We stayed at this campground two years ago and have talked about it ever since. Even though our site was decent, the campground has been high on our list of worst campgrounds ever. I named the blog post from that week “This Place is Creepy.”
It was creepy because, although the campground looked like it had once been quite nice, it had deteriorated horribly. Dozens and dozens of power pedestals were in various stages of disrepair. Coyotes were howling and dogs (from a nearby rescue facility) were barking night and day. There were enough “annual site owners” living in decrepit rigs/tents/tarps that it didn’t feel safe to wander around after dark. (To be fair, there were and are a number of California Thousand Trails campgrounds with that situation.)
We had a Thousand Trails Southwest Zone Pass when we stayed here before. We found a couple of parks we liked in the system and many that we did not, including this one at Soledad Canyon, 30 miles northeast of Los Angeles.
When asked to complete an on-line evaluation of our stay, I was brutally honest and had a number of suggestions. That resulted in several follow-up phone interviews by people up the chain. The brand new manager, not responsible for the sad state of affairs, said she hoped we would try the park again someday. Ha! We never thought that would happen.
So, Creepy Campground-Revisited. Why??? That is a fair question. The answer is minimally financial and mostly curiosity.
The financial part is easy. We bought another Thousand Trails Zone Pass for our trip back east last summer. Campgrounds (where we could fit) in the northeast are $50 -70 per night and we thought the pass would be more cost effective. When our trip was cut short to help care for our grandson, Thousand Trails representatives were kind enough to exchange our Midwest and Northeast Zones to Northwest and Southwest. So by staying here again, we are using our pass for a couple more nights.
Staying here again just to save a few bucks would not have been motivation enough. Curiosity sealed the deal because we had read reviews over the last year about how the place had been improved. When our itinerary brought us this way, we decided to see for ourselves.
We can see some structural improvements with upgrades to power pedestals in two sections. There have been new camper cabins installed. There is still a very long way to go but it does appear that there has been progress.
Additionally, the “annual site owners” living in the decrepit rigs/tents/tarps are gone. I hope they are all living in better circumstances now than they were here, but the campground looks better and feels safer without them.
Last time we were here Elko ate something that made him very sick so we did not explore the area at all. We all had better luck this time!
We went to the Los Angeles County Park, Vasquez Rocks Natural Area. You may not have been there, but you’ve seen the rocks many times!
Hundreds of movies, TV shows and music videos have been filmed at Vasquez Rocks because of proximity to Los Angeles. Movie examples include: Flintstones, Planet of the Apes, Blazing Saddles and My Stepmother is an Alien. TV examples include The Big Valley, CSI, Lassie and The Twilight Zone.
The filming example that came up over and over again was Captain Kirk fighting Gorn. Click here to re-live that epic Star Trek battle!
There was actually a filming/photography event happening while we visited the rocks. We didn’t recognize the “star” (not a surprise) and my picture didn’t turn out well enough to ask all of you for help.
Tomorrow we leave the formerly creepy campground and head into Arizona. We will be here and there around the state for about three months – Randy is a happy guy!