Posts Tagged ‘camping’


15th March 2011 by Helen

mexxi's logoIt’s been a lovely couple of nights staying at the KOA campsite in Costanoa.  It’s been a bit primitive in the camping area but it’s been very peaceful and I’ve absolutely loved the racket made by what sounds like a whole army of frogs living in the field right behind the tent.

nclrclub logoAfter a gentle start to the day we were on the move again.  Not far though.  We were delighted to accept an invite to dinner with the Northern California Land Rover Club at Mexxi’s in San Ramon a little north again from the campsite.  We had a great evening talking Land Rovers and Expeditions – and some really great food.

Campsite – Being rather late back on the road we opted for a Walmart ‘camp’ as we head south again.

Wicked Wendover of the West

26th January 2011 by Helen

Wendover is a town divided by a State line.  The part known as Wendover had numerous run down looking motels with broken signs.  There were a few run down looking shops and not many houses.  Looking towards the west the bright lights shone out in the dark.  Neon flashing lights.  Bright colours.  The difference was stark and began exactly at the State line between Utah (Wendover) and Nevada (West Wendover).  Each side of the road in West Wendover lavish but garish buildings spread before us.  Posh hotels, with full car parks.  Starbucks, McDonalds, Burger King, Denny’s, to name but a few of the fast food outlets that nestled between the hotels.  Still few houses though, and the only supermarket was right on the very edge of town.

The prime site hotels on the border had taken their buildings right up to the edge of the State line.  Their advertising hoardings and car parks in Utah, their main buildings with their lavish casinos in Nevada.

If ever there was a town that depicted the degradation wrought by gambling, this is it.  We found it sad.  A whole town given over to gambling.  Poor on the one side, catering for the gamblers down on their luck, unable to afford to stay in the posh hotels.  The rich casino owners getting richer on the other side on the hopes, dreams, aspirations, and addictions of others.

After spending much of the day there catching up on emails and phone calls we were glad to head out into the prairies of Nevada and Utah, camping just past the small gold prospecting town of Gold Hill.

Campsite – Gold Hill

Distance travelled – 66 miles

Camping in the forest

31st December 2010 by Helen

[29th December]  Not long after we got up this morning a US Department of Agriculture Forestry Officer (not sure if I’ve got his title right there) stopped to speak to us.  Clint McCaffrey was a lovely man.  He told us a little about his unusual family and we told him what we were doing and why.  He explained that the particular rest area where we had stopped is on Forestry land and run by the Forestry department.  Unfortunately the campsite at that rest area had already closed for the winter but he gave us directions to another one that remains open all winter, a few miles back the way we had come, near a town called Superior.  After cooking breakfast we headed off, found Superior, bought some supplies, found the campsite (called Trout Creek campground), found some wood, got a nice fire going in the fire pit and cooked dinner (on the petrol stove), before settling down to an early night for a change.  While putting the tent up, horror of horrors, after all the kerfuffle with USDA in Seattle, we discovered some dried grass seed and mud on our ground tent!  Brought all the way from Mongolia!!  Oops (we dealt with it appropriately of course).

[30th December]  Next day we pottered around the campsite for a bit but it was very cold.  Nothing much seemed to be working.  It’s too cold for batteries to work, pens are not writing either, frost is forming on the inside of the tent (we watched it rise up the side of the tent even as we sat with the stove on keeping ‘warm’), batteries are not working, and everything else is frozen or freezing.

[31st December]  Waking this morning Paul found the petrol stove wouldn’t light, the only water we have that is not frozen is in the thermos flask, and even that is already forming ice crystals, and, as before, nothing else much was working either.  There was no point in staying any longer.  In fact, if anything, it was dangerous.  Sure, we’d been warm enough in our nice warm arctic sleeping bags during the night but with the stove playing up and now having to defrost all our water we were not going to get anything much else done other than survival.  It was no contest.  We both agreed it was time to move on.  After a short walk in the forest, we made one last feeble fire (to burn our rubbish) before getting Landy’s engine started.  Mind you, that was a job and a half.  With our cooking oil solidifying in its bottle it wasn’t hard to imagine the effect of the cold on the oil in the engine.  With the thermometer not working we had no idea what the temperature was but didn’t think it was quite cold enough for the diesel to be waxing.  The starter motor had been playing up for a while and continued to do so.  The batteries were already depleted, purely due to the cold, and Paul was wary of wasting what precious little power they had left.  Paul took off the front of the air intake and handed me a can of fly spray.  As he cranked the engine, I listened for when it fired and simultaneously sprayed the fly spray straight into the air intake.  The trick worked.  The butane in the spray did its trick and Landy’s engine fired up, held on and kept running.  We were both relieved not to be facing a seven mile walk back to Superior.

And so it was, both reluctantly and thankfully, we were back on the road again.  Wondering this time what the new year would bring.