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Friday, April 29, 2011

Upcoming Bicycle Camping Trip (Best Laid Plans...)

In my previous post I announced I intended to undertake a 4-day trip at various campgrounds in San Diego County.  However, despite my best efforts, I was unable to co-ordinate the next availability at Mt. Laguna campground with my schedule.

So I have booked visits at three campgrounds rather than four.

Dos Picos: I've camped here before and I really found it a beautiful location.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Cats and Campgrounds

My wife and her sister are out-of-country for the next week and a half.  Whenever they head off somewhere I get cat-sitting duty.  We have 2 of the brattiest/sweetest kitties you can imagine. 

Our previous 2 cats were outdoor cats... well, they started as alley cats that "adopted" us... and after 15 wonderful years of their company one suddenly died of FIV (horrible disease).  The other was healthy all his life and we lost him about a year and a half later to old age. We're taking no chances with our current 2 cats.  They are strictly indoor pets.  Much as I feel sorry for their constrained lives it's better for them and us that they not be exposed to other cats or diseases.

Here's Pokemon showing us how adorable he can be...

...but here's his "younger brother" Picachu showing all of us how to do adorable!  This one-upmanship isn't lost on Pokey, let me assure you.

The point to these loveable-cat-photos is that I'm out of commission for the next week and a half.  After that, sometime in May, I'm seriously considering doing a 4 day camping trip: Dos Picos (Ramona), Wm. Heise (Julian), Mt. Laguna campground, and Potrero (near Tecate).

Thursday, April 21, 2011

My Gear and How It's Holding Up So Far

My bicycle

I ride a Surly Long Haul Trucker in a frame size of 52 with 26" tires.  This is a pretty common configuration among people who bicycle camp... or so I've been told because I don't personally know anybody who bicycle camps on a regular basis.  For that matter I don't know any bicycle tourers.  But based on my web research the Surly LHT comes highly recommended and is a generally well-thought of bicycle.
Surly Long Haul Trucker with Ortlieb panniers and handlebar bag

Monday, April 18, 2011

Hey! What's the Thing with Loud Radios at Campgrounds!?

At a couple of parks I've been disturbed by the sound of someone's radio, thumping and hissing in the background, not blasting but certainly loud enough that I'm forced to hear it and be immensely irritated by it.

Don't get me wrong.  I enjoy music.  Hell, I'm a musician... no longer full-time but I still file a Schedule C every year cataloging my music income (which isn't very much anymore).  So this isn't an anti-music thing with me.
Definitely NOT what you want to see at your next camping trip.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Way Home

Last week when I left Green Valley Falls there was snow on the ground and occasional flurries that stung my face. It was... great!

Looking back - leaving low Dehesa Rd. and climbing into El Cajon.  In fact, I could have taken Willow Glen Rd. (intersection showing in the extreme right) and wound up in the same place.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Layout of the Land (San Diego County, That Is)

On the west edge of San Diego County are beaches.  Not surprisingly, when you stand on the beach you are at sea level.  At the east edge of San Diego County is the desert.  Before you get down into the desert, though, there are mountains.  Today's discussion involves traveling from beaches to the mountains, vice versa, and traveling either north or south in San Diego County.

With regard to the mountains, on a clear day you can sit on the top of Mt. Cuyamaca and (with the help of a pair of binoculars) looking west, you can see all the way to the airport.  The airport, incidentally, sits at sea level.

Thus, concering the distance from the beaches to the mountains: San Diego County slopes east to west.
Beaches to the left (west); mountains to the right (east).  Incidentally, the flags indicate black bear sightings up through the year 2000 (glad I didn't know that before planning my camping trip!) (c) San Diego Natural History Museum

Friday, April 8, 2011

Green Valley Campground

Green Valley Campground
Hwy 79

Use Fee: 30.00
Reservation Fee: 8.00
Total Fee: 38.00

Visiting campgrounds close to the city is fun... it's nice... it makes for a great ride.  But for real excitement you have to visit San Diego's east county.

The weather is wildly unpredictable.  And it can be unforgiving.

Green Valley Campground is in the lower Cuyamacas.  It's a little farther to ride but it really is an amazing place.

Lake Jennings Park & Campground

Lake Jennings Park & Campground
10108 Bass Rd.
Lakeside, CA 92040

Use Fee: 25.00
Reservation Fee: 8.00
Total Charge: 33.00
Note: Lake Jennings Campground does NOT offer a hike 'n bike rate.

Nice little spot with a gorgeous view of the lake.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Packing the Bicycle for Camping: A Pictorial Essay

Bicycle with panniers mounted... ready to tour!

Tomorrow I'm hitting Lake Jennings Campground.  The following day I'll be at Green Valley Falls.  Today I took some time to pack the bicycle and I took a few pictures while doing so.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Winter Bicycle Camping vrs Summer Bicycle Camping in San Diego County

Winter bicycle camping in San Diego County

I suggest that during winter in San Diego you stay within the city when bicycle camping.  Winter - whatever images that may evoke to those of you who don't live here - is extremely mild in our fair city.  It generally amounts to a little rain, nothing more.  Some occasional flooding.  But snow within the greater San Diego area is virtually unheard of.

Greatest weather in the country.  Bar none.

To those unfamiliar with our little corner of the world, though, in wintertime San Diego's east county does indeed get snow.  That fact may be amazing to some people who believe 100% of San Diego is 100% warm 100% of the time.  Well, I'm afraid nothing is 100%.

The San Diego skyline is dwarfed by the snow-capped Cuyamaca Mountains on Monday, March 13 [2011]. The photo is shot from Rosecrans National Cemetary in Point Loma.  (c) NANCEE E. LEWIS / Union-Tribune

The east county in the months preceding and following winter can get some pretty severe rainstorms, some nasty winds, it can get plenty cold.  But in comparison to much of the rest of the country the nastiness is short-lived and soon things are once again serene and beautiful.  Lovely little county we have here.