Brannan Island

We’re ok. Everything is ok.  We have our health. Our kids are safe. It’s going to be fine. We’ll take this one day at a time, breathe in, breathe out. It’s all going to be OK.

You guys. There is something wrong with the 12v espresso machine.

I know.

It’s going to be ok though. We’re going to make it through this and come out stronger on the other side. We can contact Techimpex and they will help us. They only speak Italian, but they will still help us. We should really buy a whole second machine, for parts. We could do that. I’m sure this can be fixed.

IMG_6300But I digress. We went to Brannan Island this weekend, despite the 100 degree forecast. We originally had reservations for a waterfront, non electric, site. I chickened out and changed at the last minute and there was luckily one site left with hookups. I could tell by the map that it was going to be in “Big Rig Land”, but … 100 degrees. So I took it and I have no regrets.

As it turned out, the temps didn’t even cross the 91 degree mark. No sweat! But we were still glad to have AC because we are weather babies. This blog post isn’t going to sound like we had fun this weekend. In print, it doesn’t appear to be that fun. I can’t explain why a weekend of casually cleaning, doing little projects, falling out of a chair, and freaking out over an Italian 12v espresso machine would objectively represent a perfect weekend, but it was.

IMG_6315Brannan Island was hopping with weekend party goers and boaters and there is a nicely accessible boating dock. There is a lot of construction on the bridge to get there however, which causes loooooong backups on Highway 160, so be aware of that.

When we got up Saturday and went through our normal routine, Richard made an alarming comment while making coffee. “What’s that smell?” he said. I looked over and saw wisps of smoke coming out of the back of the Techimpex. Then I could smell it too: the unmistakable odor of something electrical that is just never a good thing. As the shock slowly set in, we had to come up with a way to make emergency coffee. We ended up steeping the ESE pods in hot water. One of them exploded, which made my latte quite … rich, and somewhat chewy. Richard decided to expedite his bike ride preparations so he could go find some less gritty coffee on the road. I researched “Handpresso” hand pump espresso makers. We looked hard at those before getting the Italian 12v machine because they also use ESE pods. You know what? They make one in blue. So much for the camping spending freeze. We will do whatever it takes to repair the Techimpex, but in the meantime, and for emergency backups, we will need to have a solution. This is not discretionary spending here, this is life sustaining.

IMG_6312Richard went on his bike ride (that he is classifying as a “must do”). It’s called the Delta Loop, off of Highway 12. Highly recommended on a bicycle, and very flat. I spent Saturday cleaning Dory, putting up little cargo netting iPhone holders, and experimenting with my new inflatable Lamzac chair. This was a Kickstarter purchase from a few months back, and I was beginning to wonder if it was some kind of scam. But I did eventually get mine delivered. In the videos, there is a happy guy on a beach, who holds this floppy parachute material tube thing up, does two graceful swooshes to put air into the chambers, rolls up the ends and plops down like a boss, all in about 10 seconds. My experience was… different. IMG_6313I leapt right in without reading the 9-step line drawing directions, because duh, and started attempting to swoosh. Huh. So I looked more closely at the line drawing instructions. They seemed to be depicting a guy in motion, so I tried running. Ok, that was funny, I hope no one saw that. There is also a line drawing of a curvy arrow, indicating “don’t do this”. I’m not sure what that means. Maybe don’t try to spin around the way I was. Or don’t make wavy motions while you are running. In any case, the best I ever got was a floppy, barely filled, limp tube (don’t go there). However, if I rolled the closed end enough times, it did in fact force some amount of air into the back, thus allowing for an approximation of what I saw on the video.

So then, with this partially inflated donut thing on the ground, I tried to get in and experience weightless, carefree relaxation. Except I was immediately thrown out, nearly feet over shoulders, off the back. Round 2. This time I went over the side. I fell out of that thing in every conceivable direction, but couldn’t stop laughing, even though I was alone. I await the viral YouTube video that may have been taken by my RV neighbors. By the time I finally got stable and balanced enough to not tip out, I was hot. But that was fun.

IMG_6317Richard arrived back from his ride right about then and I decided to take a little spin around the campground and catalogue potential future sites. It’s a nice campground and there are many sites with views of the delta river. The loop with hookups is, of course, not as nice, in that the sites are close together and there are huge RVs next to you. The awning is handy in these situations. The site we would have gotten was ok, but didn’t have actual water views.

IMG_6324We hung out in air conditioned Dory, but after it cooled down I decided to try the chair again. This time Richard was inside to witness. Things went about the same as they had previously, only this time, I could hear laughter coming from inside Dory. He occasionally opened the window to let me know he was hysterically laughing. But I would not be daunted. I do not have a strategy for getting into this chair yet, but I’m sure there’s got to be one. Richard tried it too and did not fall out as spectacularly as I did, but he did tip way over from side to side before getting stable. I highly recommend these for party games. I’m not so sure about the chair part.

IMG_6327Sunday we had to go out on a morning coffee hunt. This was what we did in our bicycle touring days and not needing to do this was our prime joy factor in having trailer espresso. But we found a place in nearby Rio Vista that had caffeinated hot milk that they were calling a latte and it was ok and we got enough of a fix to keep going. We headed back, packed up, chatted with RV neighbors and gave a tour, then headed home. Richard had an espresso first thing when we pulled in.

This place is super close and quite pleasant. There was a nice bike loop and a breeze coming off the water. Thumbs up.

Total miles: 38.9, 1 hour 44 min because we got absolutely stopped for a long time due to bridge construction, 15.8 mpg (probably because we were stopped)

Sites: Anything along the water would be nice and most of the sites would be good for solar but also have shade trees for sitting. Water views: 97, 96 (no shade though), 94, 47, 45 (no shade) 38, 32. 31. Cell service was great for both ATT and Verizon.

10 thoughts on “Brannan Island

    1. I’m glad I could entertain you! Just as long as you simultaneously appreciate the seriousness of this situation!

  1. I understand the seriousness of the coffee situation, but Steve and I were both entertained! I read your blog to him, and we were both laughing hysterically. 😉

    You guys should take an Italian course, or maybe buy Rosetta Stone once the freeze is over, just to speak to Techimpex.

    1. We actually met in Italy on a year abroad program. Dredging up long unused Italian though also seems to induce laughter in others.

  2. You are a hardier, braver soul than I. I would have been a blubbering, crying mess after the demise of the espresso machine! I absolutely love the inflatable chair, but I guess I can now give that up as a possibility for the garden. There are simply too many opportunities for neighbours to film me in extremely embarrassing situations. I have to say, your blog gives me the desperate urge to start camping again. I’ve never been particularly fond of camping, but somehow you make the whole experience vastly appealing!

      1. I’ll happily fall out of the inflatable chair (and even allow myself to be filmed) if I ever get the chance to camp and hang out with you :-).

  3. Love this! Sorry about espresso machine but glad about zany doughnut chair. Because the mental images of you being ejected from it over and over are hilarious. Your Dory posts are some of my favorite reading! Love you guys.

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