Lake Berryessa – Steele Canyon & OMFG

img_9301May you live in interesting times.

Wait, no, not that interesting. That’s way too interesting. A little less interesting please.


Are you ok out there? Are you anxious? Sick? Grieving? Displaced? Locked in place? Whatever you are, wherever you are, I wish you peace, and health, and love, or as much of those things as can be felt right now. And if right now is very hard, I wish you strength.

img_9247Us? We’re ok. We went into last weekend in a different universe than all of us came out in, but still, doing ok. We had reservations for Doran Beach and I’d like to say we changed plans to achieve better social distancing. I mean, that was also part of the decision not to go, but it was first based on wind. It was going to be very windy out there and I had a site way out on the end of the jetty, which would have gotten hammered. In retrospect, changing to another campground at Lake Berryessa was a good move. Things hadn’t gotten super serious quite yet when we left on Friday. They hadn’t even decided to close schools officially until the afternoon. And we still had the expectation that teachers would be coming back for “work days” on Monday. So it was kind of a normal weekend. Ish.

img_9248We stayed inside mostly because it was raining, and we wondered if we might extend the stay into Monday. What I’ll note about the campground is that it would be awesome for kayak launching. There are lots of sites right along the edge of the lake that would make for an easy place to get into the water. There was no one else there when we arrived, so we felt good about doing our social distancing part. The only downsides were the cell service being not as good and the bathrooms being porta potties. Hand washing aside, we have changed some of our bathroom behaviors in Dory, due to concerns with general cleanliness as well as germ spreading. I’ll just leave it at that.

img_9260By Sunday we got word that teachers would almost definitely not be coming into work on Monday. So, not knowing exactly what was to come over the next week, we decided to go back up to Putah Canyon, where we knew the cell service was excellent and the vault toilets clean. We had one extra dinner (cause we over prepare) so we were good on that front. Richard for some reason did not bring his work computer, but we figured it would just be for Monday and he could improvise. All we had to do was wait for announcements for teachers on Monday. And we enjoyed the sunset, thinking we’d be back to semi-normal soon.

img_9273What we did not expect was that the Bay Area was going to announce a nine county shelter in place order, lasting three weeks, beginning at midnight. We come prepared for a lot, but that was definitely not something we were ready for.

We found out around 1pm. From then until 1:15 we were mostly just dazed and confused and immobile. Once we started processing, we knew things needed to get done and decisions had to be made pretty quickly. First, we knew we needed to go home and get some things if we were going to stay out. Staying out was almost a given and here’s why: our daughter is in a high risk group. We’ve been trying really hard to keep everything clean and sanitized at home, but we share one bathroom with four adults (in age if not behavior, and I’m not referring to the offspring). I work in a school and had been exposed to god knows what as recently as Thursday. I was in a non socially distanced meeting with close to 50 other people as of Wednesday. (I swear, if I go down because of a f*#@!ng AllSPED meeting, I am coming back as a ghost to haunt the director of special education)

Given the lag time on symptoms, there was doubt, and I wanted to be as far away from our daughter as possible. The feeling from her is more than mutual, but is less about germs than it is because of her panicking over sharing confined space with us for that long a time. I know she loves us, it’s just really well hidden. And I get it. For the physical, as well as mental health of all involved, camping seemed the wiser path.

Shopping was the other thing that would need to happen, and that was at least as risky as working with 800 elementary school children. We found a Trader Joe’s between us and home and donned the latex gloves I use for handling raw meat before we went in. I’ll admit, I was super anxious every second I was in there, but no one touched me or coughed on me, nor did I on them, and we wiped the hell out of everything when we left. Frozen supplies were completely gone, but they did have a lot of other food. Why there is a run on TP and not wine, I do not understand, but won’t question. We had to stop at a Safeway and a CVS to get everything on the offsprings’ shopping list, but we did pretty well. Good thing we are always well stocked on TP. Good god.

img_9263It’s about 60 miles to home from the campground, plus extra to go via Davis, so we didn’t get home until around 6. Richard went in, wiped stuff down, and unloaded groceries while they stayed in their rooms. I went to school to get the power cable for my laptop and we grabbed our long term camping stuff: generator, gas can, Barker (portable dump tank), miscellaneous other stuff, and the box of Blue Apron that had been delivered for the week.

