We’ve moved inland….and the rain is following us. We’re cursed! Or, we just picked an unseasonable period to travel the Pacific Northwest. I guess after 5 months of drought and fire, the region is due for some moisture. That’s becoming more evident the further south we drive. (Further Inland, California)
We left the floods and torrential rains behind and crossed into Northern California to tramp amidst the 3,000-year-old Tree
Gods – the Sequoia and Red Woods. I thought they were the same tree…but now I know they are different. When hiking through a Red Wood forest, it’s easy to feel insignificant and puny. These majestic, aged seedlings from pre-history, or the late bronze age, simply dwarf one’s ego but heighten one’s noble imagination. It is good that we make efforts to preserve what is left of them. Walking amongst nature’s sentinels and the self-sustaining ecosystem that’s been here longer than we’ve recorded modern history is a transcendental experience. Or it can be if you turn off the earbuds and put the cell phone away.
If you ever have the opportunity to walk amongst the ‘Path of Giants’ and the ‘Avenue of the Gods’, do it! If you can stop by the ‘Car in the Tree’ park to drive your car (not RV) through a Red Wood tree, it’s worth the $10 fee. The tourist trap crap shop is even worth a short visit. It was a good day…and almost relatively dry.
Out of the Forrest
We departed the Forrests, and the rains caught up with us, so we scurried to find new camping arrangements and landed on the outskirts of the small town of Arcata. We thought it was a bust, a one-nighter, and then off to find fun and another outdoor adventure.
Ursula can be pretty prescient about places and insisted we extend another day to enjoy the surroundings – the weatherman claimed the sun would visit. We unhooked the bikes and peddled off in search of a beach. Along the way, we discovered just how peaceful, rustic and unspoiled is the agrarian north of California. We biked through cow-filled pastures speckled with old, but functional, barns, passed overlooks with porky, lazy sunbathing sea lions, and found Clam Beach 10 miles up the covered bike paths. Again, the beaches are amazing. Endless miles of preserved, deep sandy beaches untouched by the encroachments of the surrounding civilization. This must be why everybody loves California. This is why we came south.
Off the the Vineyards
The road was calling, and off we departed the following day searching for vineyards, wine-tasting, and the quintessential ‘Boondocking’ experience. We found all three at the Nelson Vineyard just south of Ukiah. Once again, the scenery changed; massive forests of dark green amongst the winding valleys and rocky mountains to the smooth-rolling hills of oak trees and vineyards. It was quite the transition; a few of the hillsides reminded us of the Vorarlberg region of Austria.
Harvest Host is an RV Club that brings together agricultural business and the RVer. Farmers advertise their business and offer a free night of parking on their property to bring in business. It’s customary for the Nomads to purchase some of the local wares to even out the deal. This works out great for everybody. We parked our RV away from the noisy highway amongst the family vineyard for free….and tasted the ever delectable flavors from their vines. Naturally, we walked away with a smile on our faces and a few bottles in our backpacks. The evening in the back-hills amongst the slumbering vines was the quietest and most peaceful night of the trip (no electrical hookups, internet, or TV!).
We directed a ‘Change of Mission’ and passed up visiting highway #1’s beaches to escape the rain and our fear of driving the RV on the crazy winding roads with precipitous cliffs. While I believed I could safely negotiate the roads, neither is naive enough to think we could survive each other on that harrowing trip. The knock-on effect is that we didn’t intend to be in wine country so quickly; we outpaced our detailed plans. Surprisingly, there are very few places to camp in an RV in the Sonoma and Napa valleys. One would have thought that this would have been the Mecca of RVing; not so! Our hope was to overnight in each town and stroll the shops and tasting rooms.
While we did have lunch in Sonoma (we found a place to park the rig near a baseball field), we didn’t make it to Nappa for lack of campgrounds, and it was getting late. The few parks scattered around Sonoma County were all booked. Our lack of pre-planning foiled our hopes and forced us up to Vacaville for the night, well off our intended route of travel. Oh well, most wishful plans falter when faced with reality.
A new Change of Mission?
The experience of the congestion and utter craziness of the superhighway between Sonoma and our overnight RV park is weakening our nerve. We’re rethinking about foraying closer to San Francisco to spend a day roaming the hills and wharves and whatever has come of the modern-day ‘City by the Bay.’ We’re staying here another day, so perhaps the rest will refortify our will, and we’ll head south and launch into the city. If not, we’ll head South-East toward the next major stop – Las Vegas. Stay tuned for whatever adventure befalls us.
Post Script to (Further Inland)-
A friend from halfway across the world (literally) called today and expressed his enthusiasm for our trip, this blog, and in general, all things RVing. When he returns from foreign lands, he intends to buy an RV and follow the Nomading the Lower-48 Trail. For him and those interested in their own RV trip, here are a few thoughts for consideration for your planning.
- ‘Toad’ or no ‘Toad.’ A Toad is a tow vehicle. We knew that our trip would be constrained by not having an alternate means of getting around after parking the RV. We thought bikes might help. It does, but this is a big country, and it grew up with the automobile. So, not having an alternate means to visit places once you park will affect the trip’s character.
- In the same vein, the standard nomading quandary: to travel with an RV vs. RV with toad vs. truck with trailer. Not to go into the details now (perhaps later), but I’m learning that all options offer tradeoffs. It’s not the good characteristics that drive you in one direction r the other, but it’s those characteristics of the favored choice that you hate most that make you look at other options. As n example, I love the fact that I can quickly get up from my driver’s seat to take a bathroom break without leaving the vehicle…or I can get a coffee. However, I am becoming displeased at being stuck to a walking or biking radius from where I park for the day/night. I’m not yet sure which character will drive my future RV choices.
- Detailed planning vs. ‘let’s wing it!’ Do you plan your trip down to a gnat’s ass or just let fate determine where you’ll end up? Both are alluring, both offer great adventure, both present downsides, such as today’s traveling 40 miles away from where we want to visit just because we couldn’t’ find a RV parking spot.
That’s it for today; I’ll post some more observations as we go along. But I guess to get the most enjoyment from your choices, it’s helpful to know what’s most important to you so that you can best evaluate the inevitable tradeoffs.
Read the previous blog, link here
Read this blog from the beginning, link here
Visit all the Nomading the Lower-48 Blog, link here
If you enjoyed ‘Further Inland’, drop a comment below.
THANKS FOR READING – CHEERS