February 2017 ~ Coastal Adventures
Day 2114 ~ ExcavatingFebruary 1st, 2017
Sleep in the morning came in spurts. Peter and Nana were in and out. With every door or cupboard closing, I awoke but then dozed off again. Several hours came and went on the clock face, 7...8...9. Finally, at 10:30, despite feeling as I had been run over by a truck, I arose. Today we excavate.
Peter headed inside to work his day job, the girls and I ate breakfast and then went into attack mode. Having no recollection of what had been taken to Alaska in June, other than around 600 pounds, I really wasn't sure what to expect. Of course, I was just hopeful that we will have more room in the end. While I tackled the bathroom and bedroom, Nana hauled out the storage bins from below and Nika went through the girls' bed and cupboards. Turns out we ended up being able to stash plenty of extra goods and, after four straight hours, we now have room to sit and sleep. Imagine that?!
Day 2115 ~ ErrandsFebruary 2nd, 2017
After our friends kindly invited us to camp in their driveway longer, we opted to delay our plans at the RV park until Sunday, since we already pre-paid one night. Nevertheless, we did need to move in order to take care of a few errands like refilling our propane (heat/cooking/hot water), restocking our fridge, securing internet for those areas without T-Mobile coverage and picking up our rental car. Peter is still sick with the flu so, thankfully, these were all accomplished within a mile from the house, even the rental because Enterprise picks you up.
Rental secured, the girls and Peter headed back to the house and I drove to Medina to visit my best friend for a couple days. We've known each other since we were Auburn (WA) apartment neighbors back in 1974.
Day 2116 ~ Hanging OutFebruary 3rd, 2017
Shannon and I rose late, puttered around and caught up on life since our last visit in June. After several days of sun, Seattle weather returned cold and rainy. Wanting to get out a bit, we drove to Snoqualamie Falls for lunch. On the way up, the rain turned to snow and we passed a long line of truckers stopping to chain up. After lunch, we continued up to the Snoqualamie ski resort. By now it was cold and dark so she gave me a tour of their vacation house before heading back down the hill.
Meanwhile, back at the RV, Peter was still down with the flu and the girls and Pippin hung out in the RV.
Day 2117 ~ Rain, Rain, Go AwayFebruary 4th, 2017
Another rainy day, good for sleeping in and nursing the flu. In the evening, I picked up the girls, Shannon brought her kids and we headed over to her parents' house for dinner.
Day 2118 ~ Rain, then Snow!February 5th, 2017
After church, we took our rental car and hit Costco, Trader Joe's and Safeway to restock. Judging by the crowds, the whole city must have been out shopping for their Super Bowl parties; long lines in and out of the stores. It's been raining now for a couple days. By afternoon, it gradually turned slushy, then full-on white. If it continues all night, which is the current prediction, driving in this city tomorrow is going to be a disaster.
By late afternoon, it was time to roll on our summer tires before the snow started to stick. We moved to an RV park on the other side of Lake Sammamish as we pre-paid one night and it's time to dump and fill anyway.
- Trailer Inns of Bellevue, 15531 SE 37th Street, Bellevue, WA 98006, USA
- 4:15pm - 4:33pm, 11 miles (40,193.0 - 40,204.0)
Day 2119 ~ Crazy SnowfallFebruary 6th, 2017
Woke up entombed in about 5-6 inches of heavy, wet snow. Late last night, the neighbor's RV awning collapsed under the extra weight, setting off his car alarm when it hit. Taking Pippin for his morning outing was sure a sloppy affair (no ready snow plows in this neck of the woods); was just as well that I went sockless in crocs, but my feet did get a bit cold.
Check out was at 11am, so we returned the rental car early and made southward progress rather than waiting for snowy rush hour this evening. Turned out we saw very little traffic, the freeways were well clear of snow and, despite the abundance of water everywhere made it to Sumner incident-free and in good time. My sister works until 7pm tonight so we hung out in the library parking lot so the girls could finish their lessons and Peter could catch up on work projects. The library is closed today, but the hardware store wifi reaches us and the large open area next to it made for a great dog run for our cooped up mutt. The sun even popped out a couple times, reminding us that there is light at the end of this wet tunnel.
