We are excited to introduce the very first Leisure List – The Top Campgrounds in the Western United States, submitted by our very own LTV owners. A special thanks for everyone who submitted these listings! Don’t miss our listings of the top campgrounds and RV parks in the Northeastern United States, Midwestern United States, Southern United States, and Canada.
Did we miss your favourite spot? It’s not too late to share it with the LTV community. Use the form found at the link below.
(Note: The opinions expressed below are of those of the authors, and not necessarily of Leisure Travel Vans.)Submit New Campgrounds To This List
Cover Photo: Dana Curtis
Turned out we had to go back through Zion to get to Bryce, which meant Allie had those roads and bridges again, and I had another view of Zion’s magnificence. I thrilled while he sweated. Didn’t seem quite fair. But then again, life isn’t always fair. How small we are – all 24 feet of our RV and its occupants.
Speaking of small, I’ve been thinking about living small while seeing large. We don’t have to make many decisions with this style of living since we have only two cups, four plates, a saucepan and a fry pan, 7 t-shirts – you get the picture. When we run out of clothes we do laundry and when we run out of fresh veggies and milk, we go marketing (that’s for you, Martha). When we don’t eat out, which is sometimes not possible, then it’s Nutri for Al and Susan’s soup for me.
TIP: When you provision your van, take only what you need: fresh food for three days, a freezer stocked with ready-to-eat food, peanut butter and jelly and good bread, some hard cheese and crackers, a variety of clothing layers for different climates, bottled water for a week, a good first aid kit, a working cell phone, e-books or real books, a portable computer or iPad, and a journal. This is all from my point of view. I’m sure Allie would have a completely different list, i.e. a hammer, a wrench, a bottle of scotch, a jar of nuts, fluid for the diesel, etc.
Highlights: Bryce and the Arches National Parks.
The feasts for the eye are boundless and bountiful. In Bryce Canyon we were embedded in the Dixie National Forest where we watched the trees change from Ponderosa Pine to Spruce, Fir and Aspen. I’d like you to think I knew that at the time, but even though we marvelled at the changing forest, I didn’t discover the species until I read the book later.
In Bryce we travelled an 18-mile scenic rim road to Yovimpa Point, as directed by the Ranger, then turned back to stop at most of the viewing points along the road. We reveled in hoodoos (spellcasters), natural stone statuary, a natural bridge created by the erosion of wind and water. Views of Arizona and New Mexico culminated in the pride of the park. Red Canyon, just outside of Bryce, shined with sunlight glowing over the rock. Of all the places we’ve been so far, Allie thought this was the most wondrous. I agree it was wondrous, but I found Zion and Sedona equally wondrous.
We parked in the first KOA campground we’ve been in and found it delightful. There were campers in tents, campers in bungalows and RVers like us. We were planning to leave for the Arches and Canyonlands the following day.
Lowlights and Best-Laid Plans
Best Laid Plans. Up early, cabin locked up tight, seat belts fastened and NO battery. The key wouldn’t turn in the ignition and perhaps it was the frozen fingers (52 degrees in the cabin and 42 degrees outside) in Sanguitch UT. But no, it was the real thing, no battery. An AAA call and a promise to be here in three quarters of an hour, Mountain time.
While we waited I caught up on emails and started the day’s log. We had planned on the Arches and Canyonland for the day, but of course it was dependent on the Sabel and AAA. Through Bryce the altitude went from 2300 feet to 9100 feet and back, and the temperature went from a high seventy to a low 38. It’s amazing to experience such changes, but the body does seem to adjust. Allie continued to keep me healthy through the sheer force of his personality. We ate well, we slept long hours, we kept warm and we surely kept active.
At a lovely RV park in Moab UT after an exhausting day, we reviewed our lowlight. AAA showed up as promised, charged the battery and off we went. But, fate was not done with us yet. A buzzer went off and several indicators showed up on the dashboard. Allie turned into the nearest gas station, filled the tank, and read the book. A mechanic came over, opened the hood, said we needed Diesel exhaust fluid (something about environmental standards), we said fine, he said he didn’t have it, but if we went to Lizzie and Charlie’s RV Park in Marysdale (population 408) they’d help us. They were charming, but they couldn’t help us.
But if we went to Richfield, 20 miles up the road, and found Ferguson’s right in back of KMart, they would help us. We found Jorgensons (close enough) right in back of KMart, and after one or two guys looked at the problem, they filled it with the fluid, the indicators went off, and all should have been well, but it turned out that the first nice guy who couldn’t help us had broken one of the struts that holds up the hood, so it took one guy to hold the hood and one to fill up he fluid. By noon all was well with the Sabel. I told Allie she was feeling neglected, she had given us over 2,000 good miles, and now it was her turn for attention. Pretty tired and more than disrupted by that time, we decided there was only one thing to do; rearrange the itinerary (skip the Canyons National Park), stop for a good lunch and then go to The Arches, which was only a few miles from our RV park.
The beauty and wonder of The Arches and the Utah scenery en route, made up for the morning. Mountains of rock towered over us on both sides of the highway, beige and pink and red clay, a sky nearly blocked by the structures, the Big Rock Candy Mountain (truly) and even a place called Bountiful.
We were here for two days, where we explored Moab. We had glorious scenery, since we were just outside of The Arches, and here we recuperated from the Best Laid Plans Day.
The weather has been terrific, the places we have visited have all been exciting and, of course, the Roadrunners we’ve traveled with have been wonderful. As chapter heads, we can’t thank all of our participants enough for these memorable experiences. It truly makes the effort in coordinating these rallies personally very worthwhile. We encourage members of all LTV RV clubs to support their clubs by “pitching in” to volunteer as “wagon masters” or “assis- tant wagon masters” on rallies to favorite places of interest.
