Welcome to our (very personal) reviews of the campsites we have visited. If you arrived here from a link on our travel blog, Semi-True Tales of Our Life On the Road, you can click here to read all of our campground reviews.

If you would like to know more about me, or contact us, click on "Who are We?" (to the right). For more information about what you can expect to find in these reviews, click on "About These Reviews". Finally, a note about the photos: hover your cursor over a photo to read the caption, or click the photo to enlarge it.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Site 2 Napa Elks RV parking Our Opinion: Rave. Nicely sized FHU sites in a quiet, convenient area of Napa. Private; you must be an Elk to stay here.

Date of Stay: Late August, 2009.

Weather During Stay: Warm days, cool nights, overcast mornings.

Sites: Of the 12 FHU sites (mostly 30 amp E, but a few 50 amps), most are suitable for big rigs and one is occupied by a host’s rig. Sites are back-to-back in two rows, reasonably wide (room for slides and awnings) on level gravel, with a small concrete picnic table and benches at each site. No pull-throughs.

The RV parking area is behind the lodge, away from traffic noise, with a combination-controlled access gate. Very secure. Dry camping is allowed in the large parking lot in front of the lodge only if all the RV sites are filled.

Napa Elks Parking, facing south Rate: $20 for FHU, including cable TV and WiFi.

Phone/radio/TV: Strong Verizon phones and aircard signal. No obstructions to block TV satellite. Lots of cable TV stations. Local NPR on 88.5 FM.

Elevation/Landscape/Terrain: Level parking with trees on two sides of the area and nice landscaping. Elevation is near sea level. Views are of the back of the lodge, trees, a walking trail adjacent to the Napa River (on the edge of the lodge property) and nearby homes.

Lighting/Noise: Very quiet and dark at night.

Typical site at Napa Elks Favorite Sites: The host is in one of the end sites on one of the rows; the other three end sites are a tiny bit short (though we have seen big rigs in them). We preferred the sites that are not on the row ends. No reservations here, so take your choice when you arrive - after getting the gate combination from the bartender.

Hiking/Walking: A combination lock on the gate at the back of the lodge property offers access to a 1.2 mile walking trail. Turn left on the trail to walk a short distance to Trancas Avenue and a grocery store. Lots of good hiking in the Napa Valley, including Skyline Wilderness Park at the south end of the city.

Back of Napa Elks Lodge, seen from RV sites. Comments: The Napa valley is a world-renowned destination. This appealing lodge parking gives us the chance to enjoy it at a reasonable price with great amenities. What’s not to like? There is a Nob Hill grocery store within walking distance, as is the Wal-Mart. Farmer’s market Tuesday and Sunday during the summer (until the end of October) at the Wine Train parking lot about a mile south. Trader Joe’s is approximately one mile west on Trancas, a nearby cross-street.

Saturday, August 8, 2009


Scoopy in the center of the pull through sites and a bit of the landscaping.Our Opinion:  Recommend.  We stopped during a quick trip south, and hope to return. 

Date of Stay: August 7, 2009

Weather During Stay: Cool and partly cloudy.

Site Description:  We were in site 29, a long level pull through, with a bit of grass and a small picnic table.  Sites are reasonably roomy by commercial park standards.  All sites have FHU, with 30/50 amps.  Cable TV is provided, with 75 channels. 

This is a small park, 40 sites, 13 of which are pull throughs. Many of the back in sites around the perimeter appears to be occupied by long-term seasonals or permanents, but they are well kept and their gardens add to the pleasant landscaping.  Laundry and restrooms are available the cute office building.  Management was very helpful and friendly.

Site spacing is reasonable for a commercial park. Rate: This used to be a Passport America Park.  When we asked about the PA rate, we learned they have dropped out of the PA program, but still honor the $15/night rate, which is what we paid.  Excellent value.  Golf stay-and-play packages seemed reasonably priced, and the golf course was appealing.

Phone/radio/TV: Verizon cells phones and the aircard work well here.  We didn’t check local TV stations on the antenna since excellent cable TV was included.  No obstacles for satellite TV.  Local NPR is available on 88.1. WiFi is available, but we didn’t try it. 

Elevation/Landscape/Terrain:  This small park built on top of a hill with nice views of the golf course and distant forested hillsides.  The park itself is flat, confined to the hilltop. 

Lighting/Noise: Night lighting is reasonably unobtrusive, and it was very quiet at night.

Umpqua Golf Course Favorite Sites: Site 29 was a very convenient pull-through, easy in and out with no need to unhook.  For a longer (golf) stay, we’d choose 2-6, back ins overlooking the golf course.

Hiking/Walking: Nothing interesting at the park.  We didn’t have enough time to look around for hikes.

Comments: We’ll stop here again when traveling this route.  It was very convenient for an overnight, would be pleasant for a longer stay with a game of golf for Odel, and would be a reasonable base camp for day trips to the coast or Crater Lake (a long day trip).  Can’t beat the value if they are still honoring Passport America rates (we got the impression that they will continue to do so if the park is not busy).

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Site 6 Hoquiam Elks Our Opinion: Neutral.  Suitable as an overnight when traveling Hwy 101.  Private; you must be an Elk to stay here.

Date of Stay: August 4, 2009 (our second stay in three years).

Weather During Stay:  Cool and overcast.

Sites: Six very narrow, level sites on gravel/grass.  Big rigs will find plenty of length, but not much width; with slides out, you will barely be able to open your door in your site.  No room for an awning; these seriously narrow sites are suited for parking only!  Each site has 30 amp E and W.  Both the electric box and water pipe are locked; keys available in office.  There is an awkwardly placed dump station (locked; the key is on the key ring with your site’s utility box keys) right next to a wooden fence on one side of the lot.  No picnic tables.

Rate: $13 per night, 30 amp E and W. 

6 narrow sites at Hoquiam WA Elks Lodge Phone/radio/TV: Strong Verizon phones and aircard signal.  No TV stations using the TV antenna.  Local NPR on 100.9.  No obstructions for TV satellite.

Elevation/Landscape/Terrain: Flat, level parking on gravel and brown grass in a lot behind the lodge.  This is a mixed residential/commercial neighborhood, rather poorly kept. Elevation is near sea level.  Views are of other rigs, brown grass, and the unappealing surrounding neighborhood. 

Lighting/Noise:  Typical residential noise and lighting.  

Favorite Sites: Either Site 1 (closest to the fence) or site 6 (which we had) on the other end of the row of 6 sites.  These sites have a little more width since they have a neighbor on only one side and space to move beyond the site of the utility box.

Dump station near end of fence (above DL) Hiking/Walking:  Not much. Hwy 101 runs through downtown a few blocks north, with sidewalks.

Comments: We use this lodge as a reasonably convenient, safe, inexpensive overnight stop when traveling Hwy 101.  The folks at the lodge are friendly, but the overall feeling of Hoquiam is rather dismal - it’s charms are not readily apparent.  This does not appear to be a good choice as a base camp for sightseeing, but works for us as an overnight.

Monday, August 3, 2009


Drycamping at Tillamook Elks Lodge RV parkOur Opinion: Recommend.  A convenient and appealing spot to stay for a few days of sightseeing in the area.  Private; you must be an Elk to stay here.

Date of Stay: August 2-3, 2009

Weather During Stay:  Cool, a mix of sun and fog.

Sites: 18 level dry camping sites arranged in two rows on an open grassy field, surrounded by tall trees, down a hill from the main entrance.  There are a couple of  picnic tables here and there.  Restrooms are up the hill, along with additional open space for boondocking (not marked as sites).  No water or electric at sites, no dump station.  There is an on-site host.

Rate: $8 per night for dry camping. 

Looking down on the campsites at the Tillamook Elks RV ParkPhone/radio/TV: Strong Verizon phone and aircard signal.  Sites in the row on the north have the best chance for unobstructed TV satellite.  No TV stations using the TV antenna.  Local NPR on 91.1.

Elevation/Landscape/Terrain: Flat, level parking on grass surrounded by trees. This Elks Park is NOT located at the lodge (which is a few miles north in Tillamook).  Elevation is sea level.  Views are of other rigs, grass, and surrounding forest.  Very appealing. 

Lighting/Noise: Very quiet and dark at night. 

Favorite Sites: There isn’t much difference.  We picked a site in the north row for our roof-mounted satellite.

Gravel Drive Entrance to the RV Parking AreaHiking/Walking: Strolling around the park is pleasant, but short.  Hikes and beach walks are located less than 10 miles away, on the Three Capes Scenic Loop drive.

Comments: This is a very attractive area for dry camping, though we might avoid it if the weather was rainy (the parking is on grass).  The lodge has just started a year long project to add 25 sites with water, electric and possibly sewer, plus a dump station.  That will be great!  For now, dry camping in this quiet green spot works well for us for a few days of local sightseeing.  Close to the Tillamook Air Museum, Tillamook Cheese Factory, and hikes at Cape Mears and Cape Lookout.