Lake Solano (4)

Nice sunset

This three day weekend began on a bit of a sombre note for me, as it was the first time we’d been back to the Lake Solano campground since the fires of 2020. I was happy it is still there, knowing that it sustained a lot of burn damage. But the changes were unmistakable. At least to me. Richard has no visual memory, so everything is continually new to him. From that perspective, there was no sour note whatsoever. Even the burned out tree trunks lining the hillsides probably just seem a part of the natural landscape. And life is finding a way back. The birds on the river are beautiful and plentiful, and the ground is now covered in lush green grass. At least one peacock still roams the park, and I choose to imagine the others were able to relocate safely. And all the sites have nice new tables, so we shall keep swimming, shan’t we?

“Morning Glory” spillway

Our day trip Saturday sort of continued the post apocalyptic fire theme since Richard rode, and I sagged, over to Lake Berryessa. Many of the same feelings there. I did take a stop at the Monticello Dam to have a look at the “Morning Glory” spillway tube. The water levels were way too low for it to do its thing, but that must be quite a sight to see a sudden swirling vortex of water, disappearing into what must look like a multidimensional portal. No portals today and it would take a whole lot more rain before that happens.

Still a beautiful shot of Lake Berryessa

The Turtle Rock Bar, the one with hundreds of dollar bills stuck to the ceiling, survived the fires, though it looks like it was a close call. There are homemade signs all over the area thanking the firefighters and first responders. Heroes for sure. I cannot even imagine how hard a job that must be. Our little shelter in place campground got a little beaten up, but it, too, hung on valiantly. It is my goal to get out there to camp again this spring. It’s not like there is an online reservation system though. You have to call to leave a message for Rebecca and Brandon to secure a site, so that has been added to our list of things to do.

Kind of feels like I’m flying when the reflection does this.

Sunday was spent doing much lighter activities. Richard went on a long bike ride around the Vaca valley, and got lost for good measure. I got my boat in the water for the first time in a while. The weather was that nice. This section of Putah Creek is dammed at both ends and essentially forms a lake. The wildlife thriving here is just amazing. There were so many Great Blue Herons, and Egrets, Ospreys, and funny little black and white floating birds whose names I don’t know. I didn’t see any otters, not for lack of trying, but I’m sure they’re ok and out there being cute. As Richard found his way back to Putah Creek Road, I had service and was able to track him coming toward the lake. There is a place where the road runs right along side the shore and he found me and stopped. That was fun. He says he wants to try that ride again and maybe not get lost next time because it was a way bigger day than he’d planned.

Richard spotted from the water

One thing that sort of fascinated me was the flow of the river. It seems to have distinct times of slow current vs. calm. I could imagine some of this might be due to controlled releases of water through either dam, but that’s just a guess. I swear though, at one point I saw the current run upstream in a way that couldn’t be explained by wind, and that is still a mystery to me. If anyone out there is an expert on the Putah Creek water flows, I’m curious to hear more.

So pretty!

Sunday night treated us to a very nice sunset show, which Richard points out we would not have been able to see under dense tree cover. He’s good at finding bright sides. And of course, three day weekends are always nice. I do wish there were better cell service in the campground, and that got us thinking about our cell booster. We still have a whole set up, but would need a new antenna pole. We used to keep on in Dory1’s rear bumper, so that’s a goner. There is an element of no service that can be nice, as a break from it all, but generally speaking, I prefer service. Even if it’s just to shop online for telescoping antenna poles.

Bike shot. With sheep.

Gratitude to the firefighters for what was saved. Healing thoughts for all that was lost. Appreciation for the beauty that remains. Wonder at the new life that comes back again and again.

Total miles: 59.9, 17.1 mpg, 2 hours 15 min avoiding highways. Site 34 electric hookups. Nice site close to the water and can launch close by. Real boat launch across the street at the day use community park. Good dump. In fact two dumps. Practically no service unless you leave the campground or go up to the highest sites, or go out on the water past the bridge. Lots of road noise from highway 128, but didn’t care. Gate to park closes at 9pm and after that you can only exit.

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