Camp Petaluma Replacing SPRING Tower Park 4/18-23/17

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Re: Camp Petaluma Replacing SPRING Tower Park 4/18-23/17

Post by softskin_driver » Sun May 14, 2017 5:08 pm

I want everyone to know I am reading all these posts, and I am taking notes gleaning what I can and adding that to all the other input I am receiving that needs to be discussed with KOA Management.
This discussion can and probably will go on for sometime and because of that I think its important we all think about what we hope to accomplish and try and do that constructively.
I spent a couple years with John and several others putting together a convention which I believe was an awesome accomplishment. I thought I would be able to take a breather after the dust cleared. It didn't work out that way and I started right in on finding a replacement for Camp Delta even before the convention ended. Why because I love this club and my hobby, many of you have known me for over 30 years I consider many of you my extended family. I have friends in this hobby all over the world.
Is it so hard to think that as long as we are together having fun we should be happy. Well for me its that simple. Yeah I can be a butt head but the great thing is we are all family. So I continue to step up. Look at my plate!
On the topic of using military bases, as many know, I organized the Camp Roberts events for seven years working with Dirk Hale and the various command structures in charge of Roberts and Hunter Liggett. Those of us that attended these events had great fun. And I would say many like me miss Camp Roberts. The event was different than any other I have been to.
We would go out after breakfast and drive all the old roads and off-road areas in the back country on the ranges all day 7 or 8 hours. We roughed it by sleeping in the old barracks and cooking our meals in the old mess halls. This type of venue was great for a bunch of people that really wanted to explore the old ranges and really put their MVs to use in a off road and closed-to-civilian traffic environment. I think if you were to ask, most would say it was really not a family event or even a great swapmeet event. Don't get me wrong we had a few really understanding ladies and some sellers who didn't mind leaving there stuff behind while we were gone all day. Those dealers left behind in camp were in a ghost town while we were out having fun. Both Roberts and Hunter Liggett have RV campgrounds. The problem is they are a long way away from where the rest of the group and action will be. They both also have BOQ facilities that are very reasonably priced. These also are not near the mess were we watched movies played cards and hung out at night. Availability is determined by troop movements of course. Lots of parking and lots of open bay squad type restroom and shower facilities. Great fun for those that really don't mind being together in close quarters and having some awesome fun with the MV's.

On to the fairgrounds idea. I believe the MVCC could put something together at Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton. So what would we gain and what would we loose. That's really how we look at finding a new home after Camp Delta at Tower Park. Well, John V and John N hit on a couple things like cost if we rented buildings. but a couple things were missed like the $10 parking fee if we did not rent the parking lot for the week which we would have to charge parking to pay back the rent and supply the attendants.

The full hookups at Pleasanton are on a blacktop with no trees, which is fine if it stays cool but what if it doesn't. The showers facilities are not going to work for a large group we would have to rent two units; that would be $3000 for the week. What about food and water? We would need to arrange for vendors to come in or dry camp the duration without water and power, we could rent power distribution for the walnut grove again there is a cost to recoup. Fairgrounds charge for everything you use with the idea the renting organization gets that money back by charging table and space fees as well as a entrance fee.


Finding a spot for our group is a balancing act and if your the one balancing this act, you have to pick the best venue with the least amount of loss as possible. In that case I am the one that found, visited and got us in KOA Petaluma. It took lots of work. And more trips from San Jose to that location than I want to say. I can't remember how many times I was out on the road driving to campgrounds only to get there and find a concrete jungle or worse a owner with what he thought was a gold mine.

It was not my intention to discourage anyone one whether a member or not from attending any MVCC event anyone that knows me knows I am against that. I want to grow our club as much as anyone else. I really thought Petaluma would work but what I am hearing is it probably won't. My problem is as President I have to listen to all the members concerns and consider what's the majority's thoughts are.

I visited campgrounds from the Sierra foothills out on Highway 49, all the way down to the Thousand Trails "Gold Mine" in San Benito near Monterey. I have to say after all that driving, I think it's time for some others to go look. It's a big area..Who knows, maybe there is another Tower Park out there.