Yosemite (May 18th -21st)/Bass Lake Rally (May 22nd to 25th) – Mary and Bill Harsh “pitched in” by organizing a rally of 8 rvs, 14 rvers from OR, CA, NV and AZ. We had a good time camping at Mariposa Fairgrounds where we visited the Califor- nia State Mining and Mineral Museum actually located inside the campground right next to our rv sites. A tour guide and his van provided a convenient way to tour and enjoy the beauty of Yosemite National Park without having to worry about parking during the beginning of the park’s heavy tourist season. We also chartered Mariposa’s Red Trolley to tour historic places in the town and to stop briefly for a bite to eat at Happy Burger Diner. The last evening of our stay we carpooled in our RVs to the Sugar Pine Railroad station for some tips on how to pan for gold and to have a really good BBQ dinner before catching a night-time steam engine train ride, with our dogs, to somewhere deep in the forest to gather around a campfire and listen to entertainers sing familiar folk songs. Next, it was on to dry camp three days at nearby Bass Lake where we enjoyed the beauty and solitude of the lake by chartered boat. While there, we were fortunate the weather had warmed up enough so the road was finally open for our trek home over Tioga Pass and through Tuolumne Meadows to Mono Lake in Lee Vining, CA. The views and photo ops along the way were really spectacular. Be sure to include this drive sometime in your adventures out west. A special thanks goes out to Mary and Bill Harsh for coordinating this wonderful rally adventure.
On the way home a few RVers continued their travels to some of the National Parks of Southern UT including Bryce Canyon, Cathedral Canyon and Zion. These parks are easily seen without worry for parking. Bryce has pullouts to accommodate
our size rvs and Zion has designated parking areas where travelers must park their cars or rvs and board sightseeing buses. If you are planning a trip to these areas, be sure to contact chapter heads Mary Jane Musser or George Ormsby for tips on places to stay and how you might want to plan your activities.
On June 10th George and Aileen Ormsby invited 23 LTV RVers, 12 rvs, in the greater Las Vegas area to the Roadrunners chapter’s first annual “meet and greet” at Vic’s Restaurant in Sun City Anthem in Henderson, NV. It was good meeting everyone, seeing some of their RVs and hearing about their travels. It was also an opportunity to meet John Chelist, General Manager of Wagon Trail RV in Las Vegas. He gave us an RV industry up date and commented about some of the dealer- ship’s exciting expansion plans. Wagon Trail is LTV’s leading dealer in the nation for the past three years in a row. Our special guests also included Mary Jane Musser and Tom Carter from Lake Oswego, OR who are Chapter Heads for LTV’s Evergreen Leisures RV Club in the northwest region. They’ve participated in numerous joint rallies with us.
Huck Finn Jubilee Festival Rally (June 13-15) – Participation was a little sparse with only 7 RVers, 4 rigs attending the Cu- camonga-Guasti Regional Park event in Ontario, CA. The blue-grass music was really good and those attending thought it would be worthwhile to add this to our Club’s list of annual get-away rallies providing we get reservations in early enough to stay on-site at the Guasti Park.
Oregon/Washington Scenic Wonders Rally (July 13th – 27th) – This year’s rendezvous location was in Canyonville, OR at the Seven Feathers RV Resort. 15 RVers, 9 rvs participated in the rally. If you haven’t stayed at this resort it is truly a must place visit and you’ll likely rank it among the finest places you will ever stay at in your RV. We used the resort as a hub taking day trips to Florence, OR for a group sand dune buggy ride and to Junction, OR to visit the Oregon Caves National Monument. We then continued our trek on north through Central Oregon staying at Diamond Lake which was the closest RV park to Crater Lake to take some of the early morning boat trips that are available. Recommend staying at the National Forest Campground since it is closer Diamond Lake’s shoreline.
Our travels continued to Bend, OR to take a short “Big Eddy Thriller” rafting trip along the Deschutes River and on to East Lake to spend three days dry camping and to rent a party boat to tour one of the most beautiful mountain lakes you’ll ever see. We also visited the High Desert Museum’s fascinating “Raptures of the Sky” program and dined in the Old Mill District in downtown Bend. Our travels continued on to Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood and to the Pheasant Ridge RV Resort just south of Portland. We also used this resort as a hub during the second week of our rally taking day trips to the Blimp Hangar, Tillamook Cheese Factory and the city of Cannon Beach along the northern Oregon coast as well as to Mt. St. Helens and the many falls and places in the Columbia River Gorge including Crown Point aka the Vista House and Hood River a mecca for wind surfers from around the world.
One of the highlights this year was a day-long cruise on the scenic Willamette and Columbia Rivers aboard the ship Willamette Star with a guide commenting on the Lewis and Clark Expedition’s adventures when it reached this area in 1805. Another was when Mary Jane Musser’s and Tom Carter’s invited rally participants to their home for a fabulous BBQ salmon dinner. Our special thanks to them for their hospitality.
Our RV Club’s remaining rallies for the year include the joint Caravan Rally from the West Coast (August 22 to Sep- tember 2nd) with LTV’s Evergreen Leisures RV Club to the Factory Rally in Winkler, MB (September 3rd to 6th). Our route this year takes us through Icicle River, WA and Kelowna, Banff and Lake Louise, BC, Canada. The Albuquerque Balloon Festival Rally (October 9-12) is fully booked; and information about the 62nd California RV Show Rally (Octo- ber 10-19) in Pomona, CA. will be available soon.