Sunday, June 23, 2019

Boca Campground (CA)

Margaret once again relied on one of our most used resources, California Boondocking: The Desert and Eastern Sierra—A Frugal Shunpiker’s Guide by Marianne Edwards, for our next camping location. After our grocery shopping in Tahoe City, we headed east on Interstate 80, hoping the road over Boca Dam was open to access Boca Campground. The U.S. Forest Service Website information hadn't been updated for over a year, but it was definitely past snow season, and we figured the dam road should be open by then. However, it turned out that the dam was under construction, so the road remained closed. (Bummer!) So we went back from whence we came; and using the GasBuddy app, I found the lowest priced gasoline to fill up the Roadtrek. That bargain gas station happened to be located in the Historic District of Truckee, CA. What a quaint, fascinating, and crowded few blocks it was. (The immediate area of the gas station was made even more crowded by an Amtrak passenger train that was waiting to depart and was blocking the road.) I think if it wasn't so late, and if we could have found a parking spot large enough, we would have explored the town. As it was, it was nearly 7:00 p.m.; but we thought we had plenty of time before dark to get to the campground and find a campsite. Hah!

Between the directions from the U.S. Forest Service Website and Google Maps, we determined the alternate route to the campground was by way of Highway 89. The highway miles sped by; it was the several miles on dirt roads that presented us with challenges. At a complicated intersection of dirt roads, Google Maps ended up rerouting (unbeknownst to Margaret, the driver). There were California Highway Patrol officers blocking the forest road straight ahead (along with a detainee in handcuffs!). Continuing to follow the app's directions, we turned to the right there and ended up on a jeep track, which was narrow, rocky, and washed out in places. The Roadtrek is not an offroad vehicle, and we were riding high on either side several times to avoid bottoming out. Things were getting tossed about in the back, but Margaret did well maneuvering, and we didn’t tip over. My anxiety levels go through the roof in times like those, but Margaret remained calm and capable. It had been a very long day, my knee was throbbing, and a short scouting walk ahead on that trail hadn't helped it any. The jeep trail didn't look right to either of us and got muddy where I scouted ahead, so Margaret made a safe three-point reverse and returned to the four-way dirt intersection.

The Roadtrek in our little campsite with a beautiful view! Photo by Virginia.

We got back to the main forest road; and with the little bit of a cell signal we had (and another Google Maps rerouting), we ended up seeing a sign with an arrow to Boca Reservoir. Yay! It was another three miles before we saw the Boca Campground sign. By that time, it was pretty dark; and the right fork of campsites was full. We drove over to the left fork and were able to find an unreserved campsite in the dark. One of the picnic table's two benches was utterly destroyed, but we didn't care since we rarely ever use them. This time, though, it came in handy right next to our side door for temporarily offloading the groceries we had purchased, which allowed more room to move things from travel mode into living mode. It was after 9:00 p.m., and we had had a really full day. While Margaret and Peaches walked back to the self-pay station to deliver the registration form and fee, I got the Roadtrek ready to camp. Fortunately, we had enough of a fluctuating T-Mobile signal that I could call and check on her, as they were gone for quite a while and it was d-a-r-k! On top of being fatigued, tired, and sore, I was also "hangry." I heated up an Amy's frozen enchilada meal in the skillet and ate dinner at 11:15 p.m. Margaret and Peaches finally returned from their long walk, and soon we all crashed!

Things always look better in the morning after a few hours of sleep, right? In this case, that's a "you betcha!"

A short movie of Boca Campground and Reservoir by Virginia.
[If you have trouble viewing this embedded movie, 
you may view it directly on YouTube here:]

The forest, Boca Reservoir, and mountains. Photo by Margaret.

Boca Reservoir and the Western Sierra Nevada Mountains. Photo by Margaret.

Boca Reservoir and the Western Sierra Nevada Mountains. Photo by Virginia.

Boca Reservoir. Photo by Virginia.

Our neighboring campsite during the brief time it was unoccupied. Photo by Virginia.

This beautiful campground ended up being the busiest and loudest of any place we've stayed on this trip so far. We were probably the only "outsiders." (I got a real local and regular vibe from all of the much younger campers that surrounded us.) We were definitely the most, um, mature campers there. 

We stayed for three nights, the first being the only relatively quiet one. This campground (while we were there, anyway) was not for the peace and quiet crowd. There were loose dogs barking and getting into fights, loud music, people shouting, and OHVs zipping in and out of camp—all of which were forbidden but not enforced. Was I ever that young and fun-loving? I think not! In fact, I don't know if I've ever felt older and crankier. They all seemed to be having a grand young time, though. ;>) 

[This paragraph contributed by Margaret:]  One morning when I was walking Peaches in the campground, one of the chronically loose dogs (a large, part German Shepherd puppy) saw Peaches and suddenly ran straight toward her. Peaches was on a leash, as always in public. When that dog got to her, Peaches didn't hesitate. She lunged upward at that dog's face and bit its left flew ("lip").  Wow! I guess Peaches knows how to take care of herself! That dog's eyes got so large; he acted completely surprised—like, "Why did you do that? I just wanted to play!" When the other dog got detached, he hightailed it back to the guy that had the adult German Shepherd with him. I wouldn't have wanted to stretch Peaches' luck with that dog. All other walks with Peaches were uneventful. Whew.

It really was a beautiful location, though; and it was definitely not too warm for our comfort. Margaret took Peaches for a long walk each day; and I, who am almost always too warm, was chilled to the bone even sitting in the sun during the late morning. I still managed quite a few hours outdoors reading back-to-back Harry Bosch books on my Kindle. The books were exceptional, but the brief glances at my surroundings only enhanced the gritty fictional world created by Michael Connelly. Ahh, the best of both worlds!

On the way out, we spotted this absolutely perfect meadow carpeted with purple flowers. Such a truly lovely way to bid us adieu, yes?

Meadow on Old Reno Road, Truckee. Photo by Virginia.

Regarding the reservoir's low water level: I read later that the reservoir was operating at about half of its capacity (about 28 feet down) during the construction to make the earthen dam more resistant to earthquake damage.

NOTE: Clicking on the photos in the post will open them in a larger view (recommended!). If you want to see more photos of the beautiful places we've shared, we have them in this Flickr Collection: Over the Hill Sisters Photo Collection.


Cyn said...

Wow, scary encounter with the dog, sounds like Peaches is a fierce little thing! I can imagine how hard it is to set up camp in the dark. Glad it turned out nice but NOT glad to hear about all the noise. That would make me really mad, too.

Virginia Hill said...

Cyn, Peaches is definitely fierce! She's one of those tiny dogs with a HUGE attitude. It really was a beautiful area, but yes, the campers were much more "lively" than what we experienced everywhere else. Thank you for your comment!

Anonymous said...

I really appreciate your information filled blog posts. I love that you link to apps you use or books. You’ll have to do a post one day of recommended iPhone apps. 😁


Margaret Hill said...

Funny you should mention it, Polli, but I’m just about ready to add Virginia’s list of iPhone apps to our References Page. 😉