A campground drive through turns into an amazing photo opportunity.
There are a few weird little things I like to do. (Actually, there are probably enough weird little things to fill a book, but we won’t go there now.) One of them is driving through public campgrounds to check out the facilities.
I don’t remember when I started doing this. It might have been way back when I first started doing road trips with my wasband in the 1980s. Or it might have been in 1995, when I began doing road trips on my own. In any case, when I’m on the road just wandering around and don’t have anyplace special to go and I see a state or county park campground that looks interesting, I detour to drive through it.
I’ve seen a lot of really neat places to go car camping this way. A lot.
Lake Solano, west of Winters, CA, was just a point on the map when I went out for a drive to Lake Berryessa midday yesterday. The satellite view on Google Maps didn’t show it to be anything special. But when I drove by it on my way up route 128 into the mountains, I noticed its calm, clear water stretching alongside the road. And after a 9-mile kayak paddle the day before that had left me very sore indeed, the calm water of the little lake looked extremely inviting for a paddle one day in the future. So on the way back, I drove slowly past the lake. And that’s when I noticed the sign for the campground.
A campground near a lake. Of course, I had to check it out.
It’s a nice campground with plenty of wooded site. I didn’t really notice whether water and electricity were available. The reason for that was the initial distraction of seeing what looked like a small person carrying some sort of netted frame along the road ahead of me. My brain asked, “What the hell is that?” I looked harder and soon realized I was seeing the side of a peacock with his fan of feathers fully extended. It was the fan that looked like a frame with a net.
I pulled over on the side of the road and grabbed my camera. I’d brought my Nikon D7000 with me, hoping to see something photographic at Lake Berryessa. (I’d been disappointed.) The bird was standing in the middle of the road, rotating slowly so all the females in the area could see him. When he faced me, I snapped a photo with the 24-70mm “everyday” lens that I keep on the camera.
And that’s when I realized that we were pretty much surrounded by peacocks and peahens. They were strutting through the empty campsites, along the road, and into the brush. Occasionally, one would let out a shrill call. Penny stared at them through her window. I used my phone to grab a photo of that.
I spent the next twenty minutes driving around the campground, snapping photos out the truck window of the peacocks and peahens. When I realized after a few minutes that I wasn’t scaring them off, I took a moment to put my 70-300mm stabilized lens on the camera. Then I kept shooting. Yes, every single one of the shots on this page was taken from inside a running diesel pickup truck.
I did get a chance to check out the boat launch, which was perfect for canoes, kayaks, and other non-motorized boats. And I looked at a bunch of campsites, trying to judge whether my mobile mansion would fit into any of them.
But mostly I looked at the peacocks. I never realized just how beautiful these birds are.