Detour to Eastern California

View out the back window at 4 am (after “the guys” ran off)

After Los Altos, we bumped into our next misadventure. Instead of listening to our friend and staying the night on a quiet little street as advised, we decided to make it to the next rest area. All I can say, is it seemed like a good idea at the time. We planned to get closer to the next destination and take a break in a well lit area. This resulted in sitting through hours of construction delays and related rest area closures. Once it hit midnight and we passed the third closed or inaccessible rest area I hit up the GPS to determine where the next putative rest area might be. It indicated that no rest areas existed along our active route. What?!

Plan B, find the next random Walmart. The GPS guided us to an unknown town at 1:00 am. Honey said, “I’ve never been so happy to lie down,” followed by a knock on the door and, “We are sorry sir, but this parking lot closed at 12.” I loath to admit that honey begged to stay, but there just might have been a little pleading involved… to no avail.

We found a nearby parking lot in a supermarket and it seemed the best place for desperately sleepy people to stay. Sleep for me seemed elusive, though I must have drifted off at some point, as I awoke to the sounds of opening and closing car doors, and loud profane voices edging ever closer to our camper.

I opened the window shade a smidge at 4 am, only to find two sketchy seeming characters examining our dirt bike rather closely. They appeared to be checking out the straps securing the bike from about 6 inches away. Not sure what to do, I whipped open the shade, resulting in saucer eyes followed by a rapid retreat.

Meanwhile honey continued to enjoy his slumber. I put a rapid end to that situation and we headed out right away. Finding nowhere else to stop, we made it to Sonora, at the base of Yosemite National at 5:30 am. We found a perfect Walmart, then slept pretty much all day in that parking lot. We found a campground on the internet and booked it for that afternoon, provisioned ourselves at Walmart (I always try to patronize when we stay for a protracted time), and went to the 49er RV Ranch. During the gold rush this campground was a working farm that let 49ers stay. So it’s essentially been a campground for over 150 years.

The campground was hokey and wonderful all at the same time. Sonora is just beautiful. After our campground, we stayed on our niece’s little farm. We had garden fresh veggies at dinner and farm fresh eggs to take on our way. We really didn’t want to leave… until we found out their dogs had been vaccinated against rattle snake bites. That’s a thing?!

Next stop… the Pacific North West at long last.

Grape arbor at the farm

Love all the wind energy

Highway 101

After four days we tore ourselves away from So Cal. We thoroughly enjoying the family visits, art, views, and cuisine. The next brief stop, Santa Barbara, is another city that essentially outlawed recreational vehicles. My friend from there tells me that RV’s ended up taking over the city at one point, clogging every roadway, making driving difficult and turning out of driveways precarious. Okay, okay, we get it, we know when we’re not wanted!

We headed north to a campground in Buellton. I don’t know how to pronounce it, but they seem to cater to campers there. We found the Flying Flags RV Resort & Campground. It’s a bit pricey and offers a lot, including a little cafe, activities, and restaurants within walking distance.

We drove all day the next day, and enjoyed so many views along the way. Next stop, Los Altos, to have dinner with an old high school friend. The friend isn’t actually old, only the friendship. It’s basic friend math.

Nobody Parks in LA

Finally, we made it to the other coast. Southern California offers the the highest highs and the lowest lows. You’ll find the art, the traffic, the unique food, the palm trees, the dreamers, the crowding, the endless treats for the eyes, the sunshine, and many, many people sleeping rough among the plenty.

Sometimes we feel our hearts belong to this happy place. On the other hand, this part of California is not RV friendly AT ALL. So many people live in campers here that many of the communities created laws against anything greater a certain length parking overnight. In Santa Monica, where we stayed with family, we discovered that RV parking is not allowed ANYWHERE. A system exists for home owners to request a short term permit to park an RV on the street for a few days, but that ship had sailed.

We spent hours looking for a campground or storage facility. My dear husband even walked into an impound lot to ask if they might allow us to leave it there for a couple days. We tried the airport which approved an overnight parking permit, but would not allow a vehicle to take up more than one space. I know most of you won’t find this shocking, but the LA area does not generally offer open RV campgrounds spaces in July. The planners, happily parked at those campgrounds, were all set for a stay months in advance. We like spontaneity, and accept that the more densely populated places don’t always accommodate spontaneous. Our joy comes with a price.

Fortunately my cousin’s large driveway fit the camper. Sadly her electric car, which charges in the driveway, did not fit with the RV there. We spent much time driving the camper down the street to LA, where it could be briefly parked, in daylight hours, for just long enough to charge that ecologically minded vehicle.

With the parking problem more or less solved, we attempted to visit some of our favorite places. Once again we found going nearly anywhere in the city to be frustrating, if not impossible. Yes, you can drive around, just don’t try to stop or park. We rented a car for a couple days to give us access to the city. That helped us enjoy Venice, Pacific Palisades, Malibu and more!

Even the shadows shine

A massive disco ball on the balcony? Yes, you CAN see that in Venice

Many royal pathways

Just another day, walking the cat, in paradise

Street art is everywhere