On the way up to Palomar Mountain, we stopped at Pink's Hot Dogs located inside Harrah's Casino. We walked around looking for Pink's. The casino is huge and appears to be quite the weekend destination. We looked a little out of place in the fancy resort/casino. I walked up to ask where Pink's was located and ran into a friend. He pointed us in the right direction. (He actually was surprised that we came all the way to Harrah's for hot dogs.) I ordered a turkey dog and onion rings. We ordered way too much food.
We checked in at the park entrance. The woman working was less than thrilled to be working.
Since we were a little early, we stopped off at the pond and the urgent care. Someone found a lure in his hand. The closest urgent care was about 45 minutes from the campgrounds but I refused to go with Plan A. Lets just say Plan A involved pliers and a wire cutter. The park ranger also refused to have anything to do with Plan A. We ended up at Graybill Urgent Care. The folks at Graybill were great.
The pond was small but it was really pretty.
I sat at the edge of the pond and tried to soak in all the nature around me. A little kid walked by and said, "look daddy! He caught a log!"
After a quick stop at the urgent care, we made it back before the park closed and pitched a small tent. The tent is not that small. It is a lot smaller than the two-room tent we had in Colorado. This tent is large enough for a single high queen air mattress with a little room to spare. For this weekend, I wanted less fuss so I was fine with a smaller tent. It would have been nice to sleep a little higher off the ground and be able to stand up to change inside the tent.
I kept dinner pretty simple with shrimp fajitas. I sliced the bell peppers and onions ahead of time. We have a few camp stoves and grills. I decided to leave the grills and larger stove at home and packed a smaller two-burner camp stove. I heated a 10-inch fry pan on the stove, added a little olive oil and added the onions. Once the onions started browning, I added the bell peppers and cooked a few minutes longer. I finished the onions and peppers with a little salt and black pepper.
I almost bought a cheap pan for camping but decided to just pack one of my All-Clad pans instead.
I peeled, deveined, and froze the shrimp a few weeks before our camping trip. They were still pretty frozen when I took them out of the cooler that evening. I was afraid they would defrost and be unsafe to eat so I put a pack of frozen Nathan's hot dogs in the cooler just in case. We didn't have to resort to Plan B for dinner.
I sautéed the shrimp in a little olive oil and seasoned them with a salt, pepper, chile powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder, dried onions, cumin, Mexican oregano, and lime juice. I made the seasoning mix a few days before the trip.
Shrimp is great for camping because it cooks up so quickly. I had dinner ready in about 15 minutes. I used 26/30 size shrimp. 26/30 is my favorite size for most dishes. I bought several bags of U15 and they are still in the freezer because they're a little larger than I like.
Dessert included cinnamon crescent rolls and s'mores cooked over the campfire. I wasn't very hungry so I didn't eat either. I didn't even finish my fajitas.
By the time the cinnamon crescent rolls and s'mores were finished, it was pretty dark out. The days have been shorter and with the unplanned urgent care trip, we didn't start cooking until a little later.
It was a long day so we didn't end up playing any games we packed. We tested out the air mattress, tandem sleeping bag, and down blanket and fell asleep with the lights on. These solar string lights from Amazon were pretty awesome. I thought they would run out of battery and turn off but after several hours, I had a search for the off button.
In the morning I got up and made breakfast. I cooked up some maple bacon in a large rectangular cast iron dutch oven. I cooked diced potatoes in the bacon grease until crispy then added onions, bell peppers, and eggs. I ate mine without tortillas. The hubby made a breakfast burrito and doused everything with Tapatio sauce.
I made coffee using a Moka Pot and drank it out of a "vintage" Starbucks paper cup.
We sat by the fire for a few hours before tearing down camp and heading back to civilization. It was nice to get away from the city even if it was only for a day.
We stopped on the side of the road on our way down. It's not quite Colorado but still very beautiful.