I think it’s just the time of year, but we both feel like we’re barely making it to the weekend these days. Thankfully, Del Valle State Recreation Area is a very short drive from home. Our site was really nice, with a beautiful view out the windows, full hookups, and no cell service. Normally, that last item would be listed as a downside. This weekend, it was just what we needed to unplug and do a hard reboot.
Richard was super sweet and offered to do all the cooking after we pulled in. I sat in the back with the LED candles on, lights off, and stared at the moonrise. I pulled the little-used blackout privacy curtain closed and turned on music. This had the effect of creating two distinct rooms. His was the well lit, dinner making, Happy Room; while mine was obviously the dark, wine drinking, “it’ll be ok” music playing, Sad Room. Sad Rooms are very therapeutic. After 5 songs and a half a glass, I was all better.
Saturday was a bit too brisk for bike riding or kayaking for us, so we went on a hike instead. The lake is very low right now and we found out that is because they flooded three times last year and have aggressively diverted the water this year to get ready for winter. This place is clearly set up for tons of people in the summer. They have boat rentals and snack shacks and lots of reservable group picnic areas.
On our drive in, I had noticed a whole lot of goats fenced in around the hillside and figured they were there to do some thinning of the grass and underbrush. It was my goal to see if I could spot them while on our hike. Mission definitely accomplished there! We got to walk right through the herd/flock/tribe/trip and even said hello to the very friendly herding dog. I took more pictures than necessary because I was pretty excited and I like goats.
When we got back, we gave tours, and then experimented with making pumpkin pie in the Omnia oven. We were really just guessing at the bake times, but used a normal recipe and a store bought, pre-rolled pie crust. I laid the crust over the top of the oven and cut an X in the middle. Then I folded the dough over and the rest naturally drooped and fell into place inside the oven. Using the silicone liner is very important. We heated the base on the large burner on high for 3 minutes, as per usual. Then we put the oven with the lid on and pie inside, onto the burner and baked on high for 10 minutes. We then turned it down to “medium” enough that the flame was clearly lower, erring for too low rather than too high. We let it bake there for 35 min. Then we turned off the heat and let it sit, still covered, on the base for another 10 min. The smell as it was baking was intoxicating and it really could not have come out better. The crust was nice and browned, without being burned, and the filling was fully cooked. The only trick was how to get it out. We didn’t want to try to lift it out and also didn’t want to ruin the silicone liner, so we just jabbed at it with hard edged silicone spatulas until we’d made enough of a “cut” that we could pull out a piece. We “cut” up the remainder to put into a plastic storage container for cold pie for breakfast. YUM.
I loved this site and would like to return. I imagine it gets really hot there in the summer, but with hookups and AC, it might be fine. There are nice bathrooms there, and there is a sewer hookup as well, though we chose to use the dump station instead because the inlet at the site is rather high. It’s not close enough to the water to put in from the campground, but it would be a short drive to the day use area where there are docks and launch ramps. Very nice place.
Total miles: 41.9, 1 hour 19 min, 16.2 mpg. Site 32*. Sites along the stream have no hookups and shorter paved pads, but some would be ok: 38, 36, 34, 42, 44. All have partial solar. The lower loop is nicer than the upper loop. No cell service.