This weekend myself and S took our 1969 Prowler (towed by our 1990 Bronco) on our first expedition to camp at Cachuma Lake.  All went reasonably well, we had some issues but generally it was a success.

Day 1

The journey up was pretty uneventful though it was scary as hell being my first time towing anything this big (well second time if you count the day we picked it up but that day I avoided freeways).  We took the 5 followed by the 126 and 101.  The 5 was very scary as the freeway is not in great shape and it was rush hour.  I was the slowest thing on the road and I was happy to get off onto the 126 which was much better driving.  We got to the site just before 7 which was less than 3 hours so not too long.  I managed to reverse into our site without very much trouble so was happy about that.

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The site had hookups so water and power got quickly connected so we could settle in. None of the pitches on our row had sewerage so we knew we would have the joys of our first dump station on Sunday.

Unfortunately the shop closed at 7 so we weren’t able to get the things we wanted for the night, like wood/charcoal to cook with so I managed to cook the pork chops I had bought in the frying pan but couldn’t provide ice for a G&T.  Luckily despite me not checking, we had enough gas to cook with.

Lots of things failed to make the journey and we learned our lesson about making proper lists and check them with each other.

  • The bacon and eggs I had bought for Saturday morning remained in the fridge at home.
  • Despite the numerous corkscrews we own, not one managed to make it to the trailer.
  • No tools for outdoor cooking made it either.
  • My hat sat waiting on the arm of the couch at home.
  • Neither of us brought warm clothing for the cold evenings.

It started to rain just as we had finished setting up and we soon discovered that we had a leak (or two). A steady drip came through the air conditioning unit and I couldn’t see the source so a bucket was strategically placed for the night.  The pipe to the bathroom sink also developed a leak due I think to the high water pressure.  One other leak was discovered from the sink drain as the u-bend is loose.

There was no hot water and finally worked out the the furnace (boiler) wasn’t lit  I couldn’t get it to light at all so gave up (as I was getting wet) putting it down to the damp air or lack of gas pressure and decided to take another look in the morning.

We decided not to brave the weather and sit around a non-existent campfire and having eaten our pork and emptied our wine bottle (after borrowing a corkscrew from our helpful neighbour) we turned in for the night and listened to the rain as we fell asleep.

Day 2

We woke early and I got coffee made in the vintage mocha pot then went back to the hot water issue.  I switched to the other gas tank and after many tries finally got the thing working – hooray we have hot water!!

We quickly washed and visited the shop to get those essentials and then headed off to Solvang for the day.  Solvang is a pretty little town in a Danish theme.  We breakfasted at The Red Viking and had the traditional Æbleskivers which are waffle-like balls along with some bacon etc. all was very tasty.  After wandering the shops and making a few purchases in the afternoon we decided to do some wine tasting as there are many wineries in Solvang and our attempt to book a vineyard tour had failed.  We tried a few wines; my favourite was wine from Twenty Mile winery, we also tried Dascomb Winery which had an amazing port, Cali Love and Sort This Out Cellars.

Laden with our purchases we headed back to the campsite making a stop on the way to get a few extra groceries we had not found earlier and another stop at Santa Ynez which was mostly closed so we decided to return in the morning.

I cooked sausages on the open camp fire but it was still too chilly for S to sit outside so we ate inside and watched a movie.

Day 3

This was checkout day but we had until 1pm to get off of our pitch so we started slowly having spent a little time the night before putting stuff away.

I should have mentioned in a previous post that the trailer may have an extra passenger. When we cleaned it out I found droppings and a little nest under the couch which at least meant a mouse had taken up residence at some point.  I couldn’t tell if it was still about.  I removed as much as I could and I have not seen any evidence of it returning.

I mention this now as I woke fairly early and couldn’t help but listen out in the morning quietness and for any sounds tried ascertain whether they were inside or outside the trailer.  Some noises have me slightly concerned but not at all conclusive.  I will keep you posted if anything comes up.

After making coffee, I headed out with my camera whilst S made the most of her lie-in.

It’s quite a nice park right on the lake which unfortunately you are not allowed to swim in; something to do with it being drinking water which I don’t understand as motor boats are allowed and they keep it stocked with fish.  It has a pool (which as it is low season wasn’t open), frisbee golf, shop, cafe (also closed), fishing, trails, camping essentials and also a nature centre with a couple of exhibits outside.

 

As mentioned, we wanted to visit Santa Ynez which is a picturesque little town very much in the western style and had the roads not got tarmac on them you would think you had stepped back to the 1800s.  We knew most places wouldn’t be open before 11am so got there shortly after 10:30 for breakfast at the Burger Barn which was excellent both in the food and in the morning sun we got to sit in.  Then I followed S around the many little boutiques.

Time was up and after filling with gas we went back to the site to vacate our pitch just in time.

Time for the dump station.   I had already reconnoitered the dump station earlier and luckily when we got there there was no-one else queueing.  I pulled out the waste hose only to find it had a large split and was no use.  We drove back up to the store and luckily they had them in stock so a new one was obtained and we headed back down again only to find three others in front of us so we had to wait.  I managed to get rid of our waste without much further issue although it was at this point I found that we had not connected the driving lights and that the connector had been dragging; at least we hadn’t got out onto the public roads at this point.  I connected the now in slightly poor condition connector and we were away again for the 2 or 3 hour drive home.

The drive home was much the same as the outward journey but it was more windy which made me more cautious.  I was reminded that some drivers are less than patient as one drove past me on a passing lane coming down the mountain beeping his horn and giving me the finger – idiot!.

Overall a successful first outing and we haven’t put ourselves off the idea.  We have learned some lessons and know we need to be better prepared next time.  I have a list of things to do and we know what things we need to buy.

Next trip will be the beach!

Need a name for this series of posts…

 

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