When we began planning this trip we decided not to spend too much time in bigger cities due to them typically not being very trailer friendly. With this in mind we didn’t stop in San Francisco but we made sure to drive over the Golden Gate bridge. Things Richard loves: dams, trains, and bridges. So, if theres a bridge you can bet we are going to go over it. Once we made it over with white knuckles theres a little area big enough for those in an RV to park and walk around on a little trail. Its a pretty amazing structure and Im (Whitney) starting to understand why Richard gets so excited for these things I once paid no attention to.
Once we made it through adorable Sausalito we went straight to Napa Valley, a first for us both. With only 2 nights in Napa Valley, location was our top priority for a campground. We ended up staying at a Skyline Wilderness and it was just what we needed. Not a lot of trees or privacy but a clean place to lay our heads at night. For those who aren’t wine drinkers, there were plenty of trails around the grounds to keep you busy.
After we checked in we settled in early exhausted from the days drive. The following day we headed out to Saint Helena. The first winery we went to was Charles Krug. With a drive up to a magnificent facade the the most perfect weather we found a spot outside and enjoyed a glass of their wine paired with one of their stone oven pizzas. Apparently a Monday is the perfect day to go wine tasting because we felt like we had the valley to ourselves. After lunch we ventured to the Beringer Winery. The place was huge and absolutely breath taking. We decided to indulge in a tasting and with each glass we explored the grounds. From the gardens to the two preserved historic houses I think we enjoyed wandering around more than the wine. Knowing we didn’t want to drink anymore since we were driving we headed back to the camp.
On our last day we had a tour reservation at Del Dotto. A friend of ours recommended it and said it was just as good, if not better, than some of the wineries he had been to in France. We did the wine cave tour and tasting and not only was it enjoyable but we felt that we got our monies worth. They take you through the caves explaining the wine making process and how they choose the barrel and the affect that has on the wine. After the tour we tasted their meats, cheeses, and pizza. Which we were not expecting and glad we didn’t eat lunch before hand. I think we tasted a total of 9 wines from a rose to their signature cabs to a pinot noir and finishing off with a dessert wine, which was a pleasant note to end our Napa trip on. I know plenty of wine drinkers that would probably be disappointed that we didn’t see or try more in Napa Valley, but we were more interested in heading back to nature than drinking.
From Del Dotto we headed straight for the coast and then onto Highway 1, going north. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen views as magnificent as those on Highway 1. My stomach however was in constant back flips with every zig zag turn we made. The views were beautiful but the idea that you are so close to a cliff and could fall over into that view, isn’t a beautiful thought. Red didn’t let us down though. The expedition and Red kept truckin’ and we made it to our first stop on Highway 1, Van Damme State Park.
The campsite at Van Damme was right across the beach off of Highway one but tucked into the green lush forest. We couldn’t believe how chilly the weather had become and didn’t make a fire that night for fun, but out of necessity to stay warm. With the beach just a hop skip and a jump away and plenty of trails through the forest we could’ve stayed at Van Damme for much longer than we had planned. With just a quick stop over we made our way to the road again, heading north on the coast.
The second day of Highway one was filled with beautiful views, lookout points, and little coastal towns. As we traveled up the coast the skies became moodier and moodier and sandy beaches began to turn into giant Rocks. We stopped and did a few trails by the ocean with Rosie in Mendocino and we were surprised at how much we felt like we were on the east coast and not in California. We were looking forward to many destinations on our trip but this drive alone took the cake.
Skyline Wilderness Park | Napa, CA | $33/night
wildlife spotted: birds, horses, cows
Van Damme Sate Park | Little River, CA | $44/night
Wildlife spotted: mountain lion (not by us, by other campers)