March 2, 2015

The Trailer Has To Come First

Yesterday was the 'big day'.  We headed up the hill to Ghost Mountain Ranch Resort to hear the shpeel 90 minute presentation about why we should part with our money and become the newest members of the private RV club called Colorado River Adventures, CRA.

Ron and I had decided to make a day out of it.  After all, we were driving over an hour away to visit the place so we might as well have fun along the way.

We left the house around 11:00.  We didn't have to be at the resort until 2:00.  We wanted to have lunch in Placerville and then continue up the hill to Ghost Mountain.  We were hoping to eat at a brew pub.  After a few stops along the way we didn't have as much time as we were hoping.  We drove through Old Town Placerville hoping to find someplace to grab a quick bite.  We drove down Main Street past the Old Hangman's Tree, past the souvenir shops, past the chain restaurants.  Near the far end of Old Town we spotted our dining destination.  A small hole in the wall deli called Main Street Melters.

little hole in the wall

The weather was great!  Although it was a bit chilly, we enjoyed sunny skies and a light breeze with puffy clouds here and there.   The place was fairly busy for a Sunday afternoon.  We were third in line so we had enough time to peruse the menu.  We both looked at the area of the menu highlighting warm sandwiches.  Ron ordered The Big Boy which had plenty of roast beef and cheese melted inside a warm sourdough roll.  I ordered The Philly which boasted sausage, cheese and egg on a warm french roll.  We did end up waiting for our food for maybe 20 minutes or so.  Hard to believe it would take that long but whatever... we enjoyed the people watching while we waited.  Unfortunately, something was missing from my sandwich - the egg was no where to be seen.  I wasn't about to wait for another sandwich and ate it anyways.  It was delicious and we were both satisfied enough that we'd give them another shot at making our lunch should we find ourselves in the area again.  We both liked the outdoor seating area with it's wrap around bar.

Ghost Mountain Ranch Resort was another 20 minutes up the freeway.  We were surprised when we drove through a residential area.  I bet the residents don't like it much when 'camping season' is in full swing.  After a couple more turns we were there.

almost there...

not too busy yet, it's nice and quiet right now

We arrived at Ghost Mountain right on time and were introduced to George.   George said his TV wasn't working so he couldn't show us the video of the park.  No worries, we had seen it on their website when we researched the park.  He asked us questions about how we found out about them, about our children, about our RVing plans and about our previous camping experiences.

George wrote a lot of numbers on his scratch paper for us to look at.  It amazed me how he could write upside down (so we could see it better).  We were shown how much money the membership cost and how much the yearly dues are.  We were shown the various extras that come with the membership.  We were shown the different levels of membership.

Here's how it breaks down:
  • The Platinum Membership costs $11365 with yearly dues of $449.
  • The Gold Membership costs $9865 with yearly dues of $449.
  • The Silver Membership costs $8395 with yearly dues of $449.
The only difference between the membership levels is how much it costs to rent their on-property cabins.  For us, the Silver Membership would be the best option.

With their membership you are allowed to stay in the resort system for 14 days (they have 10 resorts to choose from).  Then before your next 14 day stay you must be off property for 7 days.  There are never any additional camping fees at their resorts.  The CRA membership also includes Coast To Coast membership, Good Sam Club membership and a few other extras.

It really is a good deal if that's the way you like to travel.  For us, we saw the benefits of having a CRA membership - IF we had our trailer!!

So after over two hours of sitting with George in his cubicle, we left without a membership.  Our consolation prize is: 20 nights camping at their resort (no weekends though), a small Android tablet (worth $40 in our opinion), $100 worth of gas (have to prepay at Shell, four visits at $25 each max, and 60 days between visits) and a 3 day/2 night stay at select hotels.

Will we use the free camping?  Yes, after we get our travel trailer.

Will we use the tablet?  Probably but not for anything too complicated.  The screen is small and it has to be at just the right angle to see the screen well.     

Will we bother with the Shell gas rebate program?  Hell yes, it's still free gas!!

Will we go some place and take advantage of the 3 day/2 night mini vacation?  Yes, we could use a mini vacation in nearby Lake Tahoe.  And we could use some of the free gas to get there...

UPDATE:  3/6/2015
Thank you for your comments!  Having had a few days to think it over and having your input, we are glad that we didn't jump off the deep end and purchase this membership.  


  1. Doesn't sound like the pitch was too aggressive, and I'm glad you get to take advantage of the freebies. I'm surprised it was just you two and the salesperson, I expected a big presentation with more people. Hysterical that his tv didn't work!! A little getaway to Tahoe will be a nice break this summer!

    1. No big room filled with hopefuls was a nice change. George and Wayne,the financing guy, were both nice and easy to talk with.
      I was expecting a golf cart tour but I guess since we didn't buy into the program we'll have to wait until our first visit to see the grounds.
      There are plenty of places to take the freebie weekend. I'm thinking Tahoe will be a good destination. It's been a while since we've been there too.

  2. I can't imagine why anyone would "invest" (NOT) in such a membership. Certainly not us, when there are so many places to see and stay for free boondocking. I guess it's to each his or her own.

    And then to have them not even provide a tour after saying the video could not be watched? That would have sealed the deal. No need to even meet the financing guy.

    1. Ron and I would like to boondock a bit too but I can't see ourselves doing it all the time. The value I perceived in this membership was the Coast to Coast portion. As we talked with George he had a wall map of all the campground locations within their system. I spotted ones close to where our children are currently living, Oklahoma and Maryland. It would nice to have a campground nearby when we visit them. Of course, once we're on the road we may decide that we were right to pass this up...
      Yes, the not getting a tour bummed me too.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting Ed. I'll be sure to take a look at your blog as well.

  3. We've sat in on one of those presentations. We didn't like the 2 week max stay especially when you want to be near one of the kids. You'll find it's nice to park for a month or two here and there to catch up and regroup. Plus we would never spend that kind of money and then have severe restrictions.

    1. For an added fee of $95 you can stay in the campsite for the seven days between the two 14 day stays. But then, you must leave. So really, there is a 35 night stay limit. You're right, not much time when visiting with the kiddos.
      I'm glad I'm getting readers opinions of this 'deal'. It puts different ideas into my head.
      I like that you belong to the Elks. My step-dad is a past president of his lodge. My mom is also a past-president of the Emblem chapter at their lodge. When we're ready to begin our journey, they'll help us become members. That might work out better than the expensive resort membership.
      Thanks for reading and commenting Ingrid.


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