Coloma Diary 2006


Diary of rafting trip to Coloma, April 2006


4/2/06 I drove the 5th wheel north through LA about 300 miles to Tulare California on the start of my American River SF rafting trip. The new air hitch worked really good dampening out those huge freeway bumps. The small bumps are still felt in the truck but the big ones really save the trailer from being shook up and makes the truck ride much more relaxing. The replacement MotoSat Nomand controller also continued to work well.

4/3/06 Drove north in rain about 290 miles to Camp Lotus near the gold mining discovery at Sutter’s Mill in Coloma, CA. The camp site was very pretty right on the SF of the American River. I had some trouble backing in to my assigned site and had to take a different one. I was only about 30 yards from the raging river. Sites 1 and 2 are the best ones and the only ones big enough for me to conveniently back into. They had free wifi and my Verizon telephone worked fine. No sewer hook ups, but have water and electricity. I open up all the window shades and had a very nice evening watching the NCAA final tournament game while drinking a couple glasses of wine with my homemade spinach manicotti. The rain continued all night, giving me some significant concern about the rising river possibly flooding the 5th wheel. Got up early to light rain and cooked fresh hash brown potatoes, sunny side up eggs, with Joanne’s raspberry jam on the delicious hash browns. Yum yum. I checked the internet river flow rates and discovered that the river got up to 11,240 cfs last night. The normal rate this time of year is about 1,800 cfs. I researched site 10 on high ground but there was not enough room to back in. WET rafting company called and cancelled our professional trip because two others going on our boat cancelled do to the rain. It takes a minimum of 4 people to run the boat. They gave me a full refund. I drove to the State Park about 3 river miles up stream and found a guy with a big 8 person raft who wanted to run the river down to Lotus Campground, so I inflated my 14’ boat and got ready for departure. We shuttled my truck down stream to Lotus and came back to our boats. This is an easy run, but the river was at a 5 or 6 times higher rate from normal so it was very fast. It only took about 20 minutes to run the 3 miles. I hit one wave that must have been 8’ high, but I survived. Caution was required to avoid trees and brush in the island areas of the river. It was exciting and well worth the effort. I was considering another run but the rain was coming down real hard now and the water was only about 20’ from the trailer, so I decided to pack up and leave before the 5th wheel got washed away. I must check my insurance to see if I have flood coverage. In an hour at 12:30 p.m. I was packed up and on my way up highway 49 through the canyon of the American River SF to Auburn. The last 8 miles were quite hair raising to negotiate with a 33’ trailer on a curvy road. I now got on the freeway interstate 80 towards Reno. I found out shortly that chains were required for 39 miles over Donner Summit’s 7,300’ elevation. I had chains for the pickup. When I got to DOT chain control I discovered that one set was also required on the trailer if it had electric brakes. The chain installer had cable chains for my trailer, so it cost me $90 total for both truck and trailer chain installation and one set of trailer cable chains. The installer had them on in 10 minutes. He did a nice job and they stayed tight for the full 39 miles. The snow was perhaps 8” deep on the road and 2-3’ on the sides. It was quite rough in some places but I made it OK only spinning the tires going up hill a couple of times. If I had ever needed to stop on an uphill run I am not sure I could have got going again. The speed limit was 30 mph. My windshield wipers would barely keep the snow off. I was very warm because I turned the truck heater to max to melt the windshield. It was a mildly nerve racking 1.3 hours through that snow which was at full white out at times. I stopped a couple times for photo opts and to relieve myself. I arrived in the Reno Sparks area around 5:30 p.m. Filled up with gas and drove to Conrad and Kathy’s house. Parked the 5th wheel on the street near their house. Kathy made dirty rice risotto for dinner which was excellent. Also had a nice French bottle of wine which I had given her for Christmas.

4/5/06 Went to the Sparks Nugget buffet rib night for dinner with Conrad & Kathy. The food was marginal, although they did have about 7 different ribs to choose from. Afterwards Conrad and I played BJ at a $3 double deck table for about 2 hours. I had a fun time talking with a nice couple from Ohio. I ended up breaking even and Conrad lost $35.

4/6/05 Got up late at 9:45 a.m. and had a light breakfast with Conrad. Used Conrad’s wifi network for internet browsing and email retrieval. Caught up on my diary. Kathy and I drove down town to the man made rapids on the Truckee River. Stopped at the local boat/outdoor sports shop by the man made river rapids and asked about an easy inflatable kayak recommended run. The owner recommended about 2.5 miles upstream put-in at Crissy Caughlun City park to put-out at Fisherman’s City Park for a total of about 5 river miles. Kathy and I walked about 2.5 miles along the river on a beautiful warm sunny day. At 5:30 p.m. we went to Harrah’s Steakhouse for dinner. I had lobster bisque soup, steak Dianne with medley of vegetables, and a Grand Marnier Soufflé. For some reason I was very full after the soup so I took most of the Steak Dianne home. The entire dinner was excellent and Conrad’s wilted spinach salad was to die for. After dinner we all went across the street to Cal Neva and played BJ about 2 hours. We all lost but had a great time socializing with the four different dealers we had. The game was single deck, insurance, double down on first two cards 10 or 11 only, and pair splits, with no other good rules. The deal card penetration was good for our low level of play betting from $2 to $15 based on count. No shuffle up ever occurred with some tipping on good situations.

4/7/06 I was mildly concerned about the forecast for more snow this evening so I left Sparks about 8:30 a.m. for breakfast at Baldini’s with Conrad and Kathy. I filled up with propane at $2.59 / gallon. It was beautiful weather and dry roads to Bishop. I arrived at 3:00 p.m. filling up with gas at $2.95 / gallon. Checked into Highland RV Park at $33 per night

4/8/06 Left Bishop about 9:30 a.m. Arrived home in San Diego about 4:30 p.m.



Last updated on April 23, 2009