- Pierce County Library, 1116 Fryar Ave, Sumner, WA 98390, USA
- Sister's house, Sumner WA 98390, USA
- 12:35pm - 5:15pm, 37.3 miles (40,204.0 - 40,241.3)
Day 2120 ~ Hair DayFebruary 7th, 2017
Temperatures dropped below freezing, making for a chilly night. My sister is a hair dresser and built a salon in her garage, so our visits always include a hair reset. In between lessons and her clients we all were sufficiently coiffed. Denice then made dinner for us and Nana tried a fruit pizza with an almond flour base. Both were fabulous and my oldest nephew, Kristian, was also able to join us.
Day 2121 ~ Family ReunionFebruary 8th, 2017
In anticipation of heading south tomorrow, the girls tackled a couple days' worth of school, taking advantage of a stable table and fast internet.
For dinner, Peter and Nana whipped up some fish and leftover pork tacos and made a fruit pizza for dessert. My nephews joined us along with my cousin, Chad, and his girlfriend who just moved back up from L.A. I haven't seen Chad for at least a decade, so it was good to catch up.
Day 2122 ~ On the Road AgainFebruary 9th, 2017
Another day of solid rain so most of the snow is gone and the temperature is back up in the 40s. We've visited with family and friends, gotten our hairs cut so it's time to move on in search of warmer, drier weather. We opted for I-5 and, 20 minutes into the drive, the sun popped out...for a little bit. Add lots of traffic and semi trucks to the wetness makes for a not-so-enjoyable ride. One benefit, however, of freeway driving are the nice rest areas. Moments after the open tuna can fell out of the fridge, an exit to one popped into view, which worked out great since Pippin is too scared to move from the front seat to 'do his duty' and clean up our messes.
Further up the road, we found another nice one at Gee Creek near Ridgefield where we stopped for lunch, a dog walk and a few photos. Our bonus find was the free dump and fill on the way out. Nice. Being later than we had hoped, we did get caught in Portland rush-hour. No matter, we're not on deadline and eventually ended up at Cabela's just south of the city.
Peter and Nana went for a bike ride in between rain showers. Tomorrow, we'll head for the coastal highway and hopefully, a little more relaxed driving.
- Cabela's, 7555 SW Nyberg Street, Tualatin, OR 97062, USA
- Fred Meyer, Tualatin, OR 97062, USA
- 10:30am - 4:59pm, 165.9 miles (40,241.3 - 40,407.2)
Day 2123 ~ Sunny AgainFebruary 10th, 2017
About 1:30am, we were awoken to a rap on our door. Turns out, this Cabela's doesn't allow overnight parking. The security guard did sympathize and tell us that he wished the store would end the confusion and put up signs to that effect. However, they haven't and we still weren't welcome. He did offer that Fred Meyer, across the street, wouldn't have an issue with us so Peter roused to put the bikes back on the rack, found a spot on the edge of the parking lot and hoped for the best when our heads hit the pillows once again. The rest of the night was peaceful. No door bangers, just background freeway noise.
After a quick stop in Fred Meyer, we were on our way. Just south of Portland, we turned off the busy freeway toward the coast onto winding, two-lane byways through tree-lined forests, a much better route. Waves of rain came and went as we drove on. Along the way, we pulled into a day-use park at the Yaquina Bay State Park and enjoyed a walk down to the beach and around the old lighthouse.
Further down the road, in search of a state park that allowed overnight camping, we came across an ocean-side Forest Service sign and pulled in for a look-see. Winding around a lovely wooded one-lane road, we had our pick of spots. Our NPS Access Pass is still active which provides discounted rates, so we chose one with electricity for only $20.
We spent the waning hours of sunlight exploring by foot and bike, the path down to the beach is just across the road from us. The air was brisk, but the sunset through the clouds was beautiful so I got some more practice in with my camera. Pippin's had at least four walks today so he's happy as a clam.
- Yaquina Bay State Park, Hwy 101 N, Newport, OR 97365, USA
- Tillicum Campground, 8199 Hwy 101 N, Yachats, OR 97498, USA
- 10:00am - 3:50pm, 145.2 miles (40,407.2 - 40,552.4)
Day 2124 ~ Lovely Coastal RunFebruary 11th, 2017
After a couple walks and bike rides, we headed out again. We decided to press on and try a different park rather than stay at this one another night, great as it was. The day broke sunny, a nice change from all the wetness of late. We wound around cliffs and through forests, some close to the sea, others well inland. Several towns came and went, most fairly quiet outside of tourist season. The Ocean Spray headquarters surrounded by cranberry fields came into view and lots of logs and piles of wood chips. A long stretch of sand dunes. The Oregon coast is quite beautiful.
