Out of Southern California! Yeah! and North to San Francisco!
Our goal was avoid LA and anything associated with a freeway for a while, it worked! After leaving Acton and the Californian RV Resort with its widely fluctuating voltage (no discount for no power for two nights! Voltage was pegged at over 134 and Myrtle II shut down to protect her systems-had fun writing that review! Concrete terraced parking lot with barely enough room to walk around your slides, more like crawling underneath them:(….we won’t be back) we headed North on the 14 through Palmdale and then West on a lovely state road, the 138 which eventually met up with the 5 part way up the grapevine. Rolling hills with the fog trying to spill over the tops was spectacular. Dotted with Joshua Trees and Live Oak it was beautiful, dry, but beautiful!
Forgot what a grade it is going down to Grapevine in the San Joaquin Valley-miles of almonds and fruit trees as far as the eye can see, it produces the majority of the 12.8% of the United States’ agricultural production (as measured by dollar value) that comes from California and the water is running out. In some places the valley has sunk by as much a 8″ as the groundwater levels drop…for every almond, you need a gallon of water, scary, perhaps not the crop that should be grown there. It was nice to get off the 5 North and take the 46 Westwards again. The big freeways hold no charm for me.
We passed the infamous spot where James Dean’s life came to an end, I had always thought it was along the coast but these winding roads through these hills would be quite the spot to open the throttle on a convertible Porsche:) Vroom vroom…look out for intersections:( Eventually the 46 comes out in Paso Robles, looks like a place we could come back and explore…wine wine and more wine…excellent! After the turn North on the 101 the vineyards continue all the way to King City interspersed with more rolling hills and live oaks. Beautiful countryside. We had stayed in King City several years ago on out trial “on the road adventure” and found the San Lorenzo County Park to be charming! Quiet, although the camp host told us we just missed the massive exodus from The Salinas Valley County Fair, good thing we arrived on a Monday, there were only two or three other trailers there. Lot’s of open space, beautiful trees and shade in the full hook up section and large grassy areas in the rest of the park with a wonderful old tractor/farm machinery display and museum, all in this lovely little park.
This is a cats kinda place:) trees to climb, there was even a Koi pond they found quite interesting:) The Salinas River runs behind the park and noise from the 101 is not bad. King City has several small markets, El Pueblo Market was wonderful, great fruit and vegetables as well as a large butchery and prices we are used to, not the inflated Supermarket ones:) besides, Groot needs his weekly chicharones now that we are out of fresh fish territory:)
We opted for two nights at San Lorenzo Park before a larger jump through San Fransisco. The traffic looked heavier going through Oakland so we opted to take the 101, to the 1 across the Golden Gate and North to Petaluma. A few narrower “streets of San Francisco” moments but in all reality we are no wider than the buses that ply those streets and about the same length, and Mike is an amazing driver combined with Northern California’s polite drivers it was a lovely trip throught the city, under a few tunnels, those had the cats stumped and across the Golden Gate Bridge and few miles North to Petaluma.
We opted for the Northern Petaluma KOA here as there is not much to choose from. Getting a hotel room would have been cheaper and why oh why do they manage to squeeze you into the smallest available spot they have when the park is half empty and there are dozens of other sites to choose from? Saving grace was getting to visit the goats and donkeys and ply them with carrots but yet another RV park we will not be back to. We had a lovely conversation with a Dutch woman and her family, she missed her cats and came out to pet Groot (unfazed, standoffish, such a snob) and Gamora (Hi! I love everyone) and they later gave us the remainder of their fresh groceries as they were flying back to Holland. Reminded me of Baja, why is it we have to rely on the foreigners for a friendly smile and gesture:) In regards to the KOA, I guess we are not “resort” people. We don’t need swimming pools and horseshoe pits. We like to wander the wild, not the tamed mowed areas, cats are starting to feel the same. We stop, they look out the door and there is either an air of excitement, or a look up at us as if to say “really? more concrete?” I know how they feel….but there was beer:) yes wonderful beer! Lagunitas Brewery across the road from us:) Sweet!
Stickly speaking Lagunitas is no longer a micro brewery as they have been bought out by Heinken, that was why we could find it at Oxxo’s (Mexican equivelant of a 7-11) in Baja but they continue with enough free rein to make an amazing sampling of wonderful beers! Their Lagunitas sucks, did not suck and the Born Again Yesterday was a hit, we’ll take a case of each:) skip the food, average but great brews and live music as well!
Saludos amigos and next stop-Avenue of the Giants! NO, not science fiction! The Redwoods!!! Wahoo! Stay tuned!