McConnell SRA

Super cute place

As campers go, I think we are pretty easy to please. I know I have my premium donna proclivities, but really, get me out of the house some place peaceful, and I’m good. This campground is not that well reviewed, with not much around it acting as a draw, so we had never stayed before. We both found it to be cute, and pretty, and quite pleasant. It is very small, with only 19 sites, but doesn’t seem to book up, and that’s a big plus. It’s not too far off Highway 99, but far enough that you (or at least I) can’t hear traffic noise. And we were there with only two other camper groups, plus the camp host. So the noisiest thing by far was all the birds (Yellow Billed Magpies, according to Merlin).

“What are all those trees, do you think?” “You mean the ones growing on ‘Almond Avenue’? Guessing almonds.”

The Central Valley of California is vast, and it takes a long time to cross it, no matter which way you are going. We took highways until it was time to cut east, off of Interstate 5. Then we spent a long time on long, straight orchard roads in varying states of pavement integrity. I was grateful for the change to DST so that we were not arriving in the dark, but on the downside, we were both really tired this week. I also got my second dose of a Shingles shot on Thursday. They warned me the second one can hit you hard, and they were correct. I was ready for a nap by the time we pulled in.

Richard found a fun place, but cash only

Saturday called for rain starting at 11. That suited me fine, since I am still in homework hell, and will be until the summer. There was enough service for me to do everything I needed to do with my online class. Richard decided he did not believe the weather reports and chose instead to believe that the little piddly drops we got at 11, which then tapered out, constituted the entire rain event for the day. So he got on his bike and went out for a short exploratory ride to check out the area. He almost, but not really, made it back to Dory before it started to rain in earnest. He was relieved to find that he had a full change of dry clothes and lots of extra towels.

Merced River

It looks like this campground could provide a put in spot for a floaty boaty down the Merced River to some other pull out point. I don’t know what that might be, but I’d like to find out. This could be a great place in the warmer weather, though there are no hookups and I’ll bet it gets mercilessly hot. Still, something to check out for the future.

Very pretty Corral Hollow Road

On the way home, we did no highways almost all the way because it was wicked windy. We tried a road over the Diablo hills as an alternative to the Altamont Pass via 580. Corral Hollow Road is a lovely route that takes you past Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area (SVRA). That place was hopping with motorbikes doing crazy things all over the hills. Once you pass that, the grade kicks up quickly and the road becomes narrow. There was nothing particularly edgy and it was well lined with guard rails when there were drop offs. At the top (a summit of about 1500′) it turns into Tesla Road and you go through neighborhoods armed with an annoying gauntlet of repeated 25 mph speed humps, until you eventually descend into Livermore. We took a new back way through the hills of Danville and Tassajara before returning to familiar territory on 680. I am still surprised by how much open space is out there, just a teeny way off the highways, that I have never seen.

Twisty turny part on the way up to the top

For a really low key place to be quiet and productive online, this campground was a winner. It would also make for a nice stopover if you were traveling along Highway 99 around Turlock. It doesn’t seem like it books up, except maybe in the summer, and then only on the weekends. It is a lovely little campground and a nice find.

Total Miles: 99.1, 18.2 mpg, 2 hours 49 min. Avoiding highways coming back; 113.9, about 4 hours. Site 4 pull along, no hookups. No dump. Dumped at Merced River RV Resort for $10. Not great dump, but worked. Need to contact office to get through gate and then you can pay for the dump. Pretty good LTE for both. Roads in bad shape all around. River access.

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