For the first time in I can’t remember how many years, I finally got a weekend all to myself this past week. The stars aligned and my better half took the kids down south for a visit with friends in the lovely land of Bakersfield, leaving me to fend for myself for a couple days. Since I was only given a few days notice I was unable to come up with any grandiose plan so, instead, I came up with a minimalist one: camping.
I woke up Saturday morning, climbed up in the attic and pulled down the sleeping bag and tent. Grabbed the fishing gear, some basic manly food options, the bare essentials, called a buddy and convinced him to come along and was on the way within an hour.
Destination: Lake Don Pedro.
Don Pedro is nothing fancy, just a camp ground with a decent lake and, at the time, spots still available for spontaneous people like myself. Having grown up in the central valley, I frequented this spot countless times years ago as it is one of the largest lakes in the area offering some of the best fishing and general boating fun.
The surrounding area is pretty desolate with just a few hole in the wall pit stop towns for at least 20 miles. And in the summer it gets HOT – like hell on earth hot, 110 degrees. Actually, this is one of the reasons I like it because it keeps the lake water warm, making nighttime swimming possible.
We made the most out of our quick 24 hour trip, packing in all the camping essentials- swimming, fishing, cooking steaks on an open fire (read as- we didn’t catch any fish), exploring the lake, and making friends with other campers. One of my favorite parts of this trip was exploring the lake and trekking all the way to the opposite side where there is a second marina. It is interesting to see the transition of geography from plains to almost forest as you venture up the rivers that feed into the lake.
Someday, I would love to rent a houseboat here for a week with a bunch of friends. If for nothing else, but to slide down one of those two story slides right into the lake. Definitely would need to have AC though. It’s a scorcher out there!
And nothing beats the evening. When it cools down to a crisp 90 degrees and the moon and stars come out.