Carolina: Cruising Past 70: Wonderings on Wanderings: Picking Our Top Five Neighborhoods

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Wonderings on Wanderings: Picking Our Top Five Neighborhoods

beautiful campsite
We have lived in more than a hundred homes in the last five years. That is because our home is wherever the RV happens to be parked. Technically speaking, the RV is our only home so the statement should read “more than a hundred neighborhoods”. This post lists our picks: a National Forest Service campground, two duos of national parks, and two Equity Lifestyle Properties.

Big Sur view
1. The National Forest Service’s Kirkwood Campground in Big Sur.
another view from Big Sur
We were looking for a place to stop for the night as we were negotiating the drive through Highway 1, running through Big Sur and widely considered to be one of the most scenic driving routes in the US, if not the world. Big Sur is the sparsely populated region that has the Sta. Lucia Mountains rising sharply out of the Pacific Ocean! As we left Monterrey Bay, Carmel, and Pebble Beach, one stunning scene after another held our breath. It was even more incredible that we found a campground (we had no reservation) of the National Forest Service right there between the mountains and the deep blue sea! It was the perfect place! We hiked to a small beach below through some trails along the ridge. The beaches of Big Sur are unsuitable for swimming, however, because of unpredictable currents and frigid temperatures. A photo of Bill on a chair carved out of a tree perched on a ridge is a priceless treasure! For more of Big Sur, click

Yosemite National Park
2. Yosemite/Sequoia National Parks in Central California 
Sequoia National Park
At Sequoia, in what is called the Giant Forest, five of the ten largest trees in the world stand. General Sherman, the largest living thing in the world, stands 275 feet, with over 50,000 cu. ft., base diameter at 36.5 feet.  But nearby Yosemite is the park many consider to be the most beautiful of all national parks. There are three main sections. The fields and clear streams in Yosemite Valley were ablaze with the colors fall.  Up at Tuolumne Meadows, we still found lots of snow as we stood overlooking the tops of the mountains. At Glacier Point, higher than the mountains, is a spectacular vista of the gargantuan gray granite rocks. The national park has several campgrounds and we stayed at the only one with available slots, nearest the entrance, farthest from the amenities and facilities of the small city in Yosemite: the department and grocery store, specialty retail outlets, movie theaters, restaurants and fast food outlets. For more of this duo, go to              

Grand Tetons National Park
3. Grand Tetons/Yellowstone National Parks in Montana/Wyoming.   

Without any reservations (the system is first-come, first-served), we early to Grand Tetons National Park and got 5 nights! Grand Tetons is a breath-taking experience. There are three well-known peaks that are close together: the Grand Teton (the highest at 13,770 ft.), the Middle Teton, and the South Teton. Mt. Teewinot is the most pointed and closest to Grand and Moran, a little further removed, has a famous skillet glacier.  The 50-mile mountain range sprung up when the Teton fault moved and sank the valley below. There are no foothills, making the peaks more jaggedly dramatic. For more on the Grand Tetons, click

Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park
From there we also got 4 nights at Yellowstone NP!  There are about 900 geysers in the world, over 500 are in Yellowstone. The NP is home not just to geysers (like the tallest in the world, Steamboat, at 400 ft. or Old Faithful that gushes faithfully every 90 minutes to as high as 150 feet), mud pots (Mud Volcano), steam vents (Black Growler), and hot springs (Grand Prismatic Spring). There are lodges, inns, cabins, RV campgrounds, and tent villages from which to base an exploration of Yellowstone.  Seven distinct areas are equipped with general stores, service stations, dining facilities, and other amenities.  For more on Yellowstone, click

by the sea
4. Big Pine Key in the Florida Keys

alligators in Florida
As you drive through the Florida Keys, the long narrow highway has blue-green water and swaying palms at each side. For Bill and me, it ranks alongside the Dempster Highway going up the Arctic and Big Sur along the West Coast for scenic beauty. Sunshine Key Resort at Big Pine Key in the Florida Keys sits on a piece of sandy land that juts out into the sea so there was water on all three sides. The campground was the entire key! Everyone sunbathed around the huge pool where country music was provided by a live entertainer and tropical drinks were being served for free! There was an exercise room, a good country store, and a marina filled with boats. And Key West is a short bus ride away! For more, please go to

campsite with orange tree
5. Viewpoint RV and Golf Resort in Arizona

pool at the second clubhouse
This is the least nature-inspired of our favorite neighborhoods, but it is a real resort!. Viewpoint is the place we chose for a six-month winter hibernation. It has 2 clubhouses, 2 golf courses, 10 tennis courts, a ball park, 5 pickleball courts, a fitness center, craft rooms, computer room, library, 50 clubs, and a bar/lounge/restaurant.

We have so many more favorite neighborhoods but for these five alone, it will be worth getting an RV from any one of the reputable dealers like Camping World or Lazy Days. Or if you are not ready to own one and would just like to try this lifestyle that we so love, just get away for a weekend or two with a rental RV. There is a reliable company for that, "The World's Largest RV Rental Marketplace." You can go to this link to find out more: