Got an early start away from San Francisco, and for once did not really get caught in traffic. We had high hopes of making the campground before the sun went down. And we were making excellent progress until presented with a very prominent “Road Closed” sign. We speculated the recent rains had caused the rivers to flood making the road impassible. We quickly consulted our maps to look for an alternative road. There was one, but when we got to the road, there was a different sign, and this one clearly indicated that only authorized vehicles were allowed to go on this road, and if we proceeded, we would be in trouble. We were technically within Fort Hunter Liggett, which is a US Army base, and we didn’t want to mess with the US Army. So we turned around and Stephen decided that Arroyo Seco campground would be our Plan B for the weekend, being about 90mins away.
Caroline had the brilliant idea to go up to the Army base checkpoint and ask the soldiers if there was an alternative route to the campgrounds. Clearly there wasn’t, but this did not stop Caroline trying. A rather beefy soldier said we could drive on the road that was for authorized vehicles, and we should just be careful, as the road could be slippery because of the recent rains. So, off we went, and managed to make it to the campground after all. Needless to say, we were the only ones at the campground that night. It rained really hard all night. We opened the windows more than ususal, and had no issues with condensation.
We had a slight hiccup with dinner. Our diesel stove decided now was the time not to work correctly. On our last trip we suspected there was an issue, and that it might not be working at 100%. We were now sure. Fortunately a week earlier we had purchased a spare diesel fuel filter, and now seemed as good as time as ever to install it. Once installed, the stove was still having issues. Stephen ultimately fixed the issue but sucking diesel up the feed line. We were rewarded with a warm dinner. We decided that a back-up stove is probably a good idea.
Saturday, March 2nd
We woke up to a flooded campsite. The weather report from our satellite devices forecasted rain for the rest of the day and the following day. Regardless, we got dressed up for a walk. We left Molly, and less than 2 minutes later our planned walk was to come to an end. The road was closed and the river on our side of the barrier was raging. We took a moment to think about how we might cross the river or how wet we wanted to get, but decided on a Plan B and a different trail that did not involve any rivers.
As we were scouting around, we found a large tree trunk had fallen across the river upstream of the road crossing, which made an ideal bridge for us. We were soon on the right bank and back to Plan A.
We had an enjoyable walk to Escondido Campground. And it did not rain too much. The afternoon was spent relaxing and reading.
Sunday, March 4th
The rain finally stopped overnight. And our campsite was no longer a swimming pool.
We headed back to Fort Hunter Liggett and stopped at Mission San Antonio de Padua. Apparently the least visited of the 21Missions along the El Camino Real. Nice visit. The drive North was uneventful. Although we did manage to find a place to wash the mud off Molly.