Joe and Nancy

Joe and Nancy
Our Home on Wheels (Click on image above for our web albums.)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Pine Flat Lake/Island Park Near Fresno, CA

Here is the Corps of Engineers Dam holding Pine Flat Lake, about 30 miles east of Fresno, CA.  Our time at the Island Park Campground was a lot of fun.  We volounteered for the Corps for a campsite with full hookups.  We arrived on April 9 and checked out on June 9. 
Note how green the hills look when we first arrived.  When we departed, the green turned to brown and dry.  In fact a few days before we left, a brush fire broke out near the Corps HQ and just below the dam.  It consumed about 100 acres of the landscape before the CALFIRE boys put the fire out with helo tankers and a large number of firemen.
 There was an abundance of wildlife, especially birds and ground squirrels in the campground.  Our hummingbird feeder had anywhere from 2 to 15 birds either on or trying to perch on the feeder.  There were so many, that we had to fill up the feeder every other day.  Bluebird above and a western Jay below.

 Below, a young Jay getting some early morning nourishment from Mother.
 Corps HQ pics.
Above, Nancy relaxing after putting in about three hours of weed whacking and clean up around the HQ grounds.  It was very warm that day.
 The boat ramp into the lake and our Jeep.  We had to clean the ramp area about once week, especially after the weekends.
 Near the HQ complex, there were a lot of horses (and mules too) that were "open ranged" and therefore were all over the road, so we had to be careful when driving thru.  Above, we met Montzong, one of the Rangers and we chatted a bit while were checked out for any "treats" by the gang.
Above, me on the John Deere mower near our site.
 The lake and surrounding foothills of the Sierra Nevada western range, was just beautiful and so relaxing, and just plain "homey".  I think we'll do this again next spring.
 Caught 4 of the birds here.  I think the most we saw was like seven at one time.  They have a hard time landing when there are birds perched, because their wings disturb the ones already there, so there is a constant movement of confusion of who's next.  They had no patience for each other.  Below, I was caught splitting some wood for our campfires.  We had one just about every evening.  Most of my wood came from campers who just left their wood after camping.  Suited us just fine!  We did get some from the national forrest in Sequoia.  Also, note my tackle box, as I did get some fishing in.
 What happened to the green hills?  No rain for two months, that's what!
 Well, we did have a very brief shower rush thru one evening about a week before left.  It lasted about three minutes, and moved on up into the mountains.  But before departing, it left us this beautiful reminder of a covenant made long ago as assisted by the sun.
Above, Tom, Jake & Sheldon.  Tom is the manager of the Dam/Park.  The event was a "going away party/pot luck for Jake & Sheldon.  Jake, one of the rangers, was leaving to pusue his dreams of touring the country with his blues-rock band and Sheldon, the maintenace supervisor was leaving to take a new job over at Lemoore NAS.
Mike Erskine "roasting" his boss, Sheldon.
Above, most of the rangers.  From left, Adam, Jake, Tom, "Bobber" (the rattlesnake killer), Todd, Jerry and Doug, the Senior Ranger.  Sara, our coordinator-ranger, worked the night before and couldn't make the luncheon.  We had a wonderful relationship with each of the rangers.  They made their rounds several times a day thru the campgrounds, boat ramps and the roads in between all of them, a total of about 30 miles round trip each time.  They would, just about every time thru, stop by and chat with us, providing info about all our questions, giving us assignments, providing resources and just making us feel at home.  Thanks to Sara, Tom and all of the rangers and Sheldon's maintenance crew for the patience, support and encouragement during our stay.  We hope to return in February.
 Above, a few of the waterfront sites at the campground.  There are about 90 sites here, some with FHUs.  Below, our home on top of the hill at site #32 proudly displaying our flag.
 That little red shed stored most all of our "stuff" while there.  I built in a few shelves for more storage area.
Note the brown grass, so volatile!
So ends our stay for this go 'round.  Hopefully they will accept our stay in the spring, as soon as we can provide them exact dates.  While here, we made several journeys into the mountains and surrounding foothills/lakes.  And they will be topics of other blogs, soon.  So, till the next time, RVing Beach Bums, Joe & Nancy.  I am writing this blog on Thursday, June 21 from the FAMCAMP at Travis AFB near Fairfield, CA.