Tag Archives: San diego

Sweetwater People

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Owen is always excited to explore outdoors

The people of Sweetwater are more of a camping crowd rather than a majority of them being a full-time RVing crowd. The full-timers that end up there are usually doing it to get out of Pio Pi for the one week that you need to be out of the campground before checking back in or they might just be quickly passing through. There are TONS of open spaces, so the crowd is more spread out. Everyone generally keeps to themselves. People will say ‘Hi’ and chat a little bit, but it isn’t anything like the people that are in Pio Pico.

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Enjoying the campfire

Sweetwater is more inside the city of San Diego instead of being ‘back country’, as they would call Pio Pico. Because of that, there is a lot more city sounds than Pio Pico. It seems people keep to themselves a bit more or perhaps it is that they are out in the city more often. Our dog, Ana, gets greeted less frenquently and we see less people out for a walk. Ana is such an attention craving dog. She needs to see others out on her walks or she starts to get antsy…or so it seems. I haven’t really asked her much about the matter. Either way, while there, she gets less attention from neighbors.

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Nice defined front area with fire pit

Other than the social aspect, there are still a couple more downsides, like the fact that they do not have a laundromat. So to do laundry I either have to take the kids to a laundromat or go to a friend’s house. Lucky for me, I have a couple great friends that let me do laundry at their house. They do generally charge visitors a parking fee when they come to visit us, and once we were even charged a fee for our extra car. It also costs us to stay there where it costs us nothing extra, aside from our membership dues, to stay at any of the Thousand Trails resort.

The main perk of staying in Sweetwater, other than being closer to the city and friends, is that we can actually have a wood fire there. In Pio Pico, you can only do composite wood or coal. It’s nice to have an actual wood fire and roast marshmallows over it. Here in San Diego county, we take fire safety seriously. It is so easy to spark a wild fire, so campgrounds like to have more controlled fires. Also, here in Pio Pico, they don’t have fire pits at every site like they do in Sweetwater.

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Getting ready to leave

Another good thing is we do have cell signal in Sweetwater, but no wifi as we do in Pio Pico. However, that doesn’t help us any when we put on a (educational usually…hah) show for Owen. Streaming eats up our mobile hot spot data. We can still easily make phone calls, which we are not able to easily, or reliably, do in Pio Pico (it involves hiking up a hill for guaranteed signal or hoping wifi calling works).

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They played around with snails while we prepped the rig to move

After spending a couple of weeks in another Thousand Trails resort, we decided we probably will only go to Sweetwater when we are wanting to have friends over for a campfire. Basically, just for a fun weekend. There are some really pretty views, hiking trails, and a concrete slab to park our rig on, but it isn’t enough to keep us there regularly.

Have you stayed at many different campgrounds? Do you have a favorite that you always return to? Next blog post will be about why we move every 1-3 weeks!

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Pio Pico People

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We stayed at Pio Pico for 5 weeks total and we really enjoyed it. We were away from the city and in a lovely community. Honestly, the community of full-time RV living families there are older retired couples. There are younger ones, of course, but the people we saw most often there were older and retired. We really got along with the people that we have stopped to chat with.

One couple in particular was very friendly and helpful. Joyce, Warren, and their dog Noel. Joyce immediately fell in love with our dog, Ana, and was talking to us because of her. While we were there, the family caught the stomach flu and Joyce came to our RV every morning for 6 days to walk Ana in the morning so that I wouldn’t have to both with both kids and a dog while ill. That was such a tremendous help!

We did meet a couple that was a little closer to our age and they also had two younger daughters. Unfortunately, they do a lot of traveling and we’re there for just the night. Since we are a military family, we have become experts and quickly becoming friendly with people, so we stayed late st their RV, had some beers, and watched the kids play together. I ended up talking about home births (the woman had 2 home births in Canada!!) and breastfeeding (of course). It was a nice little visit even though it wouldn’t happen again.

It’s not that many of the people are trashy, but they definitely have moments of lacking class, although I don’t know what I was expecting. On a couple of mornings when my husband played golf, I took the kids to the Coyote Canyon Cafe to get breakfast. Both times while I was there, I saw people bring in their own cans of cheap beer. I mean, at least make it a craft beer.

