By Maggie -- Sep 13, 2014
"California, here we come... Right back where we started from..."
My mom called and sang this song to me over the phone before we crossed the border. I had forgotten about it, and it felt strange to hear it again in this context. It's amazing to think we're in the home stretch now.... It feels like this vagabond-roadie life that we live is our normal, everyday life. With only three weeks to go, we're mentally prepping ourselves for our return to freeway gridlock doom... How in hell will we do it?
For now we've decided to stick to the coast as we've heard that there are fires in Yosemite and the drought has dried out most of the state of California. The coast is partly foggy, partly sunny but still very green. Blackberries are on their way out, but we collected a few for blackberry pancakes tomorrow morning. We're soaking in all of this green and taking big long deep breaths of fresh ocean air. The next two weeks will include time at Fort Bragg, Point Reyes, San Francisco, Santa Cruz (of course!), Big Sur, Morro Bay and Solvang/Santa Barbara. Back when we were dating, maybe three years ago or so, we took a trip to San Francisco and stopped at some of my favorite points along the coast. It was absolutely magical and also during the fall season, so we're both looking forward to seeing these places again. Also, it's Ryan's birthday and we're going to celebrate by going out to a nice dinner in San Francisco! We have a lot to look forward to.
We stopped in Crescent City so I could work a little bit and so we could find a place to stay near the giant redwoods. We found a small campground outside of the park called Florence Keller Park, and camped for $15/night. It's quite the hidden gem. Camping inside the State Park was $35/night! That amount is crazy expensive to us now. We didn't realize how pricey camping in California is in comparison to the rest of the country. There are also way less free campgrounds in CA than most other states. It's disappointing but we'll make it work. There are always Walmarts and Casinos...
So maybe you're wondering... can we afford $35/night? Yes, we can. But we look at camping differently now. We're pretty self-sufficient. We know how to find drinking water at fire stations, gas stations, etc to fill up our water tank. We run our lights and water pump off of solar panels, and use our propane tanks to cook with. We don't need most luxuries that campgrounds usually offer and charge ridiculous amounts for. So if we don't need these things, it makes it painful for us to have to pay for them.
I plan on writing more about this later, but I do want to mention now that this trip has taught us a HUGE lesson. You can live perfectly well with very little stuff. You hear it all the time, right? Less is more. Try living in a 15-foot trailer for 5 months. It really changes your perspective on what you REALLY need in your life. We've seen so many folks who are on the road full-time living with the bare minimum. They're living and they're happy. Our challenge will be when we come home and have to put everything in our storage space back into our house. Will we even want any of it anymore?