RV Trip Week 11: Sea Glass Beaches & The Redwoods Of California

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I am writing this from a Starbucks inside a Safeway in Oregon. We left Northern California Saturday morning. Once again I wasn’t ready to leave. It seems like that is the overall trend of this trip. I am LOVING all the areas we are exploring so much that it feels like a small part of my heart gets ripped out and left behind when we leave each area.

We spent most of this week on the northern coast of California and something unexpected started to happen. The ground we are staring to cover is starting to look and feel more and more like my childhood home (Vancouver Island). The smell of the seaside, the green moss growing every where, the stores, even the dress of the people is starting to remind me more of more of my Canadian Pacific Northwest roots.

I wasn’t expecting this to happen until we hit the state of Washington. By the time I write you next, my feet will be on the soil of my childhood island, but for now lets move on to what my family got up to during our travels this week.

 

RV Trip Week 11: Sea Glass Beaches & The Redwoods Of California

We arrived at our campsite near Caspar Beach, California right at dinner time Monday night. It was pouring rain, so as my husband was graciously unhooking and leveling the RV while we all stayed dry in the truck, I decided to search on my smartphone for a place to grab a pizza (a favorite dinner of my hubby’s).

When he got in the truck to tell us we could all go in and get a start on dinner I told him my idea and before I could give him the address he was already pulling the truck out of the campsite. We ended up at Frankie’s in Mendocino, a small town up the hill from our campsite. It was REALLY good.

Tuesday morning my husband and I headed into nearby Fort Bragg to get the truck’s brakes check. For a while both of us had been thinking they were getting a bit worn. We were right, turns out some of the brake pads were almost down to the metal. YIKES!

Thankfully we budgeted for such things when planning our trip so it wasn’t a money concern and we turned the time the truck was in the shop into some much needed couple time by taking a good long walk around the seaside in Fort Bragg.

(psst—I really like my new Birkenstocks that you can see in the picture above. They are great for exploring, they give great support, are super comfy and are easy to slip off and off for beach walks.)

RV Trip Week 11: Sea Glass Beaches & The Redwoods Of California

I was so moved by the contrast of the white foamy waves crashing against the dark grey rocks in a sea of various shades of blue. I spent most of our days exploring the Northern California coast saying, “wow!” over and over.

RV Trip Week 11: Sea Glass Beaches & The Redwoods Of California

We came to the Fort Bragg area for one particular reason. A year or so ago a Facebook friend of mine had posted a picture similar to the one above. Those little gems are sea glass and I have a fascination with it that dates back to my childhood.

Due to the unfortunate use of using the ocean as a dump many years ago, three Fort Bragg area beaches have a high concentration of sea glass and are known as the sea glass beaches.

Now, you are not supposed to collect the sea glass at these three particular beaches, instead just enjoy the beauty the high concentration of glass creates–but sadly we saw several people filling gallon-sized freezer bags with it. It made me sad.

Yes, I do collect sea glass on various beaches, but only where it is allowed. If a sign says don’t collect, I don’t. Plus these beaches are very different than the ones I have collected from. Never have I seen such high concentrations sea glass and it makes these beaches unique, soon they won’t be if people keep hauling the treasure away.

 

RV Trip Week 11: Sea Glass Beaches & The Redwoods Of California

After visiting the sea glass beaches we stopped at the Point Cabrillo Light Station. Inside we found a small museum about the area and a very informative volunteer.

The light station also has several guest homes available to rent and I might have just stuck the business card with their info on it into my purse so I could dream about a future vacation at one of them.

They were large, 100+ year-old restored homes with awesome views of the beach and they were tucked away from everything else. It would truly feel like you had the whole beach to yourself. And yet I never did snap a picture of the homes (Sorry. Trust me–they are awesome).

 

RV Trip Week 11: Sea Glass Beaches & The Redwoods Of California

We had two full days to explore the Fort Bragg area. On the second day we went north up Highway One, stopping whenever a view “wowed” us and that was pretty often.

One such place was Ten Mile Beach. At first all we could see was sand dunes, then as we reached the summit of the last sand dune this huge beach came into sight with large roaring waves as far as the eye could see.

