My husband and I booked two weeks off at the end of August and took our first real vacation in awhile. We bought a new camper (a pop-up four wheel drive camper) and decided to drive down the I-5 to San Francisco and then up the Oregon Coast.
I had intended to blog about our adventure on the way, but that quickly fell to the wayside, losing out over taking the extra time to kick back and relax instead. Can you blame me? As much as I love blogging, everyone needs a vacation from everything once in awhile. Now that I’m reflecting on our trip, I thought I’d just write a small synopsis of each day for you here, in three parts, highlighting some of our favorite places and the campgrounds we stayed in.
Feel free to visit my Days 1-5 Facebook album for more pictures and stories of the first leg!
Day 1: We drove from Prince George to Vancouver, brimming with excitement to pick up our new camper before the day was up. We spent the night with some friends, in our last “real” bed for awhile!
Day 2: We left Vancouver, anticipating a fairly long wait at the border crossing. It did take over an hour, but luckily we were waved through with minimal questions. The highlight of this day (mostly for my husband) was visiting Bruce Lee’s grave in Seattle. Finding a campsite near cities was definitely the most challenging part of our trip, and this first night was the worst. We had dinner at an Applebee’s in Federal Way, WA, as darkness was coming on quickly and finally found a campsite on our iphone map. We pulled up five minutes after the gate closed, but being the rebels we are, we sneaked through (as stealthily as we could with a truck and camper) the other side of the road and found an empty spot. I have no idea what this place was called and we left really early, but it seemed nice!
Day 3: We visited Portland, home of the American microbreweries, and we didn’t miss this chance to test some of their product! We wandered around a bit, enjoying the free wifi on nearly every street corner. That night we stayed at Sunny Valley RV Park, a little over an hour north of the California border. Even thought the campground was right next to the freeway, it was down a bit of a hill, so pretty quiet, and very pretty. Not exactly roughing it though with wifi, full hookups, showers and a even a pool, but very nice after spending so much time driving!
Day 4: We drove and drove and drove, and finally approached San Francisco. We wanted to stay somewhere before entering the city, but again, ran into the problem of finding campgrounds near the city. We thought there was one just before it, but taking a wrong turn, ended up in a… let’s just say, less than savoury neighbourhood (oops!). We drove through the city, unfortunately right at rush hour, and quickly reconfirmed that we’re not big city folks! Loved our first Golden Gate Bridge experience though and ended up staying at the huge KOA Campground about 45 minutes north of SF, in Petaluma. A quick dip in their pool followed by a toasty warm campfire put us at ease again.
Day 5: We ventured back into San Francisco, found some parking, and spent the next few hours wandering on Fisherman’s Wharf, taking a cable car up, up, up the big hills and exploring Chinatown. After eating warm steam buns, fresh crab and lobster, and taking in the stunning views of Alcatraz, we’d had enough of the craziness of city life and driving through the fog once more, turned towards Sonoma.
We didn’t arrive in Sonoma until about 5pm and we were both instantly transfixed by the quiet calm of the small town. City Hall sat in the middle of town, surrounded by a park and then shops on the streets around it. Sonoma was a place where people actually read books in the park and sipped wine in bakery cafes. We went straight to the wine shop for our first tasting, got free bread in a bakery (as it was closing) and then I totally geeked out in my first Whole Foods experience. What an amazing grocery store! After leaving the crazy busy heat of SF we fell in love with Sonoma. We drove our way through the hills to Sugarloaf Ridge State Park, and oh, the tranquility! Deer were grazing in the meadow in the middle of the campground, and it was just sooo quiet. The perfect place to wind down.
Stay tuned for Days 6-8 coming soon… :)