Some trips we plan just to test out gear. That was definitely the case with this return trip to Pinnacles NP. Over the summer we discovered just how lame our headlamp gear was when we did lava tubing in Lava Beds NP. That led Richard to extensive headlamp research and the frequent recitation of lumens numbers, even though I did not know what that word meant.
He landed on the Olight H2R. Doesn’t hurt that the head strap has blue accents, but I swear that’s not why we got it. This little light can go from super bright, like “I’m scared and inside a cave” level, to “moon light” mode so you can walk around the campsite and not blind people. It’s also really easy to use without reading the instructions. We tested this out in the Balconies Cave on Saturday and were both really pleased. Now we are cave people and need to start searching out other caves we can explore.
Saturday night we attended a ranger talk about nocturnal animals and that was fun. The especially fun part was that I could hear the ranger even though we were sitting in the back. One of the exciting things that happened this past week was that I got new hearing aides. The others were quite old and there’s a huge improvement in quality. I kept turning to Richard whispering, “I can totally hear her!” It’s the simple things.
The other exciting thing that happened was the long awaited airing of our episode on Extreme RVs. It has been well over a year and a half since we filmed it and we thought they were never going to show it. Richard, in fact, was pretty sure our footage alone was so terrible, it had caused them to cancel the entire season. We were relieved that it didn’t look as bad as we thought it might, but were prepared to hit the road and assume new identities if it had been really embarrassing. Only our neighbor friends were allowed to witness the first viewing and I’m thankful they did not post footage of all the screaming, doubling over, and face hiding.
But back to Pinnacles. Besides the caving, we saw a condor at a distance and a tarantula up close. That was pretty cool. It is apparently tarantula migration season and they are not an uncommon sight. Pretty sure that was my first wild sighting though. A whole group gathered around to look, including a park ranger with a sense of humor. Just as one person was leaning in really close to get a picture, he casually mentioned, “They can jump up to ten feet.” Then after the person jumped nearly that distance backwards, “Just kidding.”
The dump there is still awkward to use, with a big concrete curb around it, but they have added wifi for purchase at the Visitor Center. This is a big plus for us. It’s a one time lifetime fee of $10 and you can use it any time you come back. This saved us from driving about ten miles out of the park to do a check in. It only reaches as far as the immediate area around the Visitor Center, but that is just perfect.
All we need now is to figure out an alternative to 101 on a Friday.
Total miles: 128.2, 17.0 mpg, 3’58” with terrible traffic on 101 South Friday. Only about 2 1/2 hours to get home. Site 98, electric hookups. The bathroom is located in the tent loop. We noted that site 15 would be closer and more private, but would not have hookups. It would have good solar though. NO cell service until about 10 miles north of the park. Terrible dump, but at least it’s open now.