We lunched in the Fred Meyer parking lot, the only one we've seen next to a huge dune. We finally arrived at our intended camp site by late afternoon, another campground in the middle of a forest by the sea. No ocean views through the thick trees, but each site is fairly private.
Tomorrow we'll explore the trail to the sea which, by the way, is stated to be black sand beach. Hmmm, Cape Blanco with black sand...
- Cape Blanco State Park, 91814 Cape Blanco Rd, Port Orford, OR 97465, USA
- 11:05am - 4:10pm, 277.3 miles (40,407.2 - 40,684.5)
Day 2125 ~ Ocean ViewsFebruary 12th, 2017
After our 277 mile day yesterday, we opted for a more meandering run today. Having passed through several central RV-friendly towns, where gas was $2.20-$2.40, we didn't think much of it. However, when the needle was close to empty and we actually needed to find a gas station in next town, we obviously had exited the tourist belt. Towns in the south are fewer, farther and smaller separated by large state or US Forest Service lands. Great for sight-seeing, but not so great for the pocketbook. Port Orford ended up being that 'next town', which also turned out to be a one-pump burg with a monopoly on its $2.75/gal. price. Ouch, lesson learned. With $20 worth, we optimistically moved to the next town of Gold Beach, but only managed to save 17 cents in the process.
We lunched ocean-side at a large turnout where Nana tried her hand (successfully, I might add) at Thai fresh rolls. Rice paper filled with lettuce, carrots, avocado, basil, rice noodles and topped with a sweet chili sauce, was just the ticket. Easy too.
Harris Beach was our final destination for the day, just a short drive on. Based on visitors, amount of already reserved sites and higher camping prices, it's obviously one of the popular tourist stops. We took advantage of the area's trails, beach walk and expasive ocean views.
- Harris Beach State Park, 1655 Hwy 101 N, Brookings, OR 97415, USA
- 11:05am - 4:10pm, 67.5 miles (40,684.5 - 40,752.0)
Day 2126 ~ Hanging in the LibraryFebruary 13th, 2017
Since going the coastal route, we've had scant to no cellular coverage. Our local Alaska company uses T-Mobile's network in the Lower 48. However, in our experience driving from Florida, through Maine and all the way west, T-Mobile's towers exist only in the large cities. Get a little rural and you're on your own. For work, Peter supplements with a Verizon Jet Pack, but even that still necessitates a search for real internet now and again so libraries have become our next best friend.
Actually, we've always loved our library back home, the employees being a large part of this, of course. Always friendly and welcoming, we visited often, always left with a pile of books, and sorely missed it while living on the boat. Back in the US, libraries have become a vital part of working and schooling remotely. Each one is unique in design, but most have tables on which to work or study, comfortable chairs, a quiet setting and fast internet. After three days of 0-2 bars of cellular coverage and zero data, it's time to find one.
Post library workout, we headed to a camping potential I found with a 5-star review from only last month. It was also only 26 miles away after a long day at the library. Entering directions for Point St. George, we drove through Crescent City and headed toward the water. Soon, there was nothing but grassy knobs all around, but we pressed on. The road finally dead-ended in a large paved parking lot with the expanse of the sea before us. Pretty awesome, and free to boot. We even can get a couple bars of internet. Boondocking doesn't get much better than this.
- Chetco Community Public Library, 405 Alder Street, Brookings, OR 97415, USA
- Parking Area, Point St. George, Crescent City, CA 95531, USA
- 10:40am - 5:15pm, 33.5 miles (40,752.0 - 40,785.5)
Day 2127 ~ Humongous TreesFebruary 14th, 2017
We spent a peaceful night lulled only by frogs, crickets and waves, something we couldn't say about last night's state park. We all awoke just before sunrise so Peter and I dashed out with our cameras to take advantage of the early morning light. The area is picturesque and feels remote; we wish we could stay a few days. However, we need to press on. The barking of sea lions called in the distance, but access appeared to be across private land so we drove back through town and turned south.
Not too far down the road we entered the Redwood Forest. However, it wasn't long and we were back to the ocean and I really wanted to see more of the giants. Skeptical of a road called Bald Hills, we turned off and were rewarded with a Forest Service trail head parking lot. Since we also had a bit of cell and data coverage, we stayed for lunch and a hike until after Peter's teleconference call. I remember driving through the infamous tree as a child, but that was a long time ago. The sheer size of these monsters is just incredible in person, something that's difficult to capture in a photograph or the memory banks.
