Murphys to San Francisco, CA

September 12 - October 1, 2017

  Wait, haven’t we been to these places already this summer?! Well, if you have been keeping up with the blog you will notice that we visited Brice Station Vineyard in June for our friends Leda and George’s Wedding, and then we spent a few days in San Francisco. Pretty cool to get to visit these awesome places twice in one summer!    From Lassen we (we being me….I gave my chauffeur a break for a change) drove south to Murphys, California to our friend Leda’s parents place, Brice Station Vineyard. We spent a couple of days hanging out, helping on the farm, and mostly organizing and preparing for 10 days in San Francisco without our house! This was the first time we wouldn't be living in the trailer and to be honest, we were pretty excited for the break! Don’t get me wrong we love living in the trailer but we have a newfound appreciation for things like space or showers!

Wait, haven’t we been to these places already this summer?! Well, if you have been keeping up with the blog you will notice that we visited Brice Station Vineyard in June for our friends Leda and George’s Wedding, and then we spent a few days in San Francisco. Pretty cool to get to visit these awesome places twice in one summer!

From Lassen we (we being me….I gave my chauffeur a break for a change) drove south to Murphys, California to our friend Leda’s parents place, Brice Station Vineyard. We spent a couple of days hanging out, helping on the farm, and mostly organizing and preparing for 10 days in San Francisco without our house! This was the first time we wouldn't be living in the trailer and to be honest, we were pretty excited for the break! Don’t get me wrong we love living in the trailer but we have a newfound appreciation for things like space or showers!

San Francisco

  Let me just preface this section with how appreciative and lucky we feel to know so many kind hearted, generous and genuine people who we love so much. Friends are special people and our time in the Bay area was wonderful, purely for the company!     Kyle and Adriane were gracious enough to host us for a whole week (thank you guys). If you read my blog entry from Glacier National Park in July, you will know Kyle and Adriane :) Remember, Kyle took us on that crazy long 20 mile hike? Don’t worry I got my own back on him with a brutal workout at the YMCA!     During our week stay we got to explore the Bernal Heights neighborhood and local farmers market, ate as many burritos as possible, hung out with more friends, took Moose and Izzo on lots of walks to Holly Park,  and visited the Exploratorium science museum “after dark” happy hour. Note: Alcohol + big kids + hands on exhibits = lots of drinks spilled!!     We also got to celebrate Adriane’s birthday at the grand opening of the Marin Headlands Center for the Arts - AKA their wedding venue. Followed by drinking wine on the beach and watching lots of dolphins swim by close to the shore.  If you ever visit San Francisco I highly recommend the drive over the Golden Gate Bridge to Marin Headlands, the scenery is out of this world.

Let me just preface this section with how appreciative and lucky we feel to know so many kind hearted, generous and genuine people who we love so much. Friends are special people and our time in the Bay area was wonderful, purely for the company!

Kyle and Adriane were gracious enough to host us for a whole week (thank you guys). If you read my blog entry from Glacier National Park in July, you will know Kyle and Adriane :) Remember, Kyle took us on that crazy long 20 mile hike? Don’t worry I got my own back on him with a brutal workout at the YMCA!

During our week stay we got to explore the Bernal Heights neighborhood and local farmers market, ate as many burritos as possible, hung out with more friends, took Moose and Izzo on lots of walks to Holly Park,  and visited the Exploratorium science museum “after dark” happy hour. Note: Alcohol + big kids + hands on exhibits = lots of drinks spilled!!

We also got to celebrate Adriane’s birthday at the grand opening of the Marin Headlands Center for the Arts - AKA their wedding venue. Followed by drinking wine on the beach and watching lots of dolphins swim by close to the shore.  If you ever visit San Francisco I highly recommend the drive over the Golden Gate Bridge to Marin Headlands, the scenery is out of this world.

