When Pacific Northwest skies turn grey, it’s easy to dream of blue skies and sunshine. When April hit this year, it was time to jump on the road and head south (from Washington) in search of the quintessential California experience. 17 days, roughly 2,100 miles, and more smiles than I can count later, we’re back in our Bavarian home already planning more grand trips in our gorgeous new InTech Sol Horizon! Read on to hear Seattle Maven’s experiences ON THE ROAD!

Loved these little recycled fishes from BOLD Coffee in Long Beach!

The trip began just as the PNW rains came. We began with a two-night stay in one of my favorite spots in the state – the Long Beach Peninsula. As expected, despite a torrent of rain, the area did not disappoint. From a tasty dinner at The Lost Roo, to our Harvest Host accommodations at the Willapa Bay Heritage Farm, to coffee and shopping at local hotspots like BOLD at the Beach, my internal sunshine was fully ablaze! I even picked up a couple of cute mascots which are now full-time residents in our Rover.

Although Oregon was a bit of a blur (think endless miles of wet roads and non-stop rain), a welcome respite came at our accommodations for the night: Coos Bay’s The Mill Casino with next-door RV park (casino and RV park operated by the Coquille Indian Tribe). The park was perfect with nicely-spaced spots, full hookups, and the ease of calling a shuttle to pick us up trailer-side for a trip over to the casino’s restaurant. Attendants were friendly, food was tasty, and sleep came easy after a long day on the road.

Not to many miles down the road, just across the border into California, was Sue-Meg (pronounced Sue May) State Park. I’d made reservations months in advance, and found the last spot available – which ended up being really spacious, and just steps from the beach trail access. The views from the bluff just across from where we camped were stunning – looking north across a massive cove. The area – originally part of the Yurok tribe’s native lands – are stunning everywhere you look. Their people have lived in the area for generations in a temperate climate with an abundance of wildlife. Originally, the Yurok people built longhouses – much as the Coast Salish in my area did – and (similarly) reaped much and gleaned an incredible sustenance from the redwood trees and abundant salmon.

Every trip has the potential of a hiccup along the way, and ours was no exception. No, it wasn’t the crazy-winding road of Highway 1 from Leggett to the Mendocino Coast (that I’ll truly never forget!), but instead our overnight stay at Kaspar Beach outside of Fort Bragg. The town itself lacked much personality. The accommodations for our little Rover were unbelievably tight (imagine stepping out your front door and being just steps away from your neighbor). While the views of Kaspar Beach just across the beach were lovely, the stay at Kaspar Beach Resort were anything but that.

Our little Rover tucked away for the night in Bodega Bay Regional Park

We were quick to get back on the road the next morning with our sights set on Bodega Bay – practically throwing distance from San Francisco. The moment we pulled into the park I noticed an interesting theme with fiberglass-bodied trailers everywhere. Apparently, unbeknownst to me, there was a fiberglass trailer enthusiasts group meetup going on. Of course, with our unique InTech Sol Horizon, we had plenty of park guests interested in taking a look inside our Rover – and I even got a few fun tours of other trailers like the Escape. The most memorable part of our Bodega Bay experience, however, was found at Terrapin Creek Cafe. Just WOW! I’ve always been a huge fan of food that’s local and fresh, and Terrapin brings this concept in the most beautiful way! From oysters to scallops, I found myself in a dreamland of fresh seafood and impeccable service.

Next up, just south of San Fran (and a fun drive over the Golden Gate Bridge, of course!), was our home for day nights at Francis Beach on Half Moon Bay. Views? Check! Food? Youbetcha! This spot has just about everything you’d need from horseback riding, beach combing, and a decent array of restaurants. Although it was a busy weekend and the park was full, we loved the vibe and really got a sense of what the Cali experience is all about. We met great people, enjoyed barefoot walks on sandy beaches, and noshed our way up and down the bay.

Mere seconds before a catastrophic picnic table failure which resulted in everything you see in this photo being dumped into the dirt below. Definitely the low-point of the trip, but I’ll check every picnic table moving forward.

Less than an hour drive south was our last coastal stay at New Brighton State Beach just outside of Santa Cruz. The park sits high on a bluff with gorgeous views out onto the Pacific. The overall park vibe was really quiet and chill, which was a perfect respite after our first week on the road. Nearby, we found all of the ingredients locally for a big bowl of cioppino at our beautiful campsite. The park itself is situated on a huge bluff overlooking Monterey Bay just north of Santa Cruz. The closest town is filled with restaurants, shopping, farmers markets, and plenty to keep you busy for days.

Y’all know this girl *loves* her eggs Benedicts, right? Silky hollandaise, local ham, and a fresh cup of coffee made for a memorable breakfast!

Next up? The Napa Valley! We spent two nights in American Canyon, directly south of Napa, at a Dan Dan Farm. Along with fabulous estate-grown olive oil, the views from this spot were absolutely epic! Within a short drive we found delicious eggs Benedict (of course!) at Boon Fly Cafe, and revisited B.R. Cohn’s tasting room and next-door olive oil tasting/gift shop. With views like these, it was tough to pull-stakes and begin the trek back home to the north.

Harvest Hosts makes it easy to schedule a quick overnight (they limit stays to just one night) at breweries, wineries and farmsteads. Just west of Orland, California, was the Raging Bull Winery. Just our luck, they had a lakeside spot waiting for us, and we got a welcome that felt a little like it was from Texas!

Now’s the time to queue all the weed jokes you’ve got! We spent a memorable overnight at Mt. Shasta Brewing in Weed, California. Although it was intended as a quick overnight, the views of Mount Shasta were stellar, their beer was fantastic, food was delicious, and they had (unbeknownst to us) live music! After settling in for the night, I prepared myself for the long drive home from there – knowing it was just a quick stop at Columbia Hills State Park (on the Columbia Gorge portion of the Columbia River) before returning to my mountain retreat in Leavenworth. What a fun surprise to find gorgeous petroglyphs, a tiny, tucked-away campground (with stellar camp hosts!), for the final night.

2,100+ miles later, a sunburn, and memories that’ll last a lifetime are all that are left from this epic 17-day trip with our InTech Sol Horizon Rover trailer, and I can’t wait for the next trip in less than a month to Lopez Island! Have any suggestions in the area? I’m always a sponge when it comes to ideas!

And of course, like most of my trips, just over an hour from home I made a quick stop at my favorite delicious spot in the Yakima Canyon – Canyon River Grill – to get a healthy helping of chef Kevin’s delicious fare!

Written by

Seattle Maven

Former concierge, frequent bruncher, forever pug-lover, animated talker, wandering hiker, enthusiastic traveler, authentic writer and hollandaise fan.
Join me in my travels locally (Seattle & PNW) and throughout the world!