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Posts from the ‘County Parks’ Category



Today’ plan was to relocate from Portola to Truckee, about 45 minutes away.  Our destination was Granite Flat Campground, which upon arrival immediately underwhelmed us.  Oddly shaped, tight sites, and located about 30 feet off a major highway, we were not at all impressed with this campground.

Debating our options, Kelly quickly recalled a recent social media post referencing a first-come, first serve campground about 20 minutes drive away.

Having convinced me eschew the existing reservation at Granite Flat, Kelly and I  rolled the dice – arriving to Martis Creek Campground at 6:30pm on a Friday.  Despite the odds against doing so, we snagged a spot at this sweet campground.

Sometimes the universe throws us a bone.

Lucky us.


The Shifting Mood Of A Campground


Once again we find ourselves camping at Anthony Chabot in the San Francisco east bay. This place is a bit peculiar as most of the park is dry camping and generator usage is prohibited.  As a result, the sites frequently turnover – often daily, which I suspect is  because most rigs do not have capacity to sustain batteries beyond one or two nights.

Seemingly we are one of the few rigs that have capacity to maintain power longer term and it’s been interesting to observe the mood of the park ebb and flow between weekenders and those passing through during the week.

Soon enough we to will be moving on, contributing to the transient nature of this interesting campground.

Between Here and There

Yesterday after work we left the coast and moved inland about two hours east.  In the process we drove through the incredibly beautiful Siskiyou National Forest, before arriving to a county park just outside of Selma … a sleepy, single flashing stoplight kind of town.

When traveling between where one has been and where one is going, visitors pass through Selma.  In the process, slowing to 40mph before choosing whether or not to pull-off at a small handful of local businesses (grocer, bar & grill, min-mart, gas station, etc.), or focus on how quickly to begin accelerating back to 55mph.

Essentially there is nothing here, except natural beauty.  And there is plenty of it.

This morning we awoke to a virtually empty campground next to Lake Selmac, our home for the next two weeks.


Opting outside


Hey REI, does telecommuting remotely from the woods count as #optoutside ?

Anthony Chabot Campground

Turns out there actually is decent RV camping in the San Francisco bay area.  This week we’ve been enjoying out first time camping at Anthony Chabot Regional Park and I continue to be impressed by regional parks in California.  By comparison to state parks, they are better maintained, better priced, and certainly more dog friendly.

It’s hard to believe we are effectively in urban Oakland’s backyard.


While I will always prefer camping in the the big mountains, dusk in the desert is just about perfect.

Mt Madonna County Park

This past weekend, Kelly and I used the holiday weekend as an opportunity to put some miles on the Airstream and escape to Mt Madonna Count Park.  Located about two hours south of HMB and nestled in the midst of a forest of Redwoods, the park seemed like a must visit spot.

Knowing the holiday weekend would likely draw big crowds, we decided to arrive Thursday afternoon in hopes of enjoying some quiet … a bit of calm prior to the storm’s arrival.


Our sweet corner spot #104

When booking the reservation, I tried to pick a spot that looked to be the most private.  Often, campground reservation systems can be misleading, making it difficult to know what type of site to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised upon arrival.  Our spot was very private, which coupled with my not so welcoming placement of the truck, did a fantastic job of completing the “please do not disturb” vibe we were looking to passive-aggressively establish.

A 3,688 acre county park, Mt Madonna is dominated by the giant redwood trees typical of the Santa Cruz Mountain range.  On an otherwise hot and sunny Labor day weekend, the tree canopy provided nearly 100% shade coverage which kept temperatures cool and the outside lounge time quotient high.

Internet connectivity was a bust, but I did ok with limited over the air TV reception … the onset of college football being an added bonus.

Big trees at the campsite

Big trees at the campsite

TV time

TV time


Lilly on the move

The park contains miles and miles of shaded, rolling terrain – perfect for long dog walks.  The trails are well maintained and provided loads of exploration opportunities.

Kelly also tried to find time for catching-up on yoga, but Lilly had other ideas.





During one of our walks, we visited the ruins of the summer home of Henry Miller, one of the largest cattle barons in California history.  Born in Germany, Miller immigrated to New York in 1846 (during his 20’s) with only $6.  By 1858 Miller had migrated to San Francisco and built a thriving butcher business.  Shortly thereafter, Miller and his business partner shifted emphasis from meat products to cattle raising, and soon became the largest cattle rancher in California and one of the largest landowners in the United States – owning 1.4 million acres and controlling nearly 22,000 square miles of cattle and farm land in California, Nevada, and Oregon.  At the time of his death, Miller was worth an estimated $40 Million.


Remains of the ballroom

Wandering the remains, I had a sense of familiarity – something about this place felt odd.  I was convinced that Kelly and I had been to this park before, but I couldn’t remember a details.   Initially, Kelly thought I would cuckoo but I insisted that we’d been here previously.  Once back at the camper I checked my email archives and confirmed what I had suspected … we’d been there in April 2012 in our previous camper, only three sites down (#101).

I’m still not sure how it was we didn’t immediately recall the previous visit.  But memories of this visit (and the accompanying documentation) should last for a while.  Mt Madonna is a great park close to HMB and I’m sure we’ll be back.