9/18/15 (Friday) in Nicolaus, CA (Lake Minden RV-TT)
This was a nice warm morning, so all our departure items went smoothly and we were on our way by 8. Early on we saw what reminded me of the Gold Country near Yosemite. Here it’s the area left after a really huge volcano (comprised of many volcanoes) called Tehama exploded. This is in Tehama County.
Three years ago we drove from Redding to Nicolaus via I-5 until Hwy 20 (at Yuba City), where we crossed over to Hwy 99, then south to our campground. This year we could see that the GPS saw another route as 15 minutes faster, so we thought we’d give that one a try. We took I-5 to Red Bluff where we got on to SR 99 until it joined SR 70, which took us to our Lake Minden campground. Generally we prefer freeways-no worries about rest areas or people needing to pass in the opposing lane to get around our big rig. Sure enough, this route included slowing down for small towns and their lights. The road itself was a decent enough 2 lane, with wide shoulders. We got to enjoy ranches and farms along the way. As luck would have it, at the signal light on the northern outskirts of Chico there was a nice wide turnout just past a signal light so we took our restroom break there, about halfway into our trip. After that light the road became 4 lane, with a sign for thru traffic to stay left. Glad for that since there was a lot of merging traffic into the right lane. SR 70 is a great 4 lane road, just like the freeway without all the heavy traffic (2 lane for awhile sometimes). In the future, we’ll probably prefer the freeway route to this one, though. Note: we did have a small boo-boo. I relied on some old campground driving instructions that showed we could turn from SR 70 onto Marcum road, which then goes right to the park. They’ve since changed the road there and Marcum goes over SR 70, but it’s not accessible from SR 70. SO we had to drive further for a connecting road. I have notes for next time!
Lake Minden campground is interesting: Section A is quite small, with sewers, but you need to use yours on a rotational basis and you’re not allowed to use your washing machine. Plus, the sites are extremely small and tight. Oh, and the voltage has issues. The good news is that they’re working on the sewage issues for this section now (yes, I said sewage, not electrical). Thus this does not work well for big rigs. This section is separated from Section D by a large rectangular lake. It took almost a mile to get to Section D. By the way, all the activity centers are near Section A (makes for a lot of good exercise to get there from D!). D is a large flat grassy area with some trees, so TV satellites have a good chance. Good sized sites with water and 30 amp power only. There must be really good fishing in the lake, since we saw a number of people concentrating on that. Last time we were here we saw a heron fishing at the edge of this lake. Today we also saw our first stinkbug in the West. Bummer. The bathrooms are like new, lovely. Lots of activities. We are rather near Sacramento.
Other than getting a good walk in the heat to scout out the campground, we rested (I took a nap, then read outside and John watched TV).