Author: Mary Shafer

Happy Holidays and Thanks for a Great Year!

This time of year, it’s customary for us all to look back over the past year and evaluate what it has meant to us in terms of personal achievement and fulfillment, community participation, and business success. It’s no different here at Bridgeport Vacation Trailer Rentals, so let’s take a look back at 2021 and see what it has to tell us.

Awesome season opener!

Fishing season around Bridgeport opened to a huge turnout, and many big fish were caught. The last Saturday in April of each year marks the opening of fishing season in Mono County. As usual, thousands of anglers from around the west flocked to the pristine mountain lakes, rivers and streams of the Eastern Sierra, in hopes of catching the big one…and so many of them really did! During opening weekend, anglers participated in the Monster Fish contest in June Lake, or the Sierra Opener at Crowley Lake. Anglers celebrated and many even ate their catch at Tom’s Place Fishmas Day party, or at the Walker Community Fish Fry. We sure hope you can join us for these fantastic, fun events next spring!

Gorgeous weather

This past spring’s weather made for very good fishing and pleasant, comfortable camping. After years of intense drought, this year brought some much-needed rain to replenish our waterways. Temperatures at our elevation were also far more moderate than the serious heat that affected so much of California. It was just one of the nicest seasons we—and our guests—have enjoyed in a long time.

Back on track post-COVID

By the season opener, Bridgeport was fully open for summer reservations. Although sometimes difficult due to staff shortages or other pandemic-caused situations, campsite reservations were back to normal. People seemed to be getting the sites they wanted, when they needed them. And unlike reports from many other camping areas in the country, sites seemed busy but were not overwhelming.

Stunning Fall

Though Fall is always beautiful in the Sierra, colors were simply amazing this year. This season always finds the Sierra very busy, but this year things slowed down a bit. The upshot was that there were lots of full-hookup sites available. Combine that with the fact that fall fishing was very good, and we had the recipe for a perfect Sierra autumn.

cowboy on horseback against a stunning orange sunset

Season’s greetings

We feel so blessed to be able to report all this, and know that we are allowed to continue living this life we love because of all of you—our wonderful, loyal guests. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your continued patronage and support. At this time of year, we reflect on how like family so many of you have become; dear to us, and remembered with warmth as the year draws to a close. Wishing you all good things now and in the New Year. We look forward to welcoming you back to incredible Mono County again soon. Happy holidays!

Come See The Show! Leaf Peeping in the High Sierra

We’re at or approaching peak fall color here in the High Sierra. Now that the heat of summer has past, it’s a glorious time to visit us here in Bridgeport for some leaf peeping. In this post, we’re highlighting some of the areas within an easy drive, where you can go to see Nature’s stunning annual show. All it’ll cost you is the price of a tank of gas and an afternoon, to witness the best our lovely wilderness has to offer!

Mono County Fall Color Report

This is the best site to visit if you only have time for one reference about our area’s leaf peeping. Updated weekly, it gives you tips on the best places to go to see the most spectacular autumn foliage. It calls out major areas with a percentage of peak description. As a bonus, it lists:

  • Hike of the Week – for those who like to take in their color on foot
  • Drive of the Week – for those who don’t have time or the inclination to hike but still want to see a magnificent show
  • Upcoming events – For those who like a little sideshow with their leaf peeping

Where to Find Fall Color in the Eastern Sierras

This is a great article over at California Crossings, about 22 forested locations along California’s State Highway 395 corridor, where you’ll find a diverse array of lovely leaves. It offers leaf peeping tips on

  • planning your trip
  • how to reach the area, and
  • locations ranked by elevation

along with

  • a fall color map
  • places to stay
  • road trip essentials

Fall Colors in California

The folks over at Explore Now or Never offer this great little tour of ten spectacular leaf peeping places to see this year. Each location receives star treatment, with

  • an overview
  • special visitor tips
  • photography tips
  • directions
  • where to stay along the way

Whichever sites you decide to visit, let it whet your appetite for some scrumptious fall color, and make Bridgeport your home base in one of our clean, modern trailers set up just for you!

Ready-To-Eat Meals to Bring On Your Camping Vacation

If you’ve ever been camping before, you know that one of the most delightful parts of this kind of vacation is cooking and eating outdoors, enjoying the weather and killer scenery with your food! But meal prep in your trailer may not be the easiest thing, especially if you’re used to a large, chef-designed kitchen at home. Or maybe the limited space isn’t an issue, but you just don’t want to spend much of your precious vacation time in the kitchen.

No worries! You’re exactly who this post is for. We’ve put together a collection of online resources that give you ideas, recipes and how-to instructions for camping meals you can prepare ahead of time and bring with you in a cooler. This way, the tedious, time-consuming work is already done, and all you have to do is cook on your stove or an outside grill, and eat!

