From Ashland we drove five hours south to Sacramento, California. We knew we were in the Bay area when the interstate turned into a seven lane artery of commuter traffic. We were planning to spend the weekend at the Folsom Lake State Recreational Area (SRA). The drive south had been brutal. It rained the entire time and we fought high winds the whole way. The RV acts like a sail in high winds and we get pushed all over the road. Brandon had to drive in the right lane so that we wouldn’t hit anyone if we got pushed by the wind coming over the port bow. The wind also knocked down the LED awning light strip we attached to the side of the RV and the rubber vanity cover that goes around our cabin door. The Weather Channel has been calling all of this rain on the west coast the “Western Deluge”. We had fun with the name for a few days but we are so over it at this point. We’ve spent the last four years dealing with the Pacific Northwest rains and all we want is to dry out and warm up a but. But the rain is just following us south.
Our campsite was mostly flooded when we got there but Rudy was still very happy to get out of the RV and run around again.
Our spot for the weekend. I suspect this is actually a really nice park in better weather.
Our entire reason for stopping in the Sacramento area was to visit some old friends who have moved to the area. Our friend Coleman is originally from California but we met him while we were all living in South Austin. Brandon and Coleman used to work together at Groovy Automotive. Coleman is also one of Rudy’s favorite buddies.
Coleman lives about 10 minutes from Folsom Lake so he met us at the RV after work and stayed for dinner. We had black-bean burgers for dinner and too much wine while catching up around the kitchen table. Coleman’s girlfriend Kelly was nice enough to come pick him up and give him a ride home later. The memories may be foggy but it was great to be with old friends again.
The next morning we went to Coleman’s place to pick up a smoker BBQ pit and some wood. I also really wanted to see his herd of baby goats. I am a total sucker for baby animals and had been looking forward to this ever since I learned that he was raising goats. He told us that he hasn’t had much luck selling the goats but that he’s made a decent business of renting them out as lawn mowers.
Coleman’s lovely girlfriend Kelly with another adorable baby goat. Coleman is raising the goats to be friendly with people so he encouraged us to hold and cuddle them. He actually goes into their pen and just lays down with them. He says they give great back massages because they like to dig with the tiny numbs where their horns will eventually grow in.
Coleman also had a couple of horses. This one he calls “Brown Horse.”
And he calls this one “Pony.” Super creative, I know.
Rudy also had a great time visiting Coleman’s little farm. He hasn’t had space to run free in at least a week. He was also pretty good with the animals. He was very interested in the horses but the horses made sure he didn’t get too close. Unfortunately, Rudy was also really interested in the piles of horse poop that were lying around. Before we could stop him, he was rolling in a big fresh pile, smearing it all over his coat, face, and harness. He smelled like shit the whole way home but he looked so pleased with himself. He got a cold bath with the water hose before we let him back inside the RV. I really should have expected this. Rudy rolled in cow poop just about every time he went to Brandon’s family ranch in La Grange, Texas.
Because Brandon just can’t help himself.
Later that afternoon I decided to test out the cat harness that I picked up back in Portland. I know it looks pretty silly, a cat on a leash, but I was worried that they might get a little stir crazy locked up in the RV all day. Both cats have been indoor/outdoor cats their whole lives and always enjoyed exploring the yard and around our neighbor’s houses. I also thought the harnesses and leashes migth be a good thing to have in an emergency.
I tried Blossom on the leash first, as she is the more adventurous of the two. After setting up the leash and harness I carried her outside and put her down on a dry patch. To my surprise she immediatly started walking! But not in a straight line. Dogs tend to walk with a purpose, more or less in a single direction. Cats just wander. Blossom also did not seem to understand that she was attached to a leash and I couldn’t follow her under things, like bushes and the RV. But overall, not too bad for our first try. We only went in a small circle around the RV but Blossom didn’t seem to be freaking out.
That evening our friends Cody and Jaz joined us as well. Brandon and I went to high school with Cody and Cody is going to be the best man in our wedding. He met his girlfriend Jaz while living in Austin. You may remember them from our trip to the redwoods last year or from me talking about their trip to New Zealand. Last year they spent six months hiking across the entire country. I know that our adventure is a bit unusual (at least for the under 55 set) but hiking across an entire country is down right impressive.
At this point in the weekend I completly forgot about taking photos and I apologize for that. But you aren’t missing much. It was raining so much that we almost exclusivly hung out in the RV or underneath the awning. We set out the awning so that we could have a dryish spot for the smoker. Coleman was BBQing some pork ribs, pork tenderloin, and chicken thighs for dinner. It was delcious and reminded me of Texas.
At one point I went with Jaz to go tour the rest of the park in the Jeep. Jaz is actually the original inspiration for buying our Jeep. When we met Cody and Jaz in the redwoods they came in Jaz’s Jeep. We didn’t have a tow vehicle at that point and were super grateful to have a vehicle that could actually reach the trailheads. The trails were all off of a bumpy dirt road and the Alpha Uno never would have made it. It was also the first time I had ridden in a Jeep in a very long time and it was just plain fun! I told Brandon I thought a Jeep would make a great tow vehicle and that was all he needed to hear. It turns out they are very popular with the RV community because of their versatility and the ease of flat-towing.
This was the first time Jaz had seen our Jeep and she really wanted to drive it. Brandon also thought it might be helpful for me to get a lesson in driving the manual transmission from someone besides him, and more specifically, from a girl. I’m still learning and have not yet become comfortable enough to drive on a road with much traffic. But I am improving. The last two times I’ve driven the Jeep I haven’t stalled out once!
We cruised up to the lake and I again thought that this is probably a really fun park in better weather. But on Saturday it was so miserable that we didn’t even get out of the Jeep to take a picture.
Saturday night we ate BBQ and played Cards Against Humanity in the RV. Kelly came back over and brought her friend Brenna, making us a party of seven. All in the RV! I was amazed we had seating for seven but it totally worked.
Brandon made breakfast tacos for everyone in the morning and they all took off for home shortly thereafter. Coleman hung out a bit longer and helped us clean up and do some minor RV repairs but like everyone else, he had a job to return to on Monday morning. Brandon and I were leaving Folsom Lake early Monday morning, heading south for Bakersfield and hoping we would finally drive out of the rain.