  After a week in Bernal Heights we decided to invade some other friends - thank you Leda, George and Dan for hosting us for a few days! While everyone else was busy working David, Dan and I went to Muir Woods and did some sight seeing, it’s in the same area as Marin Headlands, north of the Golden Gate Bridge, a great day out exploring nature.     Timing for this trip to San Francisco worked out perfectly for a Hidden Valley Camp reunion picnic at Golden Gate Park. We got to spend hours in the park catching up with so many great people, did I mention how much we love our friends?! The perfect end to a great 10 days in the Bay area, back to Brice Station for some wine :P

After a week in Bernal Heights we decided to invade some other friends - thank you Leda, George and Dan for hosting us for a few days! While everyone else was busy working David, Dan and I went to Muir Woods and did some sight seeing, it’s in the same area as Marin Headlands, north of the Golden Gate Bridge, a great day out exploring nature.

Timing for this trip to San Francisco worked out perfectly for a Hidden Valley Camp reunion picnic at Golden Gate Park. We got to spend hours in the park catching up with so many great people, did I mention how much we love our friends?! The perfect end to a great 10 days in the Bay area, back to Brice Station for some wine :P

Brice Station Vineyards

  We planned to stay only a few more days at the vineyard getting organised again for the road but when you don’t make plans, it's hard to move! I mentioned before that we planned our entire summer because we knew it would be busy at the National Parks and we wanted to ensure we didn’t miss out but after schools were back in session, we didn’t think it would be a problem. You live and learn, once again we were wrong and surprised that trying to book a camping spot at a national park only a few days out was tough, plus we were running into the problem of winter approaching and campgrounds closing so choices became limited. We spent a solid day on our computers and phones trying to plan the next leg of our journey. Planning always seems fun but it’s a beat down when you are not getting anywhere after hours of research. Of course all is well that ends well and things always fall into place. We ended up staying at the vineyard for a week and this is what we got up to....

We planned to stay only a few more days at the vineyard getting organised again for the road but when you don’t make plans, it's hard to move! I mentioned before that we planned our entire summer because we knew it would be busy at the National Parks and we wanted to ensure we didn’t miss out but after schools were back in session, we didn’t think it would be a problem. You live and learn, once again we were wrong and surprised that trying to book a camping spot at a national park only a few days out was tough, plus we were running into the problem of winter approaching and campgrounds closing so choices became limited. We spent a solid day on our computers and phones trying to plan the next leg of our journey. Planning always seems fun but it’s a beat down when you are not getting anywhere after hours of research. Of course all is well that ends well and things always fall into place. We ended up staying at the vineyard for a week and this is what we got up to....

Big Trees State Park

We visited Big Trees when we were here in June for the wedding but it was over 100 degrees so we didn't do any hiking, we were excited to explore in cooler temps.

Arnold Rim Trail

We took our bikes to the Arnold Rim Trail in the next town over, the mountain biking trail was really cool but pretty difficult in some spots. Eventually the "face flies" got to us and we gave up after a couple of hours. The trail head was by the Sierra Nevada Logging Museum.

My First Demolition Derby!

Brice Station takes part in the WWOOFing program and during our stay we got to know 3 of their volunteers - Cam and Ellie, a couple from Maine, (what's not to love) and Helen from London, (yay a fellow Brit)! They took me to my first Demolition Derby - hmmm it was very interesting, I wonder why David opted to stay behind!

The Vineyard and Farm at Brice Station

What an amazing place! We are so grateful to Dolores, Stu and the rest of the team for allowing us to live on their property - thank you! Also, Moose had a blast with the rest of the pack too! 

Lassen Volcanic NP - California

September 8-11, 2017

  I had never heard of this place until this summer, two friends of ours happened to mention that it was one of their favorite parks to visit and a bit of a hidden gem. Boy were they right - thanks Dan and Adriane! Lassen is located in Northern California, and is the only place where all four types of volcanoes found in the entire world are represented - pretty cool! In case you were wondering the volcano types are: Shield, Plug Dome, Cinder Cone and Composite. As always, when we arrived, we made our bucket list and planned some pretty strenuous hikes. One of the reasons this park is probably not as popular as some others is because most of the “attractions” are only accessible by hiking, which doesn’t suit everyone of course. Cinder Cone was high on our list but from the campground it would have been around an 18 mile hike..no thank you! We drove to a different park entrance and the hike was only a few miles. Once we reached the bottom of the volcano it was about ¾ mile to the top, not too bad, right?! Wrong! My legs have never felt so depleted from taking one step forward and sliding through the volcanic ash half a step back - it's a bit like walking on sand dunes! It was totally worth it at the top, not only were the views amazing but you could also hike down into the volcano! We had some fun walking around the top and making the descend into the volcano. I challenged David to run back to the top but he wasn’t playing so he got to carry my backpack while I did a little HIIT session!