We tore ourselves away and wound down the steep hill and back to 101. This end of California is quite remote. The likelyhood of finding a town sizeable enough to support a Walmart (for camping) is low; many of the towns just have a few hundred residents. Turns out, even finding a campground (that we'd want to stay in) open this time of year proved difficult once we started looking. We passed several RV parks, but they were either filled with mobile homes or RVs that have seen better days...long, long ago. Then, it came down to oversize pull-outs, but those were so close to the highway. Eventually, after a couple of rabbit trails with sketchy dead-ends, we found the exit for the old 101 highway and finally landed on a small grassy turnout next to the Eel River after dark. Works for us!
- Lady Bird Johnson Grove, Redwood National and State Parks, Bald Hills Road, Orick, CA 95555, USA
- South Fork Eel River roadside turnout, Benbow Drive, Garberville, CA 95542, USA
- 9:35am - 6:30pm, 174.4 miles (40,785.5 - 40,959.9)
Day 2128 ~ Rural CaliforniaFebruary 15th, 2017
Last night's pull-out worked well. Just a handful of vehicles passed by us during the night and virtually no highway noise from above. The day use park 100 yards northeast of us made for a great place to walk Pippin before heading south again. In daylight, it was obvious that it was no longer active with grass and weeds taking over the pavement and gravel piles off to one side; with this knowledge, we probably could have even gotten away with camping last night. Nevertheless, the remnants of road down to the river was still pedestrian friendly, but evidence of recent flooding definitely showed along its banks.
The scenery in this section differed around every bend it seemed. We went from open sage brush rolling hills to following the winding Eel River to 2-lane no shoulder roads through dark redwood forests. Scattered amid the landscape were unique and varied residences. One we passed used black plastic as a barrier screen to the road with the words 'no trespassing' and 'dogs bite' spray-painted in large letters. By the looks of the junk and broken pieces spilling out into the yard, I'm not sure anyone would even want to venture near. Another view was of several trailers that came long ago and ended up perhaps squatting indefinitely. The moss-encrusted siding and tarps gave them away. Most of the towns are quite small and have an isolated feel even though situated on a historic and popular tourist route. Perhaps the paint was fresh in some past era, but now they just look tired and worn out; lived in, yet forgotten. Definitely gives off the flavor of certain rural areas back home, just without the Tyvek wraps.
With the sun soon to set, it was time to look for somewhere to park for the night. We tried a couple of proper campgrounds, but found them empty either for the season or due to recent flooding. An unnamed green patch appeared on my maps.me app, which generally indicates some sort of state or Federal forest. In this case, however, the side road wound through hills where only roadside gates indicated someone lived there. A short distance in, we found a large grassy pullout at the base of a steep hill with a pile of branches and stumps. Bingo. Even cell and some data service to boot. Nana and Peter sat around a campfire for a bit, then we called and caught up with my folks before turning in for the night.
- Mendocino County Library, 390 E Commercial St, Willits, CA 95490, USA
- Roadside, Old Lake County Road, Ukiah, CA 95482, USA
- 8:35am - 5:55pm, 95.7 miles (40,959.9 - 41,055.6)
Day 2129 ~ Orchards and VineyardsFebruary 16th, 2017
Another quiet boondocking site. A couple cars passed us in the night and another three this morning. Headed out soon after a quick breakfast to make sure we make it to our friends' house today. Stopped in at the Yuba City library for work and school, then moved on in time to arrive by the time the girls got out of school.
This is fruit and wine territory. Breaking out of the foothills, the land flattened and filled with rows upon rows of neatly planted trees. Most were just starting to blossom and the bee boxes grouped at regular intervals made for a messy windshield. We passed the Sunsweet plantation and a 'mandarins for sale' sign at a boarded up fruitstand, but other than that, the bare branches gave no indication as to what they produced. Too bad there aren't signs for us clueless tourists.
Just past Yuba City, we started climbing and winding again and eventually arrived at our picturesque destination among the trees, bordered by a creek and horse barn. The girls arrived from school shortly afterward and we went them
- Sutter County Free Library, 750 Forbes Avenue, Yuba City, CA 95991, USA, USA
- Friends, Meadow Vista, CA 95722, USA
- 8:15am - 3:30pm, 165.6 miles (41,055.6 - 41,221.2)
Day 2130 ~ Catch UpFebruary 17th, 2017
More rain came and stayed all day long. California's been in a drought for the last five years and it seems the recent rains are making up for lost time.
