Saturday, July 13, 2019

7/10 Emigrant Lake Again (and Again)

Emigrant Lake Recreation Area near Ashland, OR, is becoming one of my "go-to" places.  I have been here several times over the past four or five years and will come back again.  It has several advantages:
  • It is not too far off I-5, which makes it convenient on the way from California to Oregon and Washington.
  • The full-service, meaning full-hookup, sites are open all year. 
  • Sites are well-spaced apart and relatively inexpensive for full-hookup sites. 
  • Sites and roadways are paved, so no dust.
  • It has a great view from all sites, looking over the lake and surrounded by mountains on all sides. 
  • It is not too far from Medford and major shopping.  
  • There always seems to be a nice breeze blowing and the elevation is a bit over 3,000' so it is cooler than Medford and the areas in California to the south. 
 It also just feels comfortable, which is one of the things I cannot define, but makes me want to come back here again.  

There is a nearby college, so there is also a rowing club that practices every morning.  Funny to watch the crews rowing with the guy in the small boat following them yelling instructions!
This campground has two levels.  The first time I came here, I made a reservation for the lower level because it was closer to the lake.  I did not realize then that the sites farther from the lake were higher and actually had better views.  The last couple of times, I chose this site or the one next to it.    
This shows the roadway on the lower level, looking up at my rig to the left on the upper level.  Besides a better view, the upper sites are quieter and usually have a nicer breeze, which is important when it is hot. 

View from the lower roadway.  I took a walk around the campground, as I usually do in campgrounds, every evening when it cooled off.  Actually, though, it was not really that hot here for the week I stayed. 

And a couple of views from the top. The first time I came here, I could barely see across the lake because of the smoke from nearby fires.  We were never in any danger, but the smoke did make me cough a bit, but then got better the second and third days.

And looking down toward the boat ramp.  One disadvantage to this campground in the summer is that on the other side of this bay, there is a pool and slide, so you can hear screaming kids on some days.  There is also an older campground on the small hill in the distance, but it cannot handle larger rigs and has no electric, which is important to me because I like to have air conditioning and watch TV.  It is also too wooded for satellite, even if it had electric hookups in any case.


Wednesday, July 10, 2019

7/2 Drive from Shasta Lake to Mt Shasta through Fire Areas

Back to California after my trip to Florida and heading to Oregon.  The prettiest and most interesting part of this drive is this area along I-5 and through the area that burned extensively in the last couple of years. 

This was a very quick photo of Shasta Lake.  It actually has water in it!   In fact, it is very full which has made boaters and marina operators happy.  

A few miles farther down the interstate, you will see maybe 20 miles of burned areas along the freeway.  If you remember, this was the section that was closed for several days last year. From these photos, you can imagine the smoke and fire blocking traffic. 

These trees were scorched, although not completely burned.

And finally, Mt Shasta in the distance.  Almost to Oregon. 

6/29 Quick Trip to Florida and Even Quicker Visit at Myakka

I had to fly to hot, muggy Florida to help get the financial and medical situation of some family members settled.  There was not enough time to do everything, but we (another relative) and I were able to get bills and other financial documents organized and arrange for better medical care.  It was a stressful and exhausting several days, so just before I left, I headed out to one of my favorite Florida places for a relaxing hour of so.  

I'll be here at the Myakka River State Park for two weeks in December, but it was nice to just spend some time away from touristy Florida and out into the "real" Florida.  

The park roadway crosses the Myakka River at this bridge, and a lot of people fish here, but even if they didn't this place attracts a lot of birds alligators. 

This is slightly off-season and the alligators had no reason to be basking in the sun since it was so hot, but there is still wildlife here. 

My, what big eyes you have! 

This guy swam up, hoping no doubt that we were fishing, and he could have scraps or take our bait.  Sorry, but no free meal. 
 Actually, these guys were fairly small, about 5' long.

There was also a small family of deer just up the road. 

Myakka Lake is at the end of the road.  No boating here, but you can kayak if you are brave enough.  Note the sign warning about vultures.

So, how can a vulture cause damage to vehicles?  Well, apparently vultures like to have fun, and their idea of fun is tearing up windshield wipers and other rubber or loose parts of vehicles.  They really don't eat the rubber--they just like to tear things up.  These are very intelligent birds and obviously bored. It is recommended that you put plastic grocery bags over your windshield wipers and possibly a tarp over your entire vehicle.  Check this out:

And here are the guilty parties--black vultures.  They are smaller than the turkey vultures we see up north, but not less ambitious.  In this state park, the rangers set off fireworks periodically to scare them out of roosting in nearby trees. 

And all vultures are federally protected, so you cannot shoot one.  They are excellent garbage collectors and rid our lands of dead animals, so they serve a useful purpose. 

The gift shop and cafe is pretty desolate this time of year, but they were open for business. 

A hopeful resident. 

These are limpkins.  They live in marshes and along rivers, and eat snails.  You can identify them by their brown coloring and unique beaks that are yellow at the base and brown/black at the curved-down tip. They live only in Florida and southern Georgia. 

So, will be looking forward to coming back here for Christmas this year.  In the seven years I have been traveling, this will be the fourth Christmas spent at Myakka!

Thursday, June 20, 2019

6/20 Bodega Bay, CA

I was here about six years ago, but I was happy to come back for a few days co-camping with my son and grandkids.  We found two campsites not too far apart, which was nice.  

The only problem with Doran Beach Campground at Bodega Bay is that there are no electrical hookups.  I can do without full hookups, but I do like power so I don't have to keep running my generator to keep my laptop charged.  And to make things worse, the 12 volt charger I use for my laptop was giving me error messages saying I needed to use an approved charger.  I did discover that it must have been adding some charge because with it, I could use the computer for a lot longer.  I hate to use a noisy generator, but a lot of people do, so I have to live with it until I find a better solution. 

Anyway, here is a map of Bodega Bay.  It is north of San Francisco about 60 miles and 40 miles west of Napa, California.  It is a big, natural bay with the small town in the center top.  Doran Park, where we are staying in on a sand spit at the bottom of the bay. The nice thing abut the campground is that you have the bay to the north and the open ocean to the south, just a quick walk away.

The bottom arrow shows Bodega Head.  We drove out there and walked as far as I could handle. 

 There were quite a few sea lions jumping about, but they are very hard to take photos of because they disappear underwater just as you snap them!

This can be a wild and windy place on the ocean side of the head. 

 A lot of cormorants hanging around.

This is the path headed east to the highest part of the head and a view of the campground, except we gave up part way.  Too tiring. 

What was surprising were the number of wildflowers along the path to the higher part of the head. Here are three kinds:  The yellow ones are California poppies, and the white and pink flowers are white and pink ice plants. 

A closeup.  This is a yellow ice plant, and it is an invasive species.

This is where we were heading. 

More flowers. 

 These are yellow bush lupine and are in the legume family. 

Headed back to the truck, walking past this meadow filled with wildflowers.   

Love these California poppies. 

My campsite. My rig is facing the ocean, with the bay behind it. 

More campers.  Would be a great place to get satellite because it is so open, but can't get TV without an electric hookup.  Darn. 

Looking from the campground back at Bodega Head where all the wildflowers were.  To the left is the open Pacific Ocean and some fishing boats occasionally. 

A better view of the ocean-side beach. 

This is looking back towards the mainland on the ocean side, with a golf club and fancy housing development in the distance.  

And looking the opposite way over the bay to the town of Bodega Bay.