Monday, November 20, 2017

travelogue: Roadtrip to California

What do you do when you promised your spouse that Europe 2015 would be the last big international voyage for a long while, because of jet fuel, carbon footprint, and airport anxiety?

You wait two years. Finish a Masters. Announce a celebratory trip is owed. Compromise by getting into the car with sleeping bags, a cooler, long johns, and head down the coast to California instead.

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Timing: August. The day after your husband finishes a stressful, frenzied 5 week summer school stint. Wildfires will have ravaged the interior, the sky will have been a weird grey-lavender for weeks, and you will feel grateful to put miles in between you and the BC apocalyptic horizon.

Itinerary: 18 days, with a bit in Washington upfront, and then the rest spilt evenly between Oregon and California. We stayed on the 101 to stare at the Pacific ocean for as much as we could. Majority of the time is spent in campgrounds that have been booked well in advance -- not so romantic or spontaneous, but beats being worried about where we're going to lay our heads at night. Two nights on a proper bed to break up the drive, as this woman is 6 months pregnant and FEELING it.

Packing: He and I have camped together for the past 8+ years of our relationship. After all these adventures, we finally invested in some comforts for this journey:

1) A sleek double burner Primus stove
2) A queen sized thermarest and a double sleeping bag for optimal cuddling / warmth
3) Actual camping plates / bowls ( vs. random tin lids)
4) A car stereo and Spotify subscription for playlists and all the music (vs. our very scratched CDs)

I know all this is like... duh? to you. But it was new to us since we have subsisted on his early 20's camping gear for years. Adult Purchases are so great!

Favourite campsite(s):

Tilicum Beach campground, just north of Yachats, Oregon. Taking our plates of dinner down the stairs to the beach for sunset was so pretty.

Pheiffer Big Sur campground. We did one night by a babbling creek, and one night staring up at the giant Redwoods and stars while we listened to an audio book by the fire.


The huge rattle snake that crossed our path and hissed at us in Big Sur.

The weird, gaping hole in a tree that Bryan poked at in our campsite at Montana de Oro State park, only to discover that it was a giant nest of big, black spiders and all their legs.

Free camping overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, that I scored by calling a month in advance (Bicentennial State park).

The adventure that is marriage + driving almost 4,000 km together when you're hot and lost and maybe dehydrated.

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Day 1 - 3: Deception Pass WA, short stop in Seattle, this super cool spot along the Columbia River, and Astoria WA

Recommend: NOT getting stuck in 1-5 traffic getting into or out of Seattle on a weekend, and Buoy Beer Co. for great burgers and sea lions underneath your feet

🚗   Day 4 - 7: Cannon Beach OR, Yachats OR, and Humbolt State Park OR

Recommend:  Yachats Brewing for their Brisket sandwich and ferments, and Thor's Well.

🚗    Day 8 - 10: Redding CA, and San Francisco CA, Bicentennial Campground

Recommend: The podcast Revisionist's History by Malcolm Gladwell and Beautiful Anonymous by Chris Gethard (as there will be nothing to see for the hours of inland driving to 38℃ Redding), and
Outerlands for brunch in San Francisco

🚗  Day 11 - 15: Big Sur CA, Pheiffer Big Sur Campground,  and Montana de Oro State Park

Recommend: Pulling over whenever you can to stare at the moody, dramatic Californian coastline

🚗   Day 16- 18: Heading back North! Crazy 6-7 hours of driving to Redding for rest and In 'N Out burgers, then 3 nights of relaxation in Portland 

Recommend: Por Que No for Mexican, and Bollywood Theatre for Indian

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Is a babymoon what you do when baby is earthside, or still in the belly? 

Was this our bellybabymoon?

Now that baby is imminent, I'm dreaming of a Hawaii getaway. If spouse lets us do it, I will be super thrilled -- an earthside babymoon.

For now, these memories serve as a reminder of our last trip that was just the two of us. 

(Just the two of us. Isn't that wild?)


  1. Thanx for this Joann...great photos and evocative WILL travel again, post baby! Love, Karen

  2. Soon, you will bring little Kai back to this place that Mom and I love so much. Remember when we brought you and Joey to Oregon when you were young?