We saw several sea lions resting on the shore, plus a huge collection of sand dollars.

RV Trip Week 11: Sea Glass Beaches & The Redwoods Of California

Further down Highway One we saw several rock arches like the one above.

RV Trip Week 11: Sea Glass Beaches & The Redwoods Of California

And just when we thought the area couldn’t get any more beautiful we were treated to wooded arch over the highway.

 

RV Trip Week 11: Sea Glass Beaches & The Redwoods Of California

On our return trip to our RV for dinner we stopped at one more beach in the town of Westport. There we found tiny black pebbles instead of sand.

They stuck to my feet, but they were also very warm! I stopped, laid down and had a nap in them while the family explored the area. When I got up, every inch of me that wasn’t covered in clothing had tiny black pebbles clinging to it.

I did my best to brush them all off but there are still a few showing up now and then in our travel trailer.

RV Trip Week 11: Sea Glass Beaches & The Redwoods Of California

Thursday morning we left the beach and headed towards Redwoods National Forest. We arrived to our campsite just outside of Crescent City once again in the pouring rain and it continued to rain all night and all morning.

Thankfully it stopped around lunch time, allowing us to get out and explore the Redwood Forest without getting rained on.

I couldn’t get over how little my people looked in the forest made up of giant Redwood trees.

RV Trip Week 11: Sea Glass Beaches & The Redwoods Of California

See what I mean? We could have made a home out of some of the openings in the bottom of the giants!

As I write it is now Saturday and as I said we are now in Oregon, but not for long. We plan to hit Washington by Monday. So far I am loving the ocean views available on Highway 101 in Oregon. We are staying in two state parks during our drive through the state, but truly don’t have the time we wished to explore the state. Five and a half months sounds like forever, but with so much area to cover and so much to see, we had to cut a few things out.

My husband and I have already mentioned a few times lately that perhaps one day we could come back just the two of us and drive through Oregon at a more leisurely pace. This trip truly does have use dreaming of more travels, but first we need to enjoy the rest of the one we are on.

Come back next Monday to see what we got up to this week.

Join me on Instagram for daily updates. I am doing my best to post one photo update a day on Facebook too.

First time hearing about our trip? You can catch up on our all our trip updates on the RV trip page.

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RV Trip Week 10: Joshua Tree, San Fransisco, Yosemite and Sequoia

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Due to the technical problems that made it impossible to write this post until today, we are now currently part way through week 11 of our 22 week trip. Which means we are officially past the halfway mark of our travels.

How on earth did that happen?! At first the trip often felt like it was crawling by, but then we got into a good routine, traveling began to feel normal, and longings for home disappeared–since then the trip feels like it is flying.

Now, I still miss my friends and my bathroom dearly–but daily exploration and frequent moving feels normal. The RV now has that “so good to be home” feel at the end of the day.

Of course some of it all depends on the area we area in, the weather and a certain “cycle” that effects my mood…but lets not get too TMI. On to this week’s photos.

RV Trip Week 10: Joshua Tree, San Fransisco, Yosemite and Sequoia.

We started out week 10 of the trip exploring Joshua Tree National Park. My husband’s aunt and uncle, who were also visiting my husband’s parents in Dessert Springs, joined us.

Joshua trees are so unique and we even got to see some with blossoms, which apparently doesn’t happen often. One short hike during our day treated us to an amazing view of the Palm Springs area.

RV trip: Day trip to San Fransisco, "Full House" house.

We spent most of Tuesday traveling, arriving around dinner time to a privately owned RV park in Chowchilla, California. It was my favorite privately owned RV park by far that we’ve been to. Super clean, a great area, plus cement pads that made parking the RV so simple.

However, except for Sunday we didn’t spend much time there. In fact one night we didn’t stay there at all.

We got up early Wednesday and took a two and a half hour drive into San Fransisco. Right away I started noticing the amazing architecture of the area. I LOVE historic homes and they are all around the city of San Fransisco.

And yes, that is the “Full House” house in the picture above.

RV trip: Day trip to San Fransisco.

After exploring the Golden Gate Park and the Fisherman’s Wharf we headed outside of the city via the Golden Gate Bridge.

