HomeCRA -- Colorado River Adventures


Membership Contracts

I strongly recommend that you do not buy a new CRA membership.  If you want a membership, there are many people who would like to either sell their contract or even give them away.

The demise of the Class A and 5th wheels has caused demand for RV park contracts to go down while the sales pressure has gone up.  New contracts sound great -- but cost more.  If you have a membership, CRA will not permit you to just abandon it: you must resell it or continue to pay the annual maintenance fee until you die.  Maybe a good lawyer can help.

The CRA sales people are great: they can make black appear white.  Even the CRA sales posters lie: Free shrimp.  One hour drive. Etc.

Attempting to transfer a membership will cause extreme CRA pressure on your buyer to instead obtain a new contract.  The membership transfer fee is high. CRA increases the annual maintenance fee for your buyer over what you are paying.  The remainder of the process is not fun.  After all, you are costing CRA thousands of dollars when you transfer your membership..  I have offered to give my membership to people only to have my customer buy a new contract after talking to a CRA sales person.

If you are interested in selling or giving away your membership, please send me your email address.

If you are interested in a membership for very little money, I can send you the list of these emails.

These lists are not long and are of short duration.  If you have any information in this area, please let me know.  I make nothing on such referrals.

It is interesting to me that years ago you could just drive in and stay for your two weeks and leave.  Now, you must make reservations and their reservation computer is cruel and will often tell you that a park is full when it is at least half empty.  Remember that using your membership costs them money.

You can still just use your time but CRA has found ways to add fees and increase existing fees such that you can often stay at a local motel for less money.  To be fair, the last time I tried to rent a trailer at 1000 Trails, it was cheaper to rent the motel room.

I have heard that CRA has bought back memberships from people that they thought were hurting their image.  But I think more than a few web page words are required for this action.

Another Warning

CRA will invite you to a free weekend at any of their parks.  Sounds great.  All you must do is listen to their spiel and sign that you have been there.  Oops.  What you sign is a note stating that you will buy a contract only from them.   You may not take advantage of their free weekend and then join CRA by buying someone else's contract.

I consider this dirty pool.  When you buy a contract, part of their sales pitch is that you may sell it.  CRA already makes it hard to sell by maximizing the maintenance fee and charging more than $1,000 for the transfer.  Limiting the sale to people who have not visited the parks is downright dirty.


It's a Desert, People

The Colorado River runs through some of the most beautiful and most desolate desert in America.  This means that the enjoyable season in these parks is in the winter.  KQ Ranch and Cherry Valley are exceptions: they are not in the desert.  The home park, Emerald Cover is on the river and quite large.  Power boat people live here even during the summer.  This is a somewhat different group than live here in the winter.

This is a desert. If you come in the summer, some of the parks shut down.  El Golfo and Yuma Lakes, for example, are open but have none of the facilities working.  No clubhouse activities.  In fact, no activities at all.  If you do not bring your own amusement or cannot amuse yourselves, you will quickly leave.  This can mean a long, hot, unhappy drive unless hot, dry, desert is what you want.  We have people who believe the sales spiel arrive in August and expect free shrimp and lobster.  There is never free anything.  There is never lobster.  In season, there are shrimp for sale at good prices.  In season, the park has an activity schedule.  Out of season, it is so hot that your RV air conditioner will not keep you cool -- and there is no shade.

A Good Word

If you have one of the coupon books for extra stays, they are like cash: lose them and they are gone.  When my RV was stolen, so were my books.  I requested new ones and they sent me one of the two.  CRA claimed the other was no longer issued.  I am thankful for the one as I used it every year at El Golfo.  They did not have to do this.

A Bad Word

CRA will scam its own members. For example, I received a call one day from the home office (Robin). I was informed my contract was invalid and that I must drive to the home office to correct the problem. I was told that this absolutely was not another sales promotion but that I would receive $60 for gas and a TV dish for making the trip. This was after I asked many questions trying to identify the source of the contract problem and why I must go to them to rectify it. So I took a week vacation and drove to Emerald Cove to talk with them. There was nothing wrong with my contract -- the trip was solely to promote the AOR campground association. I listened patiently and requested my money and dish. No money.  No dish.  When I protested they gave me a $10 certificate for their store and a $20 certificate for the gas station down the street. That price was $1.88 where the price in town was $1.40. Scam the public if you must -- but do not scam your own members.

After that, the CRA RV parks are not parks. They are RV parking lots. The lots abut each other with no attempt at being part of a natural setting.  At the Lake Havasu park little old ladies in the office make sure that any enjoyment you might have found is quickly ruined.

The first year, I arrived at El Golfo with my paid week out coupon book and my 30 stay coupon book.  I had planned to stay for two weeks but I liked El Golfo so much, I used the books.  I used my two weeks and then the paid week out coupon.  I staid that week and two more weeks on contract.  Then I used the 30-day coupon and then two more weeks.  11 weeks total.   Great.  I loved El Golfo.  After a few years CRA changed the rules: two weeks or a coupon.  Every year they manage to shrink the contract apparently within legal limits.

Phone Access

Notes:

CRA used to be one of the strong supporters of the Coast to Coast Organization.  This is history: some CRA parks no longer accept Coast to Coast.  This does not impact me since I could not use Coast to Coast at a CRA park anyway: I bought Coast to Coast through my CRA membership.

Synopsis by Park

Cherry Valley Lakes

Cell: Phones work well.  Location:   34.0N 117.0W    ZIP: 92223

Directions: This is confusing so read carefully.

This is a cute little park of primary interest to the Riverside area for weekend getaways. The hookups are good and the park is clean.

The major drawbacks are the noise from I-10 (which runs parallel to the park) and the small sites.  The noise never stops.  The  noise reduction wall doesn't.

