Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Campgrounds by Julian, CA

A big WELCOME to Levonne from A Camp Host Housewife's Meanderings: An RV Adventure.  I appreciate you following along with us on our dream to RVing full-time.  You are staying in a beautiful place, Monterey County, I've been there many times and have always loved it.

So...  when Katie and I drove up to and through Julian, I decided to check out a couple of campgrounds nearby.  Here's Katie, in her car seat (well, it's really for grand kids, but Katie loves to sit in it and then she can see out the window).  She loves a road trip!

On the way to the campground there was a "view" turnout, and we pulled off and parked to see the view.  It was beautiful, with rows and rows of mountains going back as far as the eye can see.  I took lots of photos, but they don't show the beauty of the landscape like being there.

We were headed toward Lake Cuyamaca Recreation & Park District, which boasts fishing, camping, hiking, etc. in the literature I printed from the Julian Chamber of Commerce website.

Cute sign as we entered the parking area.  No ducks on the road, though.

 Here were the ducks - swimming around in the lake.

 Some of the trees in the park were changing colors, beautiful.

I could not find any camping areas, so I stopped and asked a ranger doing some clean-up in the parking area by the store.  He pointed out a few areas, and said there were two camping areas marked down the road further.

First I checked the area "at the end of the parking lot" - I didn't see anywhere I'd want to camp. I guess it was better than a WalMart parking lot, but I assume people pay to camp here.  Next we drove out - back onto the road and visited the first campground he mentioned.

I didn't take photos of the signs for these campgrounds, or make a note of the names, because I was so under impressed I'm sure I'll never camp here.  This one is right on the road, and that's someone's house across the street.  Hilly, rocky, not many trees, windy.  Where would you put a tent?  Or an RV?

This one at least had some trees, but the campsite was right out in the open and the wind was blowing, I can't imagine being comfortable camping here, at least on the day I was there.

The one that looked best to me was Ramona Canyon RV Resort. We pulled into their parking lot on the way home and I visited the office and asked if I could look around.  The very nice lady there told me it's a membership campground, Western Horizon Resorts.  It had lots of trees, a lake, swimming pool, a long list of amenities and looked really nice, but I couldn't go past the entry gate.  I checked their website at home, and that location does let non-members camp there and shows the fees for non-members, so I don't know why she wouldn't let us in. : (
That was our last stop, and we were tired and ready to drive home.  

I love it when the sun comes out and shines through the clouds - this was taken through the open window as I was driving:

This is a photo across the mountains from a trail head, Clevenger Canyon North and South Trails.

I hate to say this, but I think I'm a camping snob.  That's all we did for vacations when I was growing up (until Disneyland opened).  We went to either Big Basin or Yosemite.  Huge redwoods, lots of shade, very forested, creeks, simple gorgeous areas.  That's what I think of when I say "camping."  Of course we always tent camped. (My parents met at Big Basin while vacationing with their families when they were in high school, so it was a favorite place for them.)

I think there was an area in Big Basin where they were just starting to make places for RV's about the time we stopped camping.  My dad doesn't consider RV owners to be camping.  He's always said that.  What's funny is that we stopped camping because as we kids grew older, we started complaining a lot about how cold we were.  Big Basin is in Santa Cruz County, and under those big trees it could get cold if we didn't pick a hot week to camp.  The people in RVs, of course, were nice and toasty in their rigs, and I'll bet their kids weren't complaining about being cold. (I think he was just too cheap to even think about buying an RV!)

The last year we camped was especially cold, and we complained a LOT, and my Dad said, That's it!  This is the last time we camp!  The next year Disneyland opened and then we went there every year. 

That's one of the reasons I want a small Class C with no toad - the places I want to park (I hope) will have a lot of trees, and with a smaller, narrower vehicle I should have no problem staying in that type of terrain.  Of course if I'm at the beach or in the desert I don't expect forests, but... that's what I envision when I think of camping.

Obviously I have a lot to learn, and will probably be eating my words in a year or so when I'm trying to save money by overnighting in flat, dry, windy parking lots! 

It was a great day, easy driving, not much traffic, and we zipped on home.  By this time, Katie was laying down and trying to sleep.  Enough scenery already, Mom!

From me and Katie, have a great Wednesday evening, everyone! : )


  1. We looked at the Escapees Jojoba Park not far from Julian when we were out there last year, don't know if you're a member yet, but some of their parks are pretty nice, and the price is usually lower than commercial rv parks.

