Tuesday, October 22, 2013

10/22 Eastman & Hensley Lakes

I've been hanging around Napa for the past week getting some doctor's appointments over with, but now I am back on the road for a couple of weeks before I have to go back for some procedures.  First stop was a couple of COE (Corps of Engineering) campgrounds I wanted to check out.  I prefer to stay at state and national parks because you usually have more space and privacy, plus some places to ride a bike or walk, and they tend to be less expensive than cramped private campgrounds. 

A problem with California State Parks, however, is that they tend to be very rustic and almost never have any electrical hookups, plus they are also expensive.  You pay more ($30-35) for a rustic campsite in California than one with electric and water in most other states' state parks.  Cutbacks also mean a lot of them are not in very good shape.  My meager experience has shown me that there are some terrific COE campgrounds and nearly all have a lot sites with electric and water and at least some full hookup sites for about $15 for us seniors with our federal America the Beautiful Senior passes.  Most are on reservoirs or near dams along rivers.  Most also have paved roads and paved campsites which keeps the dust down, and these vehicles get dusty enough inside!

There were three campgrounds I wanted to check out, so after cortisone shots in both hands (one trigger finger and one carpal tunnel syndrome), I headed on my way.  I got about 70 miles away, and heard a very loud bang and felt some vibration. At first I thought something inside the motorhome had fallen.   I was on a two-lane, but was able to pull over past a side road to the shoulder of an extra acceleration lane.  The tires looked fine, but I realized when I pushed on the passenger's side inside rear dually that it had no air in it--blow out! (Lucky it was not a front tire.)  So here I am!  Luckily I have CoachNet road service, but it took 3.5 hours to get someone there to put the spare on. 

Last night I stayed at Eastman Lake, northeast of Fresno, CA.  I did not get there until well after dark, but got help finding a site from the camp hosts.  With everything, it had been a very long day!  Had a great site with full hookups (water, sewer, and electric) but no cell service or internet access through Verizon data.  Here are some photos of that area.  Very nice place, other than the lack of connectivity.  Note that water level is extremely low--partly because of the drought, but also partly because they have lowered the water levels to work on the water pumps.

This morning, I packed up and moved to Hensley Lake, about 20 miles south.  I like this one better because it is more open, and you have a better view.  Decent cell voice service and OK data service so I can use my hotspot to get internet.  This campground is very hilly so sometimes picnic tables are several feet above or below your campsite.  They have put stairs and sometimes sidewalks to access them, however.

Nice paved spots with awnings over most picnic tables!

This lake is also very low for the same reasons as Eastman Lake was low.  Boat ramps were closed, but you could use kayaks in the lake.

Found this guy near my campsite.  Very well camouflaged!


  1. Okay, no fair. What was the really loud bang you heard????

  2. Sorry, it was a blow-out. Usually I hear a bang when something falls off a shelf or is not fastened, like my shower door banging shut when I have left it unstrapped. Glad it was a dual tire because I still had one tire to drive on, but that one tire really is not safe carrying the heavy weight, so it also could have blown. A front tire blowout can cause loss of control and is a major worry.

    1. Glad you didn't have any RV damage. Blow outs can really wreak havoc on RVs even if you don't have an accident because of them. Great fix on the blog post.