Last Friday, we moved on from the California coast to Tule Campground on Success Lake near Porterville, CA. This location was not selected because it is a particularly beautiful area or because there is a ton to do or see here. To be quite honest, we had an extra week between the coast and Yosemite, we needed to go SOMEWHERE, and we were getting fatigued with the constant looking for campgrounds and places to stay. It has been quite difficult to find campsites in California and has required a lot of time and effort. Tule Campground had availability for the entire week, good cell phone reception, is relatively close to a town, and seemed like a good place to go to rest and get some chores done. What we didn’t factor in was that our arrival coincided with the long Easter weekend, so when we arrived, we arrived to a party. All surrounding campsites had huge groups in them, music was blaring, dogs were barking, people were loud, and it was somewhat chaotic. Seriously, though, it was fine. It was a wild and noisy couple of days, but everyone was just here to have a good time and by Monday morning, all was quiet and calm.
Bonus: When all those folks left on Monday they left behind a treasure-trove of firewood that we gathered and were able to have our first campfire of the trip! Most people assume that we have fires regularly while camping, but we just don’t. We typically don’t haul firewood because we don’t have a ton of extra space, we choose not to spend much money on wood, and honestly, we don’t want to smell like a campfire all the time. Plus, both of us are a little allergic to the smoke, so it is an occasional treat for us to have a fire, not the norm. We did collect enough, though, that we are prepared for the next time the mood strikes us!
As for the chores…our first and most pressing task of the week was quite unexpected. After doing some reading on the internet, we learned that Yosemite is still requiring all visitors to carry tire chains in their vehicles. We really didn’t think this would be the case in mid-April! There are not currently chain restrictions on the roads we will be traveling, but because it is a designated chain control area, we are required by law to have them. Thus began the mad dash of trying to find some that would fit our truck, that we could either order and receive in time, or find locally. After, quite literally, an entire day of researching chains vs. cables and what brands are best (this is not something we initially knew anything about…there isn’t much need for tire chains in Kentucky!), internet shopping, and calling a million stores and tire shops in the area, we finally found chains that would fit our truck at the O’Reilly Auto Parts store in Porterville. Then we began the learning experience of how to put them on properly, which took part of another day. We didn’t want to get into a situation where we needed to put them on and not know how, and those things are trickier than you would imagine. If you don’t get every last twist out of the chain and get them on just exactly right, they will not latch, leading you to think they are not the proper size. Just ask us how we know! Hopefully, we have wasted a bunch of time and money and will never need them, but if we do, now we are prepared! And legal to travel in Yosemite!
Heather’s major chore for the week was laundry. Since we were going to be in the same place for a week and we had an unlimited water supply, she decided to fore-go the laundromat and do it all manually with our Wonderwash portable washing machine. Never again! It was a good money-saving idea, but considering it will only hold 5-7 garments per load and each load requires two rinse cycles, it took three days and some very sore muscles to get it all done. We are sure everyone else in the campground was sick of looking at our laundry hanging everywhere! From now on we will use it for a load or two here and there to extend our time between laundromat visits, but doing the full two weeks’ worth of laundry is just too much!
We also decided that since we were in the area for an extended time we would try our hand at placing an Amazon order to be delivered to a pick-up location. It was a little bit of a pain because Amazon would only allow us to send one item there at a time, so we had to place multiple orders for the few things we needed, but everything arrived on time and we were able to pick it up without incident.
As usual, we also spent some time trip planning and have made some reservations to get back to the coast after Yosemite. There is a gap between the two that we will have to fill in with some Harvest Host or other campground stays, but we look forward to seeing what the northern California coast has to offer! Then on to Oregon and Washington! And the most exciting part? We are getting close to time to start thinking about heading for Alaska!! We cannot wait!
Finally, but most importantly, someone had a BIG birthday to celebrate while here. Jeff is celebrating one of those milestone birthdays that ends in zero, so there had to be some fun associated with that. He isn’t one to make a big deal about such things, but we couldn’t let this one go without at least a little festivity. A nice lunch out for some burgers, and then strawberry cheesecake later for dessert seemed to hit the spot. Sadly, there were no epic adventures on tap for the day, but there are plenty of those yet to come!
This is certainly not an exhaustive list of our chores and tasks for the week. There was also a grocery run, some cleaning on the truck and camper, defrosting the refrigerator, etc. Life doesn’t stop on the road. Chores still have to be done, and some of those mundane tasks are made more difficult than they would be at home, but we maintain that it is so worth it! Even on the slow weeks when we aren’t seeing grand sights, life is good! But we expect the next post to be a little more exciting, so stay tuned!
Until next time!