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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Trip on Which We Brought Salt Home - Feb. 12 & 13, 2011

This will be the last of my historical postings - after this, it's just real-time baby!  But this final story does need to be told.  It holds two "Revelations" after all!

Now, if you have read all the postings so far, you will realize that we had our first night out with Salt in January 2011 (see "Our Very First Trip") which produced that gorgeous beach sunset photo that I will forever treasure.  We did take possession of Salt on that trip, however, we returned her to Sky River RV the next day so she could be finished off with a solar panel and full window awnings.  (The solar panel is a must we love it and it provides so much freedom--don't need electricity at all, especially California; the additional window awnings, well, we love them but not sure they provide any additional function other than up'ing the cute quotient.)

So on February 12th, we picked her up for good.   We arrived tired, after another 5-6 hours on the Southern California freeways, at about 4:30 p.m.  As this was the winter, the sun was getting low in the horizon and I was getting high in my need to know where I am going to sleep. After hooking her up, I suggested to Alan that we might want to take advantage of having a fresh water source and put some in our tank.  But he thought there would be water at the campground so we decided not to.  Revelation!  Never pass up fresh water.

We had reservations at Cerro Alto (NFS), just outside of Morro Bay, California, but having never been there, we had no idea what to expect.  The look on Sky River RV folks' faces when we mentioned we were heading that way should have given us a clue.  But off we drove.  

We had no food (having not learned the Driving Day Dinner lesson yet) and so we had to stop at a grocery store - with Salt in tow.  A little scary maneuvering her around the parking lot, but we managed and, after about 30 minutes, came out with two dinner- and two breakfast options.  Revelation!  Pack the food for the weekend when you are at home, then you don't have to stop and shop (and then cook) at the end of a long day.

We were tired and the lessons were mounting up.  We drove the 10 miles or so  to Cerro Alto and, while waiting to turn left down the single-lane, tree-covered, choppy asphalt road, Alan said, "Really?  We are heading in there?"

It was indeed daunting:  The trees were so close to the single-lane road that they almost scraped our precious new toy.  It was almost dark by now which was a bit of a blessing as we could at least comfort ourselves with the fact that, although we couldn't see around the corners, approaching car lights  would at least give us a heads up.

We wound our way down into the valley, stopping now and again to look at what appeared to be pitches, although they were awfully small.  Plus they would require us to back in, something we had yet to attempt.  Finally, we found a spot to pull over and we hopped out.  We were thinking that we would be better off walking down this one-way road and finding a spot than getting stuck somewhere without being able to turn around.  (Of course, now I look back on this and think,  "How silly!  Of course they are going to have places for caravans to turn around!"  But this is now, that was then, and look how a far I have come!)

So we find a spot near the turn-around, but it would require backing in. Stress test!  On the way to the spot, we pass some water spigots but didn't think to stop--we figured there will be a spigot at the pitch.  

So we try our first backing in and, I have to say, it wasn't so bad.  Thankfully there wasn't anyone on either side of us and it was dark so the rest of the campers really couldn't see the odd angle we were at, but we were in!  Down came the stabilizers!  Out went the dogs!  Campfire was lit!  Sundowners were poured!  And then we remembered the water.

The closest spigot was not at the pitch, but about 30 yards away--to far away for our hose (since then, we have purchased a really long hose--technical term there, "really long".)  So we took some water jugs and filled them at the spigot and had to pour water over our hands for washing and flushing.  Not the best start, but as we reminded ourselves, still better than crouching by a river to wash up during a backpacking trip!

We had a great night and woke to a stunning sun-break (one of the few pictures you will find attached to this title) did a little hiking with the dogs and then headed off to our second night at the KOA in Ojai.  

Can't say I recommend that stop, they had the nice KOA showers and friendly staff, but the place is enormous and sits alongside an almost dry river-bed.  The flies were a big problem in the morning, even causing River to whine and that almost never happens.

We then headed to the Spice Rack (aka Baker RV Storage Depot) where we were so thankful to have a pull-through parking slot!  

That was the first time we disconnected Salt and had to leave her behind.  Six months later it hasn't gotten any easier.  But soon there will be no more leaving her behind!