Day 1. There is no wilderness at Wilderness Lakes RV Resort in Menifee California – nor are there lakes. There are however, filthy canals and hundreds of ducks. We bought a year long “zone pass” membership to Thousand Trials for $565, which means we can stay at their RV Parks for 2 weeks at a time. There are 535 sites here at Wildness Lakes and every single one is full. We are all crammed in with the duck shit and the fighting geese. There’s no privacy so everyone hides in their rig with the air con on and their weird freaky hair glowing the light of the tv.
Day 3. There are a few good things about this place. There’s hot showers, flush toilets, 2 spas and a big pool. There’s a family lodge with power outlets and schelduled activities, including a board game room where you can borrow games for free. There’s also a good book exchange. The girls have made a friend and last night we went to see her sing with her family, in the Euphoria Family Band concert.
Day 6. Two old men pull up into our site in a golf cart. “Ma’am, ‘cuse me maaaaa’ am.” I hate being called ma’am. I emerge in my swimsuit and a towel, eating popcorn and frowning at them. “You need to display your pass in the windshield.” “Oh my husband has it and he’s in town.” Then they drop on me casually, “Oh, and your rig is not really allowed here.” I’m thinking, shit I can hardly drive this thing, I hope I don’t have to move it now. I argue that is has everything an RV has, and it’s in great condition. They take photos of it to send to HQ and say its out of their hands.
Day 7. Wilderness lakes staff made my new Canadian friend Melanie take down her hammock. They said “If they let her, then all the guests would put their hammocks up.”
Oh dear me, then f ***ing hell would break lose.
Day 8. We witness a spat between 2 old men in the spa. One wants the bubbles on and one does not. Neither wants to simply go into the other spa. It’s the principle of the thing, you see. They exit and enter the spa over 20 times to turn the switch on and off. Finally ones gets management, who says “Bubbles on.” The other leaves, miserably, but not without turning the bubbles off one last time.
Day 11. We leave the park. We know we have stayed 10 nights at shitty Wilderness Lakes for essentially US$60 per night. We received a letter saying the bus is not allowed in any of their RV Parks and that our membership is suspended to camping only.
All in all, the Thousand Trails pass provides great value for families traveling full-time who are not ready to leave suburbia or who need all the amenities for full-time online work. If you own a Skoolie or van and want to camp in actual wilderness, don’t waste your money. Living nomadically can be hard and challenging and if we had to stay in Thousand Trails RV parks, it wouldn’t make the struggle worth it. It’s the type of place you may want to come to occasionally for a swim and a shower, but get in and get out! An don’t turn the spa bubbles off.
UPDATE: A Thousand Trails has given us a full refund on our membership. Thank you to all those who commented saying we should get a refund, it encouraged us to pursue it. Thank you to A Thousand Trails and Thank you readers.