Buenos Aires, by Noelia Diaco. Photo is not visible, used only for sharing on social networks.

Camping at China Camp

September 7, 2013
I started the summer with big dreams about all the camping we would do. As a San Francisco newbie, little did I know that I'm not the only one around here with summer camping ambitions. And the other campers were much more on top of their game, booking basically every campsite within 200 miles of San Francisco months in advance. When I found one remaining available campsite at China Camp State Park for a Saturday in August, I jumped on it.

Located in San Rafael, China Camp is only 25 miles from our apartment, but it sits at the intersection of two of our favorite destinations: Point Reyes and Sonoma. The first day we took Lucas Valley Road over to Point Reyes, where we stopped for lunch.

We spent the afternoon relaxing at a picnic area at China Camp. We were pleasantly surprised by our campsite, which was the only one available and had appeared on the map to be right next to the bathroom. In reality, it wasn't close at all and we had plenty of privacy, though we played host to a family who used the area near our campsite for a game they called "Ga Ga." Uninitiated in the games of kids today, we thought it resembled modern dodgeball. Apparently it's popular enough to warrant its own story in the NYTimes:
Believed to have originated in Israel, the game — which translates to “touch, touch” in Hebrew — has been a standby of Jewish summer camps and community centers in the United States since at least the 1970s. Now, to the surprise of parents who recall the game from their youths, gaga is solidly mainstream. ...
In gaga, players lob the ball underhand, trying to hit one another below the knees (or below the waist, depending on where you’re playing) to eliminate their opponents from the court. If the ball goes over the wall, or if it is caught before bouncing, the person who launched it is out of the game.
The next morning we explored Glen Ellen, a town in Sonoma Valley and a bit farther north than we normally go. Our new wine tasting guidelines came in handy when the Valley of the Moon Winery wanted to charge us $15 to taste five wines that ranged in price from $17-$25. We said no thank you, and enjoyed a tasting at Little Vineyards instead. After lunch, we headed home, again via Lucas Valley Road to avoid the traffic. (We're very proud of how well we're getting to know the roads around here — our quest to find interesting roads on the motorcycle pays off when the highways are clogged and we want to circumvent the traffic.)

And even though we only got to pull out our tent once this summer (in addition to camping on our road trip), we aren't despairing. The fall is even nicer than the summer here, so we have three months for camping before "winter" sets in.

- Steph

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