Welcome Arianna! Update #1 May 28-June 4, 2009

I am in Sacramento for the birth of my newest granddaughter, and I’m relieved that it went well. It has been a while since I’ve had communication of any sort, so I’ve been adding to my journal on a fairly regular basis in a document file, but now I have to figure out how to get it all onto this blogsite, and even if anyone would be interested in past history at this point.

Since it is so long I’m going to do it in several parts, and this is Part 1 from when I left Orland on May 28.

Thursday, May 26
Hitching up this morning was not easy nor was it quick. I started the outside procedure at 7:30 am and drove away at 8:30. I had to try it over and over again because somehow I just wasn’t backing up the way I needed to. I have never in my life had a problem with backing up, until the last couple of times hitching up. I finally did it and started off – I would say this was the worst drive I’ve had so far. One reason could have been that I had opened the rear window just a bit to give the dogs some air, and I seemed to hear every little noise from the hitch, springs, etc. The last 10 or 15 miles was especially difficult because it was a two lane road, with a turn out or passing lane just every now and then. Traffic was relatively light which was a blessing.

Ana, who was working at the entrance station, was expecting me, and called Sheryl, who will be my mentor and trainer. She drove me to some of the sites I might be interested in and I ended up selecting the one they had reserved for me. Sheryl’s husband, Lee, backed the RV into my site and helped me get unhitched.

I got set up and after a while decided to walk back to the campground store to see what might be available there. Later this evening Sheryl came back and brought two file boxes of info and guidelines that I can read during the coming week. I will be moving over to Butte Lake next Thursday, which will give me a week here at Manzanita. I’m trying to decide how comfortable I want to set up for the week, or should I wait until I’m permanently located to get out the screen tent and such.

Friday, May 29:
It got very chilly overnight, and since I had left all the windows open in the rig it was pretty cold in here. I want to hang my outdoor thermometer but can’t find my compass so I will watch the sun today to see which window would be best to hang it on.

There are several tent campers in this section, as well as other RV’s, but there is a feeling of big spaces and emptiness in the campground. I’m sure it won’t stay that way when school is out and the vacationers come in. Generator hours are 8 am to 8 pm, and I turned mine on briefly at about 8:30 so I could dry my hair. It’s just too chilly to let it air dry. Hope I didn’t wake anyone up!

Friday, May 29:
It got very chilly overnight, and since I had left all the windows open in the rig it was pretty cold in here. I want to hang my outdoor thermometer but can’t find my compass so I will watch the sun today to see which window would be best to hang it on.

There are several tent campers in this section, as well as other RV’s, but there is a feeling of big spaces and emptiness in the campground. I’m sure it won’t stay that way when school is out and the vacationers come in. Generator hours are 8 am to 8 pm, and I turned mine on briefly at about 8:30 so I could dry my hair. It’s just too chilly to let it air dry. Hope I didn’t wake anyone up!

I met the park hosts this morning and we talked for a while. I will go with them on their rounds a time or two and see the procedures to be followed.

Late this afternoon I decided to hike around Manzanita Lake, about 1 to 1-½ miles depending on which path you take. I took some beautiful pictures although I don’t know when I can get them online. I drove to a spot on the park road where I could get cell phone reception – phoned my daughter with my AT&T phone and my son with the Verizon – both worked fine but I couldn’t get an internet connection on my air card. I’ll have to wait until I’m in a town.

On my way back from the hike I passed the hosts’ campsite, and Irv and Sandy invited me to come to their site for a campfire tonight. He also said they were driving in to Old Station tomorrow with another couple, Sheryl and Lee, for a bbq dinner. I will go to the campfire and out for dinner; I hope the dogs can contain themselves – when I returned from my walk around the lake I found that one of them had really made a mess in the RV. I think the change of water doesn’t agree with Mandy, but then it could have been Lady. They both look guilty as sin.

The hike was great to start out with, and I plan get out and explore the park every day if possible. There is so much to see, especially before the crowds get here.

May 30:
This morning I walked through the four loops of Manzanita campground with Irv to see how he handles the procedures for checking that people are occupying the sites they reserved, or that they have the tag from the envelope they used for self-check in. Back at the host campsite, Irv and Sandy reconciled the paperwork while I watched and asked questions. This is such a beautiful, peaceful place. I know it will get crowded as the summer goes on, and I will probably be glad I am in as remote a campground as Butte Lake will certainly be.

May 31:
Another great day. Walked around the campground this morning with Irv – lots of folks leaving this morning. It would be so hard to have to go back to work tomorrow after a couple of days in this environment.

Tomorrow I will be driving with Sheryl out to Butte Lake and will get some idea of the place I will be living and working. On Wednesday I will work the Manzanita Lake campground by myself as Irv and Sandy will be off. They tell me it should be quiet.

