues

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