As we planned our movement south following our stay at Fort Bragg, we once again looked at our campground options in the greater San Francisco Bay area, particularly those locations close to Concord where Rosemarie’s sister Dolores and her family reside. We usually stay about 45 minutes away at Travis Air Force Base’s “FamCamp” in Fairfield. It’s fine: affordable, particularly given the pricey region, but otherwise forgettable and often with limited availability.
We have explored other places, but the private resorts in the area are either quite expensive, too far away, or as we discovered after an exploratory reconnaissance run: “not suitable” (which is elitist code for “seemed pretty sketchy.”) Meanwhile, the county and state campgrounds are sporadically size-limited (tents only or 20′ max RV,) often fully booked (it turns out that fairgrounds often have fairs,) and surprisingly expensive ($40-$50 plus taxes and a reservation fee for a basic grass or gravel site at a county fairground.)
Though vaguely aware of it from campground sites like All Stays, during our multiple past visits we have somehow overlooked a nearby military option, Petaluma Coast Guard Training Center. Admittedly, it is further from Concord, 60 miles in fact, but appears to be far less popular (and thus available) and costs the same $25 a night as Travis. For that you get electric and water connections with a dump station hidden in a different part of the base.
The base feels far more “out in the middle of nowhere” than Travis, though it is quite convenient to Petaluma and wine country. Likewise, the campground is somewhat isolated in the back corner of a facility that is already rather low in population, further enhancing the sense of privacy and solitude. Deer freely roam the base; we counted 24 deer during one 1.5-mile drive from the front gate to our site.
While the distance from Concord is not ideal, when we visit this area Rosemarie will usually spend a few nights with Dolores, Josh and niece Tamiry, which means we only make the 120-mile trip a couple of times.
While there Rosemare joined Tamiry and various cousins on the fall pilgrimage to the pumpkin patch to select various gourds for the upcoming Halloween festivities. Rosemarie works hard to build and maintain a loving relationship with her niece, whether crafting, biking, or cooking they are like peas in a pod. Or is it peas and carrots? One of those.
Unfortunately, this visit also involved more repairs for Loki. A full rear brake job, and all the struts (probably the original 24-year-old shocks) needed replacement, and one of the front CV axle’s as well. Not gonna lie: this is getting quite tiresome, but maintenance and repairs are part of owning any vehicle out of warranty, I just wish we could have a bit of respite from them.
Next up: we continue south along the coast, with visits to four more military campgrounds in Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Ventura, and Seal Beach.