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 http://rvcruisinglifestyle.blogspot.com/2010/11/driving-down-west-coast-big-sur-and-san.html

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 http://rvcruisinglifestyle.blogspot.com/2010/10/driving-down-west-coast-yosemite-and.html              

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 http://rvcruisinglifestyle.blogspot.com/2010/08/getting-high-at-grand-teton-national.html

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 http://rvcruisinglifestyle.blogspot.com/2010/08/gushing-over-yellowstone.html

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 rvcruisinglifestyle.blogspot.com/2010/04/spending-winter-in-florida-2-florida.html

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, RVShare.com "The World's Largest RV Rental Marketplace." You can go to this link to find out more:  http://rvshare.com/how-it-works

35 comments:

  1. This is one of your best posts yet! Good info, great pics. I'll ck out the rvshare thing you mentioned to see what it is.

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  2. Great blog, someday my wife and I will travel just like you guys. Great photos and awesome experience! Keep it up.

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  3. Great site, glad to find another Filipino who enjoys camping! (y)

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    1. Hi!!! Glad to fund you guys here! Do you also have a blog? I have found one ither Filipina in my 5 years! Let's keep in touch!

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    2. Hi Carol no blog but will send you a friend request on facebook... :) (y)

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  4. Given how many different neighborhoods you've lived in, this is high praise!

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    1. We loved 5 others but the post would have been too long!

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  5. We have to agree that a nomadic lifestyle is a terrific way to see and experience so many lovely areas. We've talked about renting an RV in the future to travel around the US and your post give us added incentive!

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    1. If it would be a one time ho around, renting would be a good way. So many Europeans ate seeing the US that way.

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  6. We took an RV to Yosemite too. It's my favorite NP so far. Yellowstone is on our list and Big Pine Key is a must! Did you try pickle ball? My husband loves it!

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  7. I've visited 4 out of the 5 (although not camping) and would have to concur. Great choices.

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    1. Which one havn't you been to? I guess Viewpoint because you don't camp!

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  9. I'm honestly surprised about the inclusion of Yosemite! I visited twice, 1987 and 2006, and both times hated it! It's on my list of "never return to" places! I recall I named it Nature-Disneyland after leaving last time.
    Herds of people, camping impossible to get as a foreigner (because people book months in advance and then don't show up), people bring their crazy city speed into the woods, impatient drivers whizzing with their cars through the park cutting every blind corner (leaving no room for oncoming RVs - last time we drove in from Mono Lakes), loud talking groups of people on every walk (making sure all wildlife disappears well in advance), at night it stinks everywhere of fire lighting fluid (ever heard of kindling and paper?), and you leave in a slow moving traffic jam going towards the coast. Thanks but no thanks.
    I would have at least included one or two parks in Utah or Arizona (other than the resort)...

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    1. Sorry to hear that. We went in Fall and stayed at the campground near the entrance so it was quieter. Guess we were just lucky?

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    2. Last time we were there in spring, a week after they had opened the road in from the east. All upper campgrounds were still closed for winter damage, some still had snow and ice on... So certainly not peak season!

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  10. You are living the dream! Traveling from "neighborhood" to "neighborhood" one adventure at a time! I really enjoyed reading about your favorites and your adventures.

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    1. Hi Marilyn, for the past 5 years! Yehey! Thanks!

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  11. Love 1 through 4 ourselves, don't know 5. But the best thing about RV living is a new view out the window everyday.

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    1. Exactly! Our picture windows were huge and changing!

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  12. You've had some lovely"homes" and interesting to read about Big Pine Key as we;re heading to Key West in February. WE have some time to explore both coming and going so it sounds like we'll be in for a treat. I did part of the Dempster Highway this past summer - for hiking - and loved it.

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  13. Those are great neighborhoods! I'd go with your top two myself--Big Sur and Yosemite.

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  14. You live in my husband's dream home. I better not show him this post - although I must say it has me tempted to make my home an RV too. You certainly have gotten to experience many beautiful places without worrying about which hotel is right for you. I enjoyed your post and photos!

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    1. We will no longer be next year. Wehave completed the trail!

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  15. You have experienced some awesome neighborhoods. I can only image how difficult it was to choose five.

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    1. Yes, it was difficult but if I chose 10 it would have been a very long post!

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  16. Love love love the photos, wish they were bigger.

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