Saturday, June 4, 2016

Shakedown Cruise: Part 1

The Man and I went camping. Finally. It's always been at the top of our Want-To-Do list but we had to first figure out the critter sitter situation. Although we've had many generous offers from family and friends to house-sit and pet-sit we were looking for one person we could use frequently and on the spur of the moment - whenever the travel bug bit.

Sandee recommended the pet sitter she's been using for the past several years. We gave Karen a call and she promptly made an appointment to come over and check out our situation and needs. She listened carefully to our morning and evening routine, asked questions, took notes, and didn't seem daunted by the goats, dogs, and chickens parading after us. A couple of days after her visit Karen emailed us a detailed list of everything we had discussed, it was very thorough.

  • Pet Sitter: check.

The 19-ft travel trailer we found on Craigslist was outfitted and ready for traveling. We purchased it for two reasons: mobile work office for The Man (just in case) or an escape pod in the face of a wildfire evacuation (just in case). It had not gone anywhere in the two years that we've owned it. The Handy Man added a few upgrades - laminate flooring and a porcelain toilet - ahh, the comforts of home. My galley was fully operational and the RV was shipshape for traveling.

  •  RV: check.

The Man loaded up his KLR 650 and fishing gear; I brought along popcorn, my Kindle, three knitting projects, and an assortment of Tom Bihn bags and accessories.

  • Hobbies: check.

It took us a leisurely five-hour eastward drive to the southern Sierras plus an additional two hours of driving (and walking) the three miles of dirt road to the campground. It was a deeply rutted, narrow road and unfortunately we were committed to the process - no turnarounds - once we headed down the path.

After two miles of bumping along The Man did find a pasture he could back into so we parked and walked the last mile to make sure we could make it to the campground. If the road got any rougher we would not go any further. The Man was worried about getting stuck, I was more concerned about meeting another vehicle: Who has the right of way? Who has to back up? The road was no different than what we had already driven so we continued down to Alder Creek campground.

The campground was deserted. It seemed like no one had been camping there for quite awhile.

The Man unloaded his KLR on the new ramps he customized for transporting his motorcycle. (I found out he was taking the bike when I came home from work and found my helmet, jacket, and gear laid out.)

We took off for a late afternoon motorcycle ride and somewhere on the bumpy road I lost my pillow-stuffed laptop cover, aka my seat cushion. I tried not to wiggle around too much, sitting on the luggage rack, while The Man maneuvered the bike over the rutted and rocky road. We found my seat again on the way back to the campsite and The Man tied it down securely. (It's quite comfy by the way. Really.)

In the early evening another person showed up. He drove by while we were sitting by the campfire. He didn't make eye contact or wave at us until I waved first. The next morning flickering light woke me up. I peeked out the window and saw the neighbor standing next to a mini bonfire, wearing shorts only, pouring a bucket of water over his head. Soon thereafter we heard him leave. We didn't see a tent so he must have slept in his truck.

  • Creepy Campground Neighbor: check.

Rather than spend another night we decided to leave. The dirt road was marginal at best, if it rained, we'd be stuck and stranded. 

Road Less Traveled: check.

It was a slow drive out and I sighed with relief when we touched the blacktop road.

To be continued . . . .