Here is some food for thought.
The owner of Camp Petaluma is Chris Wood or Woody, as he likes to be called has told me, if we had the meet later in the year he would open the whole place up to us help us advertise the event. to that point I was surprised to see all the winter over campers in the flat Redwood Grove gone the week after we left when I went to my first after action meeting. I asked about the possibility of that happening a week earlier. They leave the first week of May and next year we are a week later in April than this year the last week. Woody mentioned three day visitors passes with a discount, is that enough, we would have to sell them I am trying to negotiate some other things like kids under 16 for free. Most of our issues will fall back on parking and his need to choke the gate to keep the onsite need for parking to a minimum. On the shuttle, we used his vehicles and drivers. He charged us $500 a day for two days. I negotiated for $500 of the gate fees, so we only paid KOA $500. That came from the MVCC Treasury. We cannot afford to have shuttles with his cost for four days. And we can not use membership dues (treasury) to shuttle non members. We need to come up with some parking and internal solution for shuttling if that parking is off site. This would not be a problem later in the year because the two pastures would be dry. We do not have their use in April. The MVCC would have to collect a fee to recoup the cost of the shuttles I did negotiate the use of the lot by the Henny Penny from its owner (not the Henny Penny) and if we used the trailer storage area Woody gave us we could make this work. I was told we had 300 visitors pay for day use Friday and 500 on Saturday. That was the gate.
To accomplish tasks like manning a gate and shuttling people into the KOA we will need team work. For this kind of work most clubs like ours rely on volunteers.
The only way to completely eliminate the hilly terrain is to find a new venue. There are work arounds if you can't walk the hills, you have to ride. Sounds like that is getting some push back as well.
I would like to restate that I am not at all in anyway against non members attending our events. The more the merrier. Day use fee and parking need to be addressed.
Lastly Joann told me the day we pulled out Sunday we have a wait list for spots with 41 names. Woody has told me that right around 50% has put rollover money on there 2018 spots. That was a week ago last Thursday.
This is an election year all the board positions are on the ballot. We had a very large group at the general membership meeting we had no volunteers/nominations to run for the board.
We are a very small group working for a very large group your input and help are always welcome. :)
Dave Ball
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Re: Camp Petaluma Replacing SPRING Tower Park 4/18-23/17

Post by Chuck Lutz » Mon May 15, 2017 10:24 am

Thank you Dave for the update.
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Re: Camp Petaluma Replacing SPRING Tower Park 4/18-23/17

Post by Sailorman » Tue May 16, 2017 11:18 am

Pardon me if this has already been mentioned but have we considered Casini Campground in Duncan Mills? The terrain is flat, it's on the scenic Russian River, there's plenty of nearby parking, there is a general store on site and a restaurant nearby, more primitive than Petaluma, they have a few rustic cabins but it's primarily a 'campground'.

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Re: Camp Petaluma Replacing SPRING Tower Park 4/18-23/17

Post by Greg Lalonde » Tue May 16, 2017 6:21 pm

hey sailor man.i know who you are, but i wont tell.i camp at casini ranch twice a year,with my family and we like it alot.its big,its on the russian river,large camp sites,there is quite a few rv sites,and its only 6 miles from the coast.this would be a great place for our meet but,it would be a longer drive for our members.for those who wouldnt mind driving 45 minutes further,it is worth the drive.also there is a large field for parking.the town of guerneville which is 6 miles away, has a safeway store and alot of other things.a nice golf course near buy to.i dont have a problem with petaluma,as a matter of fact,i think its a nice place.alot of work went to getting this place for our meet so lets give it another chance. if it doesnt work next year maybe dave could contact paul casini.he knows who we are.

