I recently returned from an action packed trip to everywhere. I checked quite a few things off my bucket list, so if I die tomorrow I’ll be OK with that.
I’d heard all about Highway 1 down the coast of California, but I wanted to see it for myself. Foggy with a chance of beautiful? Check. The doggies weren’t too happy with me loading them into the car at 6 am, but when we stopped in Carmel for a run on the beach they quickly forgave me. Proof in the photo below.. I just love Zita’s face in this picture.
I’ve been to Carmel three times now, and twice I saw dolphins near the beach. Never gets old!
Weee! They hate being wet, but wading in the water/waves is somehow acceptable. We continued on down the coast, stopping often to take pictures.
I had planned to stop in Morro Bay to camp, but it was so foggy I couldn’t see anything. I kept driving until I saw a brown triangle sign (the one for camping) and drove 14 miles off the 1 down to the campsite. Jalama Beach was a great spot to stay overnight and get some rest, but there was a $10 entry fee, $28 camping fee, and $3 per dog. Are you kidding me? Not to mention no dogs were allowed on the beach off leash, and you couldn’t even swim in the water due to the currents. Needless to say, I left before the sun rose. That’s why I prefer backcountry camping, but it’s hard to do that when you’re also on a road trip. I had to be in New Mexico by a certain date to catch the full moon actives at White Sands.
Speaking of New Mexico, it was the one state I hadn’t been to on the Western side of the US. I lived in the desert for six years, you’d think I could have made it over there at some point right? To be completely honest, I was afraid to take these trips alone. I wanted a companion. I gave up on that thought obviously! Bear and Zita are down for anything, being as they’ve so graciously adapted to boat life I figured they could go camping and road tripping just the same. I’m glad I finally did the trip, I was pleasantly surprised to see the variety in New Mexico’s landscape.
I didn’t quite make it in time to backcountry camp in White Sands, but that’s OK because there was an awesome (free!) spot to camp nearby. We returned the following day to do a beautiful 5 mile hike and check out the rest of what the park had to offer.
In addition to checking things off my bucket list, I had a lot of unanticipated new experiences in this adventure. On my way over to NM I drove 100 miles in an Arizona rain storm where I couldn’t even see the road or signs whatsoever. I learned how to properly use my windshield wipers…. Even the back one I was sure didn’t have a button. I also realized that I needed new tires (gurl was hydroplaning. a lot.).
I learned how to use Hunter’s 4 wheel drive while I was on a steep dirt road I couldn’t believe I got onto in the first place! A kind stranger was in the right place at the right time. That also means I took Hunter off-roading! Several times!! We vroom vroomed all over the desert and mountains.
I braved 50 mph winds in my tent in 28 degree temperatures while stranded in Taos, New Mexico. People offered me a place to sleep in their warm rv’s, but I opted to stay put. Cindy and Joe from Corpus Christi not only fed me, gave me blankets, got me a spare bike tire when mine was flat, gave me extra food, gave me an awesome lantern, lent me tools, etc. I couldn’t thank them enough for what they’d done for me! Chuck from Florida gave me a ride from the auto shop, gave me blankets, and extra dog food for the little ones. John and Concha from the Monte Bello RV park only charged me half rate for camping, they also fed me and recommended a shop for me to get Hunter (the Jeep) serviced at. I might have been stuck at the rv park for five unanticipated days, but I wasn’t alone. It was a group effort to get Rachel to Colorado. I also saw enough tarantulas that I don’t think I will squeal I ever see one again. I wish I had been able to explore Taos more, but I have a feeling that I will be back!
Next stop… Colorado!