I had never heard of this place until this summer, two friends of ours happened to mention that it was one of their favorite parks to visit and a bit of a hidden gem. Boy were they right - thanks Dan and Adriane! Lassen is located in Northern California, and is the only place where all four types of volcanoes found in the entire world are represented - pretty cool! In case you were wondering the volcano types are: Shield, Plug Dome, Cinder Cone and Composite. As always, when we arrived, we made our bucket list and planned some pretty strenuous hikes. One of the reasons this park is probably not as popular as some others is because most of the “attractions” are only accessible by hiking, which doesn’t suit everyone of course. Cinder Cone was high on our list but from the campground it would have been around an 18 mile hike..no thank you! We drove to a different park entrance and the hike was only a few miles. Once we reached the bottom of the volcano it was about ¾ mile to the top, not too bad, right?! Wrong! My legs have never felt so depleted from taking one step forward and sliding through the volcanic ash half a step back - it's a bit like walking on sand dunes! It was totally worth it at the top, not only were the views amazing but you could also hike down into the volcano! We had some fun walking around the top and making the descend into the volcano. I challenged David to run back to the top but he wasn’t playing so he got to carry my backpack while I did a little HIIT session!

CINDER CONE

Lassen Peak

  The next day we decided to tackle the plug dome volcano, also known as Lassen Peak - it’s about 5 miles round trip and 2,000 ft in elevation with the top being 10,463 ft. These elevations are kicking my butt! It was a tough hike, with lots of snow on the mountain but again, totally worth it at the top. As we started climbing we suddenly had phone service so I thought a quick phone call to my mum and dad was in order. Yes, I was that person breaking the rules of nature on my phone but it was cool to be able to tell my dad where I was and what I was doing, his love of the outdoors has influenced our trip immensely - thank you dad for all the hill walks and nature outings growing up!

The next day we decided to tackle the plug dome volcano, also known as Lassen Peak - it’s about 5 miles round trip and 2,000 ft in elevation with the top being 10,463 ft. These elevations are kicking my butt! It was a tough hike, with lots of snow on the mountain but again, totally worth it at the top. As we started climbing we suddenly had phone service so I thought a quick phone call to my mum and dad was in order. Yes, I was that person breaking the rules of nature on my phone but it was cool to be able to tell my dad where I was and what I was doing, his love of the outdoors has influenced our trip immensely - thank you dad for all the hill walks and nature outings growing up!

Bumpass Hell

  Once we had exhausted ourselves climbing Lassen Peak, we went to check out Bumpass Hell, which is an area of hydrothermal sites and acres of bubbling mud pots, very similar to parts of Yosemite. The park is full of many trails (all ranging in difficulty) and lakes, it's quiet and beautiful especially this time of year. Parts of the northern trails also link up to the Pacific Crest Trail.     Next stop Brice Station Vineyard and San Francisco!

Once we had exhausted ourselves climbing Lassen Peak, we went to check out Bumpass Hell, which is an area of hydrothermal sites and acres of bubbling mud pots, very similar to parts of Yosemite. The park is full of many trails (all ranging in difficulty) and lakes, it's quiet and beautiful especially this time of year. Parts of the northern trails also link up to the Pacific Crest Trail.

Next stop Brice Station Vineyard and San Francisco!

