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sdwindansea 10-07-2010 10:46 AM

Central / Northern California Camping & Kayaking
We returned back from our Central/Northern California camping & kayaking trip this past weekend. Thanks again everyone for the suggestions. We had a week to play and we were able to take full advantage of it.

This was our first camping trip with our new, 6 month old puppy (we lost our 12 year old Airedale in July). We were cautiously optimistic that all would go well. Unfortunately, the trip did not start out that way. We decided to spend our first night in the hills above Big Sur (elevation 3000’ plus). It is a bit of time commitment to make it up there. We had been here several years ago over Thanksgiving and we absolutely loved it. We arrived at around 5 PM and the temperature was 95 degrees. No problem we thought, we’d sit outside, enjoy the views and have some beverages. The thousands of flies swarming everywhere had a different idea though. You couldn’t stand still for more than 5 seconds without having at least 30 flies on you. They weren’t biting but you could not relax either. It was way too warm to spend the time inside the van. So the next two hours were spent walking, hopping, spinning, twitching and complaining. Of course the Portuguese Water Dog puppy decided that rolling around in the weeds and dirt would be fun. He managed to collect hundreds of burrs throughout his fur and brought an amazing amount of dirt into the van. We were rewarded with a beautiful sunset and the flies completely disappeared. Now everything was returning to normal…or so we thought. At 10 PM our old Australian Shepherd began to vomit. The majority occurred outside the van. At 2 AM, this happened again, however it was all over the interior. The next hour was spent cleaning off everything and basically depleting our water supply. The next morning when we woke up again, the flies had returned with a vengeance. We packed up as quickly as possible and headed back down to the coast. On the bright side, we figured (hoped) this would be the worst of the trip.

A rare second of relaxation

Snorkel doing his best Pig Pen imitation


We stopped at Elkhorn Slough (Moss Landing) for several hours of kayaking. Many of the otters were raising their young.

Our plan was to spend the next two nights at Bodega Bay (Doran Park) for some kayaking and exploring, then head over to Pillsbury Lake. However, we had unbelievable weather, the campground was relatively dead and the weather inland was incredibly hot. So we ended up spending 4 nights here. Besides a lot of kayaking, we visited Russian River Brewing Co in Santa Rosa on Tuesday (temp = 103) and Healdsburg on Wednesday (temp = 96). Healdsburg offered us Bear Republic Brewing Co for lunch followed by the Kendall Jackson and La Crema tasting rooms.

Wreck in Bodega Bay

Sea Lions waiting for scraps

Bodega Head

We started making our way South and ended up at Shaver Lake for a couple of nights. We really lucked out in that the place was basically empty and the water was still warm. I think we only saw 5 other boats the entire day of paddling around the entire perimeter of the lake. The fishing was pretty poor, only managed to catch one bass. We even got some evening thunder storms and light rain.

Gray Heron at Shaver

Water still flowing into Shaver

Except for the first night, the trip was fantastic and really couldn’t have been any better. The
puppy traveled perfectly and really enjoyed himself.

BroncoHauler 10-07-2010 12:07 PM

Re: Central / Northern California Camping & Kayaking
Hey, at least you didn't have a "Bird" problem in Bodega Bay!

Great pup, and great pics. Looks like fun, even with the heat.


daveb 10-07-2010 12:51 PM

Re: Central / Northern California Camping & Kayaking
You gotta just love the coastline. Your post makes me feel like i want to go back...minus the flys!

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