Thursday, April 25, 2013

San Francisco: Biking over the Golden Gate Bridge


All geared up and ready to ride. AACCKKK!!!...was what was going through my mind right now if you're wondering.
Well, when my husband suggested biking across the Golden Gate Bridge, I thought he was kidding. Or crazy. Or both. But he was serious. And he was excited about it. And our 7 year old was excited about it too. And I didn't want to be a stick in the mud. Have I mentioned I'm afraid of heights? Anyway, I swallowed my fear and agreed to go. More realistically, I semi-hid my fear and agreed to go.

San Francisco: Cable cars, Fisherman's Wharf, Ghirardelli Square and the BART


Today was our first whole day in San Francisco! And what a full day it was. We drove to the closest BART Station to our campground and parked the rv for the day there. We can easily fit into one parking space, but they do allow larger rv's to park in multiple spaces (as long as you pay for each spot). We walked into the station and purchased train tickets for the BART. It was kind of confusing, but we eventually sorted it out and got on the correct train. Our kids were thrilled to be on a train of any type. I was less than thrilled with the sleeping guy in hospital socks sprawled out on the seat behind us, but none of the regular-looking commuters seemed to pay it any notice, so I tried to just "go with the flow." The majority of passengers appeared to be commuting to work. The kids were excited to watch the sights flash past us, and it was fun to see the colorful San Francisco style houses all over the hilltops on our way to the city.

San Francisco here we come!

We left Big Basin a little reluctantly but were very excited to see San Francisco! Having never stayed in an rv in San Francisco, we relied on internet information to try to find a park close to the city in a (hopefully) safe area.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Banana Slugs, Big Basin Goodbyes, and Brownie Sundaes

It's our last day in Big Basin State Park, and we are all making the most of it. We've been biking around the park, the kids have been exploring all of the hollow trees, and of course discovering the banana slugs. Now I love nature, but even I, was a little taken aback when I first spotted a banana slug. But they are harmless, and actually very beneficial to the forest. Still a little gross looking...dontcha' think? The kids love them!

Big Basin State Park: Biking and Hiking

As usual, we brought our trusty bikes camping with us. I just can't say enough about how much fun we have biking on our trips. I have to add now that I had no idea how much we'd use the bikes on trips. The first time I saw my hubs putting the bike rack on the rv, and getting all of our bikes configured, I thought it would be a big pain in the neck. I didn't know if bringing the bikes would be worth it all. I've never been so glad to have been SO wrong! These babies have brought us hours and hours of fun and allowed us to explore much more than if we were to simply walk everywhere. We often bike to the trailheads, saving our little kids' energy for the hikes.
Our trusty "steeds" all parked and ready to explore Big Basin

Big Basin State Park...maybe?

We left Santa Cruz very early in the morning, in an attempt to get into Big Basin State Park without reservations. Well, we had reservations, they were just for the following week. In case you missed that fiasco, here's the story. I was really nervous about getting into the park, but we both felt it was worth a shot.

My skilled and brave driver had mapped out a course to Big Basin, and I hadn't even looked at it, since this is his realm of expertise. Let's just say the winding, narrow, at times one-lane road again showed what a wise decision we had made in such a compact and maneuverable rv. I wish I had more pictures to show, but I was clinging to my door handle cringing for most of the trip. Here are a couple of tame pics to give you an idea of the terrain:

Costanoa KOA

 We pulled into the Santa Cruz North/ Costanoa KOA campground in the late afternoon. The host was very friendly and welcoming. We drove over to our site and were happy to see that the campground was not very crowded at all. We had a few neighbors, but mostly empty spots near us. We could see the ocean (but it was across the highway). The park had lots of grass (with well marked pet areas and bags for clean-up) and was very clean and well-maintained. We were very pleasantly surprised!
RV Park Entrance 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Whales!

We cooked a nice breakfast at Morro Bay since we didn't need to get an early start. It was a beautiful morning, and little quail families scurried around the campground, much to our delight. Then, we were back on the road.

Since we weren't in any huge hurry, our fearless leader and driver extraordinaire asked if I wanted to do or see anything on the way. My one wish was to pull off to some sort of overlook for lunch, in hopes of glimpsing a whale or dolphins.

He found the most amazing lunch spot. It was gorgeous. Rolling green fields filled with clover and wildflowers for the kids to run in, with spectacular views of the ocean and a lighthouse.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Spring Break, Big Mistake

We'd been eagerly anticipating this trip for months. Six months to be exact. In California, reservations for State Parks must be made six months in advance because the popular parks (most of them) can sell out in 4 minutes or so. Believe me. I've been there. But I digress.
 
So exactly six months prior to our Spring Break trip, I sat poised, finger on mouse, watching the computer clock turn from 7:59 to 8:00 am, when I clicked quickly and reserved a spot at Big Basin State Park, the oldest state park in California. We were so excited to plan this trip there, and take the kids to see more redwoods and San Francisco as well. We decided to stay overnight at Morro Bay just to break up the drive a bit for the kids. My husband made that reservation a few weeks later, and also added two nights on the end of our trip for our big visit to San Francisco. We stayed at the San Francisco RV Resort in Pacifica for these nights at the end of our vacation.
Beautiful Morro Rock in Morro Bay, California.