Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Our Snowflower Adventure

Hi Friends,

How exciting are getting to explore new places and seeing new sights?

A Snowflower
So began our adventure to the Thousand Trails Snowflower Preserve in Emigrant Gap, CA. This would be the first time visiting this campground that seems to be just around the corner from home. How could we have waited so long to get here? Just about an hour and half from our driveway to the campsite, it seems like a logical choice for camping close to home. And compared to the campground at Stampede Dam, it is like night and day. Stampede was nice our first few trips out, but the lake is nearly gone now due to the drought and there is no power or water hook ups.

Tucked very neatly in the hills right off of Interstate 80, Snowflower was beautiful. Water and power hook ups with 2 dump stations available if needed and plenty of things to see and do. Once you get settled into the campground you have no idea that there is a busy interstate just a couple miles away. A couple times we could hear a distant train horn in the evening.
Our Home For The Week

Vacations are always better when you have good friends to share the experience with and this time we were joined by friends Patty and Steve for the week. We set up just steps from the beach and amazing 23 acre Snowflower Lake. What a view we had right outside our camper! Snowflower Lake is another no wake lake and that means no loud boats or jet skis. It also means smooth waters for kayaking and relaxing.

The View From Our Campsite
I decided to take a walk one day as the rest of the group relaxed at the campers. Just a short distance from the main road and a short walk down the Cisco trail I saw a beautiful big bear. It was gnawing on a old log and making quite a bit of noise. I quickly turned around and started walking the other way. I glanced back to see the bear walking across the road towards the lake. Stupid me, I was so excited to see the bear, I forgot to take any pictures. Oh well, that was cool and i won't forget the experience. The next day I talked the rest of our group into hiking the loop trail with me, but no bear sightings. Just as a note to others hiking the trail around the lake .... It is not a really easy or smooth trail. It had plenty of climbing and not too many views of the lake. It did have plenty of trees and it was a good workout.

One thing we are learning about camping is that we love camping during the week, but weekends can
be a mess. We arrived on Sunday after the weekend crowd had left and had a wonderful week. Then all hell broke loose when we neared the weekend again. What a crazy turn around it was. Our peaceful days and quiet evenings were now full of loud voices and games of washers. We listened to so many games of washers, I don't think we will ever take up that game.

We ate way too much and had so much fun that when we left we needed a vacation from our vacation just to get some rest. We played
Snowflower Lake Spillway.
shuffle board (our first time) and played pool. We even played a little ping pong in the wonderful and clean lodge (fun). The pool looked really refreshing but we ran out of time for that. We celebrated Brenda's Birthday (her 29th again) but didn't have any cake because I forgot to pack the cake pans. Ug!

Can't wait to get back to Snowflower for some more R & R soon. And with it so close to home it will be easy to make it happen.

Until Next Time...

Don & Brenda and The Critters!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Our Anniversary Camping Adventure

Hi Friends,

Ah Spring, and it is time to get out and go camping again.

As the temperatures wavered from cool to mild at home, it is usually already warming up in the Northern California Valleys.  So with a bit of Spring Fever and our Anniversary on the calendar, we were off to Lake of the Springs in Oregon House, CA for few days of rest and relaxation. Just a few miles from Marysville and Oroville, Oregon House is a wonderful oasis nestled in the foothills just off highway 20. It takes us about 3 hours to make the trip from our place in Washoe Valley so it is a quick trip.

Boy did I goof up this year. As we were nearing our exit in Nevada City, the GPS told me to turn and save time by driving via Highway 49 through Downieville. Well, I guess I learned a lesson about traveling on un familiar roads. To me it was a nice route with plenty of new sights and little towns along the way. Some looked really interesting and maybe worth a few minutes exploring, but not after having driven some really twisty roads. Oops, not a good start to the trip. Lesson learned.

Lake of the Springs at the Dam.
We arrived pretty close to the time we expected to arrive at Lake of the Springs. It was a good thing I didn't take that last short cut thru a farmers field about a mile from the park entrance... there was just no way I would have got the truck and trailer out of that road. Once we found the perfect spot, we got everything set up so we could go explore the park.  It was beautiful and with the air a bit cooler than we expected...... nothing a sweatshirt couldn't fix.

We did all the usual things we look forward to on this trip. We walked the park and the trails. Looked around for the mountain lion and sat by the lake and talked. The park was pretty full as we got closer to the weekend, with a few people just dropping off their trailers for the coming Memorial Day weekend.  As we stretched our legs and walked the trails we met some nice folks. That is one of the things we always remember about Lake of the Springs, there are so many nice people and they are happy to stop and say howdy.

Cell service is almost nil here so don't count on it to make calls. You can get a fair signal in section I
The view from our site.
and on the benches by the lodge. That suits us fine, as we don't come to talk on the phone or surf the internet.  Sure it is hard at first to not look at your phone to see if anyone has sent you a cat picture or video of a bear, but you will get over it pretty fast. I have been trying something new when we travel. I have been taking almost all of my travel photo's and videos with just my cell phone. They seem to be turning out good and it makes it so much easier to share and even make movies of our trips. I am still looking for new ways to make slide shows and such, but so far it has been fun and easy.

Our Oasis at Lake of the Springs.
We didn't get out on the lake to kayak this trip because it was just a bit too cold. Next time for sure as this is a wonderful lake to paddle. It is calm and no power boats or jet skis to compete with. We thought about taking a pontoon boat out but nixed that idea again because of the cool air and the short time we had here.

All in all it was a wonderful, but too short, trip to one of our favorite places. We will be back soon and kayak the lake and maybe finally make it out to the bakery in Oregon House we keep hearing great things about.

Until next time, enjoy every day and have wonderful adventures.

Don & Brenda and the Critters...