Short, Short Trailer, Long, Long Trip: California Pacific Coast Highway 2016_10_17

A one night stand at Big Basin Redwoods State Park, then we are just hours from the waters of the Pacific. We will head South for a few days of rest, at a familiar and favorite campground, before we turn and head East.

Big Basin Redwoods State Park wasn’t far enough from the cold or rain for us. We have already spent time in this beautiful park, so we only stayed one night. It was a great night.

Campsite at Big Basin Redwoods State Park, CA

Big Basin Redwoods State Park, CA

And off to the beach we go!

A quick lunch stop in Moss Landing. The Sea Harvest Fish Market and Restaurant had a few cars, but we opted for the view and a couple of PB&J sandwiches. It always amazes me they use prime ocean front property, for farming! You don’t see that in Florida.

Floating things with sticks on top…them might be sailboats!

California Rt 1, best road view ever!

Views from California Route 1

California Rt 1, bridges, curves and views

When we arrived in Pfeiffer Big Sur, we found the State Park closed due to fire. The recent rain had finally squelched all the fire, but they still needed to verify the safety of the area. This wasn’t our camping destination, but we were hoping to do some hiking here.

We arrived at Kirk Creek Campground, to this! With a view like this we weren’t surprised.

FULL…of view

So we headed up the road to Plaskett Creek Campground. Both parks are within the Los Padres National Forest, which is awesome. Plaskett, unfortunately, is across the highway from the water and the view. We were fortunate to meet up with the “fill-in” ranger, who let us know he would be at Kirk Creek the following day.  And…if we arrived at just the right time, he would still have a site available for us. Thanks Alec! You’re the best!

Our first Pacific sunset!

Plaskett Creek Campground, Los Padres National Forest, CA

We moved to one of our most favorite campgrounds ever! Kirk Creek Campground. They are now on a reservation system, the last time we were this way, it was first come, first serve. We could only get two nights, but they were glorious.

Kirk Creek Campground, Los Padres National Forest, CA. The views from this campground are amazing!

Kirk Creek Campground, Los Padres National Forest, CA

As we are apt to do, we met some friendly neighbors. It’s a good thing, because Nyah scared their cat Fuzzy off. Fuzzy is apparently used to a little freedom, George and Cheryl set up camp, open the door and Fuzzy goes out exploring. He was very elusive when it came to pictures, but I understand he’s a pretty good mouser. George keeps a blog of Fuzzy’s adventures here.

Friends, wine, and sunsets…all is good in Paradise

We needed ice, so we unloaded the Harley, it was a good excuse  to go for a ride. Which, we have not been able to do for weeks!

Riding CA Rt 1

If you can find the trail head (on the South side of the campground,) you can hike down along the creek to this fabulous spot and just watch the waves roll in.

Kirk Creek trail, Los Padres National Forest, CA

Kirk Creek trail, Los Padres National Forest, CA

Kirk Creek trail, Los Padres National Forest, CA

Looking down from the top of Kirk Creek trail, to the goal! Los Padres National Park, CA

And this…

Beautiful. Kirk Creek Campground, Los Padres National Forest, CA

We needed to be on our way. If only we could stay at all the places we liked best, all the time, we would have it made.

Looking South from Kirk Creek Campground, Los Padres National Forest, CA

The shoreline at Kirk Creek was a bit rocky and craggy for Nyah to get her feet in the Pacific, so we pulled over at the first place we thought we could get to the beach. What a spot, well worth the short hike to get there.

Nyah’s beach day

Nyah’s beach day in the Pacific Ocean. This has nothing on the Bahamas…just sayin.

Let me test this water out. Yea…not for me! What temperature is that ice water? And did you see the iceberg!

Let’s go Mom, I’m done with this place!

Is this the best they can do for a turtle?

California turtle

It’s not too long a walk back to that short, short trailer.

Short, Short Trailer along California Route 1

After we got all our tootsies warm, we headed down to Piedras Blancas State Marine Preserve. Nyah said she’d seen enough of the Pacific, but we were welcome go take another look, while she took an all important nap. These are the guys too young for mating, they hang out on the beach in the fall instead.

Elephant seals at Piedras Blancas State Marine Preserve.

The Piedras Blancas Light Station was very impressive, would love to see it up close sometime.

Piedras Blancas Light Station, CA

When we got to Cambria, we started looking for sign to take us East on 46.

Got to go East when you run out of West

Here is our last glimpse of the Pacific from a lookout on Highway 46.

Last glimpse of Pacific from Highway 46

We are heading to Death Valley, so I guess they prepare you by making the route go through Bakersfield. They take ugly to a new level…I’m sorry, I’m sure there is some part of Bakersfield that isn’t coyote ugly, we just missed it!

Bakersfield, CA

We did need to stock up on some ice and provisions, so we took advantage of a Casa Walmart stay, and since we didn’t really know when we would be near restaurants again, we had an early Anniversary dinner.

Noooo! I don’t care if they say you can. You don’t throw food on the floor!!!! Happy 18th Anniversary, I love you!

