Friday, September 11, 2015

McCloud Dance Country RV Resort

The first thing we noticed were rampaging seniors apparently intent on capturing and hoarding picnic tables. We quickly secured our table from the mob. We suspect its demise is planned when we leave. They have erected shade canopies over two long rows of table and one row is conspicuously short a table - yet is covered by shade.  We're at our first "RV Resort." We had planned to stay at Castle Crags State Park, but noted the  21 ft maximum trailer length. Samantha, the GPS, found us the Dance Country RV Resort.  We pulled in and quickly decided we'd stay one night, instead of two.  We also noted a distinct lack of children - a serious defect in Stacia's  estimation.  
The park is lush green, nestled amongst fir trees in the shadow of Mt. Shasta. Laundry is $1.50 a wash and $1.00 per 10 min of drying time. A creek meanders through the impeccably kept grounds. It's quiet - quiet hours run from 8:00 p.m. - 9:00 a.m. - the longest we've seen.  They gave a 10% military discount,  have showers and intermittent wifi.

A row of darling cabins grace the rear of the property and a field of tents rest apart from the RVs.  

What's not to like?
It's very crowded. The rates are the highest we've paid so far. Seriously, this would be a great park if they'd take 30-50% of the sites away.

Tent Site - $28 per night

Water & electric - back in - $37 per night

Full-hookup - back in 30 amp $40 per night

Full hook up - back in 50 amp- $44 per night

Pull through full-hookups  with 50 amp - $44 per night

There is a $2 kid tax added per child - which they didn't charge us. We did receive a 10% military discount bringing our rate to $39 a night.

It was a lovely spot to spend a night.  It would be a good base camp to explore the area. Visit their website here

Fun Fact: Michael noted the wifi was screaming when we arrived. At 8 p.m. everyone went inside (group think is strong) and the wifi died. Moral of the story - keep the octogenarians outside talking.

Stacia wonders why they call it, Dance Country RV Park, "It's mostly old people who aren't going to be dancing, anyway."

Beale Fam Camp

Fam Camps are campgrounds operated by the Air Force. All military branches operate recreation facilities - the Air Force seems to be the only one using this title. To keep down labels in the sidebar I am going to label all military campgrounds as Fam Camps.

Beale's Fam Camp is nestled in the rolling foothills next to Lower Blackwelder Lake. As this is year 3 of a drought in the area, the lake looks more like a small pond and the hills are golden....BUT the area has a wide-open beauty, there are fish in the lake and it's a nice place to land.
Beale hosts 44 30/50 amp paved full-hookups and a field for tent sites.  The sites are spacious and most (if not all) have their own grassy area.
Smoke from the Butte Fire turned the sky wild

There is a nice air conditioned lounge with TV, game closet,  fridge, oven and a book swap. Monthly events are held for those staying at Fam Camp. The bathroom/showers are clean and the laundry room is the best we've seen yet. There are only 2 washer/dryers but they are new and work well. It's $1.50 to wash and $1.00  to dry for 52 minutes.  Free Wi-fi is advertised. This is our 3rd stay  here and it seems to only work up by the lounge/laundry area - very fast there.  One of the best features of Beale's Fam Camp is the friendly and helpful host, Mike. I have enjoyed my conversations with him.  Another fun element of Beale Fam Camp is the sense of community. We are new enough at this that I'm not sure if it's because it's a fam camp or because of the full-timers on extended stays.  We had several kids asking us when we'd be back as we left.
Our Gherkins in the Fam Camp Lounge
Beale is near Sacramento, gold rush towns, Empire Mine,  rivers, lakes and within a day's drive to the Sierra Nevada's, the Bay Area and much more.  Beale, was a hopping place during WW2.  There are old ruins out by the Fam Camp. An interesting spot to stop on base is the old POW cell block - ask at the front desk for directions.
The advertised maximum length of stay is 120 days per calendar year.  Beyond 120 days you must have an extension from  a commander (FSS?). I was told they must keep that number at 25% or below.  This means, even with the full-time population, there never seems to be trouble getting a spot.  We have run into trouble at a couple of other Fam Camps. Reservations are accepted and can be made up to 45 days in advance. You can make a reservation at 530-634-3382.

Full hook-ups are $18 a day for Active Duty, Reservist, Retired Military, and  National Guard. They are $20 a day for DOD Civilians, Retired DOD and sponsored guests. Dry campsites are $8 a day. Visit Beale's Fam Camp website. 

God Writes Our Story

God writes our story. We rest in this. We do not feel like we are done with ministry. We know being missionaries is seeming unlikely. We only knew we had retired. He writes the story.

PLOT TWIST!!! (You saw that coming?)
I am trying to put this in civilian speak. Background - Michael had his retirement CEREMONY on 14 Aug. He is now on TERMINAL LEAVE (vacation time owed to us) and his RETIREMENT is to be administratively EFFECTIVE 1 NOV.

We saw Dr. Lee, a WONDERFUL, retired then rehired, military Christian doc. He wants the best for us. He said Michael's diagnosis on 31 Aug  of Parkinsonism (even if the diagnosis doesn't progress to Parkinson's Disease) is an automatic medical hold and "Medical Evaluation Board" (MEB).  It is OUR CHOICE to simply not say a word and retire on 1 Nov as planned.  However, if we do that, we have to "fight" the VA system to label Parkinson's a "Service connected" disability - this takes years.  It matters because of life-long income and medical care.
If, on the other hand, we allow him to submit the request for a medical hold/MEB, the DoD will determine Michael's disability, he'll be active duty when the diagnosis is finalized and they navigate the VA rather than us navigating the VA system alone. When pressed, he admitted he thinks this will be best for us. We agreed.

Dr. Lee is submitting the request to Randolph AFB. They will determine if they want us to retire 1 Nov or if they will place him on medical hold and have him face an MEB.  Until then, we are on TERMINAL LEAVE and we plan to go on leave and enjoy ourselves until we are notified we are on medical hold and need to get back to Beale - or that we are not facing an MEB and we can go fight the VA system.  Prayers appreciated for the process to work out as God intends.
Yes, we've moved into the Caboose and we plan to stay there. The man who coordinates records for the VA for those going through MEB boards says on average it takes 12 - 18 months to get a final decision. Dr. Lee thinks they'll move much faster.  

Our heads are spinning, but our souls and hearts are sure! I realized I wasn't putting much stock in "Parkinsonism" until hearing Dr. Lee's reaction and seeing how seriously the military takes this brought it all home.
Now - we are heading for the beach, the mountains - somewhere and will be in touch by Sunday.