Thursday, August 25
I woke up gritty-eyed, and once armed with caffeine I set right to researching SF campsite possibilities and transportation options from various outlying areas, while Michael made breakfast.
Did you know that campgrounds in SF proper are over $100 a night? I didn't, but had suspected they were at least pricey. Our budget was about a third of that, and so after RV park pricing about 10 places and guessing at transit times to downtown, calling a couple for availability, ferry pricing, downtown SF parking restriction research (Matilda is 20' long and oversized for many places), and parking lot hunting … I found and booked a spot in Vallejo, about an hour northeast of downtown by car. Just having that settled took a huge weight off!
We packed up and headed off towards Bakersfield, through the desert, past more ghost towns and dust bowls and random-seeming factories, and then started up I5. I'd never seen so many almond trees in my life! We passed countless miles of groves, laced with canals and signs arguing about water rights. There were citrus groves too, and we stopped at one orchard to guzzle some fresh orange juice and pick up some dried fruit. There was road work on 5, and many miles of ripped up pavement, making for a rough ride.
We found a boondocking spot called Tumey Hills Recreation Area, not far off the Interstate. We arrived just as the sun was setting, only to find the gates locked, and the sign “No Motorized Access April – November” attached to it. Which I had seen on my app, but mis-read in my head as Accessible April - November (thanks to my midwestern winter=snow assumptions). Hah!
The road seemed quiet enough, with a vineyard off to the far side and virtually no traffic, so it was decided we'd risk just parking right in front of the gate for the night, as we weren't blocking the road at all.
The boys scampered off to collect bullet shells in the hills beyond the gate, and I made supper, only stiffening slightly with each passing vehicle. I had no desire to be told to pack up and move on, and thankfully we weren't! The shooting stars and deep dark skies were a gift and a balm to tired bodies and hearts.