But just like anything else in life, as soon as we start moving, our excitement and energy build. And as we settle into our traveling rhythm, we’re happy that we’re once again embarking on a cross-country adventure.
Not everyone who travels fulltime makes the journey all the way across the country and back each year. (If you don’t have to, I’d say don’t.) Everyone’s style of travel is different, and ours looks like it does because we want to spend time each year with our family and friends on the west coast and with my folks in Florida.
Yes, we could fly for our visits instead of hauling ourselves and our RV across the country. It might come to that in future years. But we like having our home with us wherever we go, we enjoy revisiting favorite places as we cross the country, and we look forward to the new discoveries that we make each year in our travels. It helps a lot that we give ourselves a full three months to travel across the country. Even though we often wish that we had “just a bit more time” when we come across a particularly interesting locale, we’ve settled on a reasonably relaxed pace of spending 3-5 days most places and driving no more than 200 miles on a traveling day.
Just before Thanksgiving, we began our journey with a trip down the California coast, visiting three places that we’ve been before and wanted to return to.
Point Reyes, CA
We spent a few days in Point Reyes in spring of 2015 and loved it. We were happily anticipating a three-day stay over Thanksgiving weekend in this picturesque national seashore that also happens to be a gourmet paradise. As it turned out, the photogenic lighthouse was closed for repairs (and the cool trail leading to it), our favorite restaurant was taking a vacation break, and a wild day-long rainstorm turned our campsite into a lakefront property.
Time to regroup. We found different trails to hike, ate oysters and drank beer at an outdoor oyster bar in lieu of our gourmet going-out-to-dinner plan, and were happy that the “lake” in front of our trailer didn’t submerge our little home.
Point Reyes National Seashore is still one of the most beautiful places we’ve visited in our travels. If you’re interested in more details on the many hiking opportunities and other fun things to do in the area, check out our post from 2015 here: Serene and Wild Point Reyes.
Click on any photo for a slideshow
Pinnacles National Park
Our last visit to Pinnacles National Park was also in the spring of 2015. This is one of the best places in the country to see the California Condor, and since we didn’t see them last time, we wanted to try again. Plus, we really enjoy the hiking trails here, especially the 7-mile trail that tunnels through Bear Gulch Cave and climbs to the High Peaks Loop.
The pinnacles glow reddish gold in the early morning and late afternoon. It’s a place of peaceful beauty, broken only by the haunting calls of California Quail, the squawking of Stellar’s Jays, and the loud waka-waka-waka of the Acorn Woodpecker. Those guys are busy! We came across several woodpecker granaries, where the birds drill shallow holes into trees and stash thousands of acorns for their winter food supply.
Although there were few other people on the trails, we were happy to meet up with Shannon and Ken, fellow full-time travelers and nature lovers who regaled us with tales of their up-close encounters with the condors. Alas, we weren’t quite so fortunate. But we did have plenty of opportunities to see them roosting and soaring from a distance.
San Luis Obispo
We were looking forward to returning to El Chorro Regional Park Campground, just outside of San Luis Obispo. This is one of our favorite areas on the central California coast, and we’ve spent quite a bit of time here over the years enjoying the interesting town of San Luis Obispo, nearby Morro Bay (and kayaking with the adorable sea otters that reside here), and exploring the gorgeous coastline.
It rained the three days we were there, all day and all night. That’s why it’s good to visit places more than once. We did nothing more than walk the miles of muddy trails in the county park, including the pretty botanical garden. Our best discovery of this trip was The Vegetable Butcher, a wonderful place for a cozy and delicious lunch in San Luis.
If you’re interested in things to do in and around this area during better weather, check out our post here: The Central California Coast: Monterey, Morro Bay, and Ojai. This is definitely a place that deserves more than one visit!