Saturday, June 23, 2012

Circling Clear Lake

Clear Lake is the largest natural lake totally inside of California...which means that it is smaller than Lake Tahoe, but bigger than the rest.  Overall, it ranks 10th in the nation in size for a lake, so Clear Lake is a big lake, and today we decided to drive around it.  Although it is a natural lake, a dam was built to help control the flow of water, and to help control flooding.

The lake is believed to be a very old lake, perhaps the oldest in America.  The lake has been occupied by Native Americans for 11,000 years or so.  In more modern time, the Native Americans around the area were the Pomo, Yuki, Wappo and Miwok, with the Pomo Indians pretty much in control of Indian Lands (Casinos) in the area.

The lake was used as a landing base for seaplanes stationed out of Alameda Navel Air Station when conditions along the San Francisco Bay did not allow for safe landings.  Now it is used by fishing boats (it is a top base fishing lake), speed boats (lots of good skiing) and sail boats (normally a mild, constant wind on the lake).

The pictures above and below show that today was a wonderful day.  Nice blue skies, temps were in the mid-70's, and a very small wind.  These two pictures were taken just east of the city of Nice, not too far from where we are staying.  The larger mountain peak in the picture above is Mount Konocti.

Below are two more pictures which are on-the-way to the city of Clearlake.

At this same pullout, I noticed a large number of birds, including vultures, along the banks of the lake, some of whom were startled and flew into the air.  We saw many different types of birds throughout the day, but did not see any Bald Eagles....

Also, we saw a number of different fishing boats, including this one below near the shore.  After we arrive back to the motor home, we saw a swamp boat headed back to shore near us.  There are areas around the lake where marsh lands are, and I am sure the bass fishing is probably pretty good in those areas.  

Now there is the lake with the name "Clear Lake", and the city with the name of "Clearlake", so you family members who are keeping up on my grammar and spelling, don't contact me on this one  (lol).  Our travels took us right through the city of Clearlake.  This was good, because we plan to attend the Calvary Chapel in Clearlake tomorrow for church, which is about 25 miles and 45 minutes away from us.  I did find the building fairly easy, and that will help for Sunday.  The lake is about 20 miles long, and Clearlake is pretty much on the other side of the lake from where we are.

Once we got around the lake, there were very few places to pull over to take shots, which is too bad because there were some very good views, including some sailboats, which we just could not stop and pull over to get the picture taken.  However, here are a few from the other side of the lake.

It took us around 3 hours to make it around the lake, and it was a nice journey.  Just as we were getting close to the RV park, we saw a bunch of railroad caboose cars laid out nicely on a large patch of shaded lawn.  Well, we just had to pull in and see what it was.
Featherbed Railroad Company: A Bed and Breakfast Resort.  It is a Bed and Breakfast where your "room" is a caboose car!  You get breakfast in what they call the "Main Station".  What a fairly unique idea they have...not that we would ever go there because we have our own Bed and Breakfast in our own motor home!
In the picture above, you can see a few of the caboose cars sitting side-by-side.  The building in the distance to the left is the Main Station.  This building is over 100 years old.
 Each caboose has its own name.  From what I saw on the website, some, if not all, are equipped with a Jacuzzi.  Staying in a caboose can range from around $120 to over $400 per day, depending upon which caboose, and the dates one wants to stay.  Again, we love our own Bed and days, $400 will fill up our 100 gallon fuel tank.
 A few tidbits about the area....

Nice, California is named after Nice, France.  It was originally called Clear Lake Villas, but was renamed by Charles William Bayne.

Jack Carson, brother of Kit Carson, owned the land that the Bed and Breakfast sits on today.  Perhaps even the land where the motor home sits today as we visit the area.  Kit was in the area visiting his brother many times.

At one time, Clear Lake was much bigger than it is today, encompassing the area of the Blue Lakes, 5-10 miles to the west.  Back then the lake probably emptied into the Russian River along with the Cache River.

South Cache Creek is the sole outlet for Clear Lake, while North Cache Creek is the outlet for the Indian Valley Reservoir.  In the end, the creek should empty into the Sacramento River, but except for real wet time periods, the water is all consumed before it arrives to the Sacramento River.

Mount Konocti (seen in the first picture in today's blog) is a volcano which last erupted around 10,000 years ago, and is part of the Clear Lake Volcanic Field.

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