Otherwise, we kept dry inside and spent the day catching up from where we left our friends last May.
Day 2131 ~ BasketballFebruary 18th, 2017
The girls play basketball on two different teams, 4th and 6th grade, in a local rec league so we went to watch and cheer. Nana stayed behind to bake a birthday cake. Hayden and Nika share a birthday on the 14th of next month so, since we were together now, decided to celebrate a month early.
The teams played well and the rain cleared up enough so the girls could go exploring in the woods. They set up a fort in the barn and made bread, brought soup to heat up over a campfire and were gone for the rest of the day. Just like old times on the boat.
Day 2132 ~ Rain, Rain and More RainFebruary 19th, 2017
We had hoped in vain that the day would clear up. However, 'twas not to be. The rain soaked the already saturated ground and the short walk from driveway to house turned into a swampy mess. Despite the weather, the house was warm and dry so we got some good visiting in and the girls kept busy in the back room making a music video.
Day 2133 ~ Sleeping in a CemeteryFebruary 20th, 2017
Well, all good things must come to an end so we must press on. The rain is predicted to continue for several more days, but it's also a holiday today so Peter's work demands will be less. Due of our poor cell service while enroute, holidays also make work and travel easier to manage. We said our goodbyes and hit the road again, turning back toward the coast to visit my paternal aunt who lives in San Francisco and is director of their two National Cemeteries.
The drive wasn't bad considering all the rain coming down, but I'm not sure how much more water this area can take. Just west of where I-80 crosses the Sacramento River is a three-mile wide swath of what is normally farmland, now flowing high and fast. Incredible, but they've obviously planned for the eventuality...to some degree. After five drought years, it's got to be tough.
We seem to be blessed with perfect timing. We managed to hit Portland (OR) about 4:30pm on a weekday so no surprise that by the time we reached the outskirts of the Bay Area, whaddaya know? It's 4:30pm again! Perhaps due to Presidents' Day or the rain, or whatever, we did keep moving despite the many brake lights filling up the 5 and 6-lane freeways. The SF-Oakland Bay bridge crawled a little, but once in the heart of downtown San Francisco, we shared the road with very few cars. Good thing, as the lanes are narrow and begin or end at a moment's notice.
Our real issues began when the map wanted us to go over the hill. Normally, inclines are just slow with our 13,400 lb. load (thanks to a recent Oregon roadside scale), but these steep streets off flat intersections do not accommodate 8-foot overhangs behind back wheels. As a result, we scraped slightly on one not-so-steep intersection, but when the next one arrived, we had to veer off in the closest direction. The other issue was the section of city near the water which is built on fill. This translates to random sections of the road sporting 3-ton limit signs; we're not even close. Needless to say, our route quickly turned scenic, even occasionally repetitive, as we attempted to reach the intended entrance to the Presidio.
Just before becoming sign violators by playing the ignorant tourists, we tried one more route and finally arrived at the proper gate near her house. The Golden Gate bridge peeked out of the clouds just beyond. She directed us into a spot between her house on-site and the gravestone finder resembling an ATM machine. Makes for a good story, at any rate, and I don't think we'll have any trouble from the neighbors.
- Family, San Francisco, CA 95722, USA
- 12:55pm - 6:00pm, 137.3 miles (41,221.2 - 41,358.5)
Day 2134 ~ San FranciscoFebruary 21st, 2017
It rained off and on all morning while everyone worked or did lessons, but by late afternoon the sky had cleared a bit. Kathy returned from work a few hours early so we all headed downtown to Fisherman's Wharf to explore.
Day 2135 ~ Towers, Town and ThaiFebruary 22nd, 2017
The rain stopped and sun returned. It's so nice to be dry again. Kathy and I headed down to the waterfront in the morning to get out and to give Pippin a good walk. He's been cooped up far too long and needs some exercise. Parking at Crissy Field, we then walked to the base of the Golden Gate and back, about 1.8 miles.
Turns out one of our good friends from cruising days is here today on business so he arranged for Peter to join him for a few hours. To kill time while we waited, Kathy took us up to Coit Tower for a panoramic view of the city, followed by a driving tour. We met up again in a few hours, had a quick catch-up before he headed off to a business dinner. Hungry, but not wanting to cook, we found a great Thai restaurant on the way home.
