Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Camping is China Camp in a Van

That last score of posts on that one little big race were a slight diversion from our California vacation series. Now back to it.

The last vacation post was my account of motoring down the Pacific Coast Highway, camping, beautiful coastal views and all that.  I pick up where I left off.

After motoring for the better part of two days down Hwy 1 on the California coast, we were completely out of CNG and had been running on regular gas for a day or so.  We headed to the nearest CNG fueling station, knowing it was a PG&E station for which we had no account. 
Drew, bring the likable guy he is, schmoozed an employee to let us fill up, for free!  It pays to talk mountain biking and camping with men of the same persuasion.
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We hit Mike’s Bike Shop in San Rafael (super nice shop) to find a new saddle for Drew and get some intell on the area. The ride at our planned campsite turned out to be highly recommended, so we headed that away and hit the Bay View and Oak Ridge trails for some fine views of San Pablo Bay, which is connected to the San Francisco Bay.
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Wild turkeys are abundant.
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See, they’re everywhere!
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Nice trail – kinda reminded me of Mid Mountain in PC.
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Here is view of the meadow and San Pablo Bay as the sun was setting. 
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China Camp State Park is so named for the Chinese that made their homes and livelihood here in the 1850s. Small deer now live here.
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It was a nice ride and felt good to spin things our after two days of driving.
Back to camp where we were parked in the “enroute camping” parking lot. Choice camping we are finding in this leg of our trip, eh?
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The real nice spots were walk-in only, so we settled for our quiet spot near the dumpsters and set up camp.
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I wanted to to show a few pictures of the inside of the van.
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The bed platform sits over the very large CNG tank and slides out to make more storage for Action Packers or bags.
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The bed has nice pads for sleeping on and the cockpit is equipped with a Kenwood stereo into which we plugged our iPods. There are only seats for two up front but it is surprisingly comfortable.  It takes some getting used to backing up with just mirrors, but it drives smoothly. The other van rented by basecampervans.com has solar panels on top, so you can be totally off the grid and mix margaritas! The couple that is basecampervans.com is super cool and easy to work with too.  They use Relay Rides for the rental fee collection and insurance.  Relay Rides is this cool website on which normal people around town rent out their vehicles by the hour or day.  It would be a great option for someone looking to make a little money off his or her car or pickup truck while it is not in use.
But back to our adventure.  We mixed up some dinner and turned in for our last night of camping in the van.  In the morning, we were joined by a mama turkey and baby chicks!  The chicks were so small they were covered by the grass in this picture, but I caught a glimpse of them following behind.
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Time to say goodbye to camping and hello to wedding meatballs.  We pointed the van south to San Jose.
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