Thanksgiving, and being thankful.

It was that day again, and I hope you had a good one. Lily and I enjoyed some quality time with our good friends in Northern California. The weather was great, the wine was perfect, and the food was delicious. We couldn’t have asked for a better visit, and we are most thankful for that.

Before we get to Thanksgiving, we need to wrap up our time in Humboldt Country and continue south away from the Redwoods and the Pacific Ocean to be the guests of a few fantastic Harvest Hosts along the way.

Mendocino County

Our first stop after the 3.5 hour drive down US 101 was in Ukiah at Nelson Family Vineyards. During check-in, I tasted and of course bought some wine, and also picked up the ingredients to assemble a homemade campsite charcuterie plate. It was all delicious.

Parked along the vineyard near the Tasting Room. It was nice to get out of the drivers seat.

The dedicated RV parking was about 2 miles off the HWY in the middle of a vineyard nestled up against a little canyon. We were the only rig parked that night. It was amazingly quiet, isolated, and very very dark once the sun went to the other side of the world. It was just us and the moon and the stars … and the coyotes.

Lily approves of our overnight location.
The little canyon where the coyotes live.
Lily loved having the whole place to her self so she could roam free.
Full moon shining behind a California Scrub Oak tree. Kind of haunting to be honest, so much so that I got spooked and smacked my face on the awning arm as I panic rushed back into the safety of the Airstream 😂.

Woke up the next morning to abundant sunshine, an energizing cold brew coffee, and a stunning view of the vineyard.

We rolled out around 10 am and got back onto the highway to head over the mountains towards the next Harvest Host destination. Before hitting the road, I stopped at the Tasting Room to say thanks for the wine and hospitality.

Last look at our awesome vineyard experience before leaving.

Corning, CA

I had no idea what to expect when we arrived at the MoonBeam Lavender Farm, but it was the absolute best spot to spend two days and two nights. Btw, did you know that Corning is the olive capital of the world? If you consume an olive from a can, it was likely grown here. That said, there are appropriate opportunities to taste olives and olive oil here.

We checked-in and settled into a area in front of the lavender field. Once leveled out, I promptly started happy hour. With tequila in hand, the owner came around and gave me a tour of the farm as the sun was setting. I forgot how pretty the sunsets are here.

The perfect spot, at dusk, for happy hour, on the farm!
So happy to feel the sunshine on my face! Also, happy hour.

During the tour, I learned that the farm also grows loofah … yup, loofah is a vegetable, then it’s dried and peeled for use in the shower. And, the seeds are harvested for the next crop.

Loofah on the vine.
Picked, dried, and seeded.
This is Lily’s chair, I have a matching one!
Stunning sunset over the valley.

I stocked up on Lavender lotion and Herbs de Provence grilling salts and packed up to leave. Before pulling out, I emailed the owner and thanked her for the hospitality and tour.

Chico, CA

After two perfectly peaceful days and nights on the lavender farm, we headed south to Chico to enjoy Thanksgiving with our very good friends. While together, and before/sometimes-after Turkey day, it’s tradition to celebrate our combined birthdays at Fifth Street Steakhouse, which I did without hesitation!

A Woodford Reserve Manhattan to start.
Celebratory Prime Rib Eye Steak. Delicious!

Then it was Thanksgiving day and time for turkey which is consistently cooked to perfection. It was so good to visit, catch up, hang out, spend time together, eat, drink, get full and sleepy.

Low key Turkey dinner with my favorite people.

Lodi, CA

Leaving Chico behind, we head to our next Harvest Host at M2 Winery in Lodi. I have been a fan and wine club member of this boutique winery for some time. Parking here overnight is a perfect opportunity to stock up on some fantastic Zinfandel before leaving the area for who knows how long.

Parked at M2, the best of the best on The Lodi Wine trail.
Tasting and then buying lots of the 2017 Block Reserve Soucie Zinfandel. Perfectly amazing!!!!
Barrels an barrels of Old Vine Zinfandel. This is Soucie heaven.
Hanging with these people is good for my soul ❤️.
Final sunset for me before leaving California’s Central Valley.
Farewell dinner at Wine and Roses in Lodi.

So, that’s our trip to the Center of California for Thanksgiving. I’m stocked up on wines and ready to hit the road. We are heading back to the Pacific Ocean – next stop is the Central Coast of California.

Before signing off, and in the sprint of Thanksgiving, thanks for reading and taking this journey with us. I feel blessed to be able to have this experience and share it with you.

Talk to you again soon!

Trees, really big trees!

We left Oregon behind us and entered California. The drive down US 101 aka The Redwood Highway was just spectacular – the coastline is absolutely stunning. I’ve driven this route many many times before but it looked so much more beautiful this time. Maybe it’s because I’ve never taken the time to observe and appreciate it. This time was truly different.

I’ve stopped at this pullout many times over the years, it’s one of my favorite beaches on the drive up/down US 101. Lily likes it too.
Driftwood and Sea Stacks.
Took a break here and made some lunch.

