For my first 2-night sleepaway in Ramsey, the dogs and I headed 1.45 minutes north to Lake Sonoma. Because of the usual backup between Novato and Petaluma, Google Maps took us through the cow farms west of Highway 101 – gorgeous. I love the black and white cows. Jerseys? We emerged from the detour in downtown Petaluma, then continued through Sonoma County’s equally gorgeous and serene wine country.
Since I don’t drink wine, I wasn’t tempted by the wineries offering tastings. But I did stop for a look-see at the Dry Creek General Store – Est. 1881. I purchased some crackers and some spread made of walnuts and pomegranate, for a cocktail hour later.
Lake Sonoma is the result of a dam, which is the first thing you see from the vineyard lined highway. After driving over the dirt covered dam and through some hills, you come to a full vista of the lake.
I knew from Recreation.gov’s website, where I’d made my reservation, that Liberty Glen Campground (run by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) is not on the lake. It is in the hills to the left of the above photo.
You can only see the sign as you exit the campground, not as you approach it, which is when I needed to know if I was in the right place. But since Google told me I had arrived at my destination, I turned into what appeared to be a driveway, followed the switchbacks into the valley, and eventually reached the gatehouse.
In the photo above, I am looking down on the campground from the road that leads to it.
I also knew from the website that Liberty Glen has no water at the moment. It was perhaps 10% occupied if that and hence available, whereas the other campgrounds within two hours from home were not. The ranger told me to drive around the three loops and pick a spot, then return and report my decision. I chose a hilltop with the view seen in the feature photograph above that was on the opposite side of the campground from several large groups with packs of dogs.
For my first time, I needed to level Ramsey. I placed my bubble level on the fridge shelf, as my manual told me to do. Ramsey was leaning to the left. So I tucked a few of my lego-like leveling blocks behind the left tires and drove backward until my tires were on top of them. The bubble in my level had moved within the two center circles.
Good enough. I turned on the LP (liquid propane), switched my fridge from electric to propane (and lit it), and set out a table and chair overlooking the valley. Time for cocktail hour and a good book.
During the next two days, the dogs and I took several walks around the campground. Basil, the Norwich Terrier, is a burr magnet, so we avoided the trails. Those beautiful golden hills are, at close look, a mass of burrs of every shape and size.
This was true dry-camping, aka boondocking, since we had no electric, water, or sewer hookups. I didn’t even have a cell connection – perfect conditions for forgetting the troubles of the real world to sleep and eat in quiet. The $25/night paid for a locked campground where I felt very safe.
Mid-day Saturday we took a jaunt into the nearby town of Geyserville for a touristy look around. You can see the whole town center in this photograph.
Since I had already had lunch in Ramsey, I purchased a café latte at the coffee shop to justify sitting at its outdoor table to watch the world go by. Everyone was dog-friendly and patted Basil and Annie as they passed – so they were happy. I also wanted to check my email and messages because my two-month-old grandson was suffering from his first cold and I wanted to make sure he was OK, which he was.
The next two trips I have planned are simple visits to friends that I seldom see because they live too far away to allow for going out to dinner or lunch – one in Santa Rosa and one in Sebastopol. I will park Ramsey on the street in front of their houses for the night. We’ll see how that goes.