TCM: Since you’ve been to so many places, where do you suggest others go?
Jim: We live east of Sacramento. We are an hour and a half from the ocean and an hour and a half from the mountains. All around us are vast resources for camping.
When we go camping we go to Lawson’s landing near Tomales Bay. It’s about fifty miles north of San Francisco. There are some commercial and state parks there. Sheila and I like to wander around the town. It’s very quaint. There is a guy who sells fresh crabs right off the bay. It’s not real crowded there this time of year
The mountains are close as well. There are a couple of lakes and campgrounds that we like to go to like French Meadows, Hellhole, Big Meadows, Union Valley Reservoir and Loon Lake.
The higher you go into the mountains the smaller the rigs get because the roads are narrow. Even though we are only ninety miles away from French Meadows, it takes two hours to get there because it is windy and steep. That’s what makes it nice to own a slide-in camper – it’s nimble. Up in the mountains, when you are in national forests there are dirt roads that go off in every which way. If you find a spot that’s been cleared, you can camp there.
TCM: Where do you typically go on your trips?
Jim: Our summer vacations are usually two to four weeks. We’ve explored lots of the southwest and the coast of Oregon, Washington and California. We did a three-plus week trip to the Dakotas and Canada this last year. Part of the vacation Wayne and Ileana Lasyone (Mr. and Mrs. Reddog1) tagged along in their Old restored 1986 Bigfoot. We had a great time.
Sheila and I enjoy exploring small towns and checking out the highlights. We are all eyes when going down the road, not wanting to miss anything nature may present.
We also always travel with our dog, Molly. She’s an Australian Shepard-Queensland Healer mix. She will watch people in campground and she hikes with us.
TCM: Do you attend camper rallies?
Jim: The first rally we went to was at Yosemite National Park in February a couple of years ago. That was a kick. At the rally, they had a waterproof propane heater set-up. It was like summertime in there. People would come and go. Some would go off hiking and when they came back we’d have a potluck.
We had conversations about problems and solutions with our truck campers. People would talk about where they have been camping and what’s been fun to do with their camper. It’s like Wayne says, “It’s a time to tell great lies”. Rallies are an opportunity for a lot of show and tell. You meet people and develop friendships. And then at the next rally, it’s great to see those people again.
An example of the ongoing friendships is with, Junket from Clements Falls, Oregon. He invited me to go fishing with him. I’m always emailing back and forth to people. At Scotts Flat we met Kathy for the first time. That was a huge rally. There are pictures on NATCOA. There were twenty or so truck campers and we had a huge campfire. It was just great.