I put together yesterday’s post about Colusa late last night, but we had such a great stay and there is more to share, so I’ll post a bit more. In the above photo Jeanette is shown this morning enjoying her morning coffee at our parking site before we left on our journey back to Oregon. The story of the present success of the Colusa-Sacramento River SRA has some interesting layers. It is well known that the state of the California State Parks is a mess or maybe better put in shambles. Lack of funding has forced them to close many parks, or at best stay open with a reduced work force that cannot possibly keep up with maintenance and upkeep. We are keenly aware of their dire straits as we travel though the state and attempt to use some of their parks. Colusa however stands out as a shining example of another direction. The operation of the park has been taken over by the small City of Colusa. They have installed a full time campground host (who was friendly and helpful), the grounds are well kept, and the rates are low. In most California State Parks the rate is 35 dollars a night for a no hook-up site. At Colusa the rate is 26 dollars, less 2 dollars for a senior discount. Bear in mind that we only paid 13 dollars because of the ENROUTE CAMPING with the senior discount, and add to that we had the parking lot to ourselves. That equals a couple of happy campers!
Monday, June 17, 2013
We are camped tonight at the Colusa-Sacramento River State Recreation Area, a tiny park, but with a big fancy name. We discovered this park several years ago, and have used it many times as a stop-over to and from the Bay Area. Hidden away beside the forgotten river town of Colusa, it’s about eight miles off of busy I-5, and worth every mile in terms of peace and quiet. This afternoon on our arrival we discovered a new feature, ENROUTE CAMPING. This allows a fully contained RV to park for the night in a parking lot for a lesser fee, in this case 15 dollars, less 2 dollars for senior discount. The deal is you have to be gone by 9:00AM because it may be needed to be used as a parking lot. This is a California Department of Parks and Recreation program and good at 17 locations. We can’t wait to try some of the other locations at this bargain price.
Friday, June 14, 2013
Yesterday’s travels took us on the narrow windy route along the California Coast south of Fort Bragg and over the equally hilly twisty route to Cloverdale before joining 101 and our stop for the day at Novato. It’s a route I’ll probably never do again in the motorhome. The beauty of the Mendocino Coastline is undeniable, but getting there or back is the next thing to a nightmare. Today I was quite surprised to find the trip over the Golden Gate Bridge (photo by Jeanette) and through San Francisco much easier! We are now setup in the Santa Cruz/Monterey Bay KOA. We have a nice site, the weather is perfect, and we are awaiting the arrival of Tony, Maggie, & Bobby for two nights of camping.
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
We are enjoying a day without driving and staying a second night at MacKeericher State Park. This morning we took a walk out to explore Laguna Point, which you can see was a little blustery. We spent a couple of hours wandering the trails of the headland and counting birds. Nothing much different in the way of birds, but in the afternoon while walking Buster I saw and photographed a Lesser Scaup which is very unusual for this time of year. He should be much further north by now. Tomorrow we will be traveling on with our overnight stop scheduled at Novato RV Park which is where we stayed in Oct 2011 to attend Tony and Maggie’s wedding.
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Today we continued our travels south, leaving Hwy 101 at Liggett and climbing over the infamous Liggett Hill and down to join Hwy 1 and wind along the California Coast. We are now setup at MacKerricher State Park, just north of the town of Fort Bragg for two nights. This is a most impressive park with many recreational options in an outstanding natural setting of ocean, beaches, a lake, and trails, and most important to us, there are lots of birds. We spent the first couple hours just identifying the birds we could hear and see from our campsite. But eventually Buster wanted more so we set out on a walk around Lake Cleone and discovered even more, giving us a total bird count for the afternoon of 42 different species.
Monday, June 10, 2013
Today on our journey south we stopped for some birding at the Arcata Marsh & Wildlife Sanctuary. We birded for 2 hours and identified 20 birds, which is not that great, just average, but what was great is that we got two Life Time birds, Allen’s Hummingbird and a rare Indigo Bunting. We would never have known about the Bunting except that two local birders, Holley & Ron Vetter, mention it to us and then were gracious enough to take us to the known location. Of course the bird did not show, but just before giving up Jeanette played its song on her iPod, some confusion followed as we realized we were now hearing the actual bird sing not Jeanette’s iPod. We then spotted him and enjoyed watching him sing and pose for a photograph.
Sunday, June 9, 2013
The evening sun, light fog, and off shore islands combined to give an almost magical look to Harris Beach State Park last night. To top it off it was a warm shirt-sleeve evening as well. I took this photo while on a walk on Edible and Medicinal Plants, lead by Interpretive Ranger, Angelia Stewart. (Notice the daisies and foxglove in the foreground.) It was kind of fun to go on an interpretive walk and listen to someone else do all the talking.