Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Campin' Safari

Mrs Elliott and I are departing early tomorrow morning on a camping trip. We're going to East Park Reservoir south of Redding, Calif.

This is not the kind of place we'd normally pick for camping. Satellite imagery shows a parched land, devoid of of foliage, a reservoir (i.e., not a real lake, unattractive bulldozered banks) in the lowlands. California in August is a hot place at best, and the reservoir attracts power boat people who like speed and noise. Jack does not find speed, in itself, to be interesting, and noise does not appeal.

But Mrs Elliott's kids and their friends are gathering there for Labor Day weekend and we've accepted the job of getting there early to find a big site for the ten-or-so vehicles and 20+ people that are expected. Even my son is driving down from Bend after work on Friday to join.

To cordon off the site, I bought 600 feet of rope from Harbor Freight today. We have a half dozen or so junky but suitable cheap popup tents to place within the area to make it look occupied. I gave brief hope that I could find blow-up manikins to place here and there in lifelike poses, but all I could find were sex dolls.

Our little Westrailia camping trailer is loaded up with just about anything we might find useful. My 1984 VW camper van is fueled and ready.

Two weeks ago the alternator idiot light on the dash lit when we were a few miles up a dirt road near Wickiup Reservoir, but that turned out to be worn-out brushes in the alternator and, wouldn't you know it, I had a spare with me. I put on a new water pump/alternator belt this weekend, and checked all the fluids and stuff so I reckon we are good to go.

The main issue appears to be the weather; or more accurately the heat. It's expected to get to about 100 degrees on the weekend. The camper van has no air conditioning.

I can tolerate temperature extremes, but Mrs Elliott has a fairly narrow "comfort" range. Anything below 72 degrees is "freezing" to her, and if it gets above 85 degrees, she wilts, gets crabby, gripes and moans, and is generally a pain to be around.

We'll see how this rolls.

More to follow . . . .

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