Oregon Coast

September 1-8, 2017

  Oregon Coast, but with a slight diversion. I’ve mentioned before that the best thing about not having a plan, is the ability to completely change what you thought you might do because something better presents itself. As we were heading out to the coast, we didn’t get very far until we dorve past an airport, David pointed out that one airplane was towing another “glider” plane. I had never seen this before. It wasn’t long until we had diverted off the motorway and were heading back to the tiny airport to enquire about a ride. As exciting as life on the road is, sometimes we need a wee adrenaline boost too! Before we knew it we were getting geared up for a sailplane ride. The planes only seat 2 people, you and the pilot, so David and I went up separately, I went first and in my old age was feeling slightly scared, but those feeling soon subsided as we took off. This was a flying experience like nothing else. Riding in a sailplane (or glider) is the purest form of flying there is. You sit in the front seat of the glider with the pilot flying from the rear seat behind you. A tow plane towed us to an altitude of about 5,000 ft and at this point the pilot releases the glider from the tow rope by pulling a lever, (this was the scariest part) and you find yourself in motor-less, silent flight. We were gently floating through the air for about 25 minutes with plenty of time to take in the view - this was by far one of the coolest things I have done in my life. David had a much different experience than I did, his pilot was a bit more wild and they were having fun doing some air diving. I liked my calm, relaxing experience better! Both of our pilots were pretty intrigued by our adventure and asked us a lot of questions about life on the road. They asked where we were staying that night and when we responded with, “not sure” they offered for us to pull into the airfield and camp out for the night - YES! Moose especially loved being able to run around outside while David and I pulled out the deck chairs (and beers) to enjoy the sunset, it was a clear, quiet and peaceful night - perfect ending to a pretty awesome day. Thank you to the pilots at the flying club for being so kind :)

Oregon Coast, but with a slight diversion. I’ve mentioned before that the best thing about not having a plan, is the ability to completely change what you thought you might do because something better presents itself. As we were heading out to the coast, we didn’t get very far until we dorve past an airport, David pointed out that one airplane was towing another “glider” plane. I had never seen this before. It wasn’t long until we had diverted off the motorway and were heading back to the tiny airport to enquire about a ride. As exciting as life on the road is, sometimes we need a wee adrenaline boost too! Before we knew it we were getting geared up for a sailplane ride. The planes only seat 2 people, you and the pilot, so David and I went up separately, I went first and in my old age was feeling slightly scared, but those feeling soon subsided as we took off. This was a flying experience like nothing else. Riding in a sailplane (or glider) is the purest form of flying there is. You sit in the front seat of the glider with the pilot flying from the rear seat behind you. A tow plane towed us to an altitude of about 5,000 ft and at this point the pilot releases the glider from the tow rope by pulling a lever, (this was the scariest part) and you find yourself in motor-less, silent flight. We were gently floating through the air for about 25 minutes with plenty of time to take in the view - this was by far one of the coolest things I have done in my life. David had a much different experience than I did, his pilot was a bit more wild and they were having fun doing some air diving. I liked my calm, relaxing experience better! Both of our pilots were pretty intrigued by our adventure and asked us a lot of questions about life on the road. They asked where we were staying that night and when we responded with, “not sure” they offered for us to pull into the airfield and camp out for the night - YES! Moose especially loved being able to run around outside while David and I pulled out the deck chairs (and beers) to enjoy the sunset, it was a clear, quiet and peaceful night - perfect ending to a pretty awesome day. Thank you to the pilots at the flying club for being so kind :)

 
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Ok, now onto the Oregon Coast! With is being Labor Day weekend we had to find a spot to spend the weekend because all campgrounds were booked up. We headed to Lincoln City to hang out at Chinook Winds Casino Resort, as we pulled into the car park, it was jam packed with RVers and we literally got the last spot! The casino is located right on the coast line and backs up to the beach, which was perfect. There was also a golf resort about a mile away with a gym and more importantly showers! We spent about 4 nights, which greatly benefited the casino but we made up for it by taking advantage of the free gym, yoga classes and saunas! I promise we don’t have a gambling problem :P

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After our stint at the casino we continued south along the coast - this scenic drive was jaw droppingly out of this world. We stopped at the Oregon sand dunes and found a nice wee spot to camp for a few nights. As we went out exploring, the fog was so thick and although we could hear the ocean waves, we couldn’t see at all. That didn’t stop us finding some fun dunes to play on. In the morning a Park Ranger came and moved us on, apparently we weren’t allowed to camp there - ooops! Sadly, the fires in Oregon had gotten pretty bad and a lot of the places we were really looking forward to visiting were badly affected, including Crater Lake. The air pollution and visibility was getting worse the further south we travelled, much to our disappointment we decided to push on. Oregon was so beautiful and I can’t wait to go back and see all the wonderful places we missed. Next stop Las Vegas - just kidding!!!