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Re: Camp Petaluma Replacing SPRING Tower Park 4/18-23/17

Post by softskin_driver » Tue May 16, 2017 10:02 pm

Hi Greg, I don't know sailorman but have a pretty good idea who he is. I did visit The Ranch and John Neuenburg knows Paul and I heard the park manager is one of the Calvary reenactors that came to Tower.
Lot further north and it being off the highway a ways does not help with getting the public out to buy stuff or as all the sellers are telling me we need foot traffic.
So yes we have a in at Casini but does it have everything we need? Thanks for the lead and keep on looking. Anyone out on the highway 5 and 99 corridors know of a large resort near to the highway with over 300 sites?
Dave Ball
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Re: Camp Petaluma Replacing SPRING Tower Park 4/18-23/17

Post by mfrance » Wed May 17, 2017 2:45 pm

Hello to all,
I would like to thank Dave Ball for giving us a location to even meet up at, have a social outing with friends with all the green machines that we all feel passionate about.. much better than not having one at all...
We all have best interests in place, slowly things will smooth out positive or negative... just glad we have a location...
only major flaw I personally know of is the closed facility to the public... I personally sent customers of my business to the location parking area (Henny Penny) Tuesday,Wednesday, Thursday.. all to be annoyed with me as they were sent away being told it's a members only meet after walking the distance to the entrance.... If that can be ironed out as we say all are welcome (public included -ALL DAYS) then vendors will stick around it can only benefit club ..

Was also very nice to see what I thought was a more supportive significant other (ie. Wife -girlfriend ) showing at this gathering ..seemed like a lot more women represented by showing up.... was it location change?

Once again thank you to all who drive with parts for sale , vehicles to display , and Dave for getting it together in such a short time...
Michael France

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Re: Camp Petaluma Replacing SPRING Tower Park 4/18-23/17

Post by timsresort » Thu May 18, 2017 7:13 pm

I personally was fine with Petaluma, and think everyone did a great job at finding a location and moving the event. Before it became known that Petaluma was chosen as the new site, I was going to suggest 49er Village RV park in Plymouth on highway 49. It's flat, large, has some cabins, has plenty to do around, (gold rush towns, wine country etc), plenty of back roads, and is situated right next door to the Amador County fairgrounds. Did that get a look already?
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Re: Camp Petaluma Replacing SPRING Tower Park 4/18-23/17

Post by softskin_driver » Thu May 18, 2017 7:54 pm

I did visit the 49er kind of remote from San Jose I took 16 from 5 not sure but what's the weather like there in April?
Also limited on site qty we need at least 230 sites dedicated to us.
Anyone camp there in September? Foot traffic and dealers getting out there worried me with the remoteness.
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Re: Camp Petaluma Replacing SPRING Tower Park 4/18-23/17

Post by timsresort » Thu May 18, 2017 8:12 pm

It is a little remote, about 40 mins. SE of Sac. Weather in April is great, not far off of Lodi at that time. September might be warm, but cooler than Lodi. Looks like they have 325 total spaces.
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Re: Camp Petaluma Replacing SPRING Tower Park 4/18-23/17

Post by John Boy » Thu May 18, 2017 9:11 pm

Have not followed this thread, but i did view the you tube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcfnAkWwpCs and was impressed with the 49 village. Will take a trip out there and check it out. Worth consideration.
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Re: Camp Petaluma Replacing SPRING Tower Park 4/18-23/17

Post by softskin_driver » Fri May 19, 2017 11:45 am

Be interested in knowing how they feel about large groups. With vehicles?
Didn't get the feeling they had enough room. Looks like they have permanent residents or long term stay.
We need 230 for April about half that for September. Still think it's pretty remote close to an hour drive from the interstate for those with big loads on trailers. Pretty far off the path for the heavy stuff to make the trip. Most dealers like Ron hotel it so need a city with those nearby.
Let us know what you find out and thanks for your help.
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Re: Camp Petaluma Replacing SPRING Tower Park 4/18-23/17

Post by Chuck Lutz » Fri May 19, 2017 3:06 pm

I know its too late now to ask everyone while we were at Petaluma and getting club members to respond may not happen but...if we are looking for a new location, we should at least know what the members can settle for and what is a necessity, right? Also ask if they currently share with other club members or non club members to get a handle on what we need.

So questions like this would help in the search as I don't believe we need 300 pull-through RV campsites as we didn't have that at TP anyway.

1) Do you bring an RV or truck camper?
2) Can you get by with just AC and a sewer like we had at TP?
3) Do you tent camp? Do others in your site bring tents?
4) How many people regularly stay with you in your site? Spring? Fall?
5) Is a fire ring important to you?
6) Is a swimming pool important to you? (PS, I asked Petaluma KOA and no, too early in the season to heat it for us!)
7) In your campsite what is the total number of vehicles you have? Of that, how many are MVs?
8) We used to have Woodson Bridge up north and Big Bear down south as our two annual meets. Would you be willing to drive the same distance to any potential new location if we found one that far from your location?