June 1:
I spent a big part of today at Butte Lake helping Sheryl with some duties to get the campground ready (although it is already open for dry camping–the water gets turned on later in the week). I am going to love it as the setting is gorgeous! I can see the lake through the trees at my site. The 6 mile gravel road back to the campground isn’t all that bad yet, although it is bound to become more of a washboard by the end of summer. It is so scenic and has a more open look and feel than at Manzanita. I really like both campgrounds and I’m so impressed with this Park

Tomorrow I will go with Ana to Crags Campground and a couple of other sites. I’m happy to see as much of the park as I can. I don’t mind saying that right now I’m plumb wore out! I may be in bed before the last of daylight is gone.

June 2:
It was Carol who came by for me, and we drove to Crags CG as well as Lost Creek CG. I’m learning more each day about the different areas of the Park, as well as the National Forest Land. I usually have never paid much attention to the difference in a National Park, under the Dept. of Interior, or National Forest, under Dept. of Agriculture.

This afternoon I rinsed my truck with a bucket of clear water, and dried it with a micro fleece towel. It wasn’t so much dirty as it was covered with dust and pollen. Then the thunderstorms hit – quite a downpour. It stopped long enough that Irv and I managed to get out for the mid-day run through the campground, and then he went down by the lake to look at reported bear tracks while I came inside, fired up the generator, and turned on my electric heater. I am freezing! We will both make the rounds at about 4:30 pm and then he will be off and I will do the evening check, plus tomorrow, by myself. I still haven’t tried driving the golf cart but I’ll just wait until I’m in my campground. I would say that I probably won’t use it, but I’d better learn how to drive it because I’m sure I will need it sooner or later.

(The day after I wrote this entry one of the park staff told me someone had walked the four loops of Manzanita Campground with a pedometer, and the four loops total 2-½ miles. I have walked it 3 times today, for 7-½ miles. I will need to start eating more high-calorie foods as I am bound to lose weight with this much daily walking. I’ve also changed my mind about using the golf cart – I can’t wait to try it out! The loops in my campground are more hilly, although they are gravel which is easier to walk on than pavement. If I don’t use the cart some of the time I will likely spend my days off sitting in a recliner with my feet elevated.

June 3:
In another hour |I will start out on the camp host’s rounds at Manzanita Campground. Fortunately for me there aren’t many campers in the four loops. I believe there are 179 or so spaces total (compared to 100 at Butte Lake).

I don’t know what the temp inside was this morning but the outside thermometer said 40F. I broke down and turned on the heat although I would hate to run out of propane at this point. When I get to Butte I will store my tanks in the bear locker provided, and the Park will keep me supplied with the smaller tanks.

When I was out with Sheryl a couple of days ago I lost my new reading glasses so I’m back to using the ones I bought at Target. As soon as I get a chance to drive to Redding (a long way from Butte (about 80 miles) I am going to turn in the prescription for bifocals at Costco. Then I won’t have to keep taking them on and off. By the time you buy the no-line lenses, the scratch proof coatings, the transition lens that automatically darkens in the sun, and all the bells and whistles, they will cost a lot. Unfortunately I used up my insurance’s one pair a year on those silly reading glasses!

There is definitely an adjustment to doing without electricity full time. I wish I knew a little more about it, as I’m learning by trial and error. I find out when I try to turn something on, or plug something in, what I can’t do. My generator isn’t as noisy as some, but it’s not as quiet as some either. I really feel bad running it when there is a tent camper next to me, but as empty as the CG has been, one would wonder why a tenter would set up next to an RV. I’ve been running the generator about an hour a day, sometimes again for a few minutes if I need to use something like the hair dryer. I guess I will learn soon enough about propane usage with a generator – I know the heater in the rig drinks propane for breakfast. I won’t be as close to other campsites at Butte as I am here.

In case anyone has a comment about generator, electric appliance use, etc., I really don’t understand electricity and don’t want to count wattage, voltage, and all the “ages”; I can’t ever rememeber the difference between inverter and converter. What I’d like to know is: “You need the genny to run the microwave, the vacuum cleaner, the hair dryer, etc.; you must leave the genny on xxx number of minutes/hours to bring the charge back up. Once you turn the genny off you can’t do xxx or yyy. And here’s what you can do to manage all these factors.”

I had another “what was I thinking moment” this morning. I have a good personal supply of Ticonderoga pencils, so I thought I would get out my battery operated sharpener and put a fine point on my pencils. When I pulled the first one out I realized I had a beautiful fine point on the eraser!

Thursday, June 4:
It doesn’t seem like I’ve been here a week today. Time has sped by. Last night it rained heavily ALL night long, with intermittent lightning and thunder. One thunderclap was so loud I think it shook my rig, and it couldn’t have been an entire second after the flash of lightning that preceded it. There were still patches of icy hail on the road this morning when I walked the dogs.

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