Thursday, August 14, 2014

Coldbrook Campground

Although the title is Coldbrook Campground we originally intended to camp at Crystal Lake. At almost 6000 ft. I was very disappointed that my altitude sickness issue re-occurred and was unable to stay at this beautiful campground. Here are some shots of the short visit we were able to enjoy..
The Visitor Center:
 Featuring cabin rentals along with a restaurant and general store:

 This would have been our site for the weekend.

 A beautiful hike to Crystal Lake.
After our scenic trek, we made it to our destination.
Some shots of a cool tree we saw on our walk back to the campsite.

The disappointing part of this trip was that it marks the third consecutive high(ish) altitude (5,700ft) adventure where I have been adversely affected. Not wanting to spend the night feeling queasy and light-headed, we reluctantly headed back down the mountain. The good news is that Coldbrook campground was on the same highway, and at 3000 ft was a perfect site for us.
We found an excellent site close to the water with plenty of shade and privacy.
This marks Brooke's first campfire - she really was interested in it before I took the picture. The fire was provided by a friendly neighboring camper that kindly provided us with wood.
Being at this lower altitude allowed me to accomplish some upgrades to the van. The first was adding another 48 LED light to the kitchen light. If you recall my older posts, I originally placed one LED panel in the kitchen light and the other in the "spice tray". I have found that I never use the second light and found a better use adding it to the kitchen light.

The kitchen area is now super bright for cooking and cleaning and a much improved alternative to the stock lighting.
The other upgrade I attempted is adding a 12V aux plug as well as volt/amp multi-meter to power and monitor the CoolFreeze cooler we recently purchased.
Here it is mounted behind the drivers seat under my invertor. As this was the trial run, I believe I will be re-doing all the wiring and placing the meter elsewhere as it is hard to read. Trial and error will eventually come up with the ideal location to come....
After a hard days work, it was time to enjoy some night time stars.

A long exposure shot of the rising moon by the Vanagon.
During the evening we were also able to take in a movie projected on the back of the van.

 Morning times are always happy times for Brooke and it's obvious that she likes camping.

The beautiful part of this campsite was it's proximity to a natural spring-fed creek.
 Very cold but extremely refreshing on a hot day.

A short hike brought us to the creek as it exited the mountain. 
One more obligatory night time LED shot.
As we say goodbye to this great campground, I show you a picture of the Vanagon crossing the raging river. This great vehicle takes us anywhere and back!

Some beautiful shots of the drive back down the mountains and a shot of the Morris reservior.

Once again, we feel blessed to be able to enjoy another part of California and with this campground so close to home we may be back soon.


Our next entry brings forth some necessary tribulations of owning a Vanagon which is maintenance. I initially brought our camper into have the rear brakes and bad idle checked out which turned into the #2 cylinder having zero compression due to a faulty lifter. After a $2,100 "brake" job we were off and stopping (and running) with a new cylinder head!
Now that everything is fixed and running great, I believe we had been driving our Vanagon since we purchased it over 2 years ago with this same issue as it consistently had low compression.

With our "new" Vanagon we decided to take the parents visiting from Canada for a short trip to beautiful Solvang, California. Here we are at our final destination with a fully packed Vanagon including 5 people and luggage!
We also brought along the Dometic cooler which was easily handled by our solar panel and the bright California sunshine.
During our trip we were able to enjoy a family meal at one of the many local restaurants.
Enjoying the sights.

On the way home we were able to enjoy some beautiful ocean views.
After the ocean drive was a 100 degree ride through the valley that was more than made up for by the great memories we had during our 2 days in Solvang.