For several months we planned for our 15-day road trip. It all started as a possible trip to Mammoth Lakes, California, to participate in the Mammoth Gran Fondo road bike annual event, then it evolved from there. “You can’t go to California and not go to wine country… While we are in northern California, let’s visit the Oregon coast.” And so it began this epic road trip plan; 3,342 miles, 4 states, and wonderful new experiences!
We both still work, so vacations have to be well planned to maximize our available time off. Sometimes I think I plan too much but it’s difficult not to plan things out. I did not plan activities, just the locations and our camping spots since we tow our RPod, travel-trailer. Our hotel on wheels! While we don’t mind boon-docking, it’s easier to know we have a spot to stay the night. And, with more and more people adopting the RV lifestyle, good camping spots are sometimes hard to find if not booked in advance.
First spot was Mammoth Lakes, California. Small ski town, high in the eastern Sierras surrounded by several lakes and beautiful alpine scenery. Husband participated in the one-day, 70-mile Gran Fondo, with a finish time of 4 hours and 41 minutes. I was right there taking photos. They had a beautiful day to ride through some great scenery.
We choose June Lake, Oh Ridge Campground, just outside (13 miles) of Mammoth Lakes, for our base-camp. This was the perfect spot for our 4 days stay while we explored the area. We golfed at Sierra Star Golf Course; nice mountain course right in Mammoth. A bit pricey, but the course was beautiful. Since we were this close to Yosemite NP, we decided to go; my first time. We were going to leave early and head to Napa, but glad we ended up extending our stay and taking the trip over. Also glad we drove over on a Monday. Can’t imagine the park in the summer or weekends; it was crowded enough. Just beautiful!
Next stop, wine country! We explored Napa Valley; mainly from Calistoga to St. Helena. Experienced some great food in Calistoga. Loved the wineries we visited and the people we met.
Favorite restaurants in Calistoga: Best pizza – Bosko’s Trattoria; Great After Dinner Spot – Napa Valley Brewing Co. outside patio; Mexican – Pacifico!
Wineries we visited: Markham Vineyards; Beringer Vineyards; V. Sattui; Louis M. Martini Winery; Frog’s Leap Winery. There were a few others we would have loved to visit, but we ran out of time. We will just have to return, soon!
The next leg of our trip took us up hwy 101 to the Humboldt Redwoods, then up the coast to Brookings, Oregon. We stayed at Harris Beach State Park, where we met up with some friends from Colorado. This was definitely another spot we would have loved to stay for at least 3 or 4 more days. Beautiful sunsets over the Pacific Ocean.
As we traveled east through southern Oregon, we were all very surprised to drive past fields and fields of hemp. It seems the crop is a popular one with Oregon farmers. Who knew!
Lessons learn: next time, going to focus on a particular area, not multi-state attractions. More time to spend in one particular spot. I think we need to return to Oregon, especially the coast. Have you been? What area would you recommend visiting?
For now, we stored our travel trailer for the winter, or until the snow melts in northern Colorado. We stay put for a bit and enjoy our winter activities in the mountains.