We left O'Neill Regional Park on February 16. I had a few choices on the route north, but the most direct was right up I-5 through the heart of Los Angeles. We waited until 11:00 AM in the hope that rush hour had passed and then headed out. The traffic was moving briskly until we got to the northern edge of the city of Los Angeles. We had stop and go from there on out. I noticed a semi truck was moving at about my same pace and I pulled in behind him. He was braking as I would and I was able to just trust him and watch his brake lights. That made the drive much easier. We still had cars darting in between us and then slamming on their brakes, but I guess that is just the way it is. We drove through Hollywood, but were disappointed we could not see the sign. We finally saw Six Flags Magic Mountain and I knew we were at our exit. We then drove about 30 more miles through fruit orchards and we turned up the steep winding road to Lake Piru Recreational Area.
This area has seen some of the worst of the California drought. The lake has gained only 6 feet this year and is now 16% full. The lake is surrounded by very tall steep hills. They were all green from the recent rains. When we pulled in we had our choice of sites. There are a few seasonal campers in one area, but it was just us and 3 rigs in the rest of the park. They were expecting a very serious storm to come in on Saturday. For now, the park was dry. That would change. The sites are dirt and cost $22 with electric and water close by. That is a bargain for California. The only problem is we had no cell signal and the park Wi-Fi is not working. We also had no OTA TV. We chose a site with a partial view of the lake and very nice views of the surrounding hills.
We were planning to stay three days to ride out the storm. That did not work out. The first storm hit with torrential rain and wind. We were safe at the top of this park, but the rain continued for 4 days. We had a few times when it would stop for an hour or two, but then it would come again. We mostly stayed inside and watched the wildlife coming through and flying over the park. There is a California Condor sanctuary near the park and they said you could see them soaring overhead. I saw plenty of large birds that were mostly Turkey Vultures and a few Eagles. I was never able to positively identify a condor. We also had deer roaming through the park on a regular basis. It really was a beautiful place.
Most of the time we were at Lake Piru, we both did some reading reading. I have been reading some work by Jeff Schaara. He is a novelist that writes about war in a very unique way. I started with a World War 2 book and then read a book about the siege of Vicksburg during the civil war. I then worked backwards to his book about the battle of Shiloh. They were large books, but I had plenty of time. I then read his first book called “Gods and Generals”. This is a book he wrote as precursor to his fathers famous book “The Killer Angels”, which is about the battle of Gettysburg. He has done a fine job picking up where his father left off. I would highly recommend these books to anyone that has an interest in the Civil War. Although these books are novels, they are historically accurate. I learned more about the details of the Civil War from these books than I had from all of the rest I have read and seen at the battlefields. I think a swing through the east to visit more of the battlefields is in our future.
The sun finally came out the day we left. You can really see the beauty of this place when the weather is good.
Getting hooked up was difficult. The ruts in the mud pulled me sideways and it took about 10 tries to get it lined up. I got it done and then needed 4 wheel drive to get out. We went to the dump station and I did the fun part while Kim sprayed the mud off of the tires.
The only bad part of our time in Lake Piru was that I got sick with a bad head cold. I was not feeling well, but after being there 6 days and being ready to move, we left on Wednesday, February 22. It was an interesting drive along the coast of California through the cities of Ventura and Santa Barbara. In between there were miles of beautiful fruit orchards and vegetables growing in the fields. Many were being harvested. We were heading to where we are now. We are at Jalama Beach County Park. We have an awesome view of the surf and the surrounding coast line. I will write all about it in my next entry.