As they always say, beware of the best laid plans! Heading south, with a campsite in our sights, we instead ended up on plan C.
Our initial, and admittedly loose, plan was to hit Baja for New Years eve. Instead, we’re barely south of San Francisco. When we left Fortuna, we had our minds set on getting to a spot just north of the city. But oh, the universe had other plans for us. Jim, feeling the worst he had since we left home, dozed in the passenger seat as I made endless 20mph turns on the Redwood Highway. When it looked like we were still a couple hours from camp I made the executive decision to stop earlier and get him to bed to get healthy. LOL, little did we know that decision added many miles and an even later arrival time!,
In a quick search we found a campground with excellent reviews, set just outside of Anderson Valley. The road from Ukiah was 16miles of hairpin curves, with 15mph warnings in abundance.. Thin lanes with no shoulder were flanked by a steep drop off into the valley below. My shoulders were feeling the tension as I merely thanked the lord that neither we, nor the black dogs, get car sick!
Jim slouched in his seat, barely hanging on, sneezing more with every passing minute. Imagine our surprise to turn the final curve down the mountain to find the Anderson Valley Brewing Company. Amazingly enough, the site of the brewery that makes our favorite bourbon barrel stout, caused a miraculous recovery in my dear husband. We grabbed the growler and headed in, intent on filling up some magic brew for the evening at camp only to find that our growler, at a generic 64ounces, was too SMALL. Too small? Okay, seems that in California they have to get a specific license to fill growlers of different sizes.
Okay then, since we were there we decided to treat ourselves to a stout. In chatting with the bartender, we next discovered our second bad news. He also worked at the campground we had been aiming for and it was closed due to flooding. Damn El Nino. She was not making our journey south an easy one to be sure.
But, no worries, we have no timeline to speak of and are flexible. After getting some alternate campsite ideas from the staff we prepared to hit the road, It would seem that the friendly staff of Anderson Valley brewing must get their share of not so nice patrons. When he bemoaned the fact that he’d given us still more bad news I said “hey, now we just have more options”. He was taken aback and tried to treat us to our beer! Jim now rallying on his second wind, declined the full offer but did let our kindly bartender pay for one of the beers, giving him a big tip for his troubles.
Newly inspired and liquored up, we got back on the road, heading 31 more curvy miles to the beach. I had promised Aspen a walk on the beach that morning, having no idea what our day would bring, and in spite of a so-so camping experience in Caspar, I did get to make good on that promise. With wet, sandy dogs, and a slowly recovering hubby, we spent yet another wet night at camp, having not gotten any further south, but having a damn good time along the way.
The sun and the beaches of Baja are beckoning stronger than ever!