Casini Ranch (5)

We splurged on a great site with river views. #wortheverypenny

Hey! It’s starting to feel a little like summer! We had gorgeous weather this weekend, just a little bit inland from the coast. Those few miles made the difference between windy and cloudy vs blue skies and temps in the high 60s and low 70s.

Russian River paddling = perfect day

That was enough for me to get my boat in the water for the first time in a very long time. On the last couple of voyages, I found some slow leaking due to tiny little scratches in the hull. It wasn’t ever anything major and I patched the ones I could find, using the provided patch kits. But this was the first chance I’d had to test out my job. I will come clean here: there was a part of me that was hoping there would still be leaks. You see, as we’ve been planning our summer trip, I have been looking forward to some boating opportunities. And that made me think about whether my good old inflatable would still be up for the task. So I did a bit of online looking…. and yeah. Advanced Elements has come out with a *limited edition* blue one. Dang. “New blue for Dory2” just has such a nice ring to it, don’t you think? I kind of convinced myself the hull on my current one was irreparable and I really should get a new one, just to be sure. “Add to cart” happened and before you know it, I was clicking shipping options. Plus, I was messaging with Linda with dogs and she totally encouraged me. It’s all her fault really. But back to this weekend’s test paddle, I will report that after a couple of super nice hours out on the Russian River, there wasn’t a single leak to be found. And I really looked. I guess I have a backup boat now? That’ll be our thing from now on: backup everything.

King’s Ridge

Richard rode up about 20 miles of King Ridge and then came on back. He says it was absolutely beautiful, climbing up through a dense redwood forest with views of a creek every so often. He was thinking about doing a 54 mile loop, but that was the ride where he got so horribly lost several years back that I had to pick him up at Stewart’s Point. With no cell service, we decided it would be better to maybe bite off a bit less with an out and back reconnaissance mission this time. He successfully made it back to the campground around 2 while I was paddling around, so he got to earn some nice nappy time.

Can’t ask for a nicer view

Our view was pretty enough that I was compelled to do some window cleaning. I have a nice squeegee set with an extendable pole, and that is a must have for this task. After many years of washing those big windows, I’ve come to find the process that works best is as follows. First, get the fuzzy cover thing on the squeegee really wet and just run that over all the windows, then squeegee off the dirty water. Then spray glass cleaner (I use Method) and squeegee all that off in sections, getting as much off as possible. Then wipe the parts that didn’t come clean with a special Streak Free Microfiber Cloth. That should be only a tiny bit wet, practically dry. Windows are hard. There are still places where the sun will catch a streak or two, but I called it a day and deemed it ‘clean enough.’

Time for chillin

The rest of the weekend was just fun hangout time in our Nemo chairs, staring at the river and watching families have fun. Casini Ranch is a very fun family campground. Lots of people chatted with us about the Alto and we waved and said “hey” to the kids taking “Hey Rides” around the campground in open air linked trailers, pulled by a big tractor. One thing that felt very different: as of today, our whole family is now fully vaccinated, and that meant my anxiety level around people encounters is waaaaaay down. Masked or maskless, as people stopped to chat, I was no longer mentally measuring distance or subtly noticing the direction of the wind. The difference this makes is hard to exaggerate. It feels like …. normal? Almost? I mean, indoors it’s still mask on, but outdoors it seems to be pretty safe to lower the shields. It’s going to take some getting used to, but I had forgotten how fun it is to casually chat with people in campgrounds.

And how did I celebrate this ‘full vaccination’ milestone? Haircut, y’all! It’s been a full year of growth and I said to take off as much as possible without giving me bangs. There must have been a full six inches on the floor. But the lightness I’m feeling is not just about losing hair weight. I do believe I am feeling just a bit optimistic. Hey! How cool is that?

Total miles: 95.7, 15.1 mpg, 2 hours 57 min. Site 6 hookups, pull through with shade and river view. Very nice premium site that is hard to book except way far out in advance. Wifi throughout park is very fast and reachable from the water in front of the day use beach area. Good dump. No cell service in that area until closer to Bodega Bay.

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