Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Memorial Weekend we headed to Bullfrog Pond Campground (23 first come first served sites) in Austin Creek State Park – accessed thru Armstrong Redwood State Park just outside of Guerneville (on Russian River far enough inland from the ocean that it actually gets hot enough to want to swim). All about 1 ½ hrs north of the city. We were very fortunate (and thanks to Pete’s persistence) to get one of only 2 or 3 campsites to open up Saturday morning. Interestingly enough Sunday quite a few sites opened up despite it being a 3 day weekend – and never filled up. The campsite is surprisingly remote considering how close it is to a lot of people. It is supposedly 2 ½ miles up a very twisty and sometimes steep one lane road – that dead ends at the campground. Takes at least 15 minutes of somewhat nerve racking driving up the hill to get there. But well worth it! The views go on forever with no human presence visible. Our last morning we saw (and heard) a flock (?) of wild turkey meandering around the hillside. The campsite itself is in a wooded area which is great. The pond is a bit icky – like a pond probably should be – dragonflies, little fish, murky stuff etc. No swimming for sure! But it was fun to walk around – and toss in logs if you are 5 or 7 yrs of age.

We had another weekend at Steep Ravine the week before last. We had use of a cabin this time. They come with nothing except a wood burning stove, a trash can, and a broom. Otherwise all wood and windows – and views. It is a very cool place – only an hour out of town and located on a bluff above essentially a private beach and just a mile or so away from Stinson Beach – long white sandy beach and several cafes and shops to choose from. There were a ton of feathers that we found on the beach – including a few huge ones are attributing to pelicans. My little capitalists decided after our return that they should be “for sale”. Of course there is no one to sell them to exactly… they have been kind enough to give a few away to ogling friends.

We have something new in the house. A mosquito net! How many people can say that? We have some camping coming up and I decided to trek on down to REI to stock up on a couple things (like a Freeplay lantern - we are always having issues in the tent with batteries dying etc). We also needed gas and mantles for our gas lantern – which I don’t recall ever using, but after I returned with gas Pete showed it to me – BRIGHT! Anyway – one of the items I had been mulling over in my mind was mosquito nets and sure enough they had them. For some reason we are having major mosquito infestation this year – I can only recall the occasional one or 2 mosquitos in previous years but this year it is 1 or more almost every night starting a few weeks ago. Poor Quincy had (I think) a spider bit one day – huge welt surrounded by outer red circle. Then a day or so later he woke up with over a dozen red bumps all over – especially a bunch on his face and hands although some on his back etc. He is the person in the family that is clearly most sensitive to bug bites – and also clearly most tasty. Aidan sleeps a few feet away and yet wakes unscathed every morning. So far the mosquito net seems to be working well, the kids like it, and the bugs have decided to pester me in the middle of the night instead. My sleep is very interrupted, but at least I have a fighting chance – I have a fly swatter bedside and snap on the lights at first buzz. Got one confirmed kill last nite and another probable.

Had a girl’s nite out last nite – 1st time in a long time for that! My friend Heidi called up with free passes to new movie Hairspray. Of course sometimes there are more passes than there are seats so it pays to get there early. That was our plan… We managed to get there at 6.15 instead of the 6.00 we were aiming for – the line was along the whole of the 3rd floor, up the stairs and down the 4th floor hall. Hmm. Fortunately it was a big theater and we got seats – even decent ones as it turns out (thanks to Heidi’s perseverance in asking people – are those seats taken?). It was GREAT. We had a really fun time. Well acted (lots of big name stars too) and sung and catchy music and still a timely message. Then we headed across the street to Mel’s Diner for a shake and a chat. All together a satisfying eve.