Thursday, May 26, 2011

Trinity Alps

We got a little sunshine today and decided to take a drive into Weaverville, a small town about 25 miles from here. We stopped on our way to a lookout to take some pictures of this drop dead gorgeous area. We talked to a couple of rangers about the area. One of them has worked for the forest service for 25 years and the other for one week. The Trinity Alps wilderness covers about 517,000 acres and is the second largest wilderness area in California.  Besides the Trinity River, there is also the Salmon river in this area as well as numerous streams and 55 lakes. There are also many hiking trails to explore.

We drove on to Weaverville, a small town, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.   It is actually a historic California gold rush town and once was home to 2,000 Chinese miners.  The population is now around 3,500 but they have a large grocery store, including "Whole Foods" type items and so we of course bought more than was on our grocery list.  Got a Meyer Lemon Rosemary marinade which I will try with some salmon.                                                 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Into the Forest

Tuesday, we left Clear Lake and headed north to the Shasta-Trinity National Forest area.
As we made our way towards Redding, we passed many flooded  fields used for rice production. Neither of us had realized how much rice was grown in California and mostly in the Sacramento Valley counties. California is the second rice producing state in the US. We got to Redding and headed west into the Shasta-Trinity Forest towards our destination, which is Ackerman campground. It is 41 miles from Redding and we drove on more winding roads. It is on the northern end of Lewiston Lake near the dam. The lake is actually a reservoir created by Lewiston Dam on the Trinity river. What a beautiful spot, definitely has the it factor.
Not a lot of people here yet but I am sure as the Memorial Day weekend is coming, there will be soon. Right now we are enjoying the quiet and solitude.

Picture from our campsite

Below are some pictures taken Wednesday morning and after some of the rain we got.

End of rainbow in our campsite, where's our pot of gold?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Wine Trail

Monday is another nice day and so we decide to take a drive to Calistoga, which is about 30 miles south of where we are staying. We first stop at Cal Mart in Calistoga to get some sandwiches and potato salad for a picnic. We then drive to Dutch Henry winery which is on the Silverado trail. There are hundreds of winerys in the Napa area as well as the nearby Sonoma area. The Dutch Henry Winery specializes in small lots of handcrafted wines. We tasted some of the wines while petting one of their two beautiful cats who live there. We purchased a nice syrah which we will save for a special occasion. We then sat out at their picnic tables to enjoy our lunch and the nice weather and view.

A couple of pictures below taken on our drive home.


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Marketing and Exploring around the Lake

Saturday we went to a Farmers Market in Kelseyville, which is on the other side of the lake, taking in the sights on the way. It was a small farmers market. We tasted some olive oils and really liked the one that had blood oranges infusioned into it. We bought that and of course had to buy some bread to go with it, that was being sold at another booth. We also bought some cherries, apricots and peaches. Love this time of the year when fruits are so plentiful and fresh from the local farms.
We then headed on around the lake to Upper Lakes, which is a small pioneer town on the northern end of Clear Lake. It is one of the oldest settlements in the area and is a pioneer, logging and ranching town.
It is also the gateway to the Mendocino National Forest.

We had decided to have lunch at the Blue Wing restaurant in town, which is located adjacent to the historic Tallman Hotel. The restaurant is a recreation of the town's original saloon built in the 1880s, which was demolished during prohibition.The exterior has seating on the veranda and in the garden that is between the restaurant and the hotel. This is where we sat as it is a pet friendly place and dogs are allow in the garden area. Savannah got a bowl of water and attention from the people who worked there. I love finding little restaurants in small towns that serve delicious, out of the ordinary food and this is one of them.  They serve what they call California style with a twist. We had fried calamari with roasted garlic aioli, sweet potato fries with chipole dip and an especially interesting dish called arancini, which is ristotto fritters with filling of goat cheese, sun dried tomatoes, and spinach. Yummy. Of course a little wine and we had a relaxing lunch with sounds of the garden fountain in the background.   The hotel itself also dated back to the 1890s and was reopened in 2006 after being restored to its original beauty.                                                                      

Tallman Hotel


Friday, May 20, 2011

Nice day for a paddle

Thursday morning is a little windy but clear and warm enough for paddling and so off we go. Clear Lake is the largest natural lake in California. Geologists believe it maybe the oldest lake in North America. There are 100 miles of shoreline. Mt. Konocti is a dormant volcano, the largest of the Clear Lake Volcanic field and part of the Pacific Ocean's Ring of Fire.  Below is a picture I found on another blogsite showing a good view of the volcano.

      It was a little windy but we only had a short way to paddle  before we entered an area that was more protected. This is a great place for birders as we saw a number of different birds, including the blue heron.   We paddled through the Cache Creek and passed a number of older houses along the creek. A very serene setting.

We enjoyed paddling here so much we went out Friday as well. It was another beautiful day. There are a number of water trails along the lake and we would sure like to come back here again to explore more of them.                                                                                                                  

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Clear Lake

Wednesday we were on the road again. We have been keeping our drives to around 3 or 4 hours, unlike our longer drives we had last year when we were covering more territory. Another nice drive through pretty landscape. We are staying at Clear Lake RV Resort which is in the Lower Lakes area. It is a small campground right on the lake. Our spot is close to the water and we will be able to put in our boats without driving anywhere. There is a building right across from us but we still have a pretty good view of the lake from our site. There are mostly permanent people here but not crowded at all.

One of the best sites right on the water

Savannah wants to play with the ducks

  Note on this next picture how hight the water is. The stairs are partly under water.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Along the Russian River

We would love to have stayed at Ocean Cove longer, but no cell or internet and so we need to head on. We decided to stop at a place along the Russian River. the campground we picked was called Casini Ranch Family Campground. It is set among beautiful hills along the river. We picked a spot that had full hookups as we have been without for a number of days. It is not right on the water but is still pretty with views of greenery all around. Nice being off season as the last few sites had few people and so you aren't just looking out your window at other rvs. Later we checked out the water view sites. We only planned to stay overnight or we would have moved to one of those. We ended up staying two nights but was a nice site anyway even without water view.  One reason for the second night was we didn't want to drive in the rain. Can't believe how much rain this year. It's almost June and still getting rain and snow in some places. It sure makes for pretty scenery and is great for California which often does not get enough rain. Other states as well that we noticed as we went a number of places last year whose lakes were very low.
  We would have loved to kayak the river but the weather changed our minds. Oh well, we know we will have a lot of opportunities in the months coming up for that. This was another nice place to just relax , do some reading, on net and kindle and take in the beauty of the area.                                                                

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Driving the Northern Coast

Weather has been cool but that is always a good time to take a drive and enjoy the scenery. We drove south to Jenner and then turned left away from the shore towards Guerneville. More twists and turns driving through trees that hang above the road, with the Russian River below.

Bridge over Russian River

                 Of  course this is Wine country, near Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino .  However, we have done a lot of wine tasting over the years and decided to skip it this trip. We'll catch that another time.
We drove back to Jenner and stopped at a small restaurant overlooking the River. It has great sandwiches and awesome views. You just order inside and take your food out on the deck.

We continued the drive back past  Ocean Cove. We wanted to check out any possible ways back to the 101 once we leave rather than backtrack south the way we came in. Several roads had signs that said they were not recommended for rvs and large trucks. It  looked like it was going to be a lot way to find a suitable road and so we will probably just go out the way we came in. We stopped to check out another campgroud while we were in this area which is in Mendocino county. Pretty campground where you are really in the midst of trees.

  Went through Sea Ranch which has a lot of expensive looking houses with great views of the coast. Below is an interesting looking sculpture or building. Would liked to have seen it up close.