We arrived at our next destination near Patricks Point. This place is pretty cool – the space I reserved included a deck and fire pit overlooking a little lake. I need to get some firewood!

All setup just in time for dusk/sunset.
Debating on making a fire, or not.
Happy hour begins!
Reflection of the trees on the little lake. Very peaceful.

Avenue of the Giants

The rain came back and haunted us the first full day in the Redwoods. So, we took the drive thru the Avenue of the Giants and it was pretty spectacular. Once the rain paused, we stopped and did a few trails. The air is simply amazing here. The trees are so peaceful and majestic.

The Avenue of the Giants
Founders Grove Trail
Lily loves the Redwoods.
Trees are really fascinating.
Meandering around fallen giants.

Ferndale, CA

I was craving some local coffee so we drove into the quaint victorian town of Ferndale. What a treasure off the beaten path. It was like a town preserved in time. The cemetery was fascinating as it occupied the entire side of a hill. Apparently, the land was sold to the city in the 1800’s because it was unsuitable for farming.

Victorian houses like this line the streets in Ferndale.
I enjoyed a delicious Pumpkin Spice Chai Tea Latte.
I was exploring the town and randomly discovered the cemetery entrance.
Not to be morbid, but this is a stunning cemetery.
This monument sat in a graveyard with head stones dating back to 1888.

Trinidad, CA

Next day, we explored the seaside town of Trinidad and did a hike up and around the lighthouse. It was an amazing sunny day!

This is Trinidad!
The old Trinidad Head Light.
Lily taking in the view of the Trinidad Pier.
Taking a break at the top of the hike.
Trinidad State Beach from the trail.
Had to stop here and get a Coconut Macaroon Latte. Came back later to get a quart of Clam Chowder and Garlic Bread. It was all delicious.
Most homes in Trinidad have this view of the Pacific Ocean.

Lady Bird Johnson Grove

We took a drive north to Orick, CA to check out the famous Lady Bird Johnson Grove of Redwoods. The 2.5 mile drive up Bald Hills Road to the parking area was windy, bumpy, and narrow. The 1.5 mile trail loop went along the crest of the mountain so you get to see the tops of some distant trees. I was surrounded by the most luscious fern foliage and majestic trees. This place is truly special.

The LBJ grove Trail.
Pausing to appreciate the abundance of Coastal Redwood Ferns.
I thought this tree had amazing detail.
The Lady Bird Johnson Grove dedication site.
A seat, to sit and ponder, and listen to the sounds of the forest.

Redwood Creek Beach

After departing Lady Bird Johnson, we made a quick stop at the Redwood Creek Beach because the sun came back out and the beach was just too beautiful.

Trying to get a pic but Lily was busy digging a hole in the sand.

Back at the Airstream, I opened a bottle of Oregon Pinot and settled in for the night. The days in the forest are sunny and warm but the nights are cold and frosty.

Sticking to some Seattle routines like watching World News every night.
The artwork is an original piece by my friend Sharon Hartwell of Brookings, Oregon.

As we get ready to hitch up and hit the road to our next destination, here’s one last look at our pretty awesome camping spot near the Redwoods.

In other news, I’m happy and proud report that I am backing up my Airstream completely manually and nailing it every time. I wasn’t able to get the truck computer to recognize the target sticker so I’m not using the Ford Pro Trailer Backup Assist to get the Airstream into RV spaces. I messed around with it for a while but then said screw it I need to learn how to do this anyway, so, I took on the challenge and learned how to backup a trailer. YouTube helped a lot!!!

Next, we head over the hills and inland to visit friends for Thanksgiving. Along the way we will hit a few wineries and stock up on some old vine favorites.

Oregon Coast, part 2.

Lily and I wrapped up our soggy yet amazing time in Yachats. Our last day was actually dry for a few hours so I rushed over to see the Devils Churn before it started raining again. I parked my big truck in the tiny parking lot and headed down the trail towards the ocean. I was the only vehicle in the lot and completely alone on the trail – so nice!

The boardwalk meandered down a cliff to arrive at a volcanic rock ledge where you can scramble around like a crab trying to get the best picture or video as the water breaks and bashes the rock.

At the bottom, the ocean roared and rolled into the volcanic rock churn. It was really mesmerizing and strangely peaceful.

The next day, we unplugged, hitched up, and headed south escaping the PNW vortex and arrived in the banana belt of the southern Oregon Coast. It’s really nice to be in 60/65F weather for a change. From here on out, I’ll be enjoying sunnier fall weather and less wetness as we continue down the West Coast.

So, this week, we are staying adjacent to friends in the town of Brookings – literally, parked in a vacant lot next to their house.

Dusk in Brookings, Oregon.

This is our first time 100% dry camping so I’m putting the solar and Li-Ion batteries to the test. Also, I’m learning how long I can go on the Airstream tanks (fresh/grey/black) before running out/filling up. So far, I’m using more fresh water than I am wasting water. I estimate I can go about 5 days on 39 gallons of fresh water. This is living sort-of conservatively – daily military style showers. So far, so good. Based on my usage, I will surely run out of water before ever running out of power. No complaints so far – I’m really loving Airstream life and learning how things work and how long I can be self sufficient. It’s beyond cool being able to pick a destination, drive there, and park with all the comforts of home.

