Sun., Aug 5:
As the sun was going down last night I got out the packaging for my tent to check the directions for attaching the fly. Sometimes I just throw it on and attach the corners, but it’s much better to use the cross pole on top since it makes it easier to get in and out of the door. I’m planning to camp tomorrow night at a higher elevation, and the fly does make the tent warmer. I prefer to have the top uncovered though, so I can look at the stars through the trees.
About 1 am this morning I woke up to a rumbling sound and it became apparent it was thunder. I went to the car, got the fly and threw it on the tent – not easy in the dark. I had a flashlight which didn’t help since I had to set it on the ground; I could have lit my Coleman propane lantern but the thunder was now accompanied by flashes of lightning.
I lay in the tent through the storm which didn’t really drop all that much rain, but there was a lot of lightning and thunder. I counted the seconds between the sound and the flash, although I don’t really know how to translate it into # of miles away. I think it was close, because one flash was followed by the crack of thunder at about 2-1-thousand! This morning the sun is out and not a cloud in the sky so I’m hoping my gear will dry out. I think I’ll remove the fly tonight if it is thoroughly dry, so I can pack up quickly in the morning. I’m even going to get my coffee on the run!
The new campground host came this evening. His mom and dad drove up also to help him get set up she told me they were CG hosts at Death Valley for several years. The new host was scheduled to come last Friday but his wife had a car accident, and she is home recovering mainly from aches and bruises.
He arrived in late afternoon with a Lance truck camper. They did all the necessary things to get it off the truck (I would have left it on, myself) and moved the truck out. Shortly afterward one of the legs on the camper snapped and the whole thing slid and twisted sideways. I couldn’t see how in the world they could do anything but call for a tow, but people began to stop with offers of help – mostly young folks riding by on motorcycles and in their trucks. A guy in his 30’s came with his truck and between what he had in the pickup plus what the CG host had in the small trailer he also pulled, they got it propped up so it was fairly even.
Through all this I stayed over in my own camp because I would have just been in the way. I felt so bad for him and just know that camper will never be the same. The frame is no doubt twisted and while it might be repairable to some extent, I don’t think I would ever trust it again. I wonder if he had brought sawhorses to set the camper on since he expects to be there through Labor Day. As I said, I would have packed up everything I could in the truck and gone back home, sending a flat bed to tow the camper home. His parents had brought their own tent to stay overnight, and I think the host was able to stay in his camper.
Monday, Aug. 6:
I was up at 7 am and pulled out around 7:30 and headed towards Reno. I turned off on Rte 89 at Truckee and drove down the western side of Lake Tahoe. I continued on until turning off at CA 4 towards Ebbets Pass. The part of the Sierra Nevada I’ve driven today is some of the most beautiful scenery I’ve ever encountered. I took a few pictures although the sun made Lake Tahoe look sort of washed out; it’s difficult to get good pictures while driving along, even if I stop at a pull out. It’s difficult to even drive because of constantly going between shade and brilliant sunlight.
I intended to stop at a campground called Pine Marten, and remembered the directions that it is right after Alpine Lake. Duh, the directions are for coming the opposite way and I missed it entirely. That is the CG that is at about 7000 ft, and I’m planning to go back probably after Labor Day with more cold weather camping gear than I had this trip. I came on down to about 3900 ft and am staying for one night at a CG called Wakaluu Hepyoo, which in the language of the Miwuk indians means Wild River. I am close enough to hear the Stanislaus River but can’t see it from my site. The signs at the campground are in English and Miwuk.
It is a beautiful campground, but like all I’ve found so far this year the budgetary cuts have affected maintenance. Knowing this you’d think campers would be more careful to pick up their trash. I’ve found two used band-aids, used Kleenex, various plastic bottle caps, and a fire pit full of aluminum cans. They only have vault toilets but there are quite a lot of them. You can smell them when you go by but I think that's because the wind blows the fumes coming out of the vent stacks on the roof. The facilities themselves were very clean.
I only paid for one night so tomorrow I will either stop at another CG along the way that looks good, or I’ll go on home. This one, by the way, has free showers. I looked into the shower room and it looks very decent but it’s all the way back at the entrance. The one I might stop at tomorrow has coin op showers, and is a much bigger CG. I prefer the smaller ones, although on a Tuesday night it won’t be crowded.
I’m down to about 45% left on my battery, so I think I will post all my pictures when I get back home.