It's been a while since we wrote and for that, we are sorry. We completely became immersed in our recent travels throughout the California coast and have some truly stunning photography to show for it. We also have some stories to share, vegan food to obsess over, and updates to our small RV Maude that we will start sharing over the next few weeks.
Thanks to our friends over at The Modern Caravan, we were officially introduced to the Mendocino area, which (sigh) we fell in love. But, we're getting a bit ahead of ourselves at this point. Let's talk about a few California RV travel destination highlights in the past month and a half...
Lee Vining, California
We met up with our friends near Yosemite National Park. We had never been throughout our travels and decided that Yosemite was something we really wanted to do. While driving through was absolutely stunning, we weren't too fond of the park itself. It was way too crowded, people were way too unkind (we're in a huge vehicle and we go the speed limit, please be kind) and not following park rules at all. We're not some brown-nosing trailheads who have to follow every park rule in order to have fun, but watching families along the riverbanks taunt and tease ducks and throw rocks and splash water at them, was not something we enjoyed. I won't get too far into the experience because I'll just get worked up, but the overall consensus: Yosemite = meeehhh but Lee Vining = YASSSS.
Lee Vining is this little town outside Yosemite with a quaint grocery offering alcohol, vegan options, firewood and basically everything we needed to live there for a week. But the best part about Lee Vining was not the grocery, or the gas stations, or the convenience of coffee shops but instead the BLM land which was free and oh-so-glorious. We had an expanse of desert at our doorstep, with mountains in the distance and Mono Lake right within eye shot. The sunsets were glorious and we could hear coyotes at night herding their pack. There was silence and solitude and scenery for days. Not to mention a $10 dump site up the road and FREE mountain spring water about 6 miles away. Here are a few photos.
Dana Point Beach, California
After leaving the desert, we ended up going to San Juan Capistrano still caravanning with our friends along the way. From the desert to the beach in just a few hours, and we were in heaven. Not only is the Dana Point State Beach a true gem, but you can park your rig right on the water's edge ALL DAY for $15. This means that from 6am-10pm, you can park your trailer, RV, van, Westie right on the beach. We did this for about a week straight and had an absolute blast. Not to mention, Marisa finally learned how to surf! For less than $25, she rented a board and a wetsuit and took to the water, and with the help of Ellen from The Modern Caravan, they taught each other how to surf. It was a life bucket list completed. Dana Point Beach will forever have our hearts for days filled with setting suns, swimming, surfing, and sunshine.
Mendocino.....where to begin? Mendocino really took our breaths away, in more ways than one. Not only is the true beauty of the area such a stunning landscape, but it was the simplicity of it all that really stuck with us. We didn't have the best experience in Fort Bragg to say the least, so Mendocino was the warm welcome we needed to revive our spirits. We happened to pull into town during the exact two hours on a Friday in which they were having their Farmer's Market, which was perfect. We stocked up on fruits and veggies and hung out with some locals. The free boondocking was in abundance, not to mention the fact that we could pull our rig into the beach recreation area during the day and hang. The water was a bit chilly for us so no surfing or swimming happened, but we did some hiking, visited Harvest Market for some vegan goodies and had a memorable, mouthwateringly good meal at Stanford Inn. We won't go into too much detail about the vegan food we ate throughout the trip because that will be a whole other post, but for real.... get ready.
If you're ever in the Fort Bragg/Mendocino area we also highly recommend Glass Beach. Being down in the sea glass and seeing all that beauty in one place was an experience in its own.
Anderson Valley, California
After leaving Mendocino (regretfully), we ended up passing through Anderson Valley unexpectedly and found wineries up the wazoo. It was really fun to stop by a handful of places, enjoy the rows upon rows of vineyards being harvested, and sip on some delicious wines. Our favorite winery to visit by far was Husch Vineyards. If ever you're passing through Anderson Valley you have to stop by for a tasting. They offer 6 complimentary tastes of their wide-ranging selection, and they all came with a story. One important tip for this particular winery is to ask for Margaret. Not only will you have yourself a blast with her wit and humor, but she sure does know her stuff.
We're currently headed south at the moment, picking up a few hidden gem spots to accommodate our small RV. In truth, the next month is filled with a lot of question marks as we wander around enjoying the potential of what autumn will bring. Stay tuned for our next post on all things vegan food, where we talk about The Butcher's Son in Berkley, Stanford Inn in Mendocino and probably the best vegan sushi spot we have ever encountered in our lives in San Francisco.
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