Over the years we have camped through out California, Nevada, Idaho and Oregon every summer. Some of our favorite State Park camp grounds sell out in only hours after the reservation go online six months in advance. This is especially true for Sierra camp site reservations in July and August, when the valley is very hot.
However, this year walking around the camp ground at Sugar Pine Point State Park near Lake Tahoe and McArthury-Burney Falls State Park we found many open camp sites during the week. More visitor in the weekends, but still open sites on the weekend. This would not have been possible in past years, when all the camp sites booked up in hours after reservations opened.
Most of the visitors at Sugar Pine Point and McArthury-Burney Falls appeared to be middle income families with children, if the high-end family vehicles and RVs with bike racks on the back are accurate indicators.
At Diamond Lakes in Oregon, we found the RV park was turning away travelers. Across the road from the RV Park is a National Forest camp ground with much better lake views and access to the water, however no power, water or sewer services, that are essentially empty. Many of the low cost and mid-range cost camp sites are going un-used.
On the other hand the higher-end RV parks in Oregon, with full service connections, are full to overflowing with older folks and older international travelers in rented RVs. Several traveling with what appear to be grandchildren. One can conclude that retired folks are spending their nest egg and folks who are still working are harboring theirs by staying close to home.
We stayed one night at the Hereford Ranch RV park at Hat Creek. Many of the campers were from the upper Sacramento Valley, who had come to the Sierra to escape the valley heat for two weeks. Not going too far from home.
Hope and Change has modified the lifestyle of many family campers, but has not had a significant impact on retired folks with their big RVs. Yes, we all wince at the fuel pump, but that only results in one less dinner out opting for more meat on the grill at the RV, and and fewer bottles of $15.00 California wine. Australian wines are a real bargain at $5.00 a bottle and are quite good with a steak or grilled trout.
Also, as we traveled though multiple rural small towns in California and Oregon, and we saw many closed business and restaurants, perhaps as many as 1/4 of the business on a street. Not an encouraging sight.
Exit Question: When will the economy turn around, restoring confidence in our political leaders? Oh!