Coyote Lake Park camping (July 26-28, 2013)

IMG_6803It’s 7:10pm on Sunday afternoon and I’m feeling quite tired, yet incredibly refreshed.  Brandee, Jack and I just spent the weekend camping!

While I would have loved to grab our cat, Bella, and her new collection of fishie-family friends, The Hatfield’s and The Macoy’s, it just wasn’t practical to bring the 55-gallon fish tank and a finicky-feline with us camping.  So the three of us headed out to Coyote Lake Park in Gilroy, California which is only about a 30-45 minute drive from where we live for a few days of fun.

This was the first camping trip for both Brandee and Jack so there were a lot of potential issues that could have arisen.  You see, typically when I went camping previously I only have had to contend with my needs and not others.  Therefore, I packed limited supplies and was ill-prepared, quite-frankly.  This trip, however, was the kind of comfortable camping I had never experienced due to Brandee’s amazing (and slightly obsessive) planning.

Camping In Style

IMG_6806I must admit that I had concerns about Brandee’s natural instinct for planning the most meticulous details of events might conflict with the pure nature of camping, which in my experience, is ‘toughing it’ and ‘do without’ in dust, missing supplies and a generally a lack of comfortable living environment.  After all, that’s what camping is all about?

And although this camping trip still involved the traditional dusty ground there was absolutely no worries for supplies.  Brandee had done a wonderful job to consider so many possibilities that it made the trip extremely enjoyable.  Truth-is that I was slightly teasing her for over thinking her first time camping experience with food lists, equipment lists and a schedule of events however, in retrospect this was the way I ought to have been camping for years!  I regret not having on insisted that she join me on camping trips of the past.


IMG_6887The Great Outdoors

This camping trip was a memorable collection of firsts.  First, it was Jack’s inaugural experience to dip his feet in a mass body of water whether it was pond, ocean or lake.  In this case it was lake and it was exciting and scary for Brandee and myself.  While it’s a fact that most labrador dog’s enjoy the water, as a rescue-dog, Jack had never experienced the water with us before.  In fact what little exposure he had with the garden hose while we water the lawn, he would be scared and skittish, which led us to think he might have been abused with a water hose when he was a baby because that is just not natural for his breed.  Anyhow, we took him down to the shore of the lake and without any coercing he freely dipped his paws in the water like it was completely comfortable.  It was such a relief to me because I would like him to enjoy the water for his enjoyment in the future.  He was on a short leash at the time and couldn’t go deeper into the lake but I think his love for the water is clear if we can just expose him to more opportunities to swim.

Second, we had the opportunity to witness true wildlife in their element.  We saw blue jay birds galore!  They were quite friendly and probably the most abundant among the campsite.  These birds were fairly large and would swoop-in to get Jack’s dog food, sometimes the bread Brandee would feed them or sometimes simply to come visit and show off their great flying skills in the trees.  There was also deer, ground squirrels, cows, ducks, geese, crows, and other types of unknown birds, fish and then, of course, coyote that we witnessed.

IMG_6863One of the most humorous animals/events we did not see, yet clearly saw the evidence was a food raid on our campsite earlier in the morning of our first night there.  While we packed away all the human food into the tamper-proof bear food locker, we naively left Jack’s dog food bowel out with a minimal amount of food.  Little did we know that this was a major invitation for the critters of Coyote Lake Park to come visit us on this cold, Saturday morning.  We woke up to an empty dog food bowl but apparently clear, muddy raccoon size paw prints all over our outside food cooler.  Apparently these animals are very smart and savvy about getting into these.  The evidence of their paw-prints strategically placed around the cooler was hilarious in that they had a clear plan to raid our food.  Nice try guys but better luck next time – and we have your paws-prints on-file now!

We had two adjoining campsites and I have to say that although we camped In Style and in The Great Outdoors, my fondest memories will be spending time with the friends that joined us for this trip.  A majority of our time camping was spent socializing with them about everything from what is the best strategy in the Connect 4/Uno/Battleship games, tips/tricks/recipes for good BBQ cooking or interesting life events and experiences.

IMG_6876Coyote Lake cleanliness and kindness of staff

I cannot finish this blog post in good faith without acknowledging the overall cleanliness of the grounds/facilities and fantastic staff at Coyote Lake campground.  From the day we checked-in on Friday afternoon until we left Sunday morning they were great.  The maintenance staff was regularly cleaning the already clean restrooms often.  The ranger staff drove around the campsites during the day to offer fire wood bundles, which we quickly jumped on and appreciated.  Then, as we were packing up to leave, one of the rangers got out of his truck to ask Brandee a few follow-up questions and take a sincere interest in asking her about what she thought of the experience.  They really take care at Coyote Lake and want their visitors to have a good, safe and positive memorable experience.



Here are some supplementary photos of our camping trip:

IMG_6787 IMG_6805 IMG_6863 IMG_6889

Red (2008) – Movie Review


red_2008This was certainly a movie that brings you “full circle”.  And this is exactly what I like in a quality film.  It had a lot of emotion, several bits of anger and tons of good moral messaging throughout.

Red was an entertaining flick that pulled at your emotions, for better or for worse.  I have to say this was a rather simple storyline that I enjoyed tremendously.  This was a film about the good and bad in people.  The movie had some really believable characters where you wanted to hug the hero and punch the villain in the face.

Red is the name of the main characters, Avery’s, dog.  A group of young punks come upon Avery while he’s fishing and end up killing Red with a rifle/shotgun for no reason.  It was senseless and sad.

So, Avery, in his calm and collected manner didn’t go ballistic.  Rather he was set on a mission for the punks to apologize for the wrong they had done and change for the better.  Avery’s patience is admirable considering the fact that it was clear he loved Red immensely.

Avery continued to give the punks, as well as the shooters father plenty of chances to make-amends but these idiots were the stereotypical bullies that could not bring themselves to simply say sorry.  But Avery was determined because he loved Red so much.

In the end it’s a story about a lot of loss and little gain because stupid people do stupid things but if there is any opportunity to try and make things right, do it.  Don’t miss your opportunity.  As upset that clearly Avery was over the killing of his dog, he maintained his composure and genuinely hoped the punks would reform for the better.

The main point I took from this movie is to be a decent person in spite of bad life events.  And if you make a poor choice or decision be honorable enough to admit wrong.  Lastly, don’t be a punk in the first place.

I won’t spoil the end of this great movie so I will end with the point that I have seen hundreds of non-memorable, or awful, movies lately and Red is the only one which I will watch again today.

Red is worthy of 9 out of 10 Steeler Stars.