Wednesday, June 29, 2016

A Day in Sequoia and King's Canyon National Parks

We were at the Lakes RV and Golf Resort for a couple of weeks and took a day trip south to Fresno and into the Sierras to see Sequoia and King's Canyon National Parks.  

It was a beautiful and warm day for a drive.  We started out in the morning and planned on a picnic lunch along the way somewhere.

 Not far from our Ash Mountain entrance we saw Tunnel Rock which was quite unique.  At one time the road went under it but it is not blocked off.
 This barrier wall was common for many miles up the mountain and reminded us of the work of the Civilian Conservation Corp on similar mountain roads throughout the US National Park system.
 At the top of overlook not far from Hospital Rock looking across the vast valley below.
 We enjoyed the view with another couple (Jordan and Jen) from Chicago who were on a road trip by way of Las Vegas.  Fun to talk to them a bit before we continued up the mountain.

Along the way, Pam notice how dead looking some of the pine trees looked.  
A ranger confirmed that there has been a beetle problem this year killing some pines.


Our next stop was the Giant Forest Museum.
It was a good reference point and display explaining the history of the big trees in the area and point out all the groves of sequoias. Each are named and the trees are actually numbered.
 It was almost time for lunch so we made our way over to another Visitor Center - this one at Lodgepole.
Key people who were pioneers in setting aside lands for public use and protection including the most famous of all - John Muir.
Pam getting some more info from the Park Ranger on the drought and the beetle problem affecting the pine trees.

Then we had lunch at a picnic area near the 'village' center.  It had a small laundry, grocery store and some shaded tables. 

 After lunch we went over to the General Grant Grove and saw the second largest tree in the world and the largest giant sequoia in the area.

Some other trees near the short hike to the General Grant Tree.

Sometimes one can not comprehend how big and beautiful these big trees are!  It was amazing.  

After that, we headed down the mountain and back to our campground in Chowchilla.  It was good to be able to get a sense of what Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are like, but it takes a lot more than one day to see it all.  Glad we were able to spend a little time there though.

Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles.




Monday, June 27, 2016

Roadrunner Review: The Lakes RV and Golf Resort

Brother Marty mentioned to a friend that we have a motorhome and would be making our way to Arnold CA for a 4th of July Reunion with the other brothers and wives. His friend told him about the Lakes RV and Golf Resort and Marty passed the info on to us.

My first thought was it could be nice.  Or on the other hand, it could be a Par-3 'Executive Course' or something along those lines.  He said that golf was free and it was a good place to stay.

Turns out they were right.  It is a Championship Par 72 course that is a good one.  The rates at the RV Resort are 37/night which is very reasonable.  The golf is free, although to ride in a cart is $16/per person.  Still very reasonable and a real value.

Here's the layout of the Resort from TheLakesRV.com
The directions off California Highway 99 from Fresno to Chowchilla and the resort are good.  It was easy to find off the freeway and has a large entrance parking area for check-in.  I love the big gates.

Some views of the streets and lots.  The streets are wide, the pull through lots are the widest. 
Our site is on the right with our Honda CRV parked in front of it.

The perimeter sites are a bit cramped with not enough room to park the car.
Though its a little tight, and we can not open our awning because of the tree in the back, we opted for a cheaper $37/night site since we wanted to stay two weeks.
I love the mature hedges that mark off each site.  Our neighbor apparently owns the lot next to us because we have not seen them since we have been here.

The rest of the park is very nice.  Laundry is very reasonable at $1.00/$1.25 (washer/dryer) and a short walk away.  The layout of the grounds is pretty nice.

The small pond and swimming pool are very nice and perfect for the hot weather we have been having.
Pretty great to be able to walk over and lounge around the pool a couple hours each day.  I didn't try the whirlpool but it's there too.
Inside, they have a little shop
and registration area.
And a lounge reading area
Outside it had some pretty nice lounging areas to soak up some sun.  Across the pond, folks could pay a little extra and have a 'waterfront' site.
Back at our area - it was adequate.  Tight but OK.  We could put out our door awning but the slideout awning had a tree problem.
The other great thing about this place is that it is a block away from the Pheasant Run Golf Course.  And, guests at the RV park can get free greens fees!  Yes!
 And it is not a par three / executive course it is a full regulation championship par -72 layout.  For $16 each, we got a cart and played a round of golf.  It was a great deal.  And I liked their driving range and practice facility.  I was able to use it three times and determine yes, with one eye I could still make contact with the golf ball!

We enjoyed our time at this RV/Golf facility.  It lived up to its billing and was a nice place to stay.

Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

A Day in Yosemite

A few months ago my brother suggested we stay at The Lakes RV and Golf Resort as we made our way over to Arnold CA for a 4th of July reunion.  Turns out it was an excellent idea.  We wanted to see Yosemite National Park as well as Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.
As you can see, it was about a two hour trip one-way from our campground.  But still very doable.  Turns out nephew Nate and his family were in the Lower Pines Campground for a week with friends.  They were staying at the Lower Pines Campground.  We wanted to see them early in the day before they got out and about on their hikes and such so we left our campground before 6 AM.
Like many other National Parks, we wanted to take a picture of the entrance sign.  Then it was quite a few miles down the road before the scenic views started.
El Capitan
One of the beautiful meadows along the way into Yosemite Valley.
Cathedral Rocks and Yosemite Falls

Thought this was pretty interesting.  A sign signalling the spot where John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt had a chat back in 1903.  You have to imagine that some of the trees are young ones and may have not been here back then.
It was a little crowded at some of the pull outs but not too crazy.  Most people were slowly making their way through the park and glad to let you pull in or out and were friendly folks.  I think some of the majesty and awe of these places makes everyone a bit more congenial and courteous. ?
More Beautiful Falls - this was very unusual at the beginning of summer to have such a strong flow off the mountain.  Usually it is drying up quite a bit by now.
Here's a group photo about noon at Nate and Angela's campground with daughter Aubry.  Son Jacob was off riding bikes with his buds in the campground. Angela's parents were there at a nearby Bed and Breakfast and stopped by.  Great timing!
We continued on our drive through Yosemite Valley and stopped for more pictures.
 Yosemite Falls

 Lots of pull outs and parking along the way to see the meadows and mountains in the background.
 Before we left, we made it over to the Visitor Center and checked it out.  It had an informative video -- this one was on bears.  In the 1930's they used to encourage bears to eat trash and humans food.  They stopped that in the 1940's and have seen a resurgence and healthy population of 'normal' bears as a result.  Now, folks keep their food at the campsites put away in the bear locker.

Even the exit out of the valley was full of wonderful scenery and the Merced River flowing.

There is no way a person could see Yosemite in a day.  It is definitely worth a longer stay at some point.  Lots of hiking and more beautiful scenery to be had.

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!