As most folks know by now, I am all about helping all people positively connect with nature in any way they can. My travels as founder and chief instigator for Outdoor Afro have helped several thousands get their nature swagger back through outdoor recreation. We have come to appreciate RV experiences over the years just as much as the back-country treks that allow you to carry all you need on your back.
We have had the pleasure to RV in California’s Sierra foothills along the American River with a teardrop trailer in tow, used a full size RV to camp the awe-inspiring Big Sur, and have been regulars at KOAs up and down the California coast. This time, we decided to grab a full sized RV again, and head to iconic Yosemite National Park!
RVs are simply a comfortable lodge on wheels from which to pursue a mind-boggling variety of camp destinations and public lands. You can just roll up, and anchor your family in nature and enjoy the pop-up community all over America!
My family is still chattering and reminiscing about our whirlwind recreational vehicle adventure that jumped off from our home in Oakland, California. We wove our way through California’s Central Valley and scenic rolling woodland foothills to ascend the majestic forests of Yosemite National Park near our destination at Yosemite Lakes RV Resort — our weekend basecamp.
Thanks to the folks at El Monte RV in Dublin, California, we were assigned a Class C-28 vehicle, suitable for our family of four — me, my partner, the indomitable co-captain Rodney, with our teen roadies Arwen and Will. There was plenty of room for cooking, eating, lounging, and sleeping for all of us with room to spare for two additional younger sized youth with convertible tables and couches for night use.
This RV was the largest we have driven, yet it handled smoothly with great visibility and fewer blind spots than our SUV at home. Anyone who feels comfortable driving a truck or minivan will manage navigation with a Class C well, with no special licensing required. Inside, we had all the comforts of home with a four burner stove, oven, refrigerator/freezer, and tons of cabinet storage that locked securely keeping our belongings tucked away in case of any bumps in the road. The rear contained a queen sized bed and upfront there is a full-sized cabover sleeping area. Adding to the convenience was an onboard shower and bathroom with a flush toilet – so thankfully, no middle of the night, chilly treks to the bathroom for us!
Click to see more of the interior of this model
Before picking up our RV, we made runs to our local grocery store with lists for our carefully planned meals decided on by the family the night before. We also saved money by bringing a bunch of items we already had from home, like garbage bags, cleaning supplies, spices, pots and pans, bedding, linens; and other pantry items measured in just the right amounts for our favorite weekend recipes (can’t leave home without my grits!).
Rue’s Favorite Creamy Grits Recipe (from SpryLiving.com)
Leaving the early afternoon on a Friday allowed us to spend a leisurely four hours on the road from the RV pick up, and we used the WAZE app to weave around the usual traffic. By 5pm, we arrived at the resort with plenty of light on our side to tour the site, and selected one of their first-come-first serve spacious and shaded camp spaces.
Yosemite Lakes RV Resort sits in a prime location overlooking a beautiful river landscape, just minutes from Yosemite’s entrance with options for all style of campers. Guests can drive in and select a cozy yurt that overlooks the scenic river, stay in a park model cabin, or pitch a tent along the developed hillside if they don’t have their own RV.
The hospitality and check-in at the camp was warm, quick, and informative thanks to our cool camp ranger Jeremy. And at our site, we were able to get our water and electricity hooked up within minutes before we took off to explore the camp’s many other amenities. With a television and Wi-Fi in the main lodge, the teens and man were eager to unwind from our marathon preparations and drive, catch a glimpse of the Game 3 of the World Series, and share some of our adventure on social media before settling in for dinner.
By nightfall, we were more than ready to throw down on the grill some pre-marinated steaks, along with garlicky potatoes and asparagus, before the evening campfire with ranger Jeremy.
We finally tucked in for the night after the last toasted marshmallow was consumed, with lots of family jokes and giggles, excitedly looking forward to the splendor of Yosemite Valley the next morning.
Our adventure was well underway.
Check out part 2 of Rue’s Yosemite Adventure!