Two Weeks of Make-Ahead Meals for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Since a majority of our guests enjoy our trailers during two-week vacations, we just love this pithy blog post detailing 15 days of delicious breakfasts, lunches and dinners you can prepare ahead of time and take with you. No skimping on flavor or variety here, folks! And, BONUS: It offers six surefire tips to make the process easier and yummier! Some of them are truly clever.

20 Make-Ahead Meals Using Limited Ingredients

If your family loves tacos (and who doesn’t?), burgers and breakfast, here’s a great article on many uses for ground beef, cheese and tortillas, among other popular and versatile ingredients. Storage space is limited in a camping trailer, so the fewer ingredients you have to bring (and buy!), the better, right? But don’t worry – boredom won’t be an issue with these mouthwatering yet simple recipes. And everyone from kids to grandparents will enjoy the tasty treats.

Simple Prep Meals To Go

This article includes several meal ideas and recipes for those who just want things to be easy, but still tasty. Simple prep processes and a slew of tips to keep it easy and quick make this quick read worth your while.

25 Options for Anything You Might Want

This post from Beyond the Tent offers five make-ahead ideas and recipes each for breakfasts, lunches, dinners, desserts and snacks, so you’ll never find yourself hungry while in camp. The sheer variety of flavors here will also make sure you’re never bored!

36 Unusually Fresh and Creative Pre-Prep Meal Ideas

One of the things about pre-prep meals, by their nature, is the lack of really fresh ingredients. Not so with these 36 recipes from Brit+Co. Designed for true camping kitchens, they take advantage of popular cookware and techniques such as cast iron and Instant Pots, packetmeals and shish kabobs. There are even some vegetarian options. Just one look at their photos of the finished dishes will tell you they’re not about your grandparents’ camp food!

40 Pre-Prep Meals You Can Afford To Make

Happy Money Saver has assembled a collection of 40 make-ahead meals that adheres to their four rules of camping food:

  1. Affordable
  2. Easy to make
  3. Quick cleanup
  4. Amazing taste

TakeOutdoors – The Ultimate Guide to Make-Ahead Camp Meals

This expansive selection of pre-prep meal recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert and snacks is arranged in a quick-view list, clickable to take you right to the one you want to use. Makes it easy to whip through your vacation preps quickly and efficiently, while assuring your family of memorable meals in the mountains with us!

We’re happy to offer this resource to help you make the most of your next camping experience here at BVTR, and look forward to seeing you soon!

Staying Cool In Your Camper In Hot Weather

With the record-breaking temperatures still lingering over the Pacific Northwest and the likelihood of continued effects from global warming, we thought it might be helpful to go over how to stay cool during hot weather while you’re staying in one of our rental trailers.

Our rigs are fairly stock as they come from the dealer, because usually heat isn’t an issue here in the Bridgeport area. If anything, it tends to be rather cool here, especially at night, up in the mountains where most of our units get positioned. So they don’t have air conditioning units. But heat can become excessive anywhere, and there are things you can do to keep the heat out and the cool in.

Close your windows in the morning.

If you close all windows and vents before the sun gets too high in the sky, you’ll trap the cool overnight air in your rig. At some point, once the sun gets up there, you will eventually need to open them. But carefully controlling airflow like this can really help you keep the cool longer.

Keep those blinds closed.

Just like closing windows keeps the hot air on the other side of the glass, closing blinds keeps sunlight from entering and heating what’s inside. If your trailer doesn’t have blinds you can buy cheap blackout curtains at WalMart.

Cook outside.

Because RV stoves use propane, that’s an open flame and will quickly heat up the inside of your trailer. On hot days, opt instead to use a camp stove outdoors, or even a dutch oven or grill and pans over your campfire. You can even make “hobo packets” by cutting up some root veggies like carrots, potatoes and beets, mix them with some ground beef, season to taste and add a little olive oil. Then put it all in aluminum foil packets you can throw directly in the fire. 45 minutes later, voila! Instant camp meal, without heating up your rig.

Cover roof vents.

Roof vents and shower skylights can let in a lot of heat. You can buy square cushions made expressly for this purpose. They are covered with faux Sherpa and one side has Reflectix, which prevents light and heat from entering from above. For skylights, you may want to make a temporary cover out of a bath towel and hook-and-loop faster strips.

Bring a portable fan.

It’s a fact: Moving air is cooler than static air. So the trick to avoiding stultifying air is to keep it in motion. There are a number of great portable fans available in many sizes. Your trailer’s 120v outlets will only provide power if you’re using a generator, so you may decide to opt for 12v fans that power with portable power packs, or even self-contained, battery-operated fans. One way to best use them is to position them to create cross-flow between windows, and to suck heated air outside.

Use roof vent fans.

