Friday, September 30, 2011

Rockhound State Park, NM

We're moving pretty fast so we can get home and keep an eye on things. After the house fire in the neighborhood a few days ago we decided it would be best to get home watch for sparks!

Our usual daily dose of 40 or 50 miles a day just won't do so we're moving along more quickly than we usually do, 200 to 300 miles a day is enough though. There's a limit to how long we can sit in one place!

We've traveled this I-10 route several times, and there are only so many places to stay, so we find ourselves returning to some of the same parks again and again. It's not a bad thing, but we always wish we had more time to explore.

Florida Mountains, from our campsite
Rockhound State Park is definitely a place we intend to return to and spend several days. We need to be selective about the time of year, however.

We were here in November last year (see that post for more details on the park) and it was so cold and windy that hiking and exploring didn't seem like inviting activities.

On this visit it was 90 when we arrived, which is tolerable, but not really good for hiking either. The host said October is their peak month, when campers line the road waiting for a space to open up. 'Seems we'll need to schedule around that too! There are only five reservable sites here, so timing is important if you just drop in.

Although at first glance this park may not seem as picturesque as some, it has its own kind of charm. The prickly pear cactus, ocotillo, yucca and other desert plants thrive in this part of the Chihuahuan Desert, and there's a nice botanical garden trail in the campground built around some nice specimens. The silhouettes of the yucca against the colorful sunsets make for a great photo op too. 

This park is a rockhound's paradise, and unique as visitors are allowed to take home up to 15 lbs. of rock samples, as opposed to the usual ban on collecting anything. The primary collecting area is in the Spring Canyon area, a separate unit of the park.

Stopping about 4 P.M. (just in time to miss the visitor's center again!) we selected a site oriented so the trailer shaded the patio area, and gave us a nice view of the rugged, cactus covered slope behind the campground. The slope rises to a rocky ridge which sports a variety of antennae. 'Could be that's why we have excellent cell coverage in this park!

After dinner and a beautiful sunset the temp had dropped to 79, perfect for star gazing, and this is a perfect place to do it.

This time of year the Milky Way is directly overhead, and the Big Dipper tips over the nearby town of Deming. While not an imposing burg during the day, the greater Deming area sparkles in the valley below like blazing jewels. The lights are far enough away that they don't detract from the stars, and it was hard to decide which to watch, the shooting stars and flashing aircraft or the twinkling lights of town. A coyote serenaded us for awhile, but wandered off when no one else joined in.

Up and at'em the next morning we're headed for another of our regular stops, Balmore State Park, Texas. Yeah! Almost home!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Change of plans

We left Indio around 9 AM, and it was already getting warm. Traffic was lighter than we had expected, so we were humming along at a pretty good clip when the cell phone rang.

Our daughter began with, " Everything's OK right now, but. . . . ."  How fast does your brain go into overdrive with those words???

She reported the details of a house/brush fire at a house four lots south of our house.  They got it knocked down and contained so all is well in the neighborhood, but the house itself was a total loss. Three fire agencies had responded, as we're in a rural area and depend largely on the local volunteer department. Our son-in-law went out to check on the status of things, and the fire department stayed around long enough to be sure all the hotspots were out. I'm sure all the neighbors are on extra high alert now. No word yet on what caused the fire, though there was a report that an exploding propane tank helped to spread it.

We decided that with no rain in sight, high winds and lightening storms predicted, etc. it was time to go ahead and head south for home.  So, adjusting our route, we pulled into Rovers Roost, the SKP park in Casa Grande, AZ, Tuesday afternoon. As we exited the freeway we watched the approach of a huge middle east-style dust storm. In the middle-east it's called a haboob (the wikipedia article does a good job of explaining how they happen.) We arrived at the RV park before the storm did, and executed the fastest set-up you ever saw so we could get inside before the dust hit.

We've been in high-wind dust storms before, but this type of dust storm is different. The dust is suspended in a slow moving wall several stories high, and creeps across the plain like some sort of slow moving animal. Even in the middle of this storm the wind wasn't exceptionally strong, you just couldn't see through the dust. Fortunately this particular storm didn't carry as much dust as some, and had passed by in about half an hour.

It was 102 degrees when we arrived, and the rig had soaked up a good bit of heat while we were traveling, so we are thankful again for air conditioning. It is a clue as to the overall climate in these parts when you look around and all the windows are filled in with foil reflectors. 

Fortunately the weather cooled off nicely during the night. The last time we stayed here it stayed hot all night and our air conditioning not only couldn't keep up, it gave up totally and we had to repair it!

This stop completes a loop, as this was one of our stops as we started out on the trip in June. 
Next stop in this dash for home, Rockhound State Park. 

We should be back at the Ranch by Friday for fire watch!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

So Cal visit

In sharp contrast to the mad dash down the freeway, Leisure World, where Steve's parents live, is an oasis of calm. All the residents are over 55, so it's not surprising that things move at a slower pace. Aside from that, the whole community is secure, with gated entrances, and all the homes are clustered around large park-like spaces. Squirrels and cottontails bounce around in the flowerbeds, which gives Molly something to think about, and each apartment has a small garden area in front that many residents fill with roses, geraniums, succulents, or whatever their fancy dictates - which gives me something to think about.

The weather in Seal Beach is mild, and this time of year is great for outdoor BBQ's, so we did plenty of that while visiting family in the area. When Monday arrived it was time to hit the road. We never know how bad the traffic will be, so we didn't plan for many miles. As it turned out we had a nice, uneventful trip east to Indio, where we stopped at the Elks' lodge. Perfect timing.... Monday is taco night! Can't turn that down! This is the "off season" in Indio, as it's HOT, so we had our pick of the RV lot. We decided on a spot right next to the little grassy lime tree orchard in the middle of the RV area. The grass and trees made for a nice patio.

Next stop, somewhere near Prescott, Arizona.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

South bound and down...CA here we come!

Monday - departing Eugene
Well, the oil exchange issue only set our planned departure from Eugene back a couple of hours, but it seemed really late when we pulled into our destination: the Elks Club in Redding. 'Could be that we aren't used to traveling 300 miles in one day!

Redding Elks Club
Due to the late departure we arrived much later than our preferred 2 P.M., so instead of cooking we took advantage of their Monday night football get-together and had a hot turkey sandwich and a couple of brews. 'Nice way to relax after a day on the road, and meet a few folks tool.

The Elks' here in Redding in a really nice facility. They have a pool, shuffleboard, a nice club room and lodge meeting spaces, and the location couldn't be better. Backed right up to the Sacramento River there is easy access to the bike/walking path that runs along the river side. It's a really nice walk, and an excellent change from sitting in a truck all day.

Molly and I took two walks along the path and I must pronounce Redding as the friendliest town in California. Almost everyone said "good morning", waved or nodded, and stopped to let all the dogs get acquainted. What a pleasant experience!

Bridges are a big thing here - no surprise since they have a large river to work around. On the river walk I discovered a couple more bridges of interest. The newer Lake Redding bridge, the background bridge in the photo, was built in 1997 and instead of tearing down the old historic Diestelhorst bridge, the one in the foreground, they preserved it for pedestrian use. A rather practical solution!

People we talked to during dinner told us about the Sundial bridge, which is beautifully illuminated at night, and functions as a working sundial during the day. We unfortunately didn't have time to visit it on this trip, so it's on the list of to-do's for the next trip through this area.

Leaving Redding and inching our way toward southern California our next planned stop was San Luis Reservoir, near Santa Nella. There are several campgrounds in the recreation area, but as the temperature was still in the 90's we opted for San Luis Creek campground, the only one that had hookups, so we could use the AC. The website Steve had located earlier listed a fee of $20, when I checked another site on the road I couldn't find a price, but did find a description of the campground stating that several sites would accommodate up to a 35 ft. vehicle. Imagine our surprise when we checked in at the gate and were told the fee was $40! We knew California fees were high, but weren't quite braced for that.

It was late in the day, so we decided we'd take it.... then proceeded to locate a site. I don't know what their idea of 35 feet is, but it's a lot smaller than ours. The spaces were very oddly laid out too, with two RV sites squished in together and the tables and fire rings at the back of the rig, instead of at the side. It would work well if you were camping with friends, but is rather strange otherwise, allowing for little or no privacy. It's only a guess, but maybe the layout and the $40 a night fee have something to do with the fact that, aside from the host, only one site was occupied.

We got a refund on the $40 campground fee and went back to the Santa Nella RV park, right near I-5. $29 bucks a night, full hook-ups, not crowded. All's well that ends well I guess, and now we know why no one on the RV discussion boards has been raving about the San Luis Reservoir as a great place to stop!

Still hot - and we hate to be sissies, but after a long drive one likes to relax and be comfortable.  Our original intent was to stop at Pyramid Lake RV park. We got an early start so thought we would get there early and enjoy the evening. Then, heading down the highway, I checked the rates page on their website.
$39 a night, . . . OK, it's southern CA, what else can you expect? AND there's a $10 early check in fee if you arrive before 3 P.M. I've never heard of such a thing!! - so on general principles we kicked that park to the curb and decided to just go all the way in to our destination, Seal Beach.

We'd stop at the next rest stop along I-5 and have lunch, we said to ourselves.... except.... the next rest top is CLOSED - NEXT REST STOP 200 MILES  (I'm not making that up!) That's alright. I didn't want to stop here anyway. The air is so thick with smog you can cut it with a knife, and I have an aversion to breathing air I can't see through.

2:30 P.M. -  After a mere 3 hours of kidney pounding travel on I-5 and a few hair-raising near-misses as the auto jockeys dash from one lane to the other, I can report our safe arrival in Seal Beach.

Additional reports when my nerves recover.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Armitage Park, Eugene, Oregon and Go Ducks!

We've been in residence at Armitage Park in Eugene for the past ten days. Time enough to take in two Duck football games, get caught up on the shopping and a few truck repairs, and touch base with several friends.

Armitage is a really nice park, and perfectly located if one needs RV repairs. The park has only 37 spaces, all arranged around a large common green space. The RV area is right next to the day-use park on the river, so there are a lot of options for walking and sight seeing. The folks at Wheelingit  were here just a few days before us and did a really nice, detailed review so we won't repeat what they've reported, but I will add that by next year the older restroom (near the day-use area) is to be torn down and replaced with restrooms that include showers and a laundromat. This upgrade has been in the planning stages for quite awhile, so I hope it really does materialize. I'd love to be able to get the laundry caught up without leaving the campground.

A notable difference this year over our last visit is the absence of Dean, the host who presided over the park for several years. We stayed here several times and got pretty well acquainted with Dean and his side-kick Ginger. Dean kept close tabs on all the campers and with his frequent rounds of all the sites made sure things worked smoothly. He was the perfect campground host, and such a sweet man. He told us about a woman who had asked him for a photo of himself so she could paint his portrait, and I knew instantly when I saw his obituary that her painting was the image they had used in the newspaper notice.

The park staff have planted a tree in Dean's honor, and they're also going to post a plaque naming the dog park for him. I think he would be pleased.

Autumn has arrived here in Oregon. The blackberries are ripening and there are flocks of geese heading south. It seems a little early for the geese, but maybe they know something about the coming weather that we don't.

We're heading south ourselves, for a quick trip to Long Beach to visit family before returning to Texas. We're getting a late start however. Upon close review of his truck repair receipt last night Steve discovered the shop had used the wrong weight of oil in the oil change they did so that has to be remedied before we can leave Eugene.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The right to be left alone. . . .

We like to talk to folks as we travel. Fellow travelers, shop keepers, the maintenance workers in the campgrounds. We listen to local radio as we rumble down the highway. Some of  the news and human interest stories they report are pretty funny, some is sad, some downright frightening. The local talk shows are particularly telling as you get a condensed version of local sentiment from the hosts and callers.

Beginning about three years ago, with a gentleman pacing the patio at Gruene Hall in Texas and approaching us as we sipped out beers, anxious to pour out all his concerns and worries about the country and 'the state of things'. Increasingly now, we have noticed how often people we meet in campgrounds or other public places quickly direct the conversation to things they are worried about. They seem preoccupied, ready to burst at times, eager for a sympathetic ear, or someone who will at least listen to them. In these conversations the topic of oppressive local regulation and the abuse of private property rights keeps cropping up.  We also hear it on the radio and and see it in the local papers. People used to just talk about the weather and their grandchildren, now they're so worried and frustrated they just have to vent.

We keep hearing on the news and the commentary programs how "Federal regulation" is stifling business. Well, that isn't half the problem. In my view, it's local regulation and local pressure on person property rights that is driving people into the ground, and will eventually push them into a rage. 

Just yesterday Steve talked to one of the county workers in the park here about the horror of getting the required building permits for a barn addition. He told about how the stress of the process gave his brother-in-law a heart attack, and caused him too to give up his dream project. We watched a friend here in Oregon lose his business because the city kept upping the demands for issuing permits and finally they asked more than he could afford, so he just quit. The individual examples are endless, but the story line is the same. Local regulation being used to weed out businesses that haven't garnered favor with local council members, or to increase agency revenue.

Andy, fellow traveler who blogs over on MyOldRV, had some thoughts on the subject of excessive and illogical governmental regulation. His post went off in a slightly different aspect of the increasing governmental control we are all experiencing, but it's related. Andy's post was inspired  by an assortment of news items all related to the breakdown of social behavior and the heavy-handed management of agencies involved with the Texas fires. The quote he included  is what tied this all together for me.

“The right to be left alone is indeed the beginning of all freedoms.” - U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas

I don't usually get political, or rant too much (on this blog anyway) but sometimes things just sort of pile up and you have to tie them all together. I guess that's what this post is, and I don't especially like what the package looks like.
The enforcement of local regulation has been used to issue high dollar citations to children running lemonade stands, and families selling bunny rabbits (enough of them to be able to afford to go out to dinner now and then), and families growing vegetables in their yards. Since when was it the business of local government to keep folks from making a little pocket money or putting food on the table?

The West was settled by people who braved horrible traveling conditions to arrive west of the Rockies. They looked around, saw a need, slapped a board over two nail kegs and set up shop - "2 loaves of bread, 25 cents". That's entrepreneurship. If the bread was good people came back and bought more. If the bread wasn't so good, they went somewhere else to buy it. That's free enterprise in action. No inspectors, no regulations, just people meeting the need and charging a reasonable rate. No one ever thought of fining them a few thousand dollars for not having the proper state and city licenses.
All this licensing and whatnot is to "protect". I know.  I do understand the need for building codes and food safety regulations. I really do. But haven't all the salmonella and E.coli issues lately come from commercially licensed sources? Not lemonade stands!!!

One of the things that pushed me to comment on all of this was a video a friend sent us the other day.
The "War on Desert Rats" in Antelope Valley, CA. As desert rats ourselves it really hit home.

Watch the "War on Desert Rats" video. At first you may think these are just a bunch of crazy folks with weird, unsafe houses and who cares..... but that's not the point. I looked at the Los Angeles County planning department to see what was behind it. They've produced a very nice two page brochure to explain their Land Use Mapping Process. 

You have to read carefully, as all this governmentese is carefully couched to sound nice and sunny but the intent is there. "We know how you should live. We have a nice, neat design in mind. We do not intend to allow you to interfere with our plans." It doesn't matter if you've owned and lived on the property for 25 years, have no neighbors, and aren't bothering anyone. If you don't fit in the plan, you're out.
Here, from their planning document, is the official way of saying it:
Step 6:
Spot Designations
Small pockets of land use designations inconsistent with the surrounding designations were created when the hazards, environmental constraints, and suitability factors were applied to individual properties. To minimize the potential for incompatible uses, these pockets were reanalyzed to ensure a more consistent land use pattern was developed without compromising the goals of Steps 1-5. Additionally, overarching land use policies provided the framework to eliminate any larger pockets of isolated land use designations incompatible with the Rural Preservation Strategy.

So who actually is doing all this "planning" in Antelope Valley? I think a little detail here would explain by example what is happening in many states.

Antelope Valley is an area in Los Angeles County, so the Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning is responsible for all of the unincorporated areas of the county (2/3 of the county's 4,000 square miles). The agency has enforcement as well as planning responsibilities, and issues variances and permits. They also have a hearings division, so if you have complaints they'll look into the matter, then ignore you and continue as they were.

Now, the "unincorporated areas", what many of us would call "out in the sticks," are the places people go who just want to be left alone (back to Justice Douglas). They may be a little "unique" in the personality department, maybe they have a business or hobby that requires a little elbow room - like room to store the cars a mechanic is working on, for instance.

This is somehow seen as a threat to the environment. Using 'protecting the environment' as the rational, the planners want people closer to town so they don't have to drive (minimizing road maintenance), closer to public water sources (they really don't want you to have a private well they can't monitor), and clustered in developments of some type so they have "minimal impact on the environment". It's no accident that the video describing the plan development process shows housing tracts, not individual rural residences.

This post describing the situation in New Hampshire accurately describes the impact these idealistic policies have on individual landowners. "We like that view, so you can't cut down your trees", we can however, make sure the value of your property is reduced to the point that you just throw up your hands and walk away. 

"But we have public hearings", the agencies protest, "People have a chance to let their voices be heard".
I attended a meeting of that type with friends in Beaverton, Oregon, regarding road improvements in their neighborhood. Those making the final decision clearly came to the meeting with their minds made up, and nothing the residents said would make a difference. The company producing the plan was missing, or ignoring, information they should have had, and had based their design on assumptions the residents found blatantly ridiculous.... but the plan went forth regardless of their opinions. You see, it's the plan that matters, not people's opinions. WE know what's best for you. So, sit down and be quiet. WE let you speak so you'd think you were involved (that's supposed to produce "stakeholder buy-in").

Land-use planning has become a modern substitute for the bossy neighbor lady hiding behind the lace curtain. It's people who want to manage your life because they don't approve of the way you choose to live. As the  LA County Planning website puts it, they use the plan to identify and mitigate "the intrusion of illegal and objectionable uses." It's a system whereby a small group of individuals with no vested interest in certain properties can impose their will on others.

It's such an institutionalized system at this point that it may seem hopeless, but it isn't. The folks in Maine have had it with the planners and their stifling impact on local economy. They are working to disband or at least nip the fangs of the land use commission via the legislative process (article here). Two out of their three measures where blocked but they are proceeding with a third that may be successful. Think about it - planners exist largely to create beautiful, ideal designs for land use that serve primarily to identify what people CAN'T do with their property. How productive is that?

I guess on the other hand it is 'job creation' of a sort.  County and regional planning agencies generally employ large numbers of people. So they have jobs. They consume a lot of paper and other office supplies, so there's a few jobs there, and then there's the guy who repairs the copier machine, that's another job..... yeah. I guess they're productive after all.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Valley River Center, Eugene

 Blue herons and snowy egrets fishing in the pond, mallard ducks puddling about at the water's edge, laughing at each others jokes, Canadian geese flying overhead and calling out to the stragglers, a river otter fishing for his breakfast.

Does this sound like a nature preserve?

Well, it's actually the east leg of the Eugene bike path. It runs along the Willamette River and crosses the Delta ponds.

We're here for just a one night stop, waiting for our reservations to open up at the Armitage Park campground. It sounds a bit strange to some that we are "camped" on the back-side of a shopping mall, but really, the view is better than we've had in many RV parks, and you can't beat it for people watching.

Wild sweetpeas near the path
The bike trail is a wealth of sporting equipment of all kinds. There are bicycles, skateboards, scooters, walking poles, and backpacks of every shape and size.

The bike path is heavily used, by bicyclists as well as walkers, and it extends for a couple of miles in both directions from the mall, so offers a nice opportunity for a long walk,with a nice view, in a really safe environment. It's completely paved, so safe for those who have trouble with uneven ground.
River Otter
VRC allows two nights a month for RV parking, free of charge. All you have to do is register with the security staff who patrol the lots constantly.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

East Lake, Newberry National Volcanic Monument, Oregon

Newberry National Volcanic Monument is a beautiful and unique area. The 50,000 + acre park crosses hwy. 97, running vaguely NW to SE. The area we're staying in is at the southeastern end, nestled in a basin formed by a caldera. The caldera (a collapsed volcano) holds two small lakes, Paulina and East Lake. Geologists think it was originally one large lake, then became divided by a small cinder cone.

The geology of the area is not only amazing, it's unique. Nowhere else will you find mountains of obsidian, lava casts of ancient trees, lakes with warm springs bubbling at the edges, and a waterfall to top it all off. There are nice hiking trails leading to all these features, so you can take a new hike everyday.  It's hard to really grasp the magnitude of the area without some degree of elevation.

Our first chance for that type of view was a ranger guided hike up the Big Obsidian flow.

The half mile hike is steep in places, and the trail is pure volcanic glass (obsidian and pumice). Those who showed up in stylish little sandals had a bit of a rough time of it, but it's definitely worth the effort.

Ranger Ashley showed the group a selection of modern arrowheads and blades made from several types of obsidian. This formation is black, but obsidian does occur in other colors, depending on the mineral content.

From the top of the trail you can see Lost Lake and view the rivers of obsidian than make up the flow. The obsidian looks in many places like ropes of taffy, frozen in place, and in others looks like frothy peanut brittle, still others are pure clear glass-like material, the kind the arrowheads are made of. The solid glass-like obsidian is actually fairly rare and so was valuable trading material for the Native Americans in the area. Obsidian from this flow can be traced, through mineral analysis, to tools made by tribes all over the country.

Paulina Lake on the left, East Lake on the right
Our second opportunity for a "birds-eye-view" came at the end of a bone-jarring drive up a washboard gravel road leading to Paulina Peak, a gain in elevation of nearly 2,000 feet.

From the peak we could see the surround volcanic plain, with small cone shaped mounds, all covered with dense forest that at this altitude (nearly 8,000 feet) looks like dark green velvet. Smoke from the forest fire near Bend drifted low between the hills in the distance and although it clouded the view somewhat it also lent some definition to the dark, forest covered hills. Far in the distance we could see Mt. Bachelor and The Three Sisters, all snow capped volcanic peaks.

 There actually isn't as much wildlife around the campground as I would have expected. A few birds, lots of chipmunks and golden mantle squirrels, and frogs. Tiny little tree frogs no bigger than half an inch. In the photo, the frog, looking much like the gravel, is 2/3 of the way to the right of my hand. They come in green too, but I couldn't get any of them to pose for me!

They're all over the damp shores of the lake, and according to the ranger we talked to, they were all over the floor of the visitor's center when they opened it up for the season.

It seems that every year these little guys decide suddenly in late summer, in one mass migration, to climb the Big Obsidian flow. Perhaps to find a nice winter hiding place in the crevices? No one seems to know for sure why they do it, but it's an annual ritual for them.

We took a drive around both lakes to check out a few of the eight campgrounds, and decided we like ours the best. We're staying in Cinder Hill campground. With 109 sites it's by far the largest campground. There are several sites with lake views, but those were all reserved by the time we decided to stay here. Our site is on the back side of the loop, with a view of the bright red cinder hill up on the side of the caldera. Surrounded by mature Lodgepole pines and dense stands of seedlings, the sites are private and lush.

We checked out Little Crater campground at Paulina Lake (51 spaces) too. It's long and narrow, laid out along the shore of the lake. Lots of nice lake views, but the spaces are wide open (little shade) and packed in pretty close to one another. It would be nice if there aren't many sites occupied, but on this long weekend it's a little too busy for our taste. Paulina Lake campground (71 spaces) has more trees, but is located right next to the highway so there's a lot of road noise to deal with. These campgrounds all take reservations for some of the spaces, but also keep a percentage of the spaces available for drive-in registrants.

Other than a couple of nights that dipped below freezing the weather was beautifully clear and warm. The elevation, and the rim of the caldera, have held back the smoke from the fires north of us, so the sky is that brilliant blue that you usually only see on magazine covers. You can tell fall is on the way - a certain crispness in the air, a few leaves turning color, and the rodents "stocking up", until they are as fat as little baseballs. 

For us, autumn means football..... so it's off to Eugene and a couple of Duck games!
Check out the album for additional views of this beautiful area.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

East Lake, Oregon

After leaving Training Camp we stopped for one night at the Crook County RV Park, in Prineville. The stop was planned so we could stock up before heading south to East Lake, but it also provided an opportunity to repair our gas water heater that had decided to give up the ghost during Training Camp. It would ignite, but wouldn’t stay lit. While I caught up on the laundry Steve did some diagnostic work and eventually took the circuit control board to a shop and had it tested at High Desert RV. ‘Nice folks, and very helpful in running down the problem. The circuit board proved to be the culprit, so one new circuit board and $140 later we again had hot water. ‘Good thing, as the campground we’ll be staying in at East Lake doesn’t have electric or water service available.

Crook County RV park is nice. The spaces are generously log, but rather skimpy in the width. Each space has a little postage stamp size bit of grass and a picnic table. Fortunately the park wasn’t crowded, so they assigned everyone alternate spaces, making for a nice bit of elbow room.

This is posted “on the road”, as we’ll have no Internet service there unless we drive out away from the park. East Lake is in the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, and the campground is in a caldera (collapsed volcano), which really limits cell phone access. We’ll be here for 8 days, so plenty of time for R and R, and sightseeing too. Watch for reports!