We received an email from one of our readers, Barry Silverman in early May. His comments about the Camp West Fork Pickleball facility he built and his family’s RV adventures were fascinating. After a few emails back and forth, Barry and his wife Zoe graciously agreed to share their RV Picklers’s story in his own words here.
Zoe and I found each other 10 years ago and one of the many things that attracted me to her was her love of
adventure. Her father had introduced her to fly fishing when she was a child. That being one of my passions, we started taking fishing trips early in our relationship. Living in Montana, the fly fishing and scenery are stunning everywhere we fish and we decided to buy a camping trailer to fully enjoy all that Montana has to offer. We decided on a 26′ Jayco bumper pull bunk house model for a number of reasons. Pulling the trailer with our pickup truck gave us the pickup bed to store all of our fishing gear, a vehicle to launch and retrieve our pontoon boat, and a utility vehicle to use for other projects. The built in bunks meant that when I used the trailer with my fishing buddies, we wouldn’t have to make beds or convert dining tables each morning.
Five years ago we bought a split level co-op in an adult community in Orange County, California called Laguna Woods. Only 7 miles from Laguna Beach, one of the most wonderful beaches in the US, Laguna Woods Village offers adults an active lifestyle very similar to the Villages in Florida, only without the humidity and bugs. Since we have two dogs, we wanted a “mud seasons” location we could drive to easily and we were able to leave our Big Sky home before sunrise and go to sleep in our California beds by 10 pm that night.
During our first stay in Laguna Woods Village, we rode our bikes to the paddle tennis/pickleball courts. Some people were playing pickleball and when they saw us, they immediately suggested we grab paddles and try it. So we did.
Novice to Pickleball Fanatics
I grew up with a father that was a fabulous ping-pong player and he taught and trained me from the time I was 9. I became a “ranked” tournament player as a teenager. From there I played tournament racquetball and lots of tennis, so having a paddle or racquet in my hand was natural. The wear and tear on my body from both racquetball and tennis forced me to give both up many years ago.
Zoe, on the other hand, was a soccer player and college coach and had no racquet sports in her background, so picking up the game was a bit harder for her. We quickly became addicted to the game, and as soon as we returned to Big Sky for the summer we visited with our community parks department and suggested that they line two of the four community tennis courts for pickleball. They were very receptive and a few weeks later the first two Big Sky pickleball courts were created. We ordered portable nets from the USAPA and started the Big Sky pickleball club. Four years have passed and we now have 6 courts and about 100 members playing outdoors in summer and indoors in the winter.
Becoming RV Picklers
We immediately became USAPA Ambassadors (and more recently District Ambassadors) and last September attended the second annual ambassador’s retreat at Club Med in Port St. Lucie. We met lots of fun, neat people and many of them were RVers. We decided that rather than only spending our off-seasons in California, we would visit other pickleball venues and people we met in a motor coach.
After doing our research, we decided that a Jayco Seneca Class C would suit us best. We purchased a new 2016 37hj model, in California two weeks ago and took delivery at the Nevada state line so we could register it in Montana.
Camp West Fork Pickleball
Last summer we decided to build two pickleball courts on our property, which we call Camp West Fork Pickleball. The courts were completed just two weeks before hosting our first “pickleball boot camp”. National champions Scott and Daniel Moore brought four couples to our all-inclusive week. Zoe and I provided luxurious lodging, great meals and lots of activities other than pickleball. The week was a big success, so much so that one on the couples put their own group together for a repeat this July. That will be one of two camps this summer. We are hoping to host more camps and encourage pickleball players to come, bring friends or a group. We have dedicated RV sites with water and electric service and our property can accommodate up to 12 people beside RVers. For the full story visit our website.
Camp West Fork
Editor’s Note: We want to thank Barry and Zoe for sharing their story with us and allowing us to share it with all of you. We also want to thank them for the invitation to visit Camp West Fork Pickleball which is only 17 miles from Yellowstone National Park.