Generation Z. Cruising in an RV.: WOW: Maximizing RVing Resources for Fun

Sunday, January 9, 2011

WOW: Maximizing RVing Resources for Fun


M'A 'turn at the Rocky Mountain National Park
Because of health issues, legal affairs, and family festivities, we have been marooned in Washington for almost four months now (and winters should be spent in warmer places, don’t you agree?).  So how do we maximize the fun in camping when we get confined to the same places for a long time and thus undoubtedly exhaust the scenes (or cannot visit them anyway with the cold, the snow, or the rain?)?

Beachwood RV Resort in Blaine, Washington
When confronted with a problem, experience has taught us to first take stock of existing resources: 1) campgrounds where we stay, 2) city/county/state/federal facilities around us, 3) homes of relatives, friends and accommodating strangers, 4) commercial establishments hungry for our dollars, and 5) religious centers eagerly waiting for our souls. Let me concentrate on the first on this post.

a campground with a spa/pool complex beside a lake
Campgrounds are our best sources because they actually become our very own backyards for the duration of our stay. A campsite is usually anywhere from 15-25 feet wide and 40-80 feet long for our size RV which is 8.5x37 plus space for our tow vehicle, our little red Saturn. From our 18 months of experience, we have come to the realization that there are actually four kinds of campgrounds.

a campsite beside the lake full of frolicking geese
Green Mountain RV Resort with a 9-hole golf course!
If you had location as y-axis and amenities/activities as x-axis, then you have four quadrants. As you go higher on the y-axis you go from near town centers to more rural preserves of nature.  On the x-axis, on the other hand, you go from no amenities except the basic site to a ton of them, including golf courses, plus many planned activities like potlucks, poker sessions, jam sessions, concerts, different tourneys, etc.!

the large deck for our private parties at Green Mountain RV Resort
the covered pool at Ponderosa Falls RV Resort
Thus Quadrant 1 (more nature, more amenities/activities) is what we will call The Nature RV Resort.  The Green Mountain RV Resort at the outskirts of Lenoir, North Carolina, near the Blue Ridge Parkway, is a candidate for this title. Many sites have a large deck, looking out to a cool, clear spring, which you can use for private socials. It is a very hilly site with lots of large trees. Aside from a clubhouse with billiards, ping pong and other game tables, it has a 9-hole golf course, tennis, volleyball courts, and a lake for fishing and boating. While we were there, a live band played at a dance where we even learned the East Coast Swing!

the fitness room at Ponderosa Falls RV Resort
a live concert at the Suwannee River Music Park
Quadrant 2 (near a city, more amenities/activities) is what we call the City RV Resort and Orlando Thousand Trails in Orlando, Florida holds this distinction. It is 6 miles away from the Disneyworld Entertainment Complex, walking distance to shopping marts, has a large clubhouse with games, billiards, ping pong, large TV and gift shop and restaurant, an exercise room, hot tubs, pools, tennis courts, horseshoe pits, volleyball courts, mini-golf course, etc., and lots of well-attended planned activities such as the New Year Ball with more than a hundred couples dancing away to a live band.

the scenic 18-hole mini golf course beside the fishing pond
basketball court and other outdoor sports areas
Quadrant 3 (near a city but minimal amenities/activities) is what we call an RV Park. We use this primarily to be near a family or friend’s home with whom we would like to visit for a longer time.  When we were at Boise, Idaho, we stayed in one that is only 10 minutes away from the home of Jim (Bill’s only son) with just a hot tub and pool, an exercise room, and a horseshoe pit. But we were able to go to Jim’s often and they also were able to stay with us over a weekend. There were no planned activities.
Star and Vino at the Big Sur Nature Park with the Pacific Ocean glistening below

Star and Vino amidst the boulders in Joshua Tree National Park
Quadrant 4 (more nature, minimal amenities/activities) is what we call a Nature Park. This is what one needs when you want to get away from it all, experience sublime solitude, and wonder at God’s creation. City/County/State Parks are mostly like these as well as parts of our national forests, Corps of Engineers’ land preserves, beach enclaves, etc. The best one that comes to mind was the national forest park along Big Sur, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Some national parks like Joshua Tree NP would also qualify but the bigger national parks like Yosemite or Yellowstone have become virtual cities with so many facilities built around and in them.

inside a clubhouse
the New Year's Ball at Orlando Thousand Trails Resort
                                    If you do full time RV’ing like we do, backyards will be excitingly varied (the same with your neighbors!) and so there really will be no excuse for boredom. Thus I have become a woman of leisure (hopefully, the substance is still there!). And even after being marooned for 4 months here, we found the Travel Inn RV Park in Elma, Washington that surprisingly has many activities: Bill has joined pool tourneys, I have lost some money from Texas Hold ‘em with the guys, and am often going to Ballys in Olympia, fiercely melting the calories away at a treadmill or meditating at the spa.

Next Wow: The Other 4 RVing Resources!