    For us, full-timing is a mix of "camping" and "RV-ing". Sometimes we want to rough it and be close to nature, other times we just want to be where we can have all our comforts, including urban shopping and tourist opportunities.

    We don't think you have to be all one way or another, whatever works for you in the moment!

    Thanks for sharing your insights!

  2. I know what you mean about being a campground snob! That is one concern I have with going back to camping versus hotels. I'm not that picky but quite frankly, the campgrounds I haven't liked far outweight the number of those I have.

    I've been thinking how to give Doris a nice elevated seat on the passenger side - why didn't I ever think of a car seat?

  3. thanks for the tour of your 'neighbourhood'..there are lots of nice campgrounds out just need to explore!

  4. I talked to my daughter tonight and they went camping near Julian last week. She said Julian is known for it's apples.

    They have not been to the camel dairy and I think I will look into it for an activity for Christmas week. My grandsons are 6 and 10.

  5. Looks as though you have some really nice weather down there right now! Every time we are in the rain I am grateful for our RV! I grew up tent camping in Yosemite as well, but I have backpacking friends who think car camping isn't really camping either!

  6. Looks like you got some really nice weather for your tour of Julian. The scenery up there is sure spectacular and your photos captured it well.

    Those campgrounds didn't look too inviting though - at least not for an RV.

  7. I do a lot of camping, in campgrounds, primitive sites, and everywhere in between. I find campgrounds in general to be a nuisance. Sure, there's a picnic table, a campfire ring and sometimes showers, but who honestly wants to listen to the noise other people create when you're trying to get your 'nature' on?

    You might want to consider dispersed camping - boondocking - in your travels. It's free, you can park on public lands for up to 14 days at a time, and you can choose a nice, shady spot for yourself, away from the hordes of weekenders, screaming children and drunks.

  8. Beautiful scenery on your drive! I'm with you though. I have to have trees! I know many who prefer the wide open so they can get satellite etc. This is all still too new so may change my mind later :) Looking forward to seeing some of your part of the country.

  9. If you want to do any boondocking in the future, you may want to consider solar panels. They are worth their weight in gold, but you do need to be in the sun.....

  10. Beautiful pictures! I prefer quiet and out of the way parks. When we were staying in San Marcos the park was great but I felt like we were stack in there like cordwood. We are in an older state park, right on the river with no amenities and we love it. It isn't for everyone. Mom likes her electricity and water so we don't boondock unless we have to.

    I agree with you on pulling a car. I did it and I don't want to do it again. That is why we are in a van and loving it. Look into Class B+. They look like a class C but are shorter. You can get in and out of parking lots easier.

  11. I love those pictures of Katie in the car seat. I could look at them for hours I think!

  12. The pictures of Katie in the seat is priceless!

  13. I belong to Escapee's RV club, I know for a fact to buy into that park is very $$$. I am also a member of Thousand Trails, they have some very nice parks, and they are gated so maybe a little safer. I wouldn't get into anything that wouldn't tow a car. I tried that, you will be stuck with transportation to sight see, or shop. I found you either tow a trailer, or tow a car. I have done both.I can't say that one is easier than the other, I can tell you it is not fun to be stuck with no way to get around. You would have to unhook all your stuff to go somewhere in your class c. then re-level, hook it all back up again.

    1. I have been in a Class C full time for a little over 4 years with no toad. Everything Roadrunner says CAN be true but need NOT be. I have never felt stuck.

      However, my RV is simply 'home' that I park in a different place every month or so. I never went sightseeing when I lived in a stick-n-bricks 'home' so why would I want to do so now. I never hook up sewer or water except to dump or take on fresh water and leveling re-leveling has not been an issue for me. I can prepare to leave or set up upon my return in about 5 minutes.

  14. Add me in to those who think you will want a scooter at a minimum, a car at max to carry along with your Class C.

    I had a great trailer hitch...even on un-level surfaces it never got stuck. It was a breeze for me to hook and unhook and I am not a strong or athletic person (and I have osteoarthritis pretty bad).

    I found I wasn't doing the things I wanted because of the lack of transportation. As already said, tearing down, running your errands or sightseeing and then setting back up get pretty tiresome.

    There are those that do it, so don't be afraid to try. You can always add the scooter or car later.

    The main thing is to ENJOY and have FUN!


Thank you for your comments - we LOVE them!