Lake Francis Resort
Photos taken April 10, 2005
Posted April 20, 2005
© 2005, Herbert E. Lindberg
|Sunday, April 10, was a beautiful
Spring day so Mary and I decided to drive into the hills north of Rt.
20 between Marysville and Penn Valley. Our route is shown by the
highlight in the map below. We had looked toward the north along Rt. 20
for twelve years as we drove to Yuba City to do our shopping, but never
adventured into the area. Today, without a care in the world or a map
at hand we just ventured north toward LaPorte, where friends own a
cabin on Little Grass Valley Lake and other friends own the Union Hotel.
|Map of Loop to Dobbins and back
to Lake Wildwood.
When we got to the point where Marysville
Road takes a right turn toward
Dobbins, we noticed that it was another 34 miles north to LaPorte, an
drive on the winding road. That was more than we wanted to undertake
late start, so instead we took the right turn to Dobbins. (The
we did make it to a nice visit at LaPorte.)
But I'm getting ahead
of my story. We'd also passed the beautiful
farm scene south of Rt. 20 at the
Hampton-Smartsville cutoff, the one we'd passed for the same twelve
years, and finally, today, we
were just on a leisurely tour with my camera at my side so I stopped to
beautiful picture that had been ingrained in my mind for all those
forget to scroll back and forth to see the entire panorama in the
|Wide angle view of the valley
scene south of Rt. 20 near the Hampton-Smartsville cutoff.
Closer view of the farmhouse at the center
of the above scene.
Okay, now back to the road to Dobbins. On
the way to Dobbins we saw a sign to the Renaissance
Winery, so we took the three-mile right detour to take a look. It
interesting, but, as we already knew, the winery is open only to
visitors so we said hello at the gate and headed back to Marysville
Dobbins. We turned right onto a road with a sign pointing to Dobbins
ourselves in town, which consisted of scattered homes set back on both
the road, a church, and a one-room post office building. Past the
sign pointed toward the Lake Francis Resort and a restaurant. We took
and came to a pretty little man-made lake (earth dam) where we stopped
and ate our packed
lunch while sitting in the car.
There was a sign pointing toward a
restaurant on the left, but we ate in the
car because we felt that driving into the restaurant to eat our own
was not a proper thing to do. Too bad, because when we did drive to the
restaurant after eating we discovered that it was just one of many
a Disney-like square that included adjacent picnic tables overlooking
|The Square at Lake Francis
The restaurant was tucked into this corner
(with the façade balcony).
Another view of the restaurant corner,
old-time prices on the balcony sign (e.g., hair cut 25¢).
|Maitre d' table at the restaurant.
menu, reasonable prices, appetizing kitchen odors.
Had we known this was here we wouldn't have packed a lunch!
|The Square also included a general
store, a saloon with sawdust on the floor
and a piano for guests, a
meeting-dance hall, and a game room with two pool tables and electronic
Just outside the square was a foot and golf cart bridge across a creek
deluxe cabins on the other side.
Bridge, activity yurt, and guest cabins
|Lake viewed from the Square
parking lot. We ate beyond the the gate at lake's edge.
|At the general store we picked up a map
of the hundred or so camping sites
(to the right of the lake in this view) and drove over to take a look
Some of the sites were densely packed near the campsite gate and didn't
desirable, but many were larger and tree shaded, and some had full
|Desirable camp sites at the
top of a hill not far from the lake.
The lake is along side the camping area
and has a sandy beach with
and pedal-boat rentals. It's not as high class as the Lindberg
Resort but definitely worth looking into if camping with a
is your cup of tea. Also near the Square is a swimming pool, volley
baseball diamond, and a basketball court. Definitely a great place for
active kids. In fact, the resort is dedicated to giving foster children
camping experience, and all profits are used to send these children to
can learn more at their Web site, Lake Francis Resort.
than retracing our steps to Lake Wildwood via Rt. 20, we continued on
Road over the dam bridge at Bullards Bar Reservoir and on to Rt. 49. We
right onto 49 (south -- see the map at the top of this page) and took
Pleasant Valley road where we again turned right and continued down to
Yuba River at Bridgeport and then up out of the river basin and back to
Wildwood. The total Loop was about 70 miles, and 80 miles with our
trips. Our Toyota Prius averaged 55.6 mpg over the 80 miles. (On our
trip to LaPorte and back the next Sunday we averaged 59.0 mpg, because
winding roads forced us to stay below 50 mph for the whole trip).
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