Mendocino Nat’l Forest: Wine at altitude!

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Cheap wine, worse spaghetti

I had a very cheap bottle of wine and a can of Chef Boyardee s’ghetti (with something they call meatballs) yesterday for dinner. I’ve always been able to handle my liquor but, between the cold air and the altitude (5,500′) I got pretty snockered in the middle of the forest! I’m sure I am wrong but, I felt a little warmer with my little wine buzz.

Not on video!

No, I didn’t open the wine until after I had made a video tour of the minivan explorer, my 2000 Toyota Sienna minivan. It’s almost ten minutes long and just over a gigabyte so, there is no way it’s going to upload on this crappy “cellular signal valley” connection. I’ll be back in 4G LTE territory tomorrow after I leave the happy camping grounds of Dixie Glade. And no, I haven’t looked at a map just yet to see where I’m headed next.

I need gas!

The last time I filled the tank was on Saturday while I was on Interstate 5, before I turned west and headed to the Mendocino Forest. All of that driving and regularly warming up the engine—and me—to charge my assorted digital devices has worked on my fuel reserve (I’ve burned a bit less than a quarter tank with the charging/warming action).

I still have about a quarter of a tank (oh how wonderful a six banger engine is with consumption compared to my previous steed, an eight cylinder Jeep Grand Cherokee—may it rest in peace).

Still, no matter how many times I start the Sienna to get some warmth, the cost will never reach the $80-$100 I would have spent on a heating mat or a Little Buddy heater I had considered buying earlier. To tell the truth, I am very pleased with the multiple blankets’ performance! Not once have I even thought about breaking out the zero-degree sleeping bag.

Animal report:

If I had company last night, I sure didn’t hear anything. And there was no evidence of any visitors either (you can be sure I checked, after the evidence of bears the previous two nights!). I don’t know where they’ve been hiding since I arrived here but, lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of squirrels—everywhere! I had thought that only city squirrels were gray. Not so! I haven’t seen a brown squirrel yet.

Ranger report:

I suppose I could have missed the regular Ranger visit in the late afternoons while I checked email at my digital valley perch but, I haven’t seen another human being for three days now! Occasionally, I can hear off in the distance, an OHV (Off Highway Vehicle) as crazed danger aficionados risk death and destruction on trails weaving their way around the mountains (it’s totally allowed here).

I pray for their safety as the closest hospital is over 50 miles away at the same time I curse their interruption of my oh-so-quiet environs among the pine trees.

Speaking of which, I have been regularly changing my mind about which one of those pines would be my virtual Christmas tree! Of course, I’m not about to chop anything down but, the forest is plentiful with perfect pine trees—and I’d like to zero in on which one I would like to call mine.

Last night was also “warm” with the overnight low about 35º, despite a little frost on all of my windows this morning. Tonight will be my last night at the ol’ campground and I’m thinking I will miss this place (the quiet, the wildlife—okay, not so much the wildlife growling in the dark of the night!).

And still, there are no payment envelopes!

Happy trails my friends!

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