This journey has been incredibile but please do not underestimate the planning required to have a relaxing expedition camping across the diverse United States of America. Having learned immensely from the Northeastern Expedition of last summer which culminated in MAINE. I stove to be better prepared with; estimated travel times, estimated times of arrival, fuel/supply stops, printed maps/directions, climate reports, Fauna/Flora/Sites to see, and campground maps. Thanks to Google Maps and saving my locations across the USA I was able to get us from point A, to B, to C, to D, to E, on and on. You get the point, yes there is a 18 page hyper-doc which also includes Pet Hospitals, Hospitals, campground reservations, recipes, maps, directions, sights to see and other vital things. S’More even had his booster immunizations in our Banfield Hospital in Bozeman, Montana and another in Seaside, California. Photo is how S’more travels best.
WHY all this planning? I guess the most honest answer is have you met me? Poor planning will never be an issue to constitute an emergency on my part. It is after all a vacation. Who wants to think? When to leave or which trail is best to hike or even what time of day will not cause heat exhaustion? Please try to comprehend the stress potential of pulling a vintage camper in big city rush hour (or most of the state of California) or turning 33 foot camper/vehicle out of a fuel station. Do you want to shop at the Walmart with security gates? Do you want to sit in the 1 hour and 52 minute delay on I-5 with limited fuel? Or stop in the gas station with barred windows and bullet proof glass? To all these, I hope you answered no. Mind you, my rule of not slowing down in the barred window, razor wire topped fence, or bullet proof glass zones was put into affect in my home state of North Carolina. An unfortunate fuel stop (in which the dogs and I were in the vehicle) our attached cargo gate was stolen off of the back of the camper instigated this ruling. All the preparation was so necessary and useful in California.
First stop in California is Crescent City, which is amazing! Having beautiful Oregon-like Coastline and not so many people. It is also home to the Redwoods and where most of the Easter Lillies in the US are grown. There is a region where the cold Pacific produced air is making a cloud any time of day so you must have your headlights on the in white out of it. I opted out of Yosemite National Park in favor of Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks to the south. The California plan was to see the Redwoods, descend through the agricultural region to see the Biggest tree in the world (a Sequoia), to Monterey Bay Aquarium, and then relax in Silverlake Recreation area before starting the trek back east.
California is a beautiful state and if there was a way to visit without so many millions of people and such crappy traffic I might just be a fan, but as it is … it is a one and done for me. I do not care for crowds or crazy traffic and this place is jammed with both.
Redwood NP (Visit RedWood National Park: Visitors Guide) you must see the old growth in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park and walk the trails to Simpson-Reed Grove or Leiffer Loop. We stopped by the Hiouchi Information Center to drive the stunning gravel Howland Hill Road which winds ten miles through the old growth forest of huge Redwoods. Do this drive in the am as it gets busy later in the day and is quite slim for two cars. The Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway is on the busy section of the park but has many pull offs that are also a must see.
Davison Road looks out on the named Elk Meadow where you can watch Roosevelt Elk graze and relax in the forest if they are there. We did not see any. This guy was from a since forgotten National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon.
Premier RV Resort Of Redding a pretty commercial park with nice laundry. It would have been better with a coin changer since it was a coin operated laundry. I wish parks would enforce the leashed dog rule. In every state and type of park so far the rules are keep your dog on a leash (some have 6 foot requirements) and people don’t. I love my fur babies, but I understand they are dogs. Some behaviors are instinct and some are pack related. Keep them safe Leash you dadgum dog in public! Off to Monterey!
Monterey RV Park a Navy MWR site and the worst I have ever seen or stayed. It was 3 miles from the Monterey Bay Aquarium the draw was there but this afterthought of a campground in the dirt behind a beautiful golf corse was deplorable. You backed your camper in a small dugout sand dirt site looking at industrial buildings and a golf ball screen. It was near the aquarium which had sea otters and fantastic exhibits (a must see), but the number of people allowed in the aquarium at one time should be limited. It is shoulder to shoulder with a lack of hospitality for the most part. Yet another one and done. No, I did not see the whales or site of the Star Trek Movie filming. Off to more big TREES!
Island Park Campgroundwas our ticket to Kings Canyon National Park it was a butt puckering ride down to the “island” with cutbacks and a 20 degree grade descent to speed bumps. The site was from one of my nightmares in which the car comes out of gear rolling uncontrollably down the 45 degree hill to plummet into the icy depths of the lake. I found a bolder to add to the camper tire chocks and slept with it attached to the vehicle. However, I did see a great tree frog.
We drove from the island on a winding, cutback, wild road through the California hills to Sequoia National Park to see the biggest tree in the word the Giant Sequoia General Sherman . For those of you like me when you hear 36 feet in diameter tree…I cannot visualize that. If you said a school bus could park in it and cover all but the hood, I get that. It was immense but I am team Redwood due to the shear number and huge forest of Redwood trees. The Sequoias being present with Moses, but being so few in number was somber in effect. Like why so few? What human screwed that up? Ah, sorry my literal tree hugger side is showing.
Silverwood State Recreation Area (Park Brochure) Climate 97/62 can you believe it in Southern California? This place was beautiful! Private campsites, with a view, concrete picnic tables. I would come here again. It was a needed respite from the tolls of traffic and way to many people.
Enjoy the album: https://photos.app.goo.gl/dwLnr9KgMuEkSiNA6
We are eastward bound – with a 4 day run of over 1200 miles through the states Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma.