Sunday, September 16, 2012

Last trip of the season

Last camping trip of the season. I think we made it out 6 times this year, which is pretty good. This was the PERFECT weekend to go. First, the weather predicted for southern California, even coastal areas, was predicted to be 105 degrees. The mountains, by contrast, was in the upper 70s. It felt heavenly to us, as we have been baking in our un-insulated, non-air conditioned house for two months now. I put a jacket on at 4:00! Second, there wasn't hardly anybody up there. I guess most people's last official camping trip was over Labor Day weekend, so we had our pick of the campsites when we arrived Friday afternoon.

The people behind us have the tent we want and had the same kitchen. Our Dopplegangers!
Last trip of the season, but finally got to use our new camp kitchen that we purchased with credit card reward points*. This thing may have more counter space than my kitchen at home, lol. Under the middle counter is a basin for washing dishes -- so convenient!

I made one Dutch oven meal -- banana bread scones. They were only ok, and definitely not photo worthy, as they looked like a cross between a meatball and a turd. Our first Dutch oven fail...

On Saturday, we did separate activities, which is unusual for us when we are travelling. We spent a couple hours together fishing. Hank caught his first fish!

Yet another reason this was a good weekend to go to the mountains -- they just stocked the lake with fish. People were pulling them out right and left -- good sized ones, too. This is a 12" trout. Also spotted at the lake ~

a bald eagle

Should have put an arrow -- bear is between fallen stumps
a black bear -- this was the mama, and she had two cubs that had already gone to take cover before we got there.

Didn't see this guy, though


After Hank started to lose interest with fishing, mama dragged him to do something she saw a sign for on the way up the mountain -- a u-pick apple farm! It was a 2.5 mile drive straight down on a poorly maintained dirt road. I can barely drive our large truck as it is, and having to negotiate ruts and boulders in the road, watch for vehicles around blind curves, and keep from riding the brake all the way down definitely pushed my driving skills to the limit.

At the bottom of the hill was a house surrounded with broken down cars and old sheds falling apart. I think I've seen the scene in several horror movies. There was a sign to honk (aka alert the psychos to get their chainsaws) and proceed to the orchard. Once there, however, we were greeted by a woman who looked to be anything but a psycho killer. We got our apple picker and bag and got to work.

This was a rustic orchard planted on a slope. It wasn't nicely pruned like other orchards we have been to -- you had to find your way around tall grass and pony poop land mines that surrounded the trees (happy ponies get run of an orchard, and the poop probably is good fertilizer). Not too many ripe apples yet, but found enough for applesauce -- provided the kid doesn't eat them all first.

Just a couple more pics. I wonder if things like Jiffy Pop will stay around just so adults can share with their kids the things they recall with nostalgia from their youth, and then those kids share with their kids, and so on.

Also wanted to finally post a picture of our tent camping lights my mom bought for us last Christmas. They are battery powered star shapes, and provide the perfect night light for a tent full of city slickers who are not accustomed to sleeping in complete darkness.

*I read a few money saving blogs that extol the benefits of cash envelopes for budgeting. We use a credit card for all purchases during the month, and religiously pay it off before fees are assessed (we have no credit card debt right now as explained here -- this card is solely used for the reward points). Every 3 months, we have enough money for a $250 reward card from just about any business we want -- Home Depot, Amazon, Kohls to name a few. The other benefit of this system is that we have the card linked to, and can track where we are at spending wise in dozens of categories -- not just a handful as it seems would be the case with an envelope system. The system notifies us if we do go over in a category, and we can move a little over from another and still stay on track budget wise for the month. Different systems work for different people, but so long as you don't carry a balance and have to pay fees, I think getting $1,000 back/year on purchases you make anyway for use in stores you shop at regularly is pretty awesome! Plus our credit rating is phenomenal since we have cards we use but don't have debt on them.


Favorite of the day: Cute Halloween favor bags

Working on: Memory game


Heidi@TheMerryMagpieVintage said...

That is a cool kitchen set-up! Love the tent lights too, I had no idea they made such a thing.

I'd love to know which CC you use. I've been thinking of getting a rewards card to put my business expenses on but haven't decided what rewards I want--Marriott points, Disney credit, etc. I'd love a recommendation if you like yours.

Anonymous said...

Your trip sounds wonderful.
We should follow your money system- it sounds great.