After a terrible night with very little sleep, I packed it all in at 6:30 this morning and came home. My first reaction walking in the door was, "My God, there is so much room here!". Now that I've had a nice long shower and hair wash, I feel pretty good.
I blew up the air mattress yesterday in the late afternoon. By 7:30 pm I could see it lost most of the air, so I lugged it back out to the car and tried it again. I've had problems ever since I bought this mattress, including night #1 at the North Fork CG. Whatever I did after that first night, the air stayed in for the following 4 nights. Back to last night, I went out a third time to fill the mattress, removing and resetting the cap thinking I might not have had it in properly. By 1 am I was on the ground and went to finish the night's sleep (sleep? what sleep!) in the car. Of course I don't fit across the back seat of the car, but I put my sleeping bag in and climbed into it, with my knees bent for the rest of the night.
I didn't bother with a shower, nor did I stop at the next campground which also had showers. I forgot to pack my bath towel, and all I had were two dish towels. They would have worked, but what if someone ran through the CG yelling, "Fire - evacuate the campground!" Yeah, that probably would never happen, but it could. I'm entirely too old to still have hang-ups like that.
Other than getting onto the wrong highway about half way home, I soon realized my mistake and had no further problems. This trip, and the 2 before it, have been sort of "shake down camping trips". I need to get the hang of this - I used to have it and didn't realize I lost it along the way - but I will be able to write the ultimate "Camping Guidebook" before long.
I will post some of the photos I took and will do a recap and lessons learned post another day.
The creek at North Fork CG:
Same creek from my site. You can barely see the creek for all the elephant ears!
My stash of firewood for one night - all free for the taking.
I passed this meadow one day while out looking for firewood:
My campsite at North Fork:
A shot of Lake Tahoe. From the direction I was driving most of Tahoe was on my left, with lots of trees in the space between the lake and the road. When there was a break in the trees, mostly visible were the sailboats in the marinas. I think the most beautiful sight of the lake is coming up US 50 from Sacramento. You come to the top of a mountain and there it is in the distance looking gorgeous as ever. Up close to the lake is all tourism and vacation rentals.
These were taken on CA 4 after leaving Ebbets Pass, Elev. abt. 8400 ft. This was one of the best and most scenic drives I've ever taken, but it's a treacherous one. Very narrow and twisting, with one hairpin curve following another, and killer drop offs with no guard rails. I was wondering what kind of fool would try to drive an RV or tow a trailer in this section, and yep, I saw a few of them. I honestly don't know how they made it and I was glad I wasn't still driving my truck!
Hell's Kitchen, on CA 4:
My campsite at Wakaluu Hepyoo:
This is the distance to the car, and I had to carry everything that distance. Back and forth.
I found a trail leading down to the Stanislaus River and followed it, but I thought better of climbing down to the big flat rock.
A lot of folks have written expressing their fear of being in a tent during a lightning storm. I wasn't very worried about it, although it seemed eerily close at times. I just figure getting struck by lightning might feel like a massive heart attack, and to be truthful, I wouldn't mind going that way - the heart attack, I mean. I don't want there to be any reason to put me on life support.
I just heard on the Weather channel that men far outnumber women in being struck by lightning. It wasn't as much to do with more men working outdoors, but spending leisure time outdoors. Well, I guess camping in a tent could be classified as leisure so I wasn't as immune to trouble as I thought I was. I still won't worry about it as the Weather channel also said there is no safe place to be outside in a lightning storm. Where ya gonna go when you're miles from "civilization"? I'll take my chances. Maybe a tent qualifies as "inside"?
Quick note from Wed., Aug. 8:
I made a trip to REI this morning and bought a cot. It is very easy to set up, and can be folded and stored or transported without breaking it down. It is low to the ground, but a bit higher than my air mattress. I think it will work out fine for me, and I will try it at home before taking it out camping so I will be able to return it if it isn't comfortable or suitable for my use.
QUICKLY RETRIEVING MY FROG-CATCHING NET
22 hours ago