For me:
1) Truck
2) yes
3) sometimes a tent, sometimes in their car
4) two
5) negotiable but preferred
6) NOPE
7) Spring: four/two and in the fall 3/2
8) yes
Chuck Lutz

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Re: Camp Petaluma Replacing SPRING Tower Park 4/18-23/17

Post by timsresort » Fri May 19, 2017 8:32 pm

(I Really like Petaluma), but, the run up 16 to Plymouth from 50 shouldn't be a deal breaker. All good scenic road. The motel situation could be a little sparse. Maybe between the towns of Plymouth, Sutter Creek, Jackson, all within 15 minutes, there could be enough rooms. I have no knowledge of how a resort will feel about our event, but would hope that we could fill a relatively slow occupancy period, and it might work for them.
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Re: Camp Petaluma Replacing SPRING Tower Park 4/18-23/17

Post by softskin_driver » Fri May 19, 2017 10:13 pm

Hi Tim...
I think that the 49er was second or third on the list. Thousand Trails San Benito camp ground (14 miles south of Hollister) was on the top of list also. We may need one of these two for the fall meet. Our plan now today is to have the spring meet at Camp Petaluma next year 2018. We are going to try and work out some of the first year bugs.
I have not been able to confirm this but from what I was told by one of the desk people at Tower park when I called to confirm this is they may charge a day use fee of $15 a person plus $5 fee per car to park. They will enforce the wrist bands, driving restrictions and one vehicle per site. I have a call into Jelly Stone Management to find out if they are going to relax these rules for our group. Some of our members have visited there to see what's actually been completed so far and I have been told the water slides have not gone in but they have converted many back in sites to pull through sites and added many cabins. I plan on making a visit there in a couple weeks after the holiday to confirm what I am hearing from our members and Jelly Stone.
In my phone call Monday and my visit I will try and confirm if they are going to relax any of the rules I am hearing about. For now Tower Park is still the plan for this Septembers fall meet.

Hi Chuck a couple things I asked about at the 49er is we always like to book a block of sites as close together as possible (less walking). We are spread out about the same at Petaluma as Tower Park where CG 1,2and 3 were outside the CG4 gate and Petaluma has a couple hills.
One of the things about the 49er in my notes was they could not guarantee we could have (block) even a hundred sites at the same end of the park. That's a big place. Lots of walking/shopping. Getting scattered around would be a bummer.
I drove my weapons carrier to Woodsons bridge several times when the heat index on the highway could melt your tennis shoes I do not have a problem with the ride out to the 49er others will. Highway 16 reminded me of 12 except lots longer which was always a big complaint with our members driving the old iron in off of 5 on 12. I tow my stuff nowadays and ride in a big truck with all the comforts of home. The younger people don't always have that luxury. I didn't until my 50's. Big bear was off the beaten path and you had to pass through Modesto and again I did that in my old Dodge. Joann has lots of collected info from the members that she got while getting people into the right site for there camping style at Camp Petaluma. Many of your bullet points can be answered with that collected data.
Bottom line five of us can not speak for several hundred. I need more input. I will visit the 49er again. Just to be sure confirm this is the place we are all talking about.
Far Horizons 49er Village RV Resort - Resort 18265 CA-49 Plymouth, CA 95669 (209) 245-6981 http://www.49ervillage.com
Dave Ball
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Re: Camp Petaluma Replacing SPRING Tower Park 4/18-23/17

Post by Greg Lalonde » Sat May 20, 2017 6:06 pm

to all members who this may concern.i googled the 49er camp ground ,i personally think this place is a little far out for most members.although it looks like a nice place.i dont think glen ghilotti or john soreson would like to tow their tanks or pbr up that far.lets all mellow out and give petaluma a chance.we will make it work.as a club,we will make it work.this will be my last post on the matter.greg l. signing off
Last edited by Greg Lalonde on Sun May 21, 2017 12:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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