Lake Solano (6)

All the Premium joy

Wow, this little county park outside Winters just keeps getting better and better. We were here a couple of weeks ago and I was bumming because I couldn’t do much of a paddle, due to a slow air leak in my boat. We pledged a Do Over and I reserved again, taking care to pick one of the nicer sites.

Private launch – a rare treat!

The site is just incredible, with water views from Dory’s windows, and my own little private launching bay. No hookups, but didn’t need ’em. Weather could not have been more perfect on Saturday and we accidentally timed it to coincide with a century bike ride.

Happy bikie

As we were driving out, we noticed a sign about some kind of big organized ride. “What a shame,” we thought. Too bad we didn’t know, or we could have timed our stay to align. “Wait, what was that date? Hey! That’s tomorrow!” Sweeet.

Tiny yellow jacketed Richard on the road across the river (look close). He was one of at least a hundred riders I saw rolling by in the morning.

Richard got to spend all day Saturday tagging along for the Davis Bike Club’s Foxy’s Fall Century. He didn’t need to register because he was not going to need to partake of the food or services, and doesn’t need another T-shirt. But what he did get was to be able to ride along with hundreds of other bikies. Very little chance of getting lost that way. It’s also a lot safer on busy roads when you are in a group. The start and end points are in Davis, and he had no interest in doing the full 100 miles. So he joined the route for the hilly loop, clocking in at over fifty miles and just over three thousand feet of climbing. The route goes right by the campground, so all he had to do was roll out and onto the road. He had a great ride, in good company, and did not have to worry about me being bored while he was gone.

Otters everywhere!!

“Lake” Solano is actually a section of Putah Creek where the river gets very wide right before a dam. The other side of the river is dammed at Lake Berryessa, so the flow of water is steady and mild. Otters and Herons love this place, and I must have seen a dozen river otters, or more, just swimming around, chomping fishies and blooping in and out of the water. There were little tiny otters too, making chirp chirp sounds and doing their best to keep up with mom and dad. Pictures do not do them justice, but I got some nice videos. It’s time like these when I think I want a really expensive camera with a zoom lens. Then I remember I would have to carry all that on a boat and I go nah, the iPhone is fine.

Otter stalking

In order to really stalk them and not drift downstream, I had to run my boat aground on islands of thick water plants. Then I could wait for them to come out of the reeds for a while. By the time Richard had finished his ride, I was still on the water, beaming like an idiot.


I came ashore for a while to hear about his ride and have a snack. The cool thing about being able to launch from your site is that you can leave everything set up for another paddle. It’s rare that I get to take advantage of something like this, so I hopped in my boat again to get in another float before making dinner. So nice.

Heron hangin’ out

Dinner was a grilled Cajun-Spiced Salmon, with roasted potatoes and Brussels sprouts. We followed dinner with a walk to the day use area, where there is better cell service. Richard was just wanting the Strava data for his ride, but I was looking for my otter buddies. No otter spotting this time, but we did catch a nice sunset over the water. We also saw a guy “magnet fishing” off the bridge. He was throwing a huge, heavy magnet, tied to a super long bungee cord, over and over again into the water. He said he mostly doesn’t get much, but it’s a fun hobby.

Sunset colors at the day use launch area

It rained for our return home on Sunday, making us both remark how much we had lucked out. The weather was perfect, the timing with the century ride was an unexpected bonus, and I could not possibly have had a better Saturday.

Beautiful end to a great day

As Do Overs go, this was the absolute best. What a fabulous place. We’ve come a handful of times before, but this visit takes the cake. It doesn’t get any better.

Total miles: 56.3, 17.2 mpg, 2 hours 14 min. Site 26, no hookups. Excellent water views and launch from site. Almost no cell service except an occasional bar of 5g, enough to let a text or two through. Fine dump, $15 extra fee. Road noise from highway 128 across the water, but it didn’t bother either of us.

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