New favorite place! We will definitely be coming back here, but will need to plan for the rather long and windy drive to and from. This would be perfect for long weekends and we haven’t even started to explore the area. How can one have been born and raised in CA and not know about Clear Lake?
This was a one nighter and rather spontaneous. Somehow I thought we had plans already for this weekend, but when I looked more closely at the calendar and realized we’d have *gasp* TWO straight weekends at home, I jumped online to see what I could get. We left with no great rush on Saturday morning and enjoyed a somewhat rainy drive north, through wine country, and beyond. Highway 29 gets very twisty once you go past Calistoga, but the road has all been redone and there are numerous passing lanes so you (I) don’t have to worry about holding up traffic.
As you continue north, you will enter the area of Lake County that was devastated by a huge wildfire in 2015. Some structures are new and clearly rebuilt, but some grim apocalyptic remnants remain. The vastness of the destruction takes one’s breath straight away. My thoughts were on a fellow Altoiste family who lost their home in Hidden Valley Lake. Very sad.
We took 175 off of 29 to cut up to the West side of the lake. There was another twisty section, and the road was narrower, but all in all not too bad. What I did decide from this trip was that I probably don’t want to do this drive in the dark. One way was about four hours too, so that may limit how and when we go up there.
We pulled in around 3 and had plenty of time to walk over to the visitor center and do a little hike up to an outlook spot. What a gorgeous area! Our site was right by a raised boardwalk trail along a little slough. Some of the sites in the campground are right on the lake and that will be what I go for when I book our next outing. There were some mosquitos, not bad, but enough for Richard to really appreciate being “indoory in Dory” by the end of the day. He said that phrase a lot.
To head home, we decided to try cutting over to 101 via Highway 175, which also proved to be very windy and much more narrow. The number of miles spent being twisty was less going this way, but it may have made up for it by being so much tighter and a bit deathy in places. During the daylight hours, going super slow, this was all fine. At night, when tired, coming at the end of a 4 hour drive, I’m thinking not so much. Both drives took about the same amount of time, though we did hit traffic once we got to 37. One possible plan would be to get to somewhere close-ish, like Cloverdale, on a Friday night, and then drive to the lake Saturday morning. Shall consider.
This weekend was quite relaxing, but we both wished we could have stayed longer. Nicely spaced campsites, good cell service, lots of wildlife, and near a huge body of water. Solar was great and could have kept up for many days at least. That gets a “10” on my rating scale and if we come back with a beachfront site, I may have to start doing all of my teaching from the lake. I’m sure we can arrange transportation of students somehow. No problem.
Total miles there (taking 29 & 175): 112.3, 16.7 mpg, 3 hours 50 minutes
Total miles home (taking 175 to 101): 138.6, 16.7 mpg, 4 hours even
Kelsey Creek Campground – Site 49 was fine, but the really nice ones would be premium sites: 58*, 59, or 60. Also nice, but not quite as beachy would be: 55, 56, 57. Sites 62, 63, and 64 are pretty, but would not get much solar.