New favorite site.
It’s hard to overstate the importance of a normal camping weekend. Besides the wafting scent of hooch based sanitizer, the presence of face masks hanging from various locations when un-donned, and the avoidance of camping bathrooms, everything seemed normal. Or as normal as it’s ever going to get in a global pandemic.
This was our fourth visit to this state park and I was able to get a site that was near, but not right by, the little beach everyone loves to go to, causing them to walk right through Premium site #58. Perhaps this pandemic will finally break me of my Premium-donna ways.
I bet you thought about coughing.
On the drive up, we passed an active brush fire a little too close for comfort. We could see the smoke from quite a distance as the road steadily took us right towards it. Low flames were visible, ranging from high up on the hillside all the way down to the highway shoulder. For a moment, we were completely engulfed in smoke and Richard, I think psychosomatically, had a coughing fit which didn’t subside until we were a couple of miles past it. We kept an eye on the Cal Fire website, but it was contained pretty quickly and never posed any danger. Still, a reminder of what summer (and fall and winter and late spring) in California can bring.
See the Heron?
We stayed three nights and came home Monday. I’m not going to lie, it was awesome, but if it’s any consolation, also close to 100º. And we had no hookups. So I got out in my boat in the afternoons and Richard got in his riding time early. There was quite a bit of algae in the lake, so swimming was not an appealing idea. When we got desperate, we dumped cups of water on our heads. And the nights cooled off enough that it was comfortable to sleep.
The Aluminet and the Classic Awning both went up and we were grateful to have them. We had enough shade to stay comfortable and enough sun to keep the battery topped up, even when powering the fridge, set to 1. That is enough to make tiny ice cubes, keep wine and lemon waters cold, and keep frozen food frozen.
And speaking of frozen food, we got to try out a camp stove I bought a long time ago. Maybe after last summer. Its purpose was to provide an outdoor option for when it is too hot to cook in Dory. I bought it, put it in Bruce, and didn’t think about it again until the circumstances reminded me I had already solved that problem. Worked like a charm and now it’s Richard’s favorite way to heat up a frozen pan dinner.
There’s an otter in there!
Highlights of the weekend include spotting an otter on three separate occasions. So either I saw three, or the same one three times. They sure do move quickly through the water. That’s the giveaway for otter spotting. That, and their telltale curly bloops as they dive under. The best otter sighting came as I was enjoying a socially distanced, soul healing sunset on the beach. His/her little head appeared as a perfect punctuation mark to a you-know-what?-life-is-good-dammit kind of day.
Imagine this with crickets.
About the rides, Richard says Seigler Canyon road and Hendricks were 5 stars. His ride from Clearlake to Cobb was interrupted by a flat, but it worked out because I was sagging him anyway (AC in the car was my secret motivation). He’d gotten in plenty of climbing at that point, so he felt no hesitation throwing the bike in the car and enjoying the AC back to Dory. He called a bike store in Lakeport and described what he suspected was a problem in the rim. Big shout out to Main Street Bicycle! They really didn’t want to sell him a new wheel if he didn’t need it and they were able to do an inspection and a fix, all with no physical contact. It felt good to support the local economy too. The second ride was a 20 mile section of the Konocti Challenge. No flats! I followed and we met up in Lakeport where I was sad to see so many of the restaurants closed, seemingly for good.
And we saw Neowise another couple of times, though it was very dim. Perfect weekend. Not exactly normal, but joyful nonetheless. And we were pleased to see overall good behavior in terms of masking and distancing from our fellow campers. No huge crowds or rowdy parties, just family units out together finding an upside.
Total miles: 166.8, 16.8 mpg, 3 hours 51 min. Site 60, no hookups. Sites nicely spaced and room between campers. Good solar, 2 bars of LTE for both of us. Water spigot nearby. Launch from beach close to site.