Day 2136 ~ Modern ArtFebruary 23rd, 2017
The morning was spent as usual, work and school. Kathy ran some errands and then drove us downtown again where we visited the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, or MOMA as it's known locally. A huge building, it took us more than two hours to tour all seven floors. Much of what was within I found strange and not very inspiring, like the lone lightbulb sitting on a small table, the urinal or pile of dirt, but there were several cool pieces that caught my eye. I found it more interesting to create a little art with my photography. Some worked, some didn't but that's okay too, just like the pieces within.
Day 2137 ~ Bike RideFebruary 24th, 2017
Kathy worked today so, after fulfilling lessons and client needs, we set off to explore the Presidio, 12 square miles of green space on the south end of the Golden Gate bridge. Peter and Nika set off on bikes while Nana ran alongside. I took off on foot with my camera and Pippin in another direction. Below us is a large grassy area called Crissy Field. Alongside is a bike path that runs from the base of the bridge toward the city with plenty of beach access along the way.
After walking to Fort Point, I then found a path that leads to a viewpoint next to the bridge's deck. From there, one has a panoramic view from the ocean to Alcatraz inside the bay. The air had a bite to it, but sun and blue sky topped off the day.
Day 2138 ~ The Great HighwayFebruary 25th, 2017
I'm bummed because we won't get to see Yosemite. Since moving away in 1983, I have yet to return. I've been close a few times, but never close enough to just pop in. Current weather reports of snow and freezing temperatures are enough to thwart another attempt this year. One entrance was already off-limits last week when we were in Meadow Vista, but now another is closed and snow is still in the forecast. The RV just doesn't do snow, not to mention we left all our winter gear back home. Alas, perhaps another year.
On the upside, we discovered Highway 1, or The Great Highway, runs along the coast most of the way south. Up to now, 101 has taken us along most of the Oregon and northern California coast, but from San Francisco, it moves inland so not as compelling. After a few tasks completed, we said our goodbyes and aimed south. Evidently, Saturdays are meant for fleeing the city which made our forward progress slow until Pacifica and then again through Half Moon Bay State Park. We finally reached the day-tripper limits beyond Santa Cruz.
Veering off onto a side road, we had hopes of finding somewhere to boondock for the night. However, among the Dole strawberry fields and gated communities, our chances were slim. We're just not quite rural enough. We then followed signs to Sunset Beach State park, now closed to camping due to flooding. We wound around through the park looking for a spot that didn't have a 'no camping' sign and found a small lot on the outside of the gated beach road. Under threat of fines and penalties, we even paid the $10 day fee and hoped for the best. Well, we made it about a half an hour until the park ranger came through to lock the gates. He was nice, but did say that we couldn't stay overnight.
Our plans of breakfast by the beach weren't quite thwarted. As we drove away, we spotted a semi-level area about a quarter mile out and planted ourselves in what we assumed is the right-of-way. At daylight, we'll return and carry out our plan.
- Roadside, Sunset Beach Road, Watsonville, CA 95076, USA
- 11:00am - 6:30pm, 103.9 miles (41,358.5 - 41,462.4)
Day 2139 ~ Strawberry Fields ForeverFebruary 26th, 2017
Well, at least all through Santa Cruz and Watsonville. Row upon row of neatly planted greens on every hill, the Dole factory is located here. Unfortunately, there are only fresh starts, but we did find several fruit stands selling kiwis and avocados, five for a dollar.
Despite being shooed off the park property, we spent a quiet rest of the night. As the sunlight shone in, Peter drove us back into the park and down to the beach. There, we made waffles with the help of the generator and then watched the surfers bob in the water. Every now and again, they caught a wave, but seems to me like a lot of waiting for a few seconds of fun. Granted, I prefer warm water and I just can't imagine swimming in 57 degrees. Brrr.
Once we had our fill of breakfast and bobbing, we headed on down the road. Good thing Peter checked the map as Hwy 1 is closed at Big Sur due to a huge landslide a month ago. The only other route is a windy 50 minute detour, which likely would be through neighborhood roads and take us twice as long. As a result, we moved inland to 101 to Monterey where we found a great park and campground in the hills with a free dump station.
