This site is about tales of my travels and photos I took along the way. In some cases I did not travel far and my adventure was only a day trip. On other occasions I towed my travel trailer to places unplanned and unknown to me until I arrived. My goal was not always about capturing photographs but to see what was there, take it all in and to possibly use with my camera and lens to record what I saw.
It has been more than ten years since I had the pleasure of enjoying a campfire. The last time was at French Meadows in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. On that trip our camp was visited on two consecutive nights by bears. The first night the bears were nosing around the campsite next to ours and were scared off by the neighbor’s dogs. Their only interest was food. The second night as we sat around our campfire after dark (my favorite camping activity) a 300 lb. bear approached. My companion had heard him but I didn’t (I have hearing loss in one ear). It wasn’t until the bear was extremely close that I realized he/she was there. The bear kept coming closer but was doing no harm so it was humanly persuaded to leave. The experience spoiled my lifelong pleasure of camping. I decided that if I couldn’t relax by the fire camping wouldn’t be as enjoyable.
I am now 66 and decided a couple of years ago that it might be really cool to travel around with a small travel trailer. A way to go exploring with my camera and my dogs. Photography is my favorite thing to do but my opportunities away from home overnight are limited because I have three dogs. I have family and friends who help sit the pups for my fly away trips of a week or more but I always feel guilty for imposing. Times a wastin’ and I want to see too many places to sit at home so I searched and searched for a trailer and finally bought a 20 ft. MicroLite trailer and a Toyota Highlander to tow it. I named the trailer Lulu! She’s my ship and you always name a ship.
October 16, 2016 – Lulu’s First Adventure
This is Lulu’s first adventure with me, the dogs and for this trip my friend Rick. We are on a learning expedition to prepare me for future solo experiences. I have never towed a darn thing until now, and backing up, well that’s a whole new concept when you are towing something. So Rick generously agreed to come along to help me learn this new skill and more and to practice all the ins and outs of Lulu. So far she’s a good ship. She tows well, is watertight, sturdy and pretty easy to figure out. She provides the amenities I now want to enjoy and I expect she will serve me well; it was a good purchase.
This weekend is a very rainy one all over the west coast. I’m camping again, this time at Collins Lake, CA. I’m back in the woods but not like in the past. As I sit nestled under an umbrella as close to the fire as I can get I find myself immersed in the good feelings I have always had while camping. It reminds me of so many other trips beginning with my parents when I was probably 8-10 years old through to that last encounter with the bear. Camping with a couple of spouses, many friends, children and dogs. I’ve camped next to creeks, rivers and by the ocean. Alongside mountains, near the roadside, in a meadow and back in the woods. During the hot and cold weather and the rain and snow. I can remember a few times things weren’t optimum but whatever it was never spoiled the whole trip. This has been a good fire, just right for cooking a camp breakfast and to sit by. Now mostly coals so I try to eek out the last of its warmth. It’s good to be back. This first experience is already making me thirsty for more.
Collins Lake Review – Nice
This is the very first place I brought my travel trailer – Lulu for her maiden voyage. It’s a dreary weather weekend with rain and heavy wind predicted.
There are at least 80 campsites at Collins Lake, not all for RV’s but a good selection with water/electricity and a few that include sewer. Because I am new to this whole venture I contacted the camp personally and asked a few questions. I explained that I am a newbie and had little experience at backing up. They offered suggestions of sites I could reserve which wouldn’t require backing up. I explained that I need to learn and they help me choose a site with a wide entry so there would be room for error. The site is #13. It is close to the store, restrooms and showers. The backside of the trailer was against a hill, lots of privacy. I was a bit concerned about all the foot traffic I might have to endure but my concerns were unfounded. Not sure if that was because it is Fall and the weather forecast is terrible or if it would be different in peak season. For this trip it worked out fine. I observed that all the campsites are well kept and staff seems to constantly monitor things.
The landscape consists of well planned level sites with easy access and services. Most of the foliage are scrub oak trees with very few pine trees so very little shade is offered. There are a few sites with a full lake view but I observed that most sites had at least some view of the water. On the west end of the campground it appears there are many seasonal or full time RV renters. Seems fishing is popular and there are several slips for boats on the lake. I do like to fish but don’t have a current license so I didn’t concern myself too much with fishing information.
The store offers many basic items from groceries to boating, fishing and camping equipment. They also have a good selection of gifts and souvenirs. There is an ice cream shop and I’m told the ice cream is great and homemade. We somehow never got the ice cream! No cell service unless you are close to the store. Wifi is the same.
Dogs are allowed and they don’t charge, just ask that you clean up after them – a no brainer. The campsites, trails and restrooms are clean. Beside the store offering most of what you may have forgotten or run out of they also offer small bundles of wood ($6.95), gas (.30 higher than other places) and propane (did not price) to fill your larger tank. The sewer waste facilities are near the entrance to the park but well away from the main camping. Rates vary from $25-$60 per night.
All in all I liked Collins Lake. It is a full-service campground. The staff is very helpful and courteous, on the phone and in person. I would probably not camp here during the peak summer season only because I would prefer somewhere cooler, higher in the Sierras with more of a forest canopy but it is nice for Spring or Fall trips. www.collinslake.com