Unfortunately, we haven’t gotten outside furniture or an enclosure (for the kids) yet, so we haven’t spent tons of time outside of the RV. The times where we did spend more time outside while grilling, we did have some people stop by chat with us. We’ve met a lot of military people and people escaping from states like South Dakota. Everyone says ‘hi’ to each other and comments on our cute dog and cute kids. There was even a chili cook off and hot rod show there. I love the small community feeling! I trust this community more than I trusted the military housing community that we lived in before. I can even leave some belongings out front without the fear of it getting stolen.

Not only are the people in Pio Pico so friendly and kind, but the area is incredibly lovely. Pio Pico is in the unincorporated community called Jamul. It is just outside of San Diego City, so you get more nature and less sounds. We love escaping the city to be in such a peaceful area. There’s even a nice little trail deeper into the valley that Pio Pico in tucked into that has lots of great fields that would make for a perfect family photo opportunity.

Unfortunately we aren’t paying the extra money to rent a spot on a monthly basis, so we can only stay there for up to 3 weeks at a time. However, we can return after being off the resort for a week.

We’ve been staying at a campground in Bonita, which is another unincorporated community in San Diego, at a small daily fee, which is where we are currently staying.

Next blog post I will write about staying in Sweetwater. Do you feel like the area you live in has a nice community? If you could, would you like to be able to pick up and leave somewhere, with your home, to go to a better community? Do you think we will have the same opinion about Sweetwater?

The Move

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Two days before our move, my husband sprained his ankle quite badly. He was hopping off of his truck while he was installing a box on his truck’s bed. I took him to the ER after it started to swell up and an xray and hours later we found out it was just a sprain. They gave him crutches and said to stay off of his foot. The worst timing for an injury.

So despite his foot, I was able to get the trailer packed and ready to go with a little help from him and my friends. Saturday, our sweet Valentine’s Day, was spent adding the rest of our items to the trailer and checking in to the RV Resort. My husband left before me while I grabbed food and dropped something off at my friend’s. When I arrived, he had already found a spot on the less ideal side of the RV Resort here in Pio Pico.

There are two sides here. There is a side that is kept up better that includes all of the amenities and then there is a side that doesn’t have black and gray (urine and feces/shower and sinks) hook ups, pools, laundry, or anything else. Basically, it is just a slab of dirt with a grill in between the two campsites. You are able to hook up to electric and water, but that’s it.

It is the end of day two and our black (urine and feces) tank is already 2/3rds full! They come once a week with a truck to pump out your black and gray tanks, so you need to be careful, which we clearly have not been. So this last time that I needed to go pee, I just went to to bathroom/showers that they have on this side. While I hate using public bathrooms, it was very, very warm, which I appreciated. It is over 10 degrees cooler here than in the city and it takes some getting used to. Not only is it cooler at night, but it is also warmer during the day. That’s what happens in the desert. We’re used to living near the beach I’m the city.

Tomorrow, I plan on going to the check-in area to try and get a crossover site. We would LOVE to be over on the nicer side, but it has been pretty full here with “snowbirds”, which is people escaping the cold so they travel to warmer areas. You have to show up early, between 0830 and 0845, to hear your name called. If your name is called, you get to cross over to the nicer site that has sewage hook ups so thst you don’t have to worry about your tanks filling up too quickly.

Saturday we were able to get our place put together nicely and then today, sunday, we went back to our house to try and empty out more of our belongings along with sorting the rest into “store” and “donate” piles. We actually have a lot of storage on the trailer so we have brought a.lot of our things with us. We’ve also gotten rid of a lot of our things, which has been very liberating.

Today was the first day that I did cooking. I decided to bring two cast iron skillets and one stainless steel. The cast iron skillet are not well seasoned yet and I tried to make fried eggs in them but failed miserably. Not only was my cast iron giving me a hard time, but our trailer is on a slop and we haven’t gotten the leveling blocks yet, so everything in the pan slopes towards me, which leads to uneven cooking. I cooked dinner here, as well, and had some of the same issues. I was out of butter, so that messed up the rice pilaf and the slope made cooking very difficult. I attempted to make tacos. Hopefully we will go to the other side soon.