The sites were built before slides were popular: it gets really cramped in here.  Most sites are level, asphalt, drive-thrus with full hook-ups.  The tiny grass islands with two picnic tables and large trees are cute but leave people wiggling their RVs into positions such that they do not step on each others belongings nor run their awning into a tree.  Me, I would rather have the nice tree than worry about the artificial shade from an awning.  The drive-roads are overhung with a lot of RV tail ends.  Enjoy the pool and the fishing pond and the banana splits.

The park is the only thing here: no local attractions.

There are better places to stay if you are interested in amusement parks (e.g. Disneyland) or dune buggies.  This is a rural area only to those people who are accustomed to downtown Los Angeles. Many people come here to listen to the CRA sales spiel.  The sales office is not quite honest about El Golfo.  Visitors are told that there is free shrimp -- all you can eat.  They are also told that El Golfo is one hour south of Yuma -- this is actually printed on a large poster in the sales office window. With all this, I really doubt the remainder of the sales spiel.

Effort has been made to accommodate the lager RVs but with all of the owned land, the sites are still far too small.  The Cherry Valley park was bought as a contract alternative park when a fire threatened KQ Ranch.  CRA was afraid of contract cancellations.

Emerald Cove

From Parker, AZ::   Go across the bridge to CA.   Turn south/right-- follow the river until you get to the park on the river side.  You cannot miss it.

This is the CRA home park.
The sites are packed so closely that you measure your distance from the ramada (if you have one) in inches on either side of your rig.
In the summer you need the ramada. Dual ACs will not keep you cool in this climate after April.
Nothing of value here.  Socialize with your neighbors or drive your high-power boat on the Colorado River.
Trying to hike outside the park is impossible without Vaseline for your nose: they septic across the highway: walking into the hills makes you nauseous.
Boat trailers park in the roadway so that getting in and out of the sites is impossible without finding a trailer owner.

Cell: None.  Go back to Parker for cell coverage. Location:  34.2N 114.3W   ZIP: 92242

KQ Ranch

I am not a member of this park. I have not been here.

Lake Havasu

This is a giant gravel parking lot with hookups. There is an adult center in the middle of the park. The park uses both sides of the street but the river side is not so pretty -- they use it for Coast-To-Coast reservations.  The river side is really nicer than the member-only side but is sort of run down.

The only reason to be here is to overnight between other parks or visit Lake Havasu.

Lake Havasu is an Arizona retirement community growing very fast after a slow start for the last 20 years.  Nothing here but the rebuilt London Bridge and many little shops under the bridge.  I understand London wants their bridge back – claim that they misunderstood that it was being moved to Arizona!?

Cell: In town only but service and quality are very poor. Note 1. Location:  34.5N 114.4W   ZIP: 86404

North Shore

Go West of Colorado River on I-40.   Exit River Road/W. Broadway.   North along river at stop   1 mile to gate.    I have not been here.

Yuma Lakes

The CRA directions are a bit confusing.  I think I stated it better.

See the off-season description of El Golfo: it is much the same.

Nothing here but a sick lake and lots of sites.

BLM Land

At the CRA park turnoff, go straight instead to BLM land – you may spend overnights here.  CRA calls this Gilligan's Island.
The BLM land gets crowded and smells during the season.  Register at the flag when it is up.

Yuma has historical significance but nobody bothers any more.  "People do not go to Yuma -- they get sent to Yuma".  The primary entities here are the marine air base and the Ford proving grounds.  The original territorial prison is now a museum.  Yuma is now the third or fourth fastest growing city I the country.  If you like it, buy now while you still can.

The sales tax is confusing in Yuma.  The tax gets up to 10.8%.  Other places in Arizona get up to 12%.

Algodones:   Go west on I-8 to the Algodones exit.  South a mile to the Indian reservation parking lot.  This is the best Mexico crossing coming north.  This is where you go to the dentist, buy glasses or buy drugs.  Careful coming back to the USA with drugs.  You can park your RV in the park or boondock up the hill.  On the hill they will find you,

Cell: Getting there.  Location: 32.7N 114.5W  ZIP: 85365

El Golfo de Santa Clara

From San Luis take Sonora RC highway 3 south until it ends at the park. 

See my web page on El Golfo.

Like most CRA parks, life in this park is seasonal.  The season is from October to Easter.  During that time, the clubhouse and activities are part of the social life.  Off season the park is open, the clubhouse is closed and there are no activities.

Off season the holidays get busy with ATV's.  Other people come off season just to avoid the crowds and the social life.

This park is the primary (only?) reason to join CRA.

It is not much different than the others in architecture: park your RVs right up next to each other.

The difference is in the environment and the people.  The employees  are really great people. The whole world is at peace in El Golfo.

Beach front spaces are in high demand but the corrosive ocean spray will cover the back of your rig.  I avoid beach sites.

The night guard or other workers, wash rigs -- $30 gets you the best wash you have ever had.  $30 mores gets your rig waxed.

El Golfo is on a sand beach overlooking the Gulf of California / Sea of Cortez.  The village of El Golfo de Santa Clara is immediately north.

You can buy fish at the stores north of the park.  Ask the park management for the preferred store.

You can buy water at the water store across from the school or in the park.  The Park has good inexpensive water pumps for your 5-gallon bottles.

During the season, trucks stop at the gate with PROPANE, fresh produce, shrimp, and fish.

Cell:  Be careful here – many work but you pay a premium rate  Internet: WiFi wireless is available. Location:  31.7N 114.5ZIP: None

DishTV:  Az: 167   El: 51   Skew: 94 (Dish and Direct values are posted at the clubhouse)

Suggestions?  Questions?  Comments?  Push Home/eMail above.
Written:  2003          Updated:  November 6, 2010             Back to Top