Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sunny Southern California

If you take away 17 million people, the freeway congestion and the high prices, Southern California is a pretty neat place.  The weather is good anyway.  We will see how we feel after settling in here for a few months.

Sunday morning we left Bakersfield about 9 am and headed south on Highway 99.  Just after joining up with Interstate 5 we started the slow climb up the Grapevine Hill.  I was a bit apprehensive about this part of the trip.  I have clear memories of overheating the ole Chevy climbing Monarch Pass in Colorado.  However, I have learned a few things since then; for instance, turn off the AC, turn on the heater to defrost and turn the fan up to high and open the windows to let the heat out.  The heater draws heat off the engine and keeps things cool.  The temp gauge did not budge above 210 degrees during the whole climb.  The temperature on the transmission also stayed at “normal” levels.  What a relief!!

We arrived at the Ventura Oaks KOA (formerly Far West Resorts) about 2 pm.  Checking in confirmed our reservation with a monthly rate of $720 ($24 per day).  This is the highest monthly rate we have ever paid; but we checked around when we were here last year and $720 is the lowest rate within 40 miles (or maybe more); and the accommodations are more attractive than the others.  There are mature trees and we are not all crammed together side by side.  The sites here are set on the outside and inside of a circular drive.  Since we are about 10 miles from the nearest highway (126) and about 5 miles from Santa Paula, the park is not really busy this time of year.  We are in the “long term” Cedar Loop, with about 8 other long term campers.  Some, like us, are here for a month or so.  We learned that some of our neighbors have lived on their site for several years and have no intention of moving.  In this neck of the woods, $720 is cheap monthly rent with full utilities; and if you own your camper/motor home outright, it is a pretty low cost way of living.

This is a destination KOA, meaning they have lots of activities and features including zip lines, rock climbing, playgrounds, and other fun stuff for families and kids.  There are furnished teepees for rent and a large group camping tent area for organizations like the Boy Scouts.  50 amp electric, water and cable TV hookups are provided and they come around on Mondays and Fridays and pump out your waste tanks.  Verizon service is good for phone and internet access; and there is a clear southern sky for DirecTV access.  Here are some pictures I took today:

IMG_6058  IMG_6059IMG_6056  IMG_6067IMG_6071  IMG_6074IMG_6075  IMG_6080

Wednesday we ventured out to Santa Clarita (about 30 miles) to find a Trader Joe’s and a WalMart Supercenter.  We had lunch at a Boston Market restaurant for the first time since we left California in 1992. Wow, 20 years sure goes by fast.  We are making arrangements to visit with family and friends during our time here.

Thanks for stopping by and I will try to post once a week or so.


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Jim and Judy said...

I lived in that neck of the woods when I was in the Navy -Port Hueneme, Oxnard and Camerillo (sp). Judy and I liked Ventura a lot. Enjoy your stay.