Saturday, February 18, 2012

Home Sweet Home

I borrowed this picture from my friend Mark. I live in the canyon that's over and beyond the dark ridge (Yucaipa Ridge) and below the snow-covered peak (San Bernardino Peak). We came home yesterday to about 5 inches of snow. We had to park in our neighbor's driveway so Don could shovel out the berm. The temperature inside our house was 44--it took a loooonnnngggg time to warm it up!

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Friday, February 17, 2012

A change in plans

Tuesday, February 14

We are now sitting in site 438 in the Rivernook Campground in Kernville. We left Bishop on Saturday, and went to Lone Pine, where we got a site at Boulder Creek RV for two nights. Our intent was to do a little laundry, dump our tanks, and enjoy a little TV before we headed to the Kern River and no hookups. We'd called the Kern River ranger station, and the recording (it was the weekend) said Fairview Campground was open. Fairview is 20 miles north of Kernville, and is our favorite Kern River spot.

On the way from Lone Pine on Monday, I figured I'd double-check on Fairview and called the ranger station to talk to a live person. The ranger told us the recording was wrong, and Fairview was closed. That left Headquarters, where the sites are too small, boondocking on the upper river, Cove, which is open-space boondocking, and Camp 9, on the northeast shore of Lake Isabella. We opted initially for Camp 9. With our America the Beautiful pass, we'd only pay $8.50 per night. However, Camp 9 was a disappointment. Sure, we'd have had the enormous campground entirely to ourselves, but it was in the wide open, getting hit by the winds off the lake, and just didn't look like a place we wanted to stay.

As we drove north, we discussed our options, and I decided to call Rivernook, which is a large private campground on the river just north of Kernville. They told us they'd just re-opened on Saturday, and we could have our pick of sites on the river. So, at $40 a night (ack!), here we are. Don prefers established campgrounds and hookups over boon docking, so to him, the cost is worth it. I chose not to argue. So of course, I'm enjoying the hookups, too.

This is the view from our front door.

Yesterday the weather was beautiful, and Don took the truck and drove about 30 miles upriver to the wild trout section. You have to hike in a mile, but the fishing's worth it. I lazed around camp, did some hand sewing and reading, and had a wonderfully relaxing day.

Today it's raining lightly--a mild storm that's giving snow to the higher elevations--so I'm planning on going to my favorite antique/junk store and the coffee shop (to use the WiFi since this campground doesn't have it).

Now for a story: Last Friday, when we were still camped at Pleasant Valley Campground, I'd gone into town. Coming back, I hit the top of the hill looking down on the campground, and saw thick black smoke rising from the general area of our trailer. Immediately I thought our trailer was on fire. My heart started pounding, and I nearly hyperventilated. A half mile closer revealed that the smoke was actually coming from behind the trailer. Whew. A crew from the correctional facility west of Bishop was burning off sections of invasive weeds, and had 8 different spots to do within the campground.

They even had two trailers move so they could do the spot in the photos below.

This one is only about 30 yards from our trailer. My heart has finally stopped pounding!

Update: I'm sitting in the Big Blue Bear Cafe, the only place in town with WiFi, and it's not working. So I guess I'll post this when we get home Friday.

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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Nothing but the sun

Wednesday, February 8

Looking west upriver past our trailer.

This is the view east from our campsite towards the White Mountains. See that giant rock next to the tree? That rock came off the top off the cliff that rises above the river valley--Chalk Bluff. It bounced a good 60 yards from the base of the bluff.

Our trailer is parked about 60 yards away from the base of the bluff--do you think we need to worry?

Today was a perfect day. The weatherman had promised abundant sunshine, and that's exactly what we got. I got to go to Starbucks, then spent over an hour at Sierra Cottons and Wools, sat in the chair outside reading, and totally enjoyed my day.

Don caught (and released) many fish, and said his day was perfect, too. I just love it when he comes back and spends 15 minutes describing the various battles he's had with the trout.

Dinner was one of my favorite camping meals--I call it French Quarter Potatoes, though the original recipe called for andouille sausage. I use regular summer sausage or kielbasa.

French Quarter Potatoes

2 Tbsp mustard
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
3 medium white or red potatoes (the waxy ones, not russets), cut in approximately 3/4" cubes
1/4 tsp black pepper
2Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced (or 1/2 tsp garlic powder)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped bell peppers, any color
8 oz. summer sausage or kielbasa, quartered lengthwise, then sliced into 1/2" pieces

In a small bowl, combine the mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and cayenne; set aside. In a large skillet, cook the potatoes and black pepper, covered, for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic powder, onions, and bell peppers, and continue to cook, uncovered, until vegetables are tender. Add sausage, and cook another five minutes. Stir in mustard mixture and serve. Feeds 2 hungry people.

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

It's a gorgeous day

Tuesday, February 7
Our 31st anniversary

As I write this, I'm sitting in the trailer about 15 feet from the Owens River at Pleasant Valley Campground. It's about 4 miles west of Bishop. It's an Inyo County campground, no hookups but decent restrooms, and is only $10 a night. We were able to get the exact location I wanted, since there are only 6 other sites being used.

We were up around 6:30 this morning, and since I'd loaded the cooler last night, we just got dressed and left. We had breakfast at McDonald's in Mentone, then went to the storage place where we had already hooked the trailer up to the truck. Don filled the fresh water tank while I unloaded the cooler, and we were on the road by 8:00.

There was very little traffic on the 395. We made great time, and it wasn't until we neared Lone Pine that we could see signs of the cold front that was supposed to be moving through. We hit a little drizzle, but other than that it was just low clouds and some gradually increasing winds. By the time we got to Bishop, the winds were 20-25 miles per hour, but they were coming out of the east and were therefore behind us.

We parked the trailer facing north, so today's winds wouldn't be hitting us broadside. We have a view of the Owens River and the Sierras out our big window.

Wednesday, February 8

Both photos above were taken this morning. We awoke to a bright, clear, sunny sky. There's only a very slight breeze, and it's already much warmer than it was last night. Don's getting his fishing gear on and will soon head out to spend the day on the river. He had a great day yesterday in the blustery weather--he hooked and released 15 wild trout. He learned that you can keep 2 if you catch them above the bridge (right next to our campsite), but we have no interest in keeping them. Besides, he's doing all of his fishing below the bridge on a 2-mile stretch of the river. He said yesterday no one else was on the river but him--compared to dozens and dozens when we were here last March. There's a motor home parked across the bridge from us, and the owner is also fishing. He and Don had a little chat yesterday about what they were using and where they were biting.

I'm going to relax here for a little bit, then head into town to upload this blog post at Starbucks, buy a couple of propane canisters for our little heater, and visit the quilt shop. It's fairly new--she used to be in June Lake but moved here a couple of years ago. It's called Sierra Cottons and Wools, and she has a section of the store devoted to wool--something I haven't branched into (yet).

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Monday, February 6, 2012

On the road again...

I can't wait to get on the road again...
We're leaving in the morning for two weeks of fishing and relaxation in Bishop and Lone Pine. Our first stop will be here:

We'll be right next to the Owens River, where Don will be able to fish as long as he wants. I'll most likely read--I'm not taking any sewing stuff, and we won't have hookups so there will be no TV.

From there we'll probably go to Tuttle Creek Campground, a BLM campground west of Lone Pine (behind the Alabama Hills). Don will fish Diaz Lake.

After a couple of days there, we're thinking about doing a little boon docking at Stine Cove on Lake Isabella. We'll see!

I'll post when I can get WiFi--like the Starbucks in Bishop.

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