Collins Lake (4)

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Boy, I really like Collins Lake. It is a long drive, made worse by avoiding perhaps too many highways, but it’s worth it for the ice cream alone. In the best case scenario, we’re talking minimum three hours to drive there. Avoiding highways will make that take longer, but we also went through a lot of traffic in Walnut Creek and Clayton that didn’t help. It was a full darkness drive for the last hour and we arrived to a very closed front gate and a sign stating gate hours ending at 6pm. I wondered whether any of the reservation emails mentioned the closed front gate. Yes, the confirmation email did say that if you planned to arrive after 4pm, you needed to call a number to get the current gate code. Too late by that point, but luckily another camper pulled up behind us and they had the code. Note for next visit: do call ahead!

Nice view of the lake, and let’s not think about how low it is.

The campground is huge and the loop roads are steep. Some of the sites would be an adventure back into, especially at night. There are “streets” that are well signed to tell you which site numbers are in each loop, so that helps a lot in the dark. That first turn off the main campground road though is so steep, you can’t really tell if there is a road under you when you’re making the turn. The place is full of huge rigs, so people are used to navigating the dips and turns. I had a fuzzy visual memory of the layout, so we found our site just fine. I remembered that it was an RV site, meaning the hookups would be on the wrong side of Dory if I tried to back in. Also, it would be a big job to back in coming from the direction we did. It was after 8pm, we were hungry, and I decided we simply wouldn’t be needing the car for the weekend. I pulled straight in and we unhitched. I think, if I’d really needed to, I could have managed to get the car out. But we didn’t need to.

Gotta love a campground with ice cream.

Saturdays are full of homework for me for the next three months. The nice thing about not having cell service is that I get a lot more done. There was 1 bar of LTE or 5g but it really didn’t do anything. There was also paid wifi throughout the campground that was super fast. You have to go to the office to pay for the access code and that timed nicely with an afternoon walk. There is also ice cream at the office and I definitely planned those calories.

Richard went out riding of course, and he notes that the Sierra foothills should not be underestimated. He did about three thousand feet of climbing in twenty eight miles. A lot of the riding was on narrow roads with regular car traffic, but he says everyone gave him a wide berth. He advises his future self to leave early when doing this ride.

Voila! Yoga Tent!

After he got back, and after I’d finished my scheduled assignments, we walked over to get our fill of internet and mint chip. Both were fantastic. I then got to try out my new purchase: a “Yoga tent.” This is yet another iteration of my search for ways to exercise without people watching me. There are a lot of factors in play here that directly impact the likelihood of whether I will physically do what I imagine I will do. It must require near zero effort to set up or it is doomed to fail. In this case, I managed to find a pop up beach shelter tent that you literally throw into the air. No tent poles. No big heavy frames. No stakes or guy lines. Just a fling and a “TTHHHWOOOMPPFF!” and it’s ready. It has screening on all sides, and on the roof, and all of it can be privatized depending on sight lines. The whole thing can be closed up, or you can choose specific no-see-me zones to have just the netting. I got an extra thick yoga mat so that the little rocks and potholes underneath would not be as noticeable. And I put down the camping rug first, so that the tent would not get dirty. I had my Kathy Smith “Moving Through Menopause” floor stretching routine all downloaded on my phone and I even got a new pair of yoga pants to encourage enthusiastic participation. And it all worked! I really, truly enjoyed a full twenty or so minute stretch and relaxation session, with no worry of naturey things crawling on me, and no concerns over who was laughing at my lost flexibility. I am super pleased. This set up is a no go for anything standing, but I can do a bunch of standing routines in Dory. It’s the twisty leggy floor stretches I couldn’t figure out how to do, and this works great!

Photo evidence I used it (and that’s as much as you’re going to see)

Since we had paid internet, we were able to look up the weather forecast, which predicted rain that night. That gave me the chance to see how annoying a tear down it would be to put the tent away. These pop up things require you to learn the proper twisty curly motion to turn them back into flat circles, but once learned, it is pretty easy. It has a nice carrying case and the whole thing is super light weight. Everything went back in the car and we enjoyed our evening shows to the pitter patter of rain on the roof. All in all, a delightful and successful day.

Heading home, I wanted to avoid perhaps fewer highways to see if that would cut the time. We found a great route that skips Sacramento and uses nicely paved roads all the way to the 505 cutoff. From there, it’s not too bad to hop on 80 for 15 miles and catch 680 to Martinez. Then we take our relaxing back way until home. It saved almost an hour and still avoided the worst highways, so I’d say that’s a winner.

Lovely weekend and I’m excited to try the Yoga tent again next time. I’ll ride the enthusiasm for as long as possible.

Total miles: 146.8, 4 hours 38 min, 15.7 mpg; avoiding highways whole way. Trip back about 3 1/2 hours, 137.4 miles taking hwy 113, Road 14, Road 13, hwy 505, 80, 680, Shell back way to home. Site 117. Excellent site. Electric hookups. 4 dump stations in campground; all good. Paid wifi that was excellent for 1, 3, or 10 days. 1 bar of LTE/5g that didn’t work at all. Complimentary wifi for 45 min/day. Re-fill gas before Yuba City because it’s crowded and tight there.

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