We stopped at one end to walk half way across it and back and then headed up a nearby lookout to view its entirety.

RV trip: Exploring coastal California.

We then left the city via highway one and started enjoying amazing ocean views. When the sun started to set we pulled over and sat as a family watching as the sun slowly disappeared into the ocean.

At almost 8:00 p.m. we pulled into the town of Santa Cruz and checked into the most rundown hotel I have ever stayed at in my 43 years of life–but the price was right and truthfully we were not in it long.

Road trip: Playing in the waves of the Pacific Ocean.

We got up by 8:00 the next morning to explore more of the seaside. We spent most of the day driving south down highway one stopping whenever we saw a beach that was calling our name.

Sometimes we spent time playing in the waves…

Road trip: Taking a nap beach side in California.

and sometimes we allowed the sound of the waves to send us into afternoon slumber.

At the end of the day I truly didn’t want to leave the area. My senses were overflowing from all the beauty I had seen that day.

RV Trip Week 10: Joshua Tree, San Fransisco, Yosemite and Sequoia

But the next day was filled with more beauty. Friday we got up early once again and headed out to Yosemite National park. As we entered the park we heard the amazing roar of the Merced river. After pulling over to enjoy the sight of the fast flowing river we headed to the first of the four waterfalls in the park.

RV Trip: Amazing views at Tunnel View.

The views were amazing. If you go make sure you go up to the Tunnel Lookout. There you can see the view in this picture above.

RV trip: Sequoia National Park.

Saturday we explored one more national park before heading out of the area–Sequoia National Park.

The winding road up the mountaintop was full of amazing views, but small trees. I was left wondering where exactly the BIG trees were–until we turned one particular corner just past the summit. As we turned that corner suddenly they appeared: giant sequoia trees.

We quickly found a place to pull over and all got out to get close to the giants. We spent the next several hours exploring them all.

RV Trip: The green hills of California.

One last thing that I enjoyed the entire week was the green hills in the area. Each and every day we were drove through them on the way to wherever we were exploring. Roaming them were cows of red and black.

I have heard that normally they aren’t this green, but California has had an unusual amount of rain over the winter. If that is true, it is too bad because their green coverings add so much beauty to the state.

Come back next Monday to see what we got up to this week.

Join me on Instagram for daily updates. I am doing my best to post one photo update a day on Facebook too.

First time hearing about our trip? You can catch up on our all our trip updates on the RV trip page.

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RV Trip: Week 9: Red Rock Canyon, Death Valley, Palm Springs & Laguna Beach

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So many beautiful sites this week. I was thinking this week, “could I pick a favorite spot so far?” and  the answer is NO. My answer inspired me to write this status update on my personal Facebook page.

“Getting ready to hitch up our home and move it to the next place.

Every time we do this part of me wants to stay where we are just a little bit longer to soak up the beauty.

But then we get to the next spot and it is just as uniquely beautiful as the last.

Unique being the key word! Beauty is unique, you can’t compare one to another whether it be a geographical spot or a person.

We are all unique; we were not made to be compared to another, we were made to be valued for our uniqueness.

What makes us unique are our gifts. Let them shine for the one who created you.”

You are beautiful just the way you are.

Now on to what we got up to this week.

RV Trip: Week 9: Red Rock Canyon, Death Valley, Palm Springs & Laguna Beach

Monday we got up, packed lunches and hit the road for Red Rock Canyon. At our first stop we got out to explore a bit and climb a few rocks before heading to the trail we had picked out as our hike for the day.

It was a chilly day in the low 50s, but considering it was just above 30 when we were at the Grand Canyon last week it felt pretty warm to us.

RV Trip: 22 weeks of camping across North America.

There were several hikes in the park to choose from and in the end we picked Calico Tanks Trails. I think this was our first “moderate” hiking trail of our trip. Up until now we have stuck to doing “easy” trails only.

We picked it because it promised great aerial views of Las Vegas and it lived up to that promise. However, the whole family commented on the difference in difficulty there is between an easy trail and a moderate one.

It was a good workout getting up to the top, but the views made it worth it.

RV Trip: A stop at Trader Joe's to fill up on favorites.

