I have to admit, this place is turning out better than first impressions would have you believe. After starting the day with a breakfast of pancakes, eaten outdoors with a view of the lake (eaten quickly, as it was already approaching 90ºF), we took a short walk to the check-in desk to ask some questions about the various activities in the area. We were given more details about the Tourmaline Mine digging, (just at the end of a road inside the RV park; $75 per person – !! – but I've been told kids are free, so we'll see), about the lake itself, (boats and gas and oil are OK, but no people allowed in—'cause it's a reservoir. Logical), and about the where you might get a cell phone signal. We decided to start our adventure with a visit to the La Jolla Indian Reservation campground to try our hand at inner-tubing.
9 miles down Hwy 76 brought us to the La Jolla campgrounds. $15 day use of the park, and $8 per inner-tube, so $31 later we were headed to the water. We found a shady parking spot then walked up-river for a while, inner-tubes and lunch-cooler in tow, with the intention of tubing back to the car and eating lunch somewhere along the way. Well, that river was a-movin', and moving fast. We found a relatively calm bit, and hiked past that a ways so we could enjoy some mellow tubing. Unfortunately, even the calmest of rivers is surprisingly violent when your ass is stuck in a tube bouncing off rocks down the river with two little ones in tow. We only lasted a few minutes before the kids were getting tossed around and scared out of their wits, so that long ride came to a short end. We trekked back to where we'd left our cooler and nursed our bruised bottoms over a picnic lunch. We spent the rest of the day playing in tide-pools, splashing in the cool water and working on our tans. We did find one more calm area where we got some more use out of the inner-tubes though, so not all was lost.
By 5:00 we were heading 'home', with a stop at the Lake Henshaw general store to pick up some firewood. And this is where I sheepishly admit that the exceedingly white-trash washing-machine barrel actually makes a pretty good fire-pit. Besides obviously enclosing everything and keeping the sparks to a minimum, the edges make a perfect resting point for the hot dog and s'mores skewers. We spent the evening roasting hot dogs and marshmallows, enjoying the warm evening and our campfire food.
The kids found another group of children a few buildings over, and we spent the rest of the evening with them while the kids chased balls and each-other and the adults chased beers with more beers. By the time we made it back to the cabin, everyone was asleep within seconds of hitting the pillows.