Photo Friday: The First Week of Our Year-Long RV Trip

by jdroth on 03 April 2015 · 4 comments

Last night we pulled into Ione, southeast of Sacramento and on the edge of California’s gold rush country. We’ll be in this general vicinity for the next week or two, visiting Kim’s family and friends.

As we pause for a bit, now’s a good time to share the first installment of “Photo Friday”, which we hope will be a weekly series sharing photos from the previous week’s adventures. (This first installment will cover more than a week because we’re also including the start of our trip.)

Last Wednesday morning — on my 46th birthday — we climbed into our 29-foot RV to start this year long adventure. Before making our way to the Oregon coast, we stopped to visit my Uncle Stan, who showed us a gallery of his late wife’s photos.

My Uncle Stan in his gallery

We spent our first night in Florence. On Thursday morning, we biked to the beach and walked through the dunes.

Climbing the sand dunes in Florence, Oregon

Next, we drove south and into California. After a quick pit stop in Crescent City, we moved on to Fortuna, which we used as a base for the next few days. While there, we were pleased to discover Ferndale, a small town near California’s “Lost Coast”. Ferndale deliberately cultivates an old-fashioned aura. We thought it was magical. The Lost Coast was magical too:

California's Lost Coast

Last Saturday, we explored a tiny portion of Redwood National Park. We visited Lady Bird Johnson grove and its ginormous sequoia trees. We also made an abortive attempt to bike Lost Man Creek Trail. The problem? Less than a mile into the ride, the former logging road turned all uphill and all mud. We made a valiant effort, but ultimately gave up and moved on.

Our ride was muddy and steep

On Sunday, we drove south. Instead of taking Highway 101 all the way from Fortuna to Cloverdale, we took an hour to drive the 32-mile Avenue of the Giants. The old Highway 101 is amazing, winding through small towns and tall trees. I was worried it might be tough to do in a 29-foot RV, but it was no problem. (Especially since there was very light traffic on Sunday morning; we passed 15 cards, two bikes, and one motorcycle.)

Bigfoot, at home in the Redwoods

By Sunday afternoon, we’d settled at our new campground outside Cloverdale. For the next few days, we lazed around camp during the morning and ventured out to explore Sonoma County during the afternoon. On Monday, we visited the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa. Though the experience was underwhelming — there’s just not a whole lot to see — we still had fun.

J.D., making friends at the Charles Schulz Museum

On Tuesday, we enjoyed a fantastic two-and-a-half personal tour of Rodney Strong Vineyards in Healdsburg. Our guide was Ron Washam, a sommelier and wine educator, and the mythical “hosemaster” of wine. Washam was a vat of information about wine and the wine industry. We learned a lot from him, and got to taste some excellent wine. [A more detailed account of our experience at Rodney Strong is in the works.]

Tasting from a barrel at Rodney Strong

Wednesday, we drove out to California’s Pacific Coast. We didn’t spend much time on Highway 1, the twisted and tormented smaller sibling to Highway 101, but we did stop in Bodega Bay to have crab sandwiches and clam chowder at Spud Point Crab Company. We both agreed their chowder was delicious, much better than that fake creamy crap most places serve.

People wait in line at this little shack to get tasty sandwiches and chowder

Thursday, we begrudgingly packed up camp and left Sonoma County. Driving east, we stopped to have lunch with Kim’s former sister-in-law and her daughter. While with Christina and Sarah, we toured the Jelly Belly factory in Fairfield.

Kim and Sarah watch the jelly beans being made

We’re now ten days into our year-long RV trip across the United States, and we love it. We’ve enjoyed making our way down the Pacific Coast, and RV living has been good to us so far. We’re certain this adventure is going to be awesome.

Note: What hasn’t been awesome is our internet connectivity. As expected, access is spotty. And even when we do have access, it’s often s-l-o-w. As a result, when we update Far Away Places, we may have to update in bursts, uploading two or three posts at a time.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jess 03 April 2015 at 12:32

Sounds like a great start to a great year! Glad to hear there’s good chowder out west – when you get to New England make sure you have some local “chowdah” :)


2 lostAnnfound 03 April 2015 at 13:15

I really like the idea of “Photo Friday” to recap your weekly adventures!


3 JoDi 04 April 2015 at 10:45

Love the recap! Sounds like a great start. You packed a lot into a short time. I bet setting up & breaking camp is getting to be routine!


4 Scott 04 April 2015 at 15:30

Great idea, Photo Friday! We loved the Jelly Belly factory! Worth a stop.


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