Thursday: (12/31) Another 32 degree morning. Granola for breakfast. I chiseled the ice off the windshield of the Jeep and moved it from in front of the RV. I then cleaned the condensation off the inside of the RV windshield and drove over to the dump and rid ourselves of the water from our recent showers. That involved breaking an ice seal on the cover of the dump. The water hose wasn’t flowing due to the cold. I’m glad all I was doing was dumping the gray water. Also glad I was the first to arrive. Probably messier for all those following me, at last six. We packed up a snack and headed off in the Jeep for a road trip. I was looking at possibly driving the back roads to the New Idria Mine site and on to Holister.
We headed SE on Coalinga Road. The road goes past the two campgrounds we scouted last year. We continued on to the Condon Peak Recreation Area. There were a couple of nice campgrounds there too. One was right where a gate stopped us from continuing on to the mine. We were surprised at all the ice on the road on the way there and more surprised at the frozen creek by the campground.
We continued on to Coalinga. There is a historical marker there that indicates where bentonite was found. it’s the state gem of California and found nowhere else in the word but near the sign. On the way we also saw a bobcat cross the road and a llama that had gotten out of it’s pasture. We stopped at the next house and told them of the loose llama and they were going to advise the owner. In Coalinga we stopped at Perko’s restaurant for lunch. I had a nice tri-tip jalapeno sandwich with potato soup and Lou and Dawn shared an omelet with pancakes. I traded my soup for their pancakes. We had traveled over 70 miles on the nice back roads. We then headed back on Highway 198 and Highway 25 to our camp. It didn’t seem as cold this evening as it has been. Hope that means a warmer day for tomorrows hike. Since I don’t intend to be up at midnight to celebrate New Years Day’s arrival, we cerebrated at 5pm, midnight London time. Good enough. Tomorrow’s hike is over 14 miles of a lot of cross country steep non trail so I’m off to dreamland early. Tomales for dinner.