Donna and I took a ride on the Spyder yesterday after Donna’s morning workout. We wanted to take a look at the Black Butte Recreation Area and the campground at the Buckhorn Recreation Area (map). The recreation areas surround Black Butte Lake – located about nine miles west of Orland, about 20 miles away from our location.
We rode south on I-5 to the Orland exit and followed Newville Road west to the lake. Black Butte Lake is a reservoir created when a dam was built on Stony Creek by the Army Corp of Engineers (COE) in 1963. The purpose of the dam was to control flooding and provide irrigation through a series of canals.
Newville Road was smooth with good pavement through Glenn County. When we hit the Tehama County line about a mile outside of the recreation area, the surface deteriorated, but was still in reasonable shape. I wouldn’t have any problem driving a big rig to this area.
We pulled off at a section called Eagle Pass Recreation Area. This area had a boat ramp with a large paved parking lot and a paved road to a picnic area.
We rode over to the picnic area where a couple of families had claimed tables. There were a few boats on the water including couple of kayakers.
They have a sign saying a day use fee of five dollars per vehicle is required and there’s a honor system kiosk by the picnic parking area.
We left the picnic area and followed the COE signs to a scenic overlook by the dam.
The lake is large and from the Eagle Pass Recreation Area you only see small portion of it. We rode back to Newville Road and followed it north, then west around the northeastern end of the lake. The lake is about 7 miles long with 40 miles of shoreline. The surface area is approximately 4,400 acres.
We pulled into the Buckhorn Recreation Area. This is a COE campground with 93 total sites including a group area and five walk-in tent sites. They have a day use fee of five dollars and dry camp sites are $20/night. There’s an attendant at the entrance. We asked the attendant if we could ride in to look at the sites and he waved us through.
The first campground area wasn’t much more than a paved parking lot lined out with long parking spots that are RV sites. None of the sites appeared to be level. We rode further into the campground and found a couple of loops with campsites.
The next loop we came to was called 23-6. This had a variety of sites ranging from 35 to 100 feet long. Again most of the sites weren’t level, but it was much better than the first area. Then we went to loop 1-22 which is on high ground above a boat ramp. Again, we found a variety of sites ranging from 28 feet to 90 feet long. If I were to come here I would look for a site in this loop. They take reservations and their web site contains information on the size of each site. The only thing that would concern me is some overhanging trees in a few sites. I wouldn’t want hit a low tree branch and break an air conditioner housing – or worse.
After looking around, we rode out and headed back. This time we turned north on Black Butte Road – which Google maps calls Tapscott Road. We’ve found name discrepancies on a few of the roads around here. The road surface is uneven with dips and cambers. It also has a few narrow twists to it. I wouldn’t want to get to the campground in a big rig on this road – Newville Road is the preferred route.
A few miles up Black Butte Road we saw a herd of buffalo. There was a sign that said it was federal bison reserve land. There was also a sign over a gate that identified a privately owned ranch. I tried to find more information online, but didn’t come up with much.
Another sign by the ranch gate said 1/4 or 1/2 sides of bison were offered for sale.
We continued up Black Butte Road to Corning Road and followed it east into town. We made a stop at Safeway for a few groceries. We picked up a whole chicken and also baby back ribs which were on sale at $2.99/lb. We decided to have the ribs for our Memorial Day dinner.
When we got home I used a different dry rub on the ribs. It’s a highly rated rub called Pappy’s Choice Seasoning. After seasoning the rack of ribs, I wrapped them and put them in the refrigerator. I broke out the Traeger wood pellet fired grill from the trailer and set it up. I haven’t used the Traeger for a few weeks and it was time to Traegerize a rack of ribs.
We also bought fresh corn on the cob. I soaked the corn in the husks for about 20 minutes. After removing the corn silk, I put them directly on the Weber Q grill still in the husk. I like to cook corn on the cob this way. The wet husks steam the corn while it roasts.
Meanwhile Donna made a red potato salad. The corn took about 20 minutes of grill time and I timed it to be ready when the ribs were done.
The Pappy’s Choice Seasoning had good flavor but it was a little on the salty side. Next time I’ll use less of it to cut down on the salt. Lucky for me, I had a bottle of ale to wash it down.
It was another beer from Wildcard Brewing in Redding, California. This one was an Imperial red ale called Double Down. Anytime you see the term Imperial on a beer label, you can bet it’s a strong beer. Double Down is no exception – it had 7.5% ABV.
The thermometer reached the upper 90s yesterday. Today is forecast to be even warmer with a high of 103 degrees! We’ll be heading over to Chico this afternoon for a tour of Sierra Nevada Brewing.