To Be Continued portion …
The TT Idyllwild lodge is an oddly structured building built on a slight slope. It has four levels and ground floor is mostly level 3 (L3),
but could be level 2 (L2) (depends which end of the building one enters). In terms of enclosed space L3 > L1 > L2 > L4. Before I left on my early afternoon
trip to Rancho Mirage/Cathedral City the lodge was a happening place - pool or ping pong games going, a couple of board games, TV viewing on
levels 2 and 4, Video games, etc. I went upstairs and guy was watching baseball game on TV. In between innings, he would switch channels so his
younger sister could enjoy a different channel.
TT Idyllwild has bees. Not enough to really pester, but I did have to move from one bench to another while having my dinner. After dinner,
went down to lodge again. Dude from earlier in the day had just started watching Spiderman (the first one, with the Green Goblin as villain).
Even though I know the plot, I opted to watch Spidey again - it has been a few years since my last viewing. While watching the movie, can occasionally
hear the store manager talking to customers, including mention of the seasonal aspect to the store (and cafe which may or may not open in 2022)
Idyllwild - fun town. Paid another visit. Was going to try a different restaurant this visit - Idyllwild Pizza Co (does not open for another half
hour), so I walk around before heading to Atomic Cow Creamery for ice cream. Atomic Cow also makes some good sandwiches. In the vicinity, is
another popular business - Higher Grounds (a coffee and tea shop), and a sock shop! While enjoying my ice cream, I hear a couple discussing
a special music & arts school in the area. Seems like a nice area to have such a school.
My original plans focused around TT Idyllwild. I had an extra day to spare, so I visit the lodge again. Given that it’s Sunday, the lodge
is more quiet today. TV dude is there again, but now, with two younger sisters. Since I’m in SoCal, make plans to survey “Knight territory” - it turns
out another Thousand Trails location is closer than I thought. TV dude and his sisters are watching a second Spidey movie. I leave prior to the
end of movie. Back to camp - very quiet now. Down to just one other camp site occupied.
Pack up tent. Bees are around for a final send-off. Clean-up area and pack my stove. One more visit to lodge. TV dude and all his four sisters
are now in loft area (L4). Lodge has signs saying younger kids need to be accompanied by adults. So, probably only TV dude is allowed alone in the
lodge. Just some guesses
TV dude - 17-20 yo
sister 1 - 11-13 yo
sister 2 - 8-10 yo
sister 3 - 6-8 yo
sister 4 - 3.5- 5 yo
The group is watching Spiderman 3. Well, all but the youngest. I set up my laptop on a side table. Youngest is quite restless. Walks around the
loft area looking for something to entertain herself. A whole bunch of board games around. She asks her siblings “can we play a game?” Everyone is more
interested in watching Spidey. Movie ends, they take a break - down to the store for popcorn and snacks and visit restroom. TV dude has started
TV again - Spiderman 4 up next. Youngest again still restless. Wanders around the room, tries again with a couple of siblings “can we play a game?”
Again ignored. Adult in the room says, “I will play a game with you” Four heads turn to stare at me.
I suggest the side table so we are a. visible to her siblings b. not interfering with the movie viewing. She brings a game over. When I
recounted the story to my co-worker, he asked “Did you know how to play the game?” The game was “Chutes and Ladders” and well, ok, I am really
dating myself, … many, many years ago (45-50 years), I played the precursor to “Chutes and Ladders” i.e. “Snakes & Ladders”. Wow, lucky break
for me, she opted for a game that I understood the rules “Chutes and Ladders” uses a spinner instead of a die (minor difference). Munchkin
didn’t talk much, but was probably just glad she had someone who would play with her. About 10 min into the game, sister 3 joins us at the table, to
make sure game is “proceeding correctly”. About 5 min later, a parent shows up. Mom tells the kids they are leaving soon. TV dude is told to
go walk the dog (Biscuit), and mom asks the other kids to tidy up the loft area. Munchkin and I are still playing, and when mom comes over to the
table, munchkin turns to mother and says, “Can I finish the game?” Mom nixes that request, by asking, “who’s ahead?” I respond, “she is” and
mom declares munchkin the winner, and asks her to thank me.
Given that about 90 min earlier I didn’t even know the munchkin, … well, like the old credit card commercial … Value??? Priceless!!
