With our extension at the lighthouse coming to an end, and the reality of the cross country drive to Florida by the end of the year settling in – it was time to plot our escape and get on with the next adventure of clearing out Chris’ storage unit in Sacramento.
We left Cape Blano with no plans other than following the coastal route down 101 for as long as feasible.
Our campground in Sacramento could get us in for 2 weeks starting on Oct 16, setting a vague timeline for our repositioning. Other than our end point reservation, we had no other stops pre-planned. It was exciting to get back on the open road after a 6 week stop.
Last Days at Cape Blanco
With thanks to our call for last minute volunteers at the lighthouse, we had not one, but two couples show up. Long time readers, Judy & Bryan, arrived within 8 hours of the blog post going up – they had just passed by the area, and had flexibility to swing back for a couple of weeks.
And then fairly new to the road nomads, Billy & Leigh, signed on to arrive just prior to our departure to relieve us.
Perfection! Our ranger Greg was very happy to say the least – and is going to spread word to the Oregon interpretive program that bloggers are a great tool for recruitment. I’m just glad we could help.
Billy & Leigh actually ended up coming in a couple days early, so we had the pleasure of getting to connect with them before we needed to scoot on ourselves.
On Thursday we served our final shift of the year at the lighthouse. It was bittersweet, to say the least. But it’s always good to leave before you feel you’ve exhausted the experience.
That evening, we hosted a campfire for all of the lighthouse hosts to meet the newest arrivals, and we had a rockin evening. It was also Kiki’s 5th birthday, I’m sure she thought the party was for her.
On Saturday morning, we pulled out of our spot to discover a mushroom had grown between our rear tires – a sure sign it’s time to move on!
We left Cape Blanco State Park (our review), likely one of the best parks we’ve ever stayed at.
Our hearts full of fond memories – from our time with Nina & Paul, visits from numerous friends, amazing hikes, whales, sealions, volunteering, making new friends and glorious sunsets.
Crescent City, CA
After reading Nina’s review of Harris Beach State Park just south of us near Brookings, OR – we set vague intentions of possibly stopping there for the night.
We arrived early afternoon to find the park mostly filled up, and frankly after our time at Cape Blanco – we were too spoiled by big private sites to really appreciate it. Even though we were entitled to a free night when coming off our Oregon volunteer service.
So, we moved on down the coast. And then it started lightly raining.
We had our eye on a possible Passport America park in Crescent City, but in the drizzle we missed the turn off. But we ended up pulling into Bayside RV Park (our review) right off 101 instead.
The park wasn’t anything spectacular, just a big parking lot right off a main highway. But it was there, easy in and out, and only $28/night.
Serendipity had however led us to a pretty spectacular evening. The rain cleared up, we enjoyed or first meal out in a while and caught up on some shopping in a real grocery store. We also did a drive around town and caught some views of Battery Point Lighthouse.
We returned home and started exploring around the park, to discover a pier that went out to some seastacks in the bay. We saw some folks at the top taking in the lovely sunset views, so we started hiking out ourselves.
Perched at the very pinnacle of the stacks, we had the sounds of the navigation horn in front of us, the sounds of barking sealions behind us, a lovely sunset and a pod of whales off to our left.
What on earth could make that any better? Oh wait, let’s toss in a pod of spinner dolphins too! Pictures just can’t capture the beauty.
All that was missing was a bottle of wine, which was waiting for us back at the bus.
A lovely evening, giving us confidence that life after Cape Blanco could be pretty good afterall.
The next day was a lovely driving day of mostly coastal views down 101. We made it a long one of just over 140 miles. Which may not seem like much, but when traversing a hilly curvy road with lots of slight mountain grades, it took us just over 4 hours.
We had our eye on a Passport America Park near Garberville that would be $16.50 a night with our 50% discount.
The various campground apps we used however had the park mis-placed on their maps, and we thought we had passed it by. Then viola, there it was. Perfect. We were tired of driving and ready to call it a day.
We pulled into Richardson Grove RV Park (our review) and used their night check-in to snag a pull through spot. The park wasn’t overly impressive – right off 101 with highway noise to match.
Smaller tighter spots, and really not much to do except visit the touristy shops across the street, including the ‘One Log House’.
There was hardly any cellular signal to be had, even with our boosting gear – and since we checked in after-hours, we didn’t have access to the password protected WiFi.
We made it an early evening, with intentions to head on in the morning.
Seeing as we had a couple of days before our spot in Sacramento was available, we decided to make a stop at Harbin Hot Springs for a soak – a place neither of us had been in many years, but a place each of us had independently frequented before we met.
We looked at campgrounds in the area, and discovered the Calistoga RV Park, located in the Napa Valley Fairgrounds (our review) offered Passport America rates too! Score – $17.50/night and within walking distance of downtown Calistoga sounded wonderful.
(Passport America is the only camping club we belong to – at $39/year for 50% off at a variety of parks across the country, it pays for itself very quickly. On this repositioning alone, we saved $51.50.)
We arrived, got settled in our spot and took off to explore downtown. Cute little town, and we enjoyed a lovely Thai dinner – a cuisine too far absent from our diets these past couple months.
The next morning we took the Mini motoring over fun tight curvy roads to Middletown, and enjoyed some time soaking in the hot pools of Harbin. (Sorry – no photography allowed, not that you really wanted to see naked pictures of technomads anyway.)
We ended up only staying a couple hours – it was just pretty crowded there, making it less than relaxing. So we headed back over the twisty winding roads towards home, and enjoyed a long walk around Calistoga while we grounded ourselves for the two weeks ahead of us.
Let the Chaos Begin… Sacramento
The next morning, we made the final short 80+ miles into Sacramento.
We had two routing choices – heading over to potentially pot-hole and traffic crazy I-80 or taking the twisty turny back-roads. Chris used Google Earth to virtually drive it, and determined he was up for taking Zephyr on 128 over through Davis.
So we turned on our brand new GoPro Hero video camera to start experimenting with some time lapse photography of our drive.
We definitely have more experimenting to do with time lapse, but thought this would be fun to share with you ..
It doesn’t nearly capture just how twisty, tight and curvy the road was – my ‘eeep’ warning system was on in full force, and Kiki hardly ever gets motion sick.
But our sports bus Zephyr had a blast at Chris’ command. That should come as no surprise to us actually, as looking through the original conversion receipts from the early 1990s, it would seem Zephyr used to spent a bit of time up in this region.
We arrived to our spot in Sacramento, to discover our RVing friends Debby & Bill were here too – who we’ve been enjoying reconnecting with. Also turns out our immediate neighbors are blog readers Bill & Irene. What a small world it is!
We’ve not had too terribly much time for socializing however – and we jumped right into our reason for being here. Two weeks of crazy chaos of attending to a long overdue chore.
Which brings us to…
Join us this Tuesday evening for our next live video webcast!
When: Tuesday, Oct 22 (TOMORROW!)
6pm PST / 9pm EST
Broadcast live from our storage unit, that we’re in the midst of purging. Chris setup his unit when he first hit the road 7 years ago as a walk-in closet to rotate seasonal items. We’ll discuss when it makes sense to have a unit, and when its time to let it go. And of course, we’ll share some of the chaos! Q&A to follow – so bring your questions about life on the road in general.
This webcast will be live broadcast on our Ustream Channel, join us there at the appointed time.