We made a list of the seven Thousand Trails resorts we've stayed at and sorted them from favorite to least favorite. Russian River is right at the top. It is interesting that it made it that high because it has no sewer, we were there in a heat wave and had many days in which we were miserable because of the weather. The grounds are hilly and the camping sites are very close together. There were some annual season people near us who were noisy and there were alot of noisy dogs. The lodge internet was unusable. There, sounds like it should be at the bottom of the list right?
So here's the reason's for such a high rating. The entire park is paved. Granted its old, but no potholes and no dust was wonderful. The rangers are awesome here. Everyone knew them by name. They are always bustling about working away. They always wave when you drive by (I need to disclose that all of the TT employees are nice at every park and wave when you drive/walk by).
We were able to setup in a very good pull through site with no side neighbors, and one side was shaded and on a hill. The people in front and behind us are annual sites and the front people were only there a few days of our three week stay. We liked the animals there quail, wild cats (looked pretty tame to me) and deer. The annual site owner behind us told us the cats are wild, but I wonder, they rubbed on his legs and slept on his car. We saw four different cats during our stay. He said there used to be ten or more.
Mail can be sent to the park and they deliver it to your site. This ended up being wonderful because our mi-fi device went bad and we were able to get it replaced very quickly. I would not have been comfortable shipping to any of the other parks we've stayed at. It was at this location that I secured us a leased cell data line with a very, very high data limit. Though the lodge internet was totally sub-par, the Verizon cell signal here was strong. For the first time in our travels we were able to freely play games, watch videos, stream Prime shows etc. The satisfied feeling of having unlimited internet though not a direct result of this location, it started here so will get the credit.
We were only 15 minutes from an "intermediate" level disc golf course that we made many visits to. Combine our proximity to a course with the fact that we watched HOURS of disc golf tournaments with our new data plan, we thoroughly enjoyed this aspect of our location. We made a jump in skill level due to how often we were able to play and practice what we'd watched. The course has a shaded putting basket we would come to use when it was too hot to play. We even setup our practice basket down by the river one night.
They had a food shack that made breakfast on the weekends. It was a nice short walk and the price was very good. Biscuits and gravy! YUM!
On Monday before we left there was a wildfire up on highway 101, just one hill away. We were told to be ready to evacuate. Luckily it was the coolest day (85 degrees) and we decided to go ahead and pack a day early and be ready to move down to San Benito if the evacuation was called. There was a couple of hours of planes and helicopters flying water to the fire and then it got quiet. You could smell the fire and see the smoke. Then a few hours later it got quiet, and the smoke and smell disappeared. That was a bit of excitement, and a memory we will not forget.
As an aside = The highways in this area are TERRIBLE. I mean so poorly maintained and trecherous with 55 to 65 mph speeds. I was shocked that California would have such bad roads. One road we drove on from the Ocean back to home was sooooo bad it narrowed down to a one lane bumpy road with signs on the buildings near it saying SLOW DOWN spray painted on plywood and propped up. This road should have had a disclosure stating how bad it was. I cannot imagine driving it in any sort of RV, even a truck with a camper would have been bad.
I guess to sum it up, for us a camping location is more than just the sum of its parts. You have to factor in the memories, activities and people as well.