If you head out on country roads heading northwest out of Davis, you will eventually hit the 505 north, where you can exit onto the 16 West and go up to Cache Creek. DO NOT stop at the casino. I repeat, DO NOT stop at the casino. Maybe I should rewind a bit. . .summer is just around the corner, and you are going camping! At least that’s what we have done several years in a row for Memorial Day weekend, just an hour away up at Cache Creek Regional Park, a Yolo County campground located in a beautiful canyon right at a lovely bend in Cache Creek. I bet you didn’t even know it was there.
We couldn’t go last year, and we can’t go this year, but we’ll get to that later. We did, however spend the previous three years up there to kick off our summers, float on the creek, camp, relax and have a great time! On our first trip there we knew it was special. . .the place was packed with rafters and campers of all types and ages and had a fun family-oriented vibe. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be a family with kids or someone’s retired aunt so-and-so to enjoy the place. . .there were lots of college kids and thirty-somethings there too. What I mean is that it is clean, organized, has nice fire pits, well maintained trees, green lawns, 45 camp sites (Plus three awesome group sites), a lovely beach with a nice swimming hole, a river-front trail to walk your dogs, and a stereotypically cantankerous camp host. Not to mention a breathtaking view of canyon cliffs and the sound of roaring water echoed all around you. What more could you ask for?
After being soaked in a huge thunderstorm one year, my fiancée and I, who had driven all the way down to Big Sur for our summer vacation, woke up drenched, to see a neighbor in the camp site across from us dry and happy under the awning of a gleaming, well-lit Airstream trailer, drinking a mug of coffee. We had a light bulb moment. Once home, (and finally dry) we set out on Craigslist to find us a towable RV. We couldn’t afford an Airstream of course (The Bambi 18 foot new costs around 35,000 dollars) but we did manage to find a cute little 90s model Gulf Stream 18ft travel trailer for under two grand, and thanks to my handy guy, got it road-ready for about a thousand more. It was clean and barely had been used in twenty years. . .sweet! You have to be someone who likes to work on vehicles and tinker, and here’s the thing. . .there are a ton of vehicles like this out there, for cheap, because, like boats, they are things that people buy and when they realize that they require planning, TLC, and maintenance, they end up sitting in driveways or someone’s pasture for most of their existence, unused. But we wanted to try it, so we did! And guess what?! We ended up taking that thing all over. . .Mt. Shasta, Big Sur, Upper Blue Lake, Santa Cruz, San Luis Obispo, San Simeon, Half Moon Bay, Bodega Bay, Wright’s Beach, Ocean Cove, Pigeon Point, and the Silver Fork of the American River. These places can all be enjoyed in a tent, too, by the way.
Which brings me back to Cache Creek, where we took our trailer on its maiden voyage. We had been there the year before and tent-camped, but we knew that having the trailer would add an extra layer of fun and comfort. When it’s a hundred degrees it’s nice to have a running refrigerator and a freezer full of homemade ice cream cookie sandwiches! We are pretty gourmet when we camp so having a kitchen and being able to share good food with our friends made it fun. We still bbq outside and a typical meal will be, for example, smoked ribs, corn fritters, salad, etc. We also noticed that the bigger people’s trailers are, the less likely they are to hang out outdoors, so we have always thought of having a smaller trailer as better. It’s a place to cook, sleep, stay out of harsh weather and wash up in comfort, but it shouldn’t keep you from enjoying the great outdoors, making a campfire, and having fun quitar-picking and gazing at the stars and all of that fun stuff.
There are two Cache Creek river rafting companies which offer classes on safety and guide you on the runs, so if you are interested in rafting or are a novice, check them out. Be smart, people. Wear a life jacket and NEVER get in the water if you’ve been drinking alcohol. Lots of smart rafters wear helmets too! Inside the campground itself there are some slow areas where you can put in with an inner tube and float a few hundred feet and still be in the park when you get out. So you don’t have to do the rafting thing if you don’t want to. Sometimes I just sit on a rock with my little dog, get a tan, and wave at all of the rafters going by all day. We just jump in and cool off when we get hot, the water is really refreshing. So there you have it. . .kick off your summer at Cache Creek! It’s only about an hour out of Davis or Sacramento, it’s inexpensive, and it’s low maintenance camping. On a sad note, last year the river was shut down to rafting and reduced to a trickle due to the drought, so we headed up to Silver Fork Campground. . .just take the 50 up to Kyburz and turn right onto Silver Fork Road and follow it for about 35 minutes. More on that next week. We won’t make it to Cache Creek this Memorial Day either because we will be busy graduating from Sac State that weekend. However, even though we sold the trailer this year because we were too busy to use it, we now have a brand new tent, so we will be headed out to Cache Creek later on this summer for some low maintenance camping and swimming with friends. You should head out there too. Make a reservation in advance and don’t forget to pray for rain! We sure hope the creek keeps flowing. . .this year and every year.
So. . .Go Camping. . .Go Local! And Tune in to my final epsiode of The Healthy Hornet next week May 13th at 10AM on KSSU. . .I’m gonna miss y’all!!!!! -VitaminDeejay