The Road North Beckons ~ Week Two

Our fantastic road-trip with Dave & Anne continued into week two. We pulled away from Paso Robles and enjoyed a stunning drive back to the Pacific in Monterey. The forecast was iffy but our luck held with sunshine and clear skies.

Our two nights in Monterey were about regrouping. After lots of hiking, exploring, and traveling about it was nice to simply hit up Costco and the grocery, wander the dunes outside of camp, and spend time hanging out together.

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But the road pulled us ever onward. Our next stop was Lodi for more wine tasting but we knew we couldn’t pass up a chance to stop for a brief visit to see Dave’s family en-route. Jessie’s Grove was yet another Harvest Host find that we called home for the night in their lush, grass pasture conveniently located behind the tasting room.

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After some good wine and good conversation, we headed out to M2 for some additional tastings. This eclectic, modern winery was a super dog and human-friendly winery and offered up some great wines. Lodi is famous for their old vine Zinfandel, one of our favorites, and the peculiar vines piqued our interest. Growing with no means of support, and appearing more than dead, the idea that they can produce such amazing harvests is a testament to the power of mother nature.

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That evening was capped off by the arrival of some of Dave’s cousins who live in the area. A festive dinner under the stars, sitting in a grass field behind a winery, was a nearly perfect example of why we love our crazy, random life. Even two weeks ago who could have predicted it?

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Sadly, the next day we said adios to Lodi to hit scenic highway 101 towards the coast. The forecast was dreary and yet the rain did hold off until after happy hour at the equally dreary campground in Garberville. This place, like so many we have experienced, either was once wonderful or has the potential to be wonderful and yet no one is currently investing the time, and yes money, to bring it to its full potential.  No worries, we had dinner makings, plenty of wine, and good conversation ahead.

Alas, we woke to a downpour and after the most expensive yet worst breakfast sandwich known to man, we continued north and were greeted by sun and clear skies as we crossed the border into Oregon. Dave and Anne had not yet experienced Harris Beach State Park, one of our favorites, and it certainly was a treat to have clear weather for the evening before the expected rain at dinnertime. Luckily, Yahtzee is as fun in the camper in the rain as around the campfire. Note: excellent wine aids in the overall enjoyment.

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Another one night stay had us pushing ever north. We left Brookings and made our way up the winding spectacular Hwy 101 further into Oregon with South Beach State Park our final destination.

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It’s been nearly 7 years since we all camped this beach together. The years have brought heartache and undeniable change, but our bond is as strong as ever. We were blessed with SPECTACULAR weather. Anyone who has camped the Oregon coast knows that even summer season offers no guarantee for clear skies. To find 60degrees and sun in March is remarkably lucky.

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We wandered the beach and tasted whiskey and beer at Rogue before experiencing one of our crazy random meetings with some friends from the past that we haven’t seen in two decades. So goes our life. We simply never know when and where such a serendipitous meeting shall occur.  A remarkable scene over the Newport waterfront on our way to a delicious dinner at Local Oceans Seafood was truly a fitting final evening.

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Saturday morning dawned bright and clear and talk turned to spending one more night at camp before returning to Portland but the prospect of work for them and family time for us drew us back. The week that followed found us spending time with so many of our very favorite people. Dinner with Ron & Dario, lunch with my brother Warren and my great sis-in-law Julie, happy hour with Dana, and an epic 6-hour pub crawl around Edgefield with Mike & Lisa.

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Our final week in Oregon was filled with family visits and camper prep before we, once again, headed south. This time to the Sierra Nevada’s for our summer base.  Our two weeks with dear friends was an incredible time which will forever remain with us.

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Now sitting in an extremely scenic spot along the Feather River, it is only right to reflect on how incredibly special and blessed we are. Our atypical lifestyle has afforded us the opportunity to travel far and wide, to have an amazing network of friends all around the world, and lead a life of adventure and discovery.

When we first returned from backpacking around the world in 2008 some good friends gave us a welcome home card that said: ” I hope your curiosity has been satisfied”. All we can say is never. Our curiosity creates magic.

NOTE: Once again, many of these photos are from Anne’s cell phone, including the unbelievable photo of the Newport Harbor!

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