Anthony Chabot (3)

IMG_8661Our backyard campground just got a little harder to get to. With all the recent rains, there have been mud slides and road closures all over California. Two of them have made getting through the Oakland hills much trickier. Going our normal route, Anthony Chabot is a mere 14 miles away, taking under an hour of travel time. Now we have to go out Highway 24 through the tunnel, down Highway 13 to 580, then up Redwood, just to get to the other side of Pinehurst. The miles now are just over 25, but the travel time is still just over an hour, so I can’t complain much. I am mostly just glad it is still accessible at all. Richard plans to again ride the Grizzly Peak Century in a couple of weeks, and they have had to completely reorganize their route and will only be offering a metric century this year.

IMG_8665Friday we delayed our launch in the hopes that one last UPS package, listed as “Out for Delivery” might make it to us before we left. Lo and Behold, right when we were ready to give up, the beautiful brown truck came rumbling up the street. Richard had a battery project he wanted to tackle this weekend and just needed those last couple of parts. As you know, we power our 12v espresso machine with a standalone 50 amp hour battery. We attach metal clamps to the battery terminals every time we want to use the machine, and every time we charge it back up. I say “we,” but really it is Richard who always does this. This has all worked surprisingly well, with the exception of when we go out on trips longer than four days and we don’t have electric hookups, because we then have no way to charge the battery back up. So he got this idea to tap into the solar panel charging system and did lots of research to verify the details. A new solar controller was purchased to replace the original one. This one, the Sun Saver Duo, has the ability to charge two different batteries using the same solar panels. IMG_8666He got all excited about the concept and I countered with one condition as part of the project: no more clampy things. So he got pluggy things (aka “Power Poles“) and a box to contain the battery (aka a plastic shoe box), plus all the wiring. It appears to work as intended and now all I have to do is make another battery cozy, because obviously I’m going to do that. He still needs to hook into the solar controller, but we can now plug the espresso machine into a receptacle so it can use the battery, and the charger for the battery can plug into the other receptacle when it is plugged into the 120v AC outlet. Don’t feel stupid if this is all baffling to you.

Saturday Richard went riding and I drove down to the lake. Except the road leading to the lake is half gone. So instead, I went all the way back down Redwood, to Highway 13, down 580, and up to Lake Chabot. From the lake, I can literally wave to Richard in the campground (I have photos to prove it), but to get my kayak down there, I have to drive 15 miles. Oh well, still better than trying to lug the kayak down a crazy steep trail.

To launch from Lake Chabot, you have to pay a fee and get your boat inspected. They are very, very particular about wetness on your boat. You also need to have at least 5 chambers if you have an inflatable. Mine passed, but frankly, I think if any one of those chambers were to fail, I’m going down. IMG_8679I got on the water around one and had a lovely, peaceful paddle. I like lakes a lot. It was amazing to see the difference in the water level from when we were last there in the middle of an extreme drought. Docks that were hanging off the side of dirt hills are now looking like actual docks, floating in the water like they’re supposed to.

I still like this campground very much and it’s nice that it is so close, even with the detour. We will have more to report on the battery charging scheme in a couple of weeks.

Total miles (taking highways instead of going through Canyon): 25.2, 14.0 mpg, 1 hour 4 min. Site 11, full hookups. There is a dump in the campground, but no showers. Good LTE for both of us. Site 69 in the lower loop would be a nice site and might have solar, but the bathroom is very far away.


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