March 24, 2012

Sticker Shock

I left La Rana at home after the last trip so I could do some cleaning and maintenance. It also gave me a chance to catch up our sticker collection. Back in the twenties, National Parks gave out window decals as proof of paying entrance fees. These became collectable, and since each of the stickers included a drawing of an animal, sporting a "zoo windshield" was the mark of a true outdoors lover.

We started our sticker tradition with The Caboose and it continued with La Rana. These stickers aren't usually store bought. I pick out the lettering and a graphic and then have a local sign-maker cut the sticker out of vinyl. They make for some great conversations at the gas station and in the campgrounds. With lots of love and care, we should someday cover the entire back end with these stickers.

March 18, 2012

Saint Patty would be Proud

The Serrano Native Americans spent the cold winters in the Yucaipat, or Green Valley below the San Bernardino Mountains. The area is now the town of Yucaipa and we spent this St. Patrick's Day weekend at Yucaipa Regional Park camping with Jake and Vicki; plus John and Dorothy.

The park is RV only, and every site is a hookup, so there is never any generator noise. There are three lakes just a short hike from the campground, so it is a favorite site for anglers. One of the lakes has water slides which open in the summer. They're especially slippery because it is lake water that is pumped down the algae-covered slides (not as bad as it sounds).

It rained almost the entire weekend, so everyone seemed to hole-up in their rigs to ride out the storm. Jake and Vicki decided it was time to explore, so we joined them for a trip up to Parrish Ranch and Oak Tree Village in Oak Glen for some shopping and lunch. I found a painting I liked in a local gallery, so I splurged and bought it for my office.

Sherry made her tub cookies; I made a big pot of Irish Stew; and Jake made a whole bunch of corned beef and cabbage for the evening's dinner. After eating way too much, we returned to La Rana to watch Drive and lay our heads down for the night.

Shasta woke me up at four in the morning, barking at the many rabbits who were easy to see silhouetted against the fresh fallen snow. We waited anxiously for the sun to come up so we could get outside and take some photos before rain would wash everything away. Another great weekend of camping, and only 40 minutes from home.

March 10, 2012

Campground Closures

The website shows the USFS campgrounds listed below as closed, "through May 31, 2012, while the San Bernardino National Forest works on issuing a new permit for management of this and surrounding facilities." I don't know what happens if they don't get a contract. Perhaps it will revert to USFS management, or more likely, it will close up like the four in San Jacinto (Boulder Basin, Black Mountain, Dark Canyon and Ribbonwood). These are just the local Federal campgrounds:
  2. COUNCIL  
  5. DOGWOOD  
  11. PINEKNOT  
  13. SERRANO  
  14. SKYLINE  
70 California State Parks slated for closure are listed on this site. Locally, the only state campgrounds closing are:
  1. Palomar Mountain
  2. Salton Sea
  3. Providence Mountains

March 4, 2012

What are Ewe going to do?

While Sherry took Andy to his Australian Rules Football practice, I headed up into the Cucamonga Wilderness with Paul and Linda and the Department of Fish and Game. We were participating in an annual count of Bighorn Sheep. We met with biologists on Saturday night for an orientation, and then early this morning, we hiked up to the 4800' level of these cliffs on the Middle Fork of Lytle Creek. Unfortunately, we didn't get to see any in our area, but that is still good data that wouldn't have been there if it weren't for us manning our post on that cliffside today. We saw tracks and scat, but no sheep. Here is a photo of a ewe from the 2009 survey. Here is a link to more info on these cool mountain dwellers.

March 1, 2012

It IS Camping

Sherry says that even though it was in the Disneyland parking lot, it is still camping because we slept in the RV and used the potty. We did not however, put out the flamingo. We joined the masses to spend Leap Day at Disneyland. We had high hopes for staying up the whole night, but as the log below shows, we didn't make it.

11:43a Adventureland is closed for filming 'Modern Family.' I want Sophia Vergara to be my 'Mouse Ears'

2:26p Adventureland is open again. Sophia is MIA.

2:38p Chili-cheese corn dogs at Stage Door Cafe. Hmmmm.

3:05p Innoventions looks like a hurricane shelter with people sleeping in whatever dark corners they can find in a round building.

4:00p Sherry makes it to the park. Nobody's cell phones are working well. The Matterhorn is covered with scaffolding from construction. I bet the tower is inside and powered down.

4:46p Modern Family crew moving up Main Street for next scene.

5:31p Tonight is about the food. We're splitting a baked potato with broccoli and cheese sauce.

5:44p Modern Family is filming at Big Thunder Mountain.

6:29p Chili Cheese Corn Dog, Round Two. They need these on the menu 365.

7:57p Thirty minutes since we've eaten. Stopped for a cinnamon roll to keep our strength up.

9:01p The crowd has exploded. We went from 30 minute lines to two-hour lines in a snap. Things are breaking down from the stress. Big Thunder broke down. Waited in Space Mountain line and then it broke down. Gonna grab curb for the parade. Coffee!

10:51p The parade was great (still not as good as the Mulan parade which shall always be the metric with which all parades shall be measured).

11:46p The Fire Marshall has closed the gates to the park. There are nearly 70,000 people here and they all want to go to Fantasmic.

12:38a We bailed out. They're not letting anyone back inside. Must be a thousand people milling around outside the turnstiles. Hundreds more are waiting in line to buy tickets. I don't get it, they're going to spend a hundred bucks to stand in line for one ride before the place closes down? The line to get through Security extends past La Brea Bakery. Drunken fools are everywhere. We watched tram after tram full of new arrivals heading to the gates.

1:04a Made it to the RV. There are sirens and Security everywhere. When I parked the RV, I thought how lucky to get a great spot so close to the tram. Mistake: All night long we heard, "Driver, your turn is clear - Honk-Honk."

4:15a Woke up and checked the status. Gates are open, but still two-hour lines and they close before we could get to the front of the line. Going back to sleep.

6:30a Woke to the sound of vacuum trucks and blowers. Time to roll out of here.