If your trailer has roof vent fans, use them to pull the cool air inside at night so there’s as much of it there as possible to cushion you against heat in the morning.

Try a swamp cooler.

In drier climates like ours, an evaporative (or swamp) cooler can work really well to cool off your trailer. There are plenty of how-to videos on YouTube to make your own, or you can buy them on Amazon, eBay and other online sellers. They essentially use the heat transference powers of melting ice to create coolness.

Use old-fashioned methods.

Back before air conditioning was a thing, people routinely used wet rags, towels or bandannas on their skin to create evaporative cooling. Another favorite method is to keep a spray bottle full of water nearby and spritz yourself as needed. It’s like sweat without the salt.

Camping at Altitude

Though the Bridgeport area is—by local standards—relatively low in altitude at about 6,500 feet, some people may still experience some effects of high altitude living around here. Whether hiking, biking, climbing, fishing, or any number of other outdoor activities are on your agenda, we offer the following information to help you prevent or counteract anything that might detract from the enjoyment of the time you spend in our beautiful backyard during your vacation.

High altitude is generally considered those elevations between about 4900 and 11,500 feet. Anything above that is considered very or extremely high, so it’s not relevant to our purposes here.

Healthy Folks

If you’re a fairly healthy person under normal circumstances, at high elevations such as ours, the biggest changes you will notice will concern your breathing. You may experience any or none of the following conditions:

  • Breathing becomes more rapid and heavy.
  • You may occasionally feel short of breath.
  • Your nighttime breathing may change, especially if you already have any obstructive breathing issues such as sleep apnea, or use a CPAP machine.
  • You will likely feel the need to urinate more frequently.

Semi-Compromised Folks

If you’re not in the best of shape, you may experience what’s “altitude stress.” Symptoms of this condition include

  • irritability
  • headache
  • nausea
  • restless sleep

Not-So-Healthy Folks

If your physical condition is moderately impaired, you may find yourself dealing with “Acute Mountain Sickness.” In addition to the previously mentioned symptoms, AMS can also cause you to deal with 

  • dizziness
  • fatigue
  • mental confusion 
  • impaired motor skills
  • Worst-case, if you feel these lower-level symptoms and fail to get to lower altitudes, you could even experience high altitude pulmonary and cerebral edema, which can be fatal.

Preventive Measures

Now obviously, that latter scenario is not only against the odds, but is completely unnecessary. All you really need to do is stay aware of your surroundings and pay attention to how you feel physically, and respond using common sense. Here are some tips to follow to stay safe and enjoy higher-altitude camping at its best:

  • Before a longer stay at high altitudes, try to spend a few shorter-duration periods of 1-3 days at altitude.
  • Begin climbing below the altitude you wish to ultimately go, and don’t ascend more tan 1,000 feet per day. This will allow your body to acclimate slowly.
  • If you feel any uncomfortable symptoms coming on, just go back down. It’s the only cure for altitude-caused discomfort.

We love our mountains here in the High Sierra, but we also know to respect them. If you’re unfamiliar with the way weather conditions can change rapidly at altitude, you need to learn what to expect. During the day, bright, sunny conditions may make you feel that the surrounding air is warmer than it actually is. But as soon as the sun begins to set, we guarantee you’ll begin to feel the difference. Mountain temperatures can drop rapidly, and you can experience high wind events in the peaks at any time, day or night…and often without warning.

Weather Considerations

Be prepared for whatever you might encounter by following these tips:

  • In warm weather or the “shoulder seasons, avoid areas that could attract lightning strikes, such as exposed ground and ridges.
  • Layer your clothing so you can put on and strip off to keep yourself comfortable and adequately protected from the elements. 
  • Avoid exposed mountain passes, which can easily create wind tunnel effects.
  • Choose a sleeping bag adequate to temperatures you expect to encounter.
  • Make sure to bring an expedition or mountaineering style tent when camping at high altitudes.
  • Make yourself easy to find in an emergency by using established campsites.
  • If you expect to encounter ice, wear boots with shanks or crampons to help you dig in.
  • You’ll be closer to the sun, so wear UV-rated protective sunglasses and use a high SPF sunscreen

Staying Fueled Up

Cooking, eating and drinking is affected by altitude. Here are some ways to avoid any issues there:

  • Because you’ll be urinating more often, make sure to bring enough water to keep you hydrated. Avoid alcohol or caffeine, which actually have diuretic effect.
  • This is one time that carbs are your friends. You’ll need them to stay fueled up during your time at altitude.
  • If you go above treeline, you’ll find wood scarce, so you’ll have to pack in your own. We recommend liquid or multi-fuel stoves instead of butane, which won’t find enough oxygen at that height to create a good flame.
  • The decreased air pressure will have the effect of requiring more time for water to boil, so be patient.

Follow these tips, and your time in the High Sierra can be as rewarding and memorable as you hope!