It seems like we were forever in LA. So it seems like only an instant that we were stopped over in Bass Lake to visit Mort, our Chief Postal Officer. We have been a little concerned that Mort might use the cold weather as an excuse to not fetch our mail on some days, so we awarded him with an authentic postal fur cap to make sure he can always get the job done!
More accurately we were camped in Coarsegold at the Park Sierra SKP campground, a private campground that belongs to a club we recently joined, the Escapees (www.escapees.com). They have a network of co-op parks where you can either just stay if you are a member, or buy-in and live there full-time if you want to pay a quite reasonable fee. Although it’s cheap to visit, the scenery is priceless. Our site was spectacular, and we had early morning visits from some of the natives:
Since this was our first time not only at Park Sierra, but in a SKP park at all, we were offered a tour. On the day we had open all of the volunteer tour guides were either out-of-park or otherwise engaged, so one of the original founders of the park, Mary Tuma, offered her services. This produced far more than we expected since she has been living here for more than 20 years, from the very first days of Park Sierra.
She introduced us to all of the park amenities, paying special attention to the many hiking trails throughout, which she delighted in showing us dune-buggy style from her golf cart. No matter that I (aka Lard Butt) had to jump off one time so we could make it up a steep and rutted path, it was a fabulous tour that got even better when we began meeting some of the other old-timers. It seems like they all wanted Mary to tell us the story about the water towers. They all started in but were quickly shushed by Mary who promised to tell us “the truth”. We finally got it out of her that the “big story” was really not much more than a couple of gals, two lawn chairs, the top of a new water tank, and a bottle of wine. I wish I had paid more attention to the other versions of the story, the ones involving gurney’s and cranes, or picnic benches, or loose articles of clothing. Maybe on our next visit…..
The park, like many RV campgrounds, is like a giant family. It’s all volunteer run (except for the occasional hired tree trimmers) and it shines like a gem. We’re aiming to stay at a sister park in Chimacum Washington for the winter, so we’ll just have to see if the SKP reputation holds up.
Park Sierra is virtually across the highway from the Chukchansi Casino, and we took the opportunity to indulge our favorite gambling tradition during a dinner there with Mort and his friend Johnnie. That tradition involves stuffing a $20 bill into our favorite dollar slot (the Marilyn Monroe) and pulling the handle until we either hit the jackpot or go bust. This time was a bust, but we’re ahead of the game over all (for now). Mort introduced us to his favorite new machine, the Texas Tea slot. Amazingly enough, 3 of us were at least double winners on this machine, which just seemed to want to pay us all night until Johnnie sat down. Oh well.
Our visit was very very relaxing and gave us time to finish up some travel planning. We’re now all set for the winter and able to start thinking about what we will do come spring. And we have also taken notice that Dungeness crab season will open up for us in Oregon and Washington while we are there! So we have also made arrangements to acquire a couple of Crab Max traps to try our luck.
Our Person of Interest this time is our tour guide, Mary Tuma. We’re still waiting for the REST of the story Mary!