Wow! This might be my new favorite place. Back in the days when I used to bike a lot, I must have ridden past this place a dozen times. But I never ventured down the winding road toward the campground, so I had no idea it was even there. I really like it and this may be a go to spot for quick weekends away.
Winter in California isn’t exactly as dramatic as in other parts of the country, but it does still follow the same general rules of days getting shorter. So, we have attempted to find locations closer to home so as to minimize the driving and unhitching in the dark. And you can’t get much closer than this place unless we start trying to camp in our neighbors’ driveway across the street. And they don’t have hookups, so they’re probably safe. We knew it was going to actually rain for part of the weekend and we honestly almost bailed and stayed home. So glad we didn’t!
The campground is off Redwood Road, which is a very popular ride for bicyclists around here. But, to get to the campground, you have to go another 2+ miles down a narrow, windy drive. On your way, you pass a turnoff to a shooting range, located on the appropriately named: “Public Gun Range Road”. We made sure not to turn that way by mistake.
Our site was really nice. There were full hookups and we were right in the middle of a Eucalyptus forest. Nice views all around, spacious sites, good cell service for both ATT and Verizon. I give it a 10. Richard thinks more around an 8, but I add extra points for cell service and ease of drive. The only thing was that our site was not very level. We used the Caravan Mover to swing Dory around perpendicular in the site and that did it. It also gave us a spectacular view out the windows in the morning.
As we were setting up, a couple stopped by in their car and asked us for “an unusual favor”. They had tickets to a concert in SF that night and they realized, too late, that the main gate would be closed after 10pm and they’d have to walk the 2+ miles in the dark. So I offered to pick them up at the gate. They said “Oh, I’m sure it will be not much later than 10.” but we both were skeptical about that at the time. It in fact ended up being closer to midnight when they called from the gate, but I would not have wanted to do that hike in the dark if I were them, so was happy to help them out. In exchange (besides being super thankful), they gave me a bottle of wine and a tour of their R-Pod camper the next day. I looked at R-Pods, but they were pretty much a non starter as soon as I discovered the garage storing capabilities and overall cool factor of the Alto. Cute though, and they were happy with theirs.
Saturday we did a lovely hike down to Lake Chabot. There were very few people in the campground, so it was an extremely pleasant little walk. The level of the lake was noticeably low and we ended up sitting on a dock by the water to eat lunch. The wooden walkway leading from the shore to the water was dangerously steep and it took us a long time to figure out it was not intended to be that way. If the water level had been where it usually is, the whole dock would have floated higher, thus making the walkway more level. In fact, across the water, we saw what looked like a dock that was completely out of the water, just sort of hanging off the bank, going to nothing. We noted how many ducks and seagulls were out on the water and appreciated not being birds who had to be cold and wet all the time. Then we took a (very) slow pace, hiking up out of the lake and back to the campgrounds.
We noted lots of sites that seemed nice, but some of the ones with the nicest views were quite far from the bathrooms. I won’t go into a TMI level of detail here, but we do use campground bathrooms for some things, so we’d have to think about that before reserving one of those.
We got back to Dory around 3, had some hot chocolate, and just sat inside with the propane heater running and stared out the windows. I took a couple of pictures of my latest organizational addition for the shower. We have been putting shampoo and soap bottles on top of the toilet seat (with cover on) when showering. The only thing is, the hose from the shower sprayer often knocks the bottles off and onto the floor. If the caps are open, the floor gets cleaner, but you lose a fair amount of shampoo and soap. So I hung this netted thing just to hold bottles while camped. We do not tow this way, or I bet they’d all knock around too much. But this, plus the new Trekr washcloth I got, made me so excited I forgot to actually wash my hair. Definitely shower happy here. Also still very happy with the Aquabot I mentioned in my last post. Again, we either used far less gray water, or the indicator light is stuck at 2.
I am getting pretty comfortable writing reports in Dory and knocked out two of them this weekend. To score a formal special education assessment and write up a report takes me about four hours each if I’m not getting distracted. I find Dory to be a pretty conducive space for focused work actually, and I’m quite comfortable sitting in my Cookie Monster corner with music playing and perhaps a glass of wine (but not until after I’ve scored, just to make sure I’m fully coherent during that part). When there’s hot spotting available, I can keep up with email and what not, so I end up being fairly productive in the evenings.
It started raining pretty heavily during the wee hours Sunday and I awoke to my favorite sound. I really do love staring out the windows, listening to the rain on the roof, while all cozy and warm inside. We discovered that if we leave the window to the door open and clip back the privacy curtain to allow air flow, the CO detector will not go off, even with the ceiling fan closed and the propane heater on. We’ve had it go off when the fan is closed before, and the only way to get it to stop beeping is by running the fan on high. When it’s raining, you can’t do that and we didn’t want to have to pull a fuse at 4am, so we were happy that the window solution worked. It was a bit damp by the door, but not puddly or anything, so that’s fine.
We got a nice break from rain around 11 and were able to hitch up, get home, and get Dory in the garage without getting wet. All around, this was a great weekend. Pity Chabot has a maximum 30 day stay per year. I’ll have to keep looking for other close by fun spots, but I think this one is going to be among my personal favorites. As long as you are not bothered by the dulcet sounds of echoing gunfire coming from somewhere in the nearby hills, I would highly recommend the place. Bathrooms were meh, but we don’t really care about that part.
Total miles: 14.2, Engine Time: 44 minutes, 15.2 mpg
Site 9. Premium site, full hookups, very nice, but not that level. Sites 10 & 11 also looked nice and perhaps more level. Sites 69 & 70 in the far loop don’t have any hookups and are very far from a bathroom, but have spectacular views of the lake. Pretty good cell signal.