South of Monterey, we turned off onto the Carmel Valley Road and were rewarded with winding roads, rolling hills and, after cresting the pass, panoramic vistas lit up by the setting sun. Wow. After a short hop on 101, we again took off on a side road, this time to search for yet another boondock site.
- Veterans Memorial Park, Veterans Drive, Monterey, CA 93940, USA
- Roadside, Oasis Road, King City, CA 93930, USA
- 10:45am - 5:25pm, 114.8 miles (41,462.4 - 41,577.2)
Day 2140 ~ Agriculture CentralFebruary 27th, 2017
After a peaceful night in vineyard country filled with interesting sounds like hooting owls, bird calls and undomesticated yips and yaps, we all were up and on the road at 7am; our earliest start yet. Our goal was the San Luis Obispo library. However, once there, we discovered its location to be in the center of town surrrounded by metered parking already filled up and meant for vehicles much smaller than ours so we didn't even try. On the edge of town, we did manage to find an empty double space, but the slope of the pavement's edge was so steep that our step touched when it came out and standing felt like we were underway in a monohull in 25 knots of wind. No matter, we just happened to stop next to a small-town bike shop. They were able to replace yet another tire that somehow ended up bent. While I waited, Peter dashed off to a coffee shop to complete some work tasks and the girls just leaned in to their lessons before we were off again.
We took 101 and then cut over to 1 again crossing beautiful country in the Salinas Valley, surrounded by rolling hills and field after field of fruits and vegetables. According to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, "California agriculture is a $42.6 billion dollar industry that generates at least $100 billion in related economic activity." The state’s agricultural sales first exceeded $30 billion in 2004, making it more than twice the size of any other state's agriculture industry (Source: Wikipedia).
We began today with vineyards, moved through orchards and ended with lettuce, broccoli and cauliflower. It's pretty cool to see from where the food we buy in the grocery stores originates. Most surprising to us, due to California's regulations and general views on fossil fuels, we passed by the San Ardo Oil Field, the 8th largest in the state.
Getting more and more remote, we ended up in Lompoc where we intended to pay for a campground so we could get a shower. Just south of the town, a sign told us it was 14 miles followed by another that said, "No Outlet" and only green hills in between. I called again to confirm there was at least wifi there knowing there was no way we'd get cell service in the middle of nowhere. The park ranger could only confirm that the wifi worked 'at the moment', but 'could go out anytime'. Good enough for us so we went for it.
The drive was incredibly beautiful. Green treed hills, valleys, meadows and a small two-lane-ish road winding up and down through it all. On the other side, the ocean popped into view, we crossed a railroad track and at the bottom we could see the campground right on the beach. We took a sunset walk on the beach and watched an Amtrak passenger train pass overhead. No other signs of civilization existed.
- Breakfast, Camp Roberts Rest Area, Hwy 101, San Miguel, CA 93451, USA
- Jalama Beach County Campground, 9999 Jalama Road, Lompoc, CA 93436, USA
- 7:05am - 4:45pm, 158.9 miles (41,577.2 - 41,736.1)
Day 2141 ~ Southern CaliforniaFebruary 28th, 2017
This beachside campground in the middle of nowhere is awesome so it was really hard to leave. We debated staying another night as tomorrow the air force base next door has a scheduled missile launch between 6am and 10am. Everyone is required to evacuate the campground by 5:30am and, talking with some of our neighbors who have been here for prior launches, they said it was pretty cool to watch, even from Lompoc.
However, Peter flies out of Phoenix next Thursday and we don't like rushing through friends and relatives, not to mention weather could scrap the launch, so we voted to move on. Hwy 101 still skirts the ocean, but nearing sunset around the time when cities get closer, we were wondered about our chances of boondocking. We tried a large roadside pullout with no signage and another RV already well-established, but half our group got a weird vibe so we moved on. Another campground cost $45 for only showers, but No Service popped up on our cell phone. Hmmm, not looking great. Well, just before Malibu, we spotted a winding road into the Santa Monica mountains and, sure enough, at one of the switchback elbows, was a wide area near a gated road where we could tuck ourselves in the right-of-way. With the moon sliver, Venus and the ocean before us, our only hint of civilization was the glow of city lights peering over the hill's edges. Score one more.
- Roadside, Deer Creek Road, Deer Creek Canyon Park, Malibu, CA 90265, USA
- 11:50am - 6:15pm, 121.4 miles (41,736.1 - 41,857.5)