And thus endeth our summer experiment. Our last stop before coming home was Donner Lake. Originally, we were thinking we’d maybe last up to three weeks. I had a meeting on the calendar for August 1st and I was thinking we’d be home in plenty of time before that. But the whole work/travel thing for Richard went so swimmingly well that we just kept extending our time and adding to our destination list. So we were aiming for getting home the last weekend of July. Then, well, how about Sunday? Then, Monday. Then my meeting got cancelled and we didn’t end up getting home until Wednesday and that was only because we had forgotten to cancel that week’s Blue Apron delivery. It went really well is what I’m saying. Sure, there were things we had to figure out in order for me to not feel cut off and lonely since Richard really did work part of the time. But we figured it out as we went.
Which is also how we handled campsites. I truly had no idea it would go as well as it did in terms of finding places to stay without reservations ahead of time. Sometimes we were able to book the day before, sometimes we called on the road, and sometimes we just showed up. What I liked about that was that it gave us the ability to be flexible. Want to stay an extra day somewhere? You can do that without messing up a whole chain reaction of reservations. One thing is for sure: do not try national park first come first served campgrounds on Fridays or Saturdays. Popular places were much easier to get into during the week. And there seem to be enough last minute cancellations, even in popular parks, that often times things just work out. As long as you’re not counting on a great site, and you’re willing to stay in weird places sometimes, it’ll probably be fine. And we were totally prepared to stay in a Walmart parking lot if need be.
Donner Lake itself was a nice place to stop. There was strong LTE for Richard so he was able to fully work on Tuesday. Monday we got to be a bit lazy and Tuesday I got to jump in the lake with my kayak when it got hot. This is a very popular lake and there were people and boats everywhere. But the campground has a nice, less populated, feel.
As far as things that worked well this trip, we officially endorse Turkish towels, the Oxygenics shower head (as long as you also get a separate flow controller), and the Sun Saver Duo solar controller. Because of the new solar controller, we did not have to worry at all about charging the espresso machine battery. It also is able to pump more amps into the system when there’s sun. We didn’t use our portable grey water tank a single time. We also endorse putting a flannel bottom sheet on top of the mattress pad, which lives inside of a flannel duvet cover. The reason for this is that, at the end of a long trip, you just pull out the top and bottom sheets to wash, without having to go through the contortions of getting the mattress pad out of the cover. For future trips, we will be using battery powered, rather than rechargeable, toothbrushes. It turned out we were off grid for long enough that both toothbrushes had to default to manual mode because there was no other way to charge them up. We finished “Lost,” watched the new seasons of “Red Dwarf,” and started re-watching old episodes of “Star Trek Voyager,” before being willing to dive into “The Sopranos.”
All in all, this trip could not have been better.
Total miles: 232.2, 18.4 mpg, 5 hours 10 min. Total miles from Donner to home: 173.5, 20.3 mpg (all downhill), 3 hours 43 min. Site 8. Great site, close to the lake. Lots of space between sites. No electric, but nice bathrooms and water spigots. Some, but not lots, of solar through the trees. Good LTE for both of us.