Clear Lake Campground

Buckling in for a three day bake.

Going out this weekend really seemed like a bad idea. We’ve got record breaking high temperatures happening all over the west this week, and the forecast called for triple digits around Clear Lake. But, we had hookups and the campground host confirmed a shady site. So we went for it.

Photo from five years back, looking across the water at the campground.

Friday we drove up via Highway 29, which is a twisty turny climb out of Napa Valley, but didn’t bother me. We arrived around six thirty and got to choose between two sites, both river front. We had never been to this campground before, and I will say first off that the hosts are very friendly and helpful. The sites are close, but not too close for comfort, and we had a nice little deck overlooking the water. Funny, the place seemed familiar, enough so that I looked back at pictures from the first time we came to the area, and found one I had taken while on a hike from the other side of the water. I remember the hike around Anderson Marsh Historic Park and vaguely remembered seeing a campground that looked nice. So I accidentally followed up on that five years later.

“Tasting? Oh, I just wanted some gifts…. What am I saying? I mean, YES!”

Despite the Labor Day weekend heat wave, we got in some outdoor recreation in the mid morning hours. Well, Richard did anyway. On Saturday I thought it would be fun to drive over to Chacewater Winery to pick up some nice gifts for my coworkers. It has been a rough and understaffed start to the school year, but I am extremely lucky to be working with a top notch team. And top notch people deserve top notch wine. I was only going to sample one or two, but accidentally proceeded with a full tasting session that covered eight different varieties. Not really accidental so much as that wasn’t what I had planned until I walked inside. I met a couple from Washington who were in town for a (very hot) wedding and we had a blast chatting and sampling. Eventually Richard showed up and figured out quickly that he was going to be a designated driver. I walked out very happy, carrying four bottles of future happiness for some exceptional educators.

Mmmmm, so good

Cooking was all planned for outdoor grilling and a couple of favorite recipes. The first was Grilled Steak and Panzanella Salad with tomatoes and Persian cucumbers. Sunday’s was Blueberry Mostarda Grilled Cheese and omg that was good. I used a grill pan to cook up a shallot, added blueberries, and then balsamic vinegar and maple syrup, cooked until it got thick. Then I stirred in Dijon mustard and spread the reduction on the bread before adding cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese. That one paired with a margarita; just the thing for a hot Labor Day grill fest.

Pretty, except for the green sludge

Sunday was a scorcher, with temps going as high at 106º. We planned to get out early so I could get my boat in the water and Richard could do a ride. Though there was some water in the little creek in the campground, I poo poo’ed it due to its dark greenish hue. It turns out the lake was not much better. I launched from the public boat launch and had to wade through a thick gunky muck of algae. I figured it would clear up after I got away from the shore, but it didn’t really. I started wondering if I was paddling through toxic blue green algae, which made me think about capsizing. I think there might be some residual trauma from that river swim…. In any case, it was cooler on the water and I paddled around for a while until Richard arrived.

When shopping for kayak wheels and there is a model in blue, named “Nemo Extremo,” I no longer have any choice.

I was very pleased with a newly purchased dry bag to carry the Nemo Extremo kayak wheels. I’m kind of a complainy pill when I set up the boat and one of the things that I gripe about is how hard it is to get the wheel pieces out of the deck bag. With this new bag, problem = solved. And it fits right behind my seat. It was worthwhile to get out there if only to confirm the viability of the new case.

Good thing he got in a ride early

We packed up around noon and the rest of the day’s plan was designated for AC ONLY environments. So we wandered the Walmart, restocked paper towels and propane for the grill, then we headed back to Dory. The AC was perfect in Dory, without any need for Aluminet, since she was already in the shade. When it was 94º outside, it was a cool 70º inside, and when it was over 100º, Dory still never broke 80º.

Lots of Blue Herons visited the creek

We spent the rest of the day with curtains closed, binge watching the final season of “Better Call Saul.” We decided it had gotten too tense to watch this thing before bed and we both sort of wanted to get through it. This is one of the best series I have ever seen, but wow. A little traumatizing too. We had much to talk about on the drive home, including things to look up from “Breaking Bad.” We need another series now that is LIGHT and FUNNY. I put on emergency stand up comedy after a particularly shocking episode. Jeez.

Nice place. Would come again.

We have a place booked on the western side of the lake for next year. Perhaps the algae is less bad up there. Also, we might be walking distance from the county fair, where apparently there is an annual boat race. On land. Where cars drag boats around a track with no trailers. It looks amazing, but we were in too deep on Saul to venture over. One thing is for sure: afternoon Dory cinema with popcorn and cold LaCroix is a damn fine way to spend a hot hot day.

Total miles: 98.7, 16.5 mpg, 3 hours 12 min taking 29. Site 24 full hookups, but used sewer in site across the way because the inlet was lower. Great cell service for both. Campground wifi meh. Boat launch & rentals, store, pool. Didn’t go in pool because too many people, but it looked nice.

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