Finally! On the road again…
Well, COVID or no, we were able to get out a bit this summer! We got in a few little mods during the shelter in place, like putting in new bungee netting in the bathroom, replacing all four stabilizers, and putting in a placeholder idea for how to support the far end of the table. We love the Lagun table mount, but have found that the table top is getting tippy. We will probably end up with something that goes to the floor and is height adjustable, but for now, this little thrown together solution makes it so we don’t worry about putting weight on the far point. We also did a full cleaning of everything and a refresh on spices and condiments before the final pack.
A level table is a good thing.
Not having camped for so long, we forgot how to do absolutely everything. Hitching took a lot longer than normal, and we relied on our checklists to make sure we weren’t leaving anything critical behind. Actually, we did leave our FastTrack in the Subaru, but I call it a success if that was the only thing missed. We were also a little nervous that everything would tow ok after sitting still for three months, but with affirmations of “Randy will save us,” we hit the road!
Location, location, location.
Our first destination was a recommendation from a fellow Alto blogger. It’s a private campground just outside the south entrance of Lassen National Park and it had full hookups, including sewer. One notable pandemic related change in our camping style is that we are now *fully self contained*. RV campers will know what that means and non campers would probably rather not know. The other minor shift is that the center console in Bruce, which used to contain a myriad of fun driving snacks, is now filled with five different kinds of hand sanitizer and disposable face masks.
Social distancing in Hell…
After we got there, we had an early dinner and drove into the park to catch the Bumpass’s Hell Trail. It had only opened two days prior, due to being buried under snow, and was something we had missed on our last visit to Lassen. The trail was pretty easy and very scenic. The tricky part was the inability to distance from people as they passed us on the trail. Many people were masked, but plenty of others were not. We most definitely are, unless there is no one else around. We did our best to get off the trail, especially with the non-maskers, and were able to be spaced apart once we got to the boardwalk area. Message to non maskers: YOU CAN DO THIS. COME ON. IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO START BEING A GOOD PERSON.
Thermal features are cool.
The boardwalk area takes you around steaming pits and bubbling pools. The smell of sulphur permeates the air and a friend shared that this was kind of a sensory nightmare for her son. The area was named for a guy, Mr. Bumpass, who accidentally broke through the surface into a pit of boiling mud and severely burned his leg. We were glad to have come in the late afternoon, with very few people, so there were no crowds on the boardwalk.
All the variety of California in one place.
The next day, Richard rode the national park road up to the summit from the Visitor Center, which we did not visit this time around. That will be for another day. That is a spectacular stretch of road for sure. From sweeping views of the valley, to lush meadows, to dense evergreen forests, the natural beauty just goes on and on. I’d only seen the north side of the park previously and I now have a whole new impression of Lassen. It was not too crowded most of the time, but we were there on week days. All in all, a good choice for a national park visit when hoping to avoid people.
Happy, safe campers.
I can recommend the RV park for those looking for hookups close to the entrance. It’s not particularly scenic, but it is nicely located and the sites have adequate space. We did look at the first come first serve campgrounds and Summit Lake and those were lovely too. They’d be higher up and potentially cooler at the height of summer, so hookups for AC would probably not be needed. Now that we’re not using public bathrooms at all, I can’t speak to cleanliness at any of the places. Dory’s bathroom is nice and clean though. And fully utilized.
Total miles: 214.4, 15.3 mpg, 4 hours 28 min. Site 26. Full hookups, no solar. No views to speak of but the sites at the end had views of a nice meadow. Ok cell service for both.