In the morning, its off to Death Valley. Tonight, I’m thinking of the Pacific Breezes.

Kirk Creek trail end. RELAX

Thanks for following along with our adventure.

Short, Short Trailer, Long, Long Trip: Calaveras Big Trees State Park 2016_10_07

 

We are blessed to re-visit the awesome Calaveras Big Tree State Park, in California. We spent a couple of days here, many years ago, on our way to Yosemite National Park. This time, it was even more relaxing, and with the motorcycle, we were able to explore CA 4, which was an exciting ride.

We ran, full speed, from the cold in Carson City, Nevada, and didn’t look back! I hope we can go back again someday, but with a warmer rig or warmer weather! We were advised not to take Ebbetts Pass (CA 4) to Calaveras with our van and trailer rig, so we set the GPS for Placerville, CA and headed in from there.

This proved to be a nice drive, a semi-freeway, mingled with two and four lane roads.

We went through Lake Tahoe, never spotting a welcome to California sign!

Welcome to California!

Lake Tahoe, CA

Interesting bridges along the route

We arrived at Calaveras and set up camp. TWICE! Between picking a site and then paying, we did not realizing the first site was reserved…oh well, we ended up with a great site all the same.

Calaveras Big Trees State Park, Arnold, CA

Calaveras Big Trees State Park, CA. Still jacket and hat weather, but no signs of snow!

Motorcycle Ride! We finally were able to get back on the bike, and took  a ride back towards Lake Tahoe, on the the road we didn’t want to tow the trailer on. It was perfect temps for a ride and this is absolutely a bucket list place for riding. The road does go down to almost one lane, for a good portion, and I have never been on a 24% grade road before! No smoking brakes for us!

CA 4 – Ebbetts Pass Scenic Byway – Alpine State Highway (depending on which map you choose to look at)

Ebbetts Pass Scenic Byway, California

Ebbetts Pass Scenic Byway, California

Ebbetts Pass Scenic Byway, California

Ebbetts Pass Scenic Byway, California

We took a short lunch break and checked out this National Forest Campground.

Silver Creek Campground, on Noble Creek. Ebbetts Pass Scenic Byway, California

Ebbetts Pass Scenic Byway passes through Stanislaus National Forest and Humbolt Toiyabe National Forest

Yes, that white stuff is snow, but I didn’t see any mosquitoes!

Ebbetts Pass Scenic Byway, California

We spent Saturday evening around the campfire of B.J. and Karen, from Santa Barbara, CA. They just returned from a trip to Alaska, and shared their experiences and tips with us. Another item to add to the bucket list! Other Saturday sights were this blue jay and the meadow near the camp sites.

Blue Jay, Calaveras Big Trees State Park, CA

Meadow, Calaveras Big Trees State Park, CA

Sunday, we walked the North Grove, which is an easy paved 1.7 mile loop, close to the Park entrance. Then we rode the motorcycle across the Park, which is about ten mile (one way,) and a fantastic ride to the end of the park. The great views and quiet road, led us to the South Grove trail.  This is a five mile loop hike to the Agassiz Tree, the largest Sequoia in the park, through a few other rather tall trees. As we came out at the end, there was a small gathering of people, watching us come up from the trail. It seems the rustling in the bushes was a bear! Unfortunately, we didn’t get a pic, but, we didn’t have an up-close encounter at the creek, either!

North Grove, Calaveras Big Trees State Park, California

North Grove, Calaveras Big Trees State Park, CA

North Grove, Calaveras Big Trees State Park, CA

North Grove, Calaveras Big Trees State Park, CA

North Grove, Calaveras Big Trees State Park, CA

North Grove, Calaveras Big Trees State Park, CA

South Grove Trail. The five mile hike, which we did in the late afternoon, was not overly difficult.

South Grove Trail, Calaveras Big Trees State Park, CA

South Grove Trail, Calaveras Big Trees State Park, CA

South Grove Trail, Calaveras Big Trees State Park, CA

South Grove Trail, Calaveras Big Trees State Park, CA

South Grove Trail, Calaveras Big Trees State Park, CA

South Grove Trail, Calaveras Big Trees State Park, CA

South Grove Trail, Calaveras Big Trees State Park, CA

South Grove Trail, Calaveras Big Trees State Park, CA

South Grove Trail, Calaveras Big Trees State Park, CA

Agassiz Tree. South Grove Trail, Calaveras Big Trees State Park, CA

Does this tree make me look short? Agassiz Tree, South Grove Trail, Calaveras Big Trees State Park, CA

Agassiz Tree. South Grove Trail, Calaveras Big Trees State Park, CA

Agazzi Tree. South Grove Trail, Calaveras Big Trees State Park, CA

A nice sunset view of the creek.

Big Tree Creek, South Grove Trail, Calaveras Big Trees State Park, CA

We had a great visit at Calaveras, you need to rest up PopPop…we are off to visit the grands tomorrow!

Resting before next week with the grands! South Grove Trail, Calaveras Big Trees State Park, CA