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Google Earth helps avoid sharp turns and narrow roads

Have a big rig? Well, don’t go here! Some places are just not big-rig friendly. Looking for an idyllic off-the-beaten-path campground in Trinidad, California, I found what looked like a little piece of floral heaven! Azalea Glen RV park sounded beautiful. The reviews were amazing. The enticement to drive just a bit out of the way was extreme. So I booked!

Nestled near the beautiful redwood forests, it was a charming little private campground. Their acceptance booking email said they would take payment when we arrived. How quaint in this day and age. They also mentioned that there was a sharp curve and a narrow bridge leading into the property.

How narrow is too narrow?

That sparked an immediate call to the campground. How narrow, how sharp? We are 40’ towing. Can we make it? Without a picture, I had visions of the I-35 bridge collapse. She replied that lots of big rigs make it in—no problem.

I warned my husband and after we finally found the turn to the campground we were immediately at a narrow, sharp right turn onto a narrow, narrow private “bridge” with wooden rails. He inched forward.

Photo Credit Google Earth
Here’s the Google Earth image of the turn and bridge

Stop!

“STOP!” I screamed. I was watching the car in the backup camera inches from the wooden rails. He was watching the front driver’s corner on the wooden rails.

“DISCONNECT!” I screamed. Once disconnected, he very carefully and slowly retreated, straightened up and we made it over the bridge to the campground. There we were greeted by a profusion of flowers, vines, trees and gorgeous landscaping. It felt like a fairy garden.

Pull-through site

He slowly backed up, moved forward and squeezed into our “pull-through” site. It was so beautiful. Amazingly pretty and lush. But no, this place was not for big rigs. There were several trailers, a couple full-time fifth wheels and numerous Class B’s there. Certainly not another Class A. The foliage and landscaping was impressive. They even had a rustic greenhouse.

Photo credit Nanci Dixon
Photo credit: Nanci Dixon

Several times gardeners worked the grounds: deadheading spent flowers, trimming bushes and snipping errant vines. Our site was bordered on both sides by high ivy hedges and more delightful flowers.

Photo credit Nanci Dixon
Photo credit: Nanci Dixon

“How did you get in here?”

As we were leaving the next day several people stopped us asking how did we ever get in? Our answer? Carefully. Veeerrry carefully.

Getting out proved much easier than getting in. And now we have another fireside story to share our adventures and a lesson learned.

Moral of the story? Check Google Earth BEFORE we get to the campground or a potential campground, not after. You should do the same.

Photo credit Nanci Dixon
Photo credit Nanci Dixon

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Sherry B.
2 months ago

I have learned, “not big rig friendly” doesn’t always mean the campground, it might mean the road/access to the campground, so check the roads getting there. We stayed at a COE campground that had a 35′ trailer limit (not incl tow vehicle). We are at that on our 5th wheel, reviews talked about the white knuckle, 2 mile gravel road getting into the park, but said it was doable. We did it, campground was great, road was everything reviewers said it would be, and a week after we left they evac’d the campground and closed it down, the road gave way and no more access. So research the comments, using google earth is very helpful.

Ival Secrest
2 months ago

Your advice is sound. After 22 years of RVing with 10 as full-timers things happen. My wife is a planner and I am more go and see what happens. Yes, we have accumulated some campfire stories because of my lack of planning.

Spike
2 months ago

I never book anything without first reviewing Google Earth. I not only look at it to assess access to the campground but also to look at the roads and sites within the campground. I’ll compare what the campground map shows to Google Earth to choose a site that works for us. We are nearly 65′ towing so we need to be vigilant.

I wish Google Earth had better elevation change info, though. Still hard to see how a site slopes. It has some function, but not fine tuned enough.

Johnm405
2 months ago

I like to use google earth for places that I am not familiar with to see what the park looks like, how it is laid out how to enter and exit. Also, which way I will be facing after I am parked.

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