Another wipe down and we headed back to Dory. We had a lot of anxiety, but I just focused on thinking, as long as Dory was still there when we got back, everything was going to be fine. And she was. So it is.

IMG_3397I then unpacked seven bags full of groceries into a tiny trailer. Damn I’m good. We have dinners for at least a week, including 3 Blue Aprons, and extras of everything. So much extra wine. Plenty of coffee, thanks for wondering. And Richard discovered he was already packed for the Apocalypse, finding ample supplies of socks and underwear he’d forgotten he had. We will have to go food shopping again, but who knows what will change in the next few weeks. We’re in Napa County, which is not currently one of the ones on shelter in place. We’re treating ourselves as sheltered, no matter what. And while I think our situation is about as safe as you can get in these times, I would also understand if campgrounds started getting closed. It’s not about us, but about the ones not being careful. And, for the record, I had reservations at Wright’s Beach next weekend in Premium site #8. I know I’m not allowed to complain at a time like this. But can I at least mention that it hurts? img_9287

So, here we are. Maybe we live here now. It’s a pretty awesome place to live really. We could be here three weeks, or have to evacuate tomorrow. Who the hell knows. No telling how long schools are actually going to be closed. We’re assuming plans for Grand Canyon during Spring Break are out, as are probably the plans for the Canadian Rockies this summer. It’s amazing how life can turn on a dime. And really, it’s ok. All of it. I hope you’re ok too.img_9288

Total miles to Steele Canyon: 55.5, 16.9, 1 hour 57 min. Site 16, nice and could launch kayak. Pretty good cell service for me, but none for Verizon. Great solar, no hookups, weird dump with big clangy things you have to drive over. Back at Putah Canyon, no data taken because insane. Site 58, great solar, not too far from vault toilet (swanky times). Cell tower right across the lake from us and excellent LTE for both.

8 thoughts on “Lake Berryessa – Steele Canyon & OMFG

  1. thanks for posting this so that we can all keep dreaming of being out at campsites. We were scheduled to get our 1723 on April 8 but with the border to Canada getting shut down, all that will be postponed till who knows when! Oh well, I guess it could be worse. I am not sure how, but that is what people keep telling me. HAHA

    1. That hurts big time. I’m so sorry. I know this will pass and some day you’ll have your Alto. But man, that’s hard. I feel for you. Hugs!

  2. Sounds like your plans this summer are being screwed up too – Canadian Rockies sounds like an awesome trip!

    1. True, but nothing compares to a pick up trip. At least take comfort in knowing that you’re probably not missing out on actual camping, since everything is shutting down.

  3. What are your plans now that the state parks are closed? Are you in Putah Canyon, and is that a county park? Wishing you the best. I’m working in my garden (mini-greenhouse) right now. Temps in the 30s today but supposed to warm a bit later in the week. I’m planning on camping in my driveway if I camp in the next 2-3 weeks. Good luck!

    1. This campground is under the Bureau of Reclamation. We heard from the camp host that there are no plans to close it, so we are cautiously optimistic. Eventually work will require me to get back into my classroom, most likely without students, so we’ll have to go home at that point. But every day we are isolated is another day we’re probably not carriers. So I’ll feel a whole lot better about going home.

  4. Amazing post Alissa. What a quick evacuation/turnaround made by you and Richard! I hope you’ve been able to stay for the duration.

    1. Aw, thanks buddy! Sadly, we had to bail and come home, but not until Thursday. It was a good run while it lasted. Hope you are somewhere safe!!!

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