Moving on – to Cloverdale, CA

4/14/16 (Thursday) in Cloverdale, CA (Russian River-TT)

So long, farewell…to San Benito-TT campground. Lovely place. We saw starlings, scrub jays, acorn woodpeckers, quails and turkey vultures all the time. Plus we got bonus sightings of deer and warblers. Best of all we saw a pair of Bullock’s Orioles for the first time ever!! They are such beautiful birds with bright orange faces fading into bright yellow breasts with black crown, black wings with white streaks. Below is an image of something that reminds me of red clover that grew near our site.


It was raining as we awoke. We were so glad that John had decided to get the slides in, jacks up and sewer and water connections put away the night before. There was a 25% chance of rain, so we could have thought we’d escape, but so glad we did those jobs earlier. Another plus, we’d planned to leave the campground at 9 (no earlier, not much later), to avoid the commuter traffic in the big towns when we hit them. Despite the need to reprogram our cockpit powered MCD shades this morning, we were on our way by 9! Also very glad we’d scoped out whether to use SR 25 vs the Fairview/Shore alternate route. We could tell that they’d built a new 4 lane SR 25 around the town of Hollister; that’s why that route was the better of the two. We had done a great deal of research, especially asking campers about which might be the best route through this very populated San Francisco country north to Cloverdate. We feel we arrived at an excellent plan. After SR 25 we took US 101N, I-880N, I-980E, I-580 then I-580W (that needed our full attention, we almost missed our 2nd I-580 ramp!) The southbound traffic seemed pretty congested in some areas. All in all, decent roads and traffic kept moving at 60 mph or over (we travel at 60 mph for best fuel mileage). Finally, onto the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge!! Stay in the right lane to pay cash ($5/axle, $20 for us) if you don’t have the CA FasTrak card.

Richmond-San Rafael Bridge (5.8 miles long)

Now we merged onto US 101N. Great 4 or more lane road!


We arrived before 1, then were all set up by 2. Then it started raining. Good timing!

This is a beautiful park. They had called us before we came to warn us: slow to 5 mph prior to the #525 exit at Geysers Road, because it’s short, then a sharp 135 degree turn. For this park they want you to stop at the “Stop” sign just before the gatehouse. Plus you’ll need your driver’s license, TT membership card as well as your vehicles’ (RV, toad) Vehicle Registrations and Insurance (we made copies of these last 2 items). The ranger was thrilled that we’d made copies of our registration and insurance cards because it makes it simple for them and campers are less likely to lose these important documents. Hey, it makes it simple for us because we keep our original documents in their respective vehicles.

It’s a lovely park, very wooded. The campground roads are narrow (one way) and twisty, with trees, but negotiable. At the first site we considered a few quail crossed in front of us, then an acorn woodpecker and scrub jay were having an issue in the tree at that site. Warms my heart! The ranger even had a map showing which sites were likely to have TV satellite reception (dome or movable)! Unfortunately they don’t have sewer and at the moment their water was breached, so there is no city water in Section D and only gravity fed (low pressure) available in sections A,B,C. We found our spot in C-58 and have 1/3rd tank of fresh water. Yay! Also, they have Verizon (4G) here.  We even met a nice couple from Washington, Kim (Kimberly) and Kim, her husband!   We’re looking forward to 5 days of peace and quiet.


About Patricia Elser

I've always loved the loose, flowing, transparent look of watercolors, of Chinese paintings and their calligraphy, but alas, no watercolor classes were available when I was in school, so that interest remained buried until my children were grown. Even then, I was afraid that I couldn't really paint, so upon my sister's advice, I actually started to take classes. I signed up for every class available, determined to learn no matter how afraid I was. I came upon a teacher, Stan Miller, who inspired me, who opened the door to success in watercolor. I love to look at beautiful images. I want to capture them forever. All my life, photography was how I gathered images of the beauty I saw. Thanks to all that photography, I enjoy composing pictures, especially up close. Watercolors allow me to add more of me in their translation of that beauty. My paintings reflect my love for music and dance, with their rhythm and flow. I am fascinated by the play of light, so it appears in my pictures as drama for they are filled with darks and lights. Maybe it's the challenge, maybe it's the beauty, but now, when a work comes together, it fills my soul.
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