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Buzzcut1

Norcal

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Posted: 11/24/13 09:34pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

or how I learned to hate the Forest Service...

Ok hate may be a tad strong, how about extreme dislike. but I'm getting a tad ahead of myself.

Friday dawned while it was still pitch black out and windy as heck. I had a 4am shift start so I was up at 2am. Ran medical runs non stop until 3pm then hustled home to try an beat the Friday meatgrinder commute on the Altamont Pass section of I580 out of Livermore. In my rush I forgot a few items, none that were game critical luckily. Packed the dogs and their food on board tossed in a last few items. programmed the GPS and onward we went

[image]

we beat the traffic and I thought we were home free, then we hit the construction zone on I5 45 minutes of two lane bumper to bumper from Stockton to Beal Air Force Base yuck. Finally back up to speed we turned on to hwy 70 towards Marysville and the Winds that had died down were howling again with gusts hitting 50mph mostly headwinds though so it was fairly easy to handle the rig. I headed up past Bullards bar and drove across the top of the dam in these weird florescent lights that made it into a surrealistic scene.

I knew I was tired when it dawned on me why the GPS was showing a 9:15 arrival time with 70 miles to go and the trucks clock was showing that it was 8:40 Doh it was still on Daylight Saving Time.

Ok time to look for a spot to call it a night and I spied one just before dropping down into the Yuba river drainage

Parked, walked the dogs, and with dogs on the bed and me under the down comforters called it a night

[image]

At first light I took the dogs out and found that we had camped at the site of one of the longest operating Hydraulic mining operations in California it is just north of Camptonville

The mine and taling ponds

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camping spot, the mine pit is just off to the right

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Kozmo being a dork (looks like Bill the Cat, Ack Pfft)
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after a nice breakfast

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a bit crisp out

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we hit the road and that's when I got my first inking of what was to come. An innocent looking sign stating camping is allowed only in campgrounds next 46 miles.

The Yuba River

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gee don't I look warm

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So as we drove onwards towards Downieville and scouting out fishing spots it became evident to me that there is a vast bureaucratic conspiracy to take away all fun on public lands in the winter. Every Campground was gated and locked and every pull out had a metal USFS sign stating No Camping.

North of Downiville I went fishing,

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I wish I could say the catching was as good as the fishing but nope I got skunked on Dry Flys and Nymphs. The saving grace was the fact that this was by far the best casting accuracy, best delicate fly landing and float without drag that I have achieved all year.

I continued on hwy 49 up to Bassets and hopefully the Gold Lakes basin where dispersed camping is allowed. But when I got there the winds were howling and something in the back of my brain said solo camping in windy cold conditions with no one knowing where you are is not wise
so I turned around.

The view of the snow coated Sierra Buttes

[image]

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With increasing frustation I drove on out of the Yuba area in hopes of finding a different overnight location. I checked out Bullards Bar Reservoir. yep campgrounds locked, even the private one at the lake was closed.

Seriously low water levels

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face of the dam

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With light fading I spied a large dirt field across the road from a scenic overlook. No "no camping signs" so bingo park it.

[image]

It was already in the 20s outside so I put up my 1" closed cell foam panels over all the windows and skylights. Man I could sit next to the dinette window and not a hint of cold came though those panels. the heater was on low and maybe cycled on 5 times during the night. the experiment was a total success I was nice and toasty. the insulation in the valve compartment and outside access doors also worked no frozen pipes at all. I did run the hot water heater up before bed to take care of that system.

Had a nice nights sleep, took the dogs for a morning walk
then made breakfast.

[image]

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the smell of frying Bacon in the camper was most excellent. It must have smelled good down wind too because I looked out the dinette window and there was mister bear 15 feet away looking at me. It took me a bit to find the camera and by that time he was walking away

[image]

I got out to take some more photos then he turned and looked at me. I decided this was close enough.

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We finally hit the road at around 11am and headed down 49 towards Nevada City to the east fork of the Yuba River but when I got there and looked at how cold it was outside I said naw and kept on going. Some how I ended up at Bass Pro Shops in Manteca and bought myself some new toys for next trip.

* This post was last edited 11/24/13 10:51pm by Buzzcut1 *   View edit history


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tankgod82

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Posted: 11/24/13 10:15pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I know all the camp sites being closed was a bummer but at least you got to go. Most of us just had to dream about a trip or read somebody else's...lol.


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NVR2L82AV8

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Posted: 11/24/13 10:29pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great scenery and TR. I gotta get up there this spring and do some fishin'. Sounds like your insulation job is up to the task - always a good thing in winter!!

Xpd77

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Posted: 11/24/13 10:31pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Looks like you had a great trip. Beautiful scenery.


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Camper_Jeff_&_Kelli

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Posted: 11/24/13 10:42pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Trips a winner in my book.


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Buzzcut1

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Posted: 11/24/13 10:47pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Oh yeah one other thing. I get a bit conservative when I go solo. The Yuba had some deep holes, slippery rocks and some hydraulics. Out of a sense of self preservation and self rescue I wore my float tube PFD Fishing vest in case I went in for a swim and my waders filled with icy cold water. The float material on the backside also helps protect the spine if I slipped on some wet rocks

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bye

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Posted: 11/25/13 12:10am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I gotta get you a USFS key, Buzz. I poach closed campgrounds all the time. I've never been questioned, but then that may be because I made up a magnetic sign for my truck that says American Land and Leisure. (The folks who contract the campground management for the USFS in these parts.)

Thanks for the photos. I enjoy camping in that area regularly. BTW, there's a campground just north of Sierra City called Wild Plum. It's back in a ways. If the gate is closed for the season, there's a turn out right on the water at the fork in the road where the bridge is gated leading into a private community. Also, there's a parking area for the PCT that is good for a night of free camping too and the river is right there. Here is a photo of me and a bud motorcycle camping there is past September;

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pa traveler

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Posted: 11/25/13 07:02am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

That's funny the bear probably smelling the bacon,as long as he runs the other way. Was it a brown bear,thats what im guessing.Guess you gotta keep an eye on dogs too ,so bear doesn't get any ideas.

skyhammer

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Posted: 11/25/13 07:10am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

No Brown Bears(AKA grizzlies)in California.


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Buzzcut1

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Posted: 11/25/13 07:11am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

pa traveler wrote:

That's funny the bear probably smelling the bacon,as long as he runs the other way. Was it a brown bear,thats what im guessing.Guess you gotta keep an eye on dogs too ,so bear doesn't get any ideas.


The only Species in California is the Black Bear

http://www.nps.gov/yose/naturescience/bears.htm

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