June 26, 2017

April - Casini Ranch Camping Trip

Thursday, April 6th
We wanted to go camping on Spring Break but, once again, failed to make reservations anywhere. We are bad at that. Honestly, I function by dealing with whatever fire is burning the biggest at that moment. Apparently, the camping reservation fire doesn't become the biggest until just before we leave. I need to get better at that. We struggled trying to figure out where to go. Most places were full for spring break. We were going with the Mickelsens and so a lot of places didn't have 2 sites available. Or others didn't have any sites left that were big enough for the Mickelsen's trailer (it's a biggie!).  

Kurt and I went to Costco to get supplies and ran into an old business acquaintance. Turned out they are campers too and told us about a place called Casini Ranch on the Russian River. We came home and while we were loading our things up, a neighbor walked by that is a camper too and mentioned Casini Ranch. He had told us about it before but I had forgotten until he mentioned it again and it clicked that it was the same spot the people at Costco told us about. That was 2 people in 1 day that mentioned the same spot so I thought I would give them a call. And they had spots!!! So we officially had a destination!

Friday, April 7th
We left a lot later than we planned but got on the road finally. I am not sure what happened but somehow we ended up going a way I didn't plan on. Turns out the road was not advised for trailers, not necessarily because of windiness but I think more because the trees and bushes were right on the side of the road. Anyways, it was beautiful and we made it no problem so all was good.

We arrived in a total downpour. It's always fun setting up in the rain. NOT! We managed to get set up and got everyone in the trailer and got ready for bed. It is always relaxing laying in the trailer and listening to the rain. 

Saturday, April 8th
We woke up to rain too and it was heavenly!

We got up, got dressed and then were attacked by a huge hail storm! It was insane! It was so loud in the trailer. We had just replaced the awning (remember it fell off on the way home from Yellowstone) and thought we were going to end up with a swiss cheese awning. Luckily, the awning held strong and didn't get any holes in it but it sure sounded like it was going to get torn to shreds.

After the hail and rain let up, we jumped ship and headed outside. It was beautiful! The boys had a great time riding their bikes and there were puddles everywhere so they had to ride through them.

Little did I know this was minor compared to what was to come!

We walked around the campground exploring all it had to offer. It had 2 dog parks in it. That was pretty cool. It gave the dogs space to run without a leash on. They had fun! And we had fun trying to get them to do the obstacle course things (you can see them in the background).

Oh geez, a little bit muddier.

But there was more to come!

Our little family tree!

There was a pond in the campground and it had these chairs around it. You might notice that T is even muddier.


Mud, mud, mud!

Then we found the giant puddle. The mother of all puddles. The boys might have a little bit of their mother in them!

We went back to camp and had to change the boys' clothes, obviously, and do some laundry. I wasn't planning on doing laundry on this trip but the way they were playing in the puddles, I knew they would run out of clothes on the first day.

More tree climbing! A much dryer activity.

The Mickelsens arrived around lunch time. After lunch the boys had to introduce Nik to the puddles. They once again got soaked.

And of course, we had to show them the huge puddle.

They rode and rode and rode through that puddle. Someone made the comment "you are so soaked, you might as well lay down in the puddle." And so they did!

Sunday, April 9th
We headed up to Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve. It was awesome! It had a very nice little walking trail and beautiful redwoods!

We hiked along Fife Creek. We had invited our friends, the Fife family, to come camping with us but they couldn't make it. We had a lot of fun hiking along their creek!

"Hey, come sit in this tree with me!" Kurt said. And so I did.

"Hey kids, come sit with us in this tree," Kurt said. And so they did. That is a funny family picture.

The dogs were not allowed in Armstrong Redwoods park so when we got back we took them for a walk to the other dog park. The Mickelsen's dog, Bella, is the hunting line of labs while our Cooper is the show line of labs. The hunting line has more energy while the show line is more lazier. Bella will play fetch for as long as you want to throw the ball. Cooper will get it twice and the third time you throw it he will look at you with a look that seems to say "now why did you throw that again? I've gotten it for you twice. I'm not getting it again." So needless to say, Bella is much more hyper and active and Cooper is much more calm and lazy. Which is perfect for each family. Marty is a hunter so he wanted the energy/hunting line and we wanted the lazy dog. And lazy dog we got. While walking back to the trailers after playing in the dog park, Cooper just laid down in the middle of the road. He was done. No more energy. He needed to reboot. Ha ha!

The boys made bike jumps and had a great time jumping.

Later that day, we took a family bike ride around the campground. This is one of the largest campgrounds that we have stayed out so we had fun exploring.  This was one of the group sites. What a beautiful area!

Then we found this banana slug.

Our biking crew along the Russian River.

We had these fun trees right in the campsites that the kids loved to climb. When we got back from the bike ride, Kayla and Evan climbed up into the tree. Then Kurt got the idea to "ride" his bike in the tree. I have no idea where that idea came from but he pulled it off! When I asked "Why?" he said "Why not?" I guess he has a point . . . maybe?

Monday, April 10th
We drove out to the coast and up Hwy 1 to find a hike to go on. We thought we found one at Stillwater Cove Regional Park so we drove there. The pictures on the internet looked beautiful and dogs were allowed so off we went. When we got there though, we discovered that the trail was lined with poison oak and the bridge had collapsed in all the rain so it wasn't really a good trail to go on. Kurt talked to the ranger and they suggested Salt Point State Park so we got back in the trucks and drove there.

We ate lunch in the parking lot and then headed out to find the trail. Only, we couldn't find it. The trail head we found was a dead end not too far into it. We talked to someone who came by and he recommended we walk down the road to a campground and get on a trail down there so we did that. We had no idea where we were going. It was kind of crazy but we found a trail so we headed down it not knowing where it went. 

We came out on a dirt road and had no idea which way to go but where the trail continued across the road it said dogs were not allowed so we knew we couldn't go that way. We decided to turn right and head that way. We came to the Salt Point Visitor Center. It was closed but we walked behind it to an overlook.

It overlooked Gerstle Cove. Beautiful!

There was a road that went down into the cove so we hiked down that to the water. While we were sitting there, I pulled my phone out to take a picture and there was a tick on my phone. AHHHHHH! I very calmly asked Kurt "is this a tick?" to which he replied "yes" and we flicked it away. So then I had the heebie-jeebies. We then walked back up the road and along the paved trail that lead to a parking lot and out onto an overlook. 

There were so many sea lions laying on the rocks. It was so cool!

While we were standing there, Kayla handed me the dog's leash and I noticed a tick on her hand. AHHHHHHH! I brushed it off of her but now she had the heebie-jeebies too and so did Hailey. 

When we were done watching the sea lions, we started out walk back. When we got to the visitor center we decided that the kids were just too tired to now hike back up the huge hill we had come down so the dads decided they would run back and get the trucks and come pick us up. Lorraine and I waited with the kids at the visitor center. The dads came back, picked us up and we headed back to the trailers.

When we got back, Marty found a tick on Bella that had already embedded it's head into her skin. He was able to pull it out. I decided I wanted a shower, hopefully to wash off the heebie-jeebies. When I went to get in the shower I found another tick crawling up my thigh. AHHHHHHH! Total heebie-jeebies! I came back and told my family they all had to take a shower so we all took turns going to the showers to clean off. The Mickelsens took showers in their trailer too. Luckily no one else found a tick on them. Apparently our little hiking trail was a little tick infested. Next time, bug repellant would be a good idea!

It was a great day (except for the ticks) and this little pup was exhausted. He crawled up in Hailey's bed and was out cold!

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