We were finished seeing the highlights of Red Rock Canyon National Park by mid-afternoon so we hit a few stores on the way back to our RV park.

One stop was Trader Joe’s. I felt so blessed to find one just off the highway since this Sunday was my birthday and Trader Joe’s sells some specialty foods that I treat myself to just twice a year: once at Christmas and once at my birthday.

I stocked up on dark chocolate covered ginger and various other ginger flavored products that I will spare you from hearing about as I know that ginger lovers are few and far between. But if you are a fellow ginger lover drop everything and head to Trader Joe’s. You can thank me later for the ginger heaven you discover there.

 RV Trip | Camping across America | Mesquite Flats.

Tuesday we pulled out of the Las Vegas area and headed for Death Valley. I once read a book by an ultra marathoner who talked about the Death Valley area; he made it sound so dry and barren I didn’t think I would find beauty in the area.

BOY WAS I WRONG! Creation once again shouted loud and clear that even those things that look dry and barren can be fruitful and beautiful.

Just over a mile outside our campground were the amazing Mesquite Flat sand dunes. We spent just over 2 hours exploring them. Our kids were having so much fun running down them as fast as they could I of course just had to join them. I might have turned 43 this Sunday, but I am still such a kid at heart.

RV Trip| Death Valley Sunset

After dinner Tuesday night I was in the RV trying to do some reading on ways to improve blogger readership when something tugged at my heart and said drop that researching and get outside.

Now I know from earlier in the trip to listen to that voice and so I did. I grabbed a chair and started to watch the sun disappear behind the nearby mountains. The clouds above caught the colors of the sun like a canvas catches the paint of an artist. For the next 30 minutes I watched the most beautiful sunset unfold.

 RV Trip: Week 9: Red Rock Canyon, Death Valley, Palm Springs & Laguna Beach

With just one full day to explore one giant and geographically diverse park we got an early start to our exploring Wednesday and headed right to the Golden Canyon trail that took us out to Red Rock Cathedral.

After we were done we headed up to Dante’s Peak where we dangled our feet over the edges of rocks enjoying the view of the salt flats below while we at our lunch.

RV Trip | Badwater Basin

After we hike around the peak for a while we headed back down to the valley and eventually made our way to Badwater Basin. This is the lowest point below sea level in North America.

It is also probably the hottest place in North America. I couldn’t believe how much hotter it was out on the salt flats than it was on top of Dante’s peak.

RV Trip | Driving a camper trailer for the first time.

 Wednesday evening my husband and I walked around the campsite enjoying the view of the stars. As we walked I told him I was feeling like I would like to try driving the truck while it was hitched up to the trailer. I felt like Death Valley was the perfect area to try due to little traffic.

So the next morning I did just that! I drove the truck with our 27 foot travel trailer hitched up to it for just over an hour. I was surprised by how easy it was to pull. I thought I would feel it more than I did. Now, I am in no way ready to maneuver it in and out of a gas station, but I do feel that if my husband should want a break I could take over for a while.

RV trip: Palm trees of Desert Springs

After a fairly long day of driving Thursday we arrived in Desert Springs where my husband’s parents winter.

The temperatures were in the low 80’s when we arrived and the sun was shining.

RV Trip | Laguna Beach

Friday our family drove in to nearby Palm Springs to check it out and eat lunch together, but the main event for our time in Desert Springs didn’t even take place in the nearby area.

You see, Sunday was my 43rd birthday so my husband planned a night away just the two of us near the shores of the Pacific Ocean in Laguna beach.

Although it was misty during our time there, the views were still amazing. A highlight for the trip for me was a solo run down beach side early Sunday morning.

RV trip | Trying local food | Urth Caffee

When we were registering at our hotel we asked for a good local restaurant recommendation. The hotel manager told us to try Urth Caffe.

WOW! The food was amazing. In fact, we loved it so much that we ended up eating their again for dinner and one more time for breakfast. Yep–the food was really that good.

Come back next Monday to see what we got up to this week.

Join me on Instagram for daily updates. I am doing my best to post one photo update a day on Facebook too.

First time hearing about our trip? You can catch up on our all our trip updates on the RV trip page.

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