In true newbie fashion, we ended up leaving our Arizona site late and arriving to our California site after dark. While we have never had a problem driving in the dark, pulling in to a new park, trying to find a site, backing in, and setting up tends to be a little more challenging after dark.
We planned on leaving Lake Pleasant mid-day, but ran into some challenges with our tow dolly set up. We found a tow dolly on craigslist, but hadn’t yet towed anything on it as we still needed our cars in town for moving. We parked the RV and tow dolly at Lake Pleasant a few days before we actually moved into the RV. We kept both cars in town and slept at the apartment while we finished moving stuff between the temporary apartment, RV, and storage.
The first time loading our car on the dolly took a lot longer than expected. We now know that the clamps were not in the right place for our car, rather the previous owner. We are also the proud new owners of a ginormous, shiny $10 wrench which was not included, but is apparently required. We are finding that no matter how many tools we already have, each new task seems to require a tool that we have not yet acquired. Needless to say, our tool collection has grown significantly during the past few months!
Because we arrived to our new camp site so late, we ended up staying in the overflow parking lot overnight and scouted out our space the next morning. The great thing about living in an RV is that you are always home and only your outside view changes. It’s amazing how comfortably you can sleep in a parking lot.
We chose the Wilderness Lakes camp site in Menifee, California because we wanted to try out our Thousand Trails membership, while remaining close enough to civilization to go to home improvement stores, grocery, etc. It was nice being close to a few LA Fitness locations, so Jon could continue with his fitness training using his current membership. Menifee is also close to where Jon’s parents once lived, so the familiarity of the area made it a nice transition spot.
Wilderness Lakes was very different compared to Lake Pleasant. Because of the somewhat suburban location, it was not quite as scenic. It was also pretty crowded and busy. However, we were able to get a nice spot towards the back of the park, where it was less busy, with no one behind us and a view of some hills.
We were pleasantly surprised by how friendly most fellow RVers are. Everyone loves to talk, exchange stories, and share tips to making the most of the RV experience. We were blessed with some great neighbors, Ed and Joan, who we immediately clicked with and found out we have so much in common despite the fact they have children our age. Cathy enjoyed regular walks with Joan, Ed shared his tools and knowledge with Jon, and they both gave us some great tips on all of the Thousand Trails campgrounds they have been to which will be very helpful as we plan the next legs of our journey. We were excited to find out that our paths will cross again in Phoenix and possibly in the northwest later this year!
We really enjoyed going on daily walks around the park and seeing a wide variety of interesting birds. The 50 cents we spent on a bag of duck food was definitely worth it and made for a pretty amazing bird show. We also loved looking at all of the different types of RVs in the park and learned a lot of what to do and what not to do for the future.
We took advantage of our time here to work on some of the projects we were not able to finish in Phoenix. We replaced our kitchen and bath faucets, dremeled (that’s a word, right?) our way through the kitchen counter to install a soap dispenser and water filter faucet, touched up backsplash grout, sealed kitchen and bath fixtures and countertop edges with silicone, installed bead board and trim in bathroom, reattached trim pieces throughout coach, painted, installed Airtabs for better aerodynamics (improves gas mileage and increases stability in windy conditions), and sanded down some tile to allow one of our slides to come in.
Before Kitchen Faucets Using the Dremel After Kitchen Faucets
Bedroom Airtabs (towards the back of the rig)
When we left Phoenix, we noticed that the slide on the left side of the coach was not flush. We took it to an RV repair shop in Menifee, but they were unable to fix it. They did, however, install our heavy duty UV water filtration system which turned out to be quite an undertaking. We are so glad we didn’t attempt that job! When we return to Phoenix, we’ll be taking the coach to an RV shop with master techs for the type of slide system we have. Jon has done some research and has some ideas about what might need to be done to fix it. Hopefully he is right and it will be a straightforward fix.
One day we made the drive to Lake Balboa to visit with Jon’s childhood friend, Derrick. These two have been friends since 2nd grade! We spent the day lunching in Santa Monica and walking Venice Beach. It was nice to catch up with Derrick and his family.
Our three week stay at Wilderness Lakes ended up being a great start to the RV reboot. We caught up on our sleep, worked on the RV, made some new friends, and met up with old ones. Next up: Three weeks at Rancho Oso in Santa Barbara. We are excited for the scenic drive up the coast and three full weeks to explore the area!