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Tight Sites in California [May. 30th, 2012|08:19 pm]
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We came into California in mid-April and made our way to the Bay area for J’s work, initially. Our first stop was in San Jose, at an RV park close to J’s work.

The San Jose campground was the first RV park I have been at in three years of travel where they really, really cared about where your rig was parked in the site. We came in late in the afternoon to find an envelope on the office door for us (that’s the usual SOP for arrivals after the office closes.) We checked for our site number, but I didn’t read the rules carefully enough. So we parked in the site with a little room on both sides, and enough space in front to put the truck across the site (but fully within the parking pad.) We’d gotten unhitched and plugged in and leveled when the first guy came by to helpfully inform us that the manager was going to make us move. Apparently the parking regs require the trailer to be as far over to one side in the site as possible so that the vehicle can be parked next to it.

We were tired and hot and generally cranky by that point, and besides, we thought that was rather dumb given that our truck wouldn’t be in the way where we’d planned to park. So we decided to stay put and wait until the manager came by to inform us of our egregious error him or herself. Once or twice more during our stay, one of the other residents took it on themselves to let us know that the manager was going to make us move. We were there for a solid week. On the very last night, there was a notice from the manager on our truck that it had to be parked alongside the rig and not in front of it. With less than 24 hours to go, we carefully eased the truck next to the rig (four inches of clearance – I parked, J guided with the walkie-talkie) and the next day, happily hitched up and pulled out for Pacifica.

The RV park was pretty, it had nice landscaping, but between the rules and the location in a rather run down industrial area, I don’t think we’ll be back.

The week in San Jose was the week J had to be in the office every day. We made time for coffee with an online friend, which was fun, but didn’t do much else. J got a doctor’s appointment since we were close to Palo Alto and thus Stanford medical. On the road like we are, medical tends to be catch as catch can. Last year while we were transitioning my MIL out of Pennsylvania we had time to visit our doctor’s office for checkups; this year we’re far from them, so other arrangements had to be made. It’s something we’re still working on figuring out; we want good medical care, but that has to be booked in advance so we have to plan where we’ll be and contact the doctor in that area.

From San Jose we went over the hills to the ocean, to San Francisco RV Park in Pacifica, CA. Our reception could not have been more different. We were greeted at the desk, shown to our site, and told to park the truck in any open site. This campground’s facilities weren’t as nice, but the people were miles better. Now, the downside to this park was the size of the sites. We’d initially booked a site right on the bluff overlooking the Pacific. A few days before our stay, we got a call from the campground. Those sites were unavailable; part of the bluff had crumbled into the ocean. They gave us a site in the next row from the bluff instead, and I tried not to think about any possibility of California sliding into the sea and taking us along for the ride.

Land is at a premium, this isn’t just an oceanfront city, it’s one within a half hour of San Francisco. As a result campsites are small (and expensive, but that’s everywhere out here.) How small? Well, when we were parked I measured it. With the slides out, we had two inches clearance on one side of the RV, and we were right on the white line on the other side. So, 14 feet 2 inches, side to side. But the area was really nice; we walked to the organic market and the neighborhood bakery and the Chinese restaurant.

The weather was breezy and cool all week, and on the weekend we drove into San Francisco and across the Golden Gate Bridge, then up into the Marin headlands overlooking the bay and the Bridge. It was gorgeous; we drove up as far as we could and then got out and walked the trail around the old gun emplacements, and watched the ships steam through the bridge while the sea birds wheeled and called below us. Our jaunt into the city and the headlands finished up with a trip to Ghirardelli Square to stock up on good chocolate, and dinner at an awesome Istrian restaurant called Albona, tucked into a perfectly unprepossessing front with warm people and great food inside.

The next week we headed south along the coast from Pacifica, to Half Moon Bay and Pelican Point RV Park. This one had more grass, still nice people, but alas once again teeny sites. The sites were supposed to be wide enough to park the truck next to the rig, but yeah, not so much for us and our economy-sized truck. We wedged ourselves onto the parking pad with the staff watching to make sure no grass was harmed in parking the rig (and arguing softly among themselves as to whether we’d fit.) Thankfully I was having a good guiding day; we got the rig into the site (pad mere inches wider than the rig, iron pole on one side, ditch on the other) on the first try, and parked the truck up by the office with a sigh of relief.

J had another doctor’s appointment that week, and other than that we took it easy, rested, and walked the trail down to the beach a few times. Really a nice relaxing visit after being in more citified RV parks for two weeks. The weather cooled down significantly from San Jose and I was able to relax in the greener environs under the pine trees.