Not only is cooking different, but cleaning, as well. It is much easier for this small space to feel cluttered and dirty, so I have to keep up with cleaning more so than our house. I also have to get used to the fact that we don’t have a dishwasher. On the bright side, we have a very open (haha) floor plan, so I can see the TV from the sink.

Rememeber how I mentioned that the side we are currently on is not as nice? Well, here is a, um, gross story to prove that. A friend of ours that does fulltime RV living, too, called this side the trailer park and the other side the RV resort and we can see why. When we got home tonight with some extra things and packages from the house, we were excited. I opened the green rug for the dirt area in front of our RV and as I was laying it down. I could smell shit. Sorry for using such a vulgar word, but it smelled like shit. I was so confused. I wondered if we were doing things wrong with our trailer or if the neighbor was. I quickly scanned the neighboring campsite and immediately saw one of those toilets for someone that was disabled. You know…the little.seat with the bars? And yeah…there were flies buzzing around it. They moved their shit-filled pot to the outside. So disgusting. We called the main office to report them since this RV Resort is trying to keep the place nice.

I think there are two kinds of people that live here: the kind that live here out of necessity because maybe they cannot afford a better place, and then the kind that live here because they want to. We want to. We want to save money. We want to get out of the city. We want a new way of living. I feel sorry for those than need to do this.

Hopefully tomorrow we will be get off of this side and on to the nicer side. We really are already enjoying our time here. I took the kids on a little nature walk and my son played in the dirt. I played it off to my husband like I had no clue why our son tracked in tons of dirt. I secretly enjoyed it. It is nice to be able to quickly take the kids out for a walk without having to drive somewhere. This city girl is going to need time to adjudt, but I think it will work out just fine.

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He loved finding a dirt wall to climb

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She loved playing in the dirt

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Could things be more perfect? Sunshine and dirt

Also, after 2.5 years of living in San Diego City, I forgot how bright the stars can be.

Pio Pico

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A view of the first RV resort thst we will be staying at.

A couple days ago we bought our membership to the RV Resort that we wild be staying in called Thousand Trails. We got the upgraded membership which allows us to stay at any of the resorts for up to 3 weeks at a time without paying a monthly fee or any fees for electricity or water. The downside is we will be moving every 3 weeks, but the upside is that we will be saving tons of money. To pay for a monthly spot, it would cost $750 a month.

The RV resort is very family oriented. They have a mini golf course, a community center, pools, hot tub, laundry, lounge, playground, and different monthly activities. There is also security so it is a very safe area. There are a lot of people with kids and that do the same thing that we will be doing. Here in San Diego County, there are two different RV resorts through Thousand Trails, so we won’t have to travel far between the two. I think I will enjoy the change.

Pio Pico is the name of the first RV resort thst we will be staying at  we already reserved our stay starting February 14th. That will be our Valentine’s Day – settling in to our new home. Since we are new members, we get 2 free weeks, so we will be able to stay at that resort for 5 weeks straight which will give us plenty of time to settle in.

All of this seems great, right? Except that we feel like we are no where close to being ready! Our house is still a mess and we have many belongings left that we need to sort and purge. We don’t even have the trailer yet! Today we are going to be renting a storage unit and moving things that we are keeping there. Hopefully that will help us feel more optimistic.

Full Time Rv Living

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My husband and I have done a lot of thinking and decided that living full time in an RV trailer will be a good decision for us as a family. It wasn’t an easy decision to come to, but considering all the pros and cons, we realized this would be a good adventure for our family.

Currently, we do not have a trailer but we know the style that we want. We saw one with a great sized living area, which we decided to be very important for us.

For now, until we find the perfect trailer for the perfect price, we are minimizing our belongings so the transition will be easier and we won’t have a ton of things in the trailer. We do plan on keeping some in storage, but we are getting rid of a lot of big items that we want to buy new after we are done with this adventure.

More updates to come later. We’re already so busy purging our belongings and it feels so liberating!