Collins Lake (5)

Lake front sites are better when the lakes are full.

After two weekends in a row of cancelled reservations, we were finally able to get just enough of a break in the rain to get out. This is not to say that the forecast was clear, but at least people weren’t evacuating from the general areas we were heading toward. Sadly, the Big Sur coast area is not faring well at all. Looks like we will need to regroup our Spring Break plans. *sigh*

First order of business.

Now that the time has changed, we are better able to arrive at sites with light to spare. Even though we took a long, highway avoiding, time to get to the campground, the sun was only just setting when we pulled in. The most important piece of information we needed, right after: ‘what time does the sun set?’ was: ‘what time does the ice cream store close?’ The answer was 10pm, so plenty of time to unhitch, have dinner, and walk over to the campground store. I made these reservations to soothe the sting of not being able to camp at Seacliff anymore and walk to Marianne’s Ice Cream. So I’m actively looking for places with treats nearby. This place has a super fun store, with everything a camper might need, plus about two dozen flavors of seriously delicious, scoopable joy. I had mint cookie, where the cookie chunks were generous and chewy. So much yum. We walked back to Dory and I delighted in the reflection of the campfires and decorative lights, dancing off the water surface. I proclaimed out loud, “I love camping!! I love absolutely everything about it!” Two weekends home makes one appreciate it all the more. But that could have been the ice cream talking too.

Spillway looking very active

Saturday was cloudy but not wet, and we got in a hike along the lake. We had been told it was at its maximum capacity and spilling, so we got to see what that looks like at the dam. I first discovered this lake when it was very full, only to watch the levels steadily recede during the long years of drought. It was painful to watch, and I thought I would never get to see it full again. Even though this is a lot more rain than many places in California can handle, I will say it is nice to see the lakes and reservoirs filled to the brim. The water was muddy, and the air too nippy for me to want to get in my boat. That wasn’t stopping some of the fishing enthusiasts, and we saw people set up all over the place with their rods and gear.

Well done on the water runoff management!

The campground seems to have put in a lot of money toward road and water channelling improvements. We saw countless culverts running under newly paved roads. There were little tunnels and tubes leading all the water into rocky riverbeds, so the sites themselves were staying clear and unpuddly. It was impressive work and I wish these designers would have a go at our back yard. After our hike, we went straight for cone #2. I had the chocolate fudge brownie this time. So good.

Chocolate Fudge Brownie

In between ice cream sampling, we pondered a scheme. We know we need to get Dory in to see Randy for some maintenance work before the summer trip. And we put in a lot of thought and money into outfitting Lola so that she could step in as a backup in situations where we don’t have Dory for a while. But we haven’t actually put this idea into action. Like what would that actually take to make that happen? We thought we might try out, as an experiment, figuring out what things we would need to take from Dory vs. which things we could do without, or preset in Lola. It turns out our bare minimum “roughing it” requirements are rather high. But not so high that they don’t fit into bags that fit in the car.

All the food. All the clothes. Some of the bathroom stuff. All of the vitamins and pills. We decided we could survive (maybe) without the spices. Roughing it = doing without Shawarma.

We took a long and rainy drive back, noticing how high all of the rivers and canals are across the central valley. We then dropped Dory at Randy’s. Maybe she’ll be ready for Spring Break, or maybe Lola could be the stand in. Either way, we’re ready. And we won’t be going out next weekend, so that we can get some more home projects done. We are hopeful that the highly anticipated move in date is getting close. A break in the rain at this point, would be nice. I mean, yay California and all, but wow.

Still and all, a beautiful lake is a lovely sight to see.

Total miles: 147.3, 15.2 mpg, 4 hours 5 min. Site 132 hookups. No solar, but hookups. Can just hit the wifi from the site. Free for 45 min per day. $5 for 1 day, $10 for 3 days. Very fast at the office/store, but not bad even farther away. Avoided highways there and back and it wasn’t bad. Lots of time on 113. It takes a long time, but it avoids 5 and 80 and 680. Worth it.

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