Moonlight and Fog during happy hour!
First bottle of wine opened in the Airstream! Appropriately, it’s an Oregon Pinot.

The coastline here is much less dramatic for weather but stunningly unique by geography and geology. Again, it’s just really nice to be away from the rain and humidity of the drenched PNW.

T-shirt and shorts weather in November.

As promised, I’m making it a point to patronize local businesses. Saturday luncheon consisted of $5 Bloody Marys with halibut fish & chips at The Porthole Cafe in Gold Beach.

It’s a spicy bloody and there’s a bridge in the background.
Let’s be honest, fish & chips are just a vehicle for tarter sauce. Right?

I visited a great little coffee spot in the Brookings Harbor … their Maple Bar Breve Latte is a super delicious diet killer. I had one every morning!

For our last two days in Brookings, we moved from the vacant lot to an ocean front RV park with full hookups. I did some laundry and took a few nice long showers while hooked up to water and sewer. And, enjoyed the sounds of the waves crashing all night and all day.

Perfect ocean front space!
Off season camping – almost had the whole beach to myself.
House warming gift from my Oregon friends! The travel tumbler and the Johnnie Walker.
Perfect sunset from the Brookings Beachfront RV Park.

The waves crashed all night and the moon was really bright when I took Lily out for her bedtime walk. Didn’t have my phone with me so missed the pic, but the next morning we woke up to abundant sunshine and surf.

Morning view as I publish this blog!
Made my lunch on the beach!

The Oregon coastline is supremely spectacular and I know we will be back soon and often.

Well, the first full week of Airstream life is complete and all is very well. I couldn’t be more thrilled with this new chapter of life and my decision to travel and go places.

Tomorrow we say goodbye to Brookings and head south into California to begin experiencing the Redwoods and all the wonders of Humboldt County.

Talk to you soon!

Oregon Coast, part 1.

The Oregon Coast is stunningly beautiful. From the top where it touches Washington all the way to the bottom where it attaches to (or tries to detach from) California. Literally, the entire coast is gorgeous. If you’ve been here then you know!

Before we can get there, Lily and I need to pickup the Airstream in Portland where the month long upfit project is finally completed. I’ll blog about that and do a proper photo tour later.

We started our journey from Oregon City where we spent a Harvest Host night at Trail Distilling. It was the perfect way to kick off our first trip – tasting delicious Gin and Whiskey and devouring a smash burger from the Queen Chili food truck.

Trillium Gin aged for months in wet and dry Pino Wine Barrels. Was like no other Gin I’ve tasted. Really really good!
The best Texas style chili, chili cheese fries, and deluxe smash burger I’ve had in a while. So delicious, I forgot to take a pic before I devoured it.

After gleefully patronizing the distillery with a moderate purchase of Whiskey and Gin, I started moving into and setting up the Airstream for living. Once the bedroom was configured, Lily claimed her spot and watched me unpack the rest.

The next morning we headed off to the coast. It was about a 3 hour drive with a few scenic stops along the way. The best part about dragging your home behind you is being able to pull over anywhere and make something to eat or use the bathroom, with a view!

Along the Oregon Coast Highway – US 101

We arrived in Yachats (pronounced “yaw-hots”) and got all setup just in time for the first of several dramatic rain storms that pounded the top of the Airstream like hail. It was pretty cool. Sea Perch RV Resort is the best of the best. I’ve been informed that every RV park I select after this one will hugely disappoint in comparison.

Nice wide RV space for my first time backing in. I got it perfect on the first try. Thanks YouTube!
I was the only Airstream in the park.
Our view from space #13.

Between the coastal rain storms and thrilling wind gusts, we did some exploring and hiked up the trail to the Haceta Lighthouse.

Stopped for a quick selfie along the trail.
Leading the way along the lighthouse trail.

After the lighthouse, we checked out Oregon Dunes State Park which I’ve driven past many times over the years but never took the time to stop. I parked the truck and took a cute little trail to the top.

Next, we head to Old Town Florence for some coffee and a donut. One important habit I want to adopt during my travels is supporting local businesses in the places I visit. I spotted this cool coffee place as I was driving around so I stopped in for a Blackjack latte and old fashioned, both house specialities according to Yelp! I got some in-house roasted beans for the road.

River Roasters – Florence, Oregon
River view, donut and a BJ.

Back at the home base to cook up my first homemade dinner in the Airstream. Then it was time for Lily and I to relax and get caught up on some Apple TV+.

Roasted chicken turned out perfect thanks to the Instant Pot Duo Crisp that bakes and air fries in addition to pressure cooking.
Chill out time, just like at home in Seattle.

Soon we will pull out of this perfect oceanfront RV park and continue south down the coast to meetup and spend time with friends before heading into California to see and smell the Redwoods. More pics and story to come in Oregon Coast, part 2. Stay tuned!