Last year, on one trip, I visited TT Idyllwild via San Diego. When I detailed the trip, another Fool, knightof3, mentioned that Temecula was in
his backyard. His favorite hangout is Hemet (not!). Well, I had made a long trip from central CA, so why not visit another local place? And, it
turns out there is another Thousand Trails location/preserve in Menifee CA, about 40-45 miles away. If Temecula was in the Knight’s vicinity,
then Menifee was probably also in scope. A steep descent down Hwy-74, and a few left
and right turns, and I am eventually on Domenigoni Parkway. Once on the Parkway, fairly sizable housing construction activity - KB homes, Pulte
homes, Meritage homes, Lennar homes (I am sure I am missing a bunch). Once in Menifee, I messed up one of my turns and had to backtrack a little
to make my course correction. Unlike most TT locations, the Menifee location is in a residential neighborhood - I mean, literally bordering a
couple of gated communities. That’s different.
I arrived at Menifee TT in the middle of a planned power outage. Temps not as hot as Cathedral City, perhaps mid-90s, so still plenty hot.
A TT Menifee oddity? RV sites nicely segmented, but the tent area was just one giant open space, with very little tree covering. Oh well,
I’m only at Menifee TT for one day, so I will manage. Quickly set-up my tent, then I was off to grab some lunch. About a mile away, a shopping
plaza - Del Taco, Starbucks, McDonald’s, Grocery store (Stater Bros), etc. Del Taco for lunch and a couple of to-go items for later. Arrived
back at TT Menifee just when power was restored. The Preserve has a few canals in the middle of the park, but some of the walk bridges are
damaged/closed, so I get an unexpected long walk in the early evening. Other differences? A mini-FedEx/UPS pick-up location on site. Good WiFi
on-site and a fairly nice miniature golf course (but no equipment outside, maybe stored inside??) Conversations with a couple of guests - one has
never been to TT Idyllwild because he’s intimidated by the road turns and elevation with a 24 ft trailer. Another was not aware of rule mods at
some CA rest areas. Overall, TT Menifee: Pass
TT Menifee is fairly close to a freeway on-ramp (I-215 just a couple of miles away). But, 30-45 min on I-215, I encounter SoCal’s clogged
interchanges - First, I-215 & I-10 and then, I-215 & Hwy-60. After that, smooth driving for another half hour before … Deja Vu (all over again!)
Happened last year, though further up the road. I-15 Back-up abt 8 miles northbound, somewhat longer South - took about 45 min to get through that.
I was supposed to be keeping track of gas prices. Ok, $5.40/gal in Banning, $5.60 at a stop near Idyllwild. On the home stretch, a stop at
Kramer Junction - Pilot Flying J truck-stop (did y’all know this is a BRK-A/B investment?) and a Love’s Truck stop (Visalia) - both @ $5.09/gal.
Similar set-ups: Decent size convenience stores, each had a Subway sandwich store, Pilot’s also had a Cinnabon franchise in-store, while Love’s
has a McDonald’s. Love’s had showers available for truckers (while in any of the businesses, one would hear on the intercom, “#87 - Your shower
is now available”, “#89 your shower is now available”, etc). The other thing I noticed at Love’s - lots of locked electronic goods cabinets
Note to self: This could be a nice regular stop on Hwy-99 excursions
1a. Fresno (on return): when I headed South on Hwy-99, I thought the road construction segments to the side of the existing highway were
interchanges. The return trip made me rethink that assumption. If it was ongoing there would be more progress. What if its not? What if its
an abandoned project e.g. CA high speed rail project. If there are Fools in Tulare county, what’s the scoop? Maybe I will actually stop in
the area on a future trip.
The blinking D from #5? If it continues for a long time - Bad. I knew that part, that’s why I was alarmed. Some car forums on the Interwebs
suggest that other reasons for the signal is low transmission fluid levels, the CVT fluids getting hot or water getting into the mix. The last
one is my preferred explanation. Fuel costs - somewhat lower than I expected. I really thought I would be paying over $6/gal once or twice this
trip - didn’t happen. If it isn’t obvious, my favorite memory from the trip is interacting with a small human who even asked her mom, “Can I
finish the game?”, thereby answering my thought, “is she enjoying the game?” Plans for another trip soon.