Life at Lake of the Springs
When I first arrived here everything looked vaguely familiar. Ten years ago we lived in Sonoma County, and, other than the lack of vineyards and million dollar houses, this area looks the same: lots of Oak and Manzanita trees on gently sloping hills with huge boulders poking up through the earth. Here and there is a field of rice or hay or some other sort of grass for cows. The cows have it good up here. Twenty or so share a field large enough to build a whole neighborhood on. Personally, I prefer the free range cows to rows and rows of grapes and too-close neighbors.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I was in a state of exhausted shock when I first drove into this campground. Although it felt like the middle of nowhere, I could tell by the size of the entrance sign that it was, indeed, somewhere. People have been camping here for over forty years, bringing their children, grandchildren, church groups and all the friends they can convince to go camping. It was once a private hunting preserve with deer and rabbits and quail and various types of fish. When Thousand Trails bought it there were only 20 or so campsites. Now it has over 500 sites for all kinds of campers—tents, trailers, fifth wheels, motorhomes and more and more cabins every year. Most of the people we talk to say they “grew up here,” meaning they came camping here when they were children. Now they bring their children and their children’s friends.
Lake of the Springs seems to be a sanctuary for hard working people from the Sacramento area. It’s just far enough away from the traffic and congestion to make it special. “The place sells itself,” said the assistant manager when we arrived. She was right. Our best sales have been by word of mouth. Period. No matter how many flyers, or phone calls or emails we put out there, it’s the “my friend said I should join” memberships that flow through our office effortlessly.
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