2004 was the last summer we owned our tent trailer. It wasn’t fancy – certainly didn’t have many amenities, but we really loved it and camped for seven summers all over the place. The advantages of a tent trailer are its ease of storage, it is cheap to tow and without a lot of systems on board there really isn’t anything to go wrong.
This summer we decided to travel from Calgary over to Washington State and south to California. When we began we really hadn’t decided how far we would go. We had driven the east coast in 1999 so it seemed like a great idea to do the west coast while we could.
We had never been this way before – sounds like a line out of a movie – and we were surprised how dry and flat the eastern portion of Washington State is – of course the Rocky Mountains give what they call the rain shadow which means not much rain makes it over the high mountains. However, within Washington State are a number of volcanic mountains. We passed right by Mount Shasta, not far from Mount St. Helen’s and found a lovely campground to spend the night.
The campground was lovely and as it was also Wendy’s birthday we found a very nice restaurant locally to celebrate.
Had we been willing to spend more time in the area I would have really enjoyed this campground – it was clean and quiet. But the next day we were on our way south again continuing to lose altitude.
We always have time however, to stop at any quilt shops in the area. I suppose over the years we’ve stopped at dozens of these little shops – always quaint, always friendly.
Heading south it was also getting hotter and hotter in the July weather but our van kept pulling the small trailer. At one point when we had a long incline to climb, we had to turn off the AC and put the heater on to take the strain off the engine. We got up the climb passing others who had to pull over because their vehicles overheated.
This was a first for us both driving south in this part of the world and we really didn’t know, barreling down the highway, what was next. This was pre-smart phones and GPS/internet for all!
Eventually we made it right to the coast and stopped at Eureka CA – a small seaside town – and we drove in to the campground it seemed a delightful spot as you can see above. I remember that as we drove in we saw campers with mitts on and a scarves around their necks. How strange is that?! It turns out that because the desert is so hot and the pacific ocean is so cold that this part of the state is fogged in most of the summer. “Come back in September, it’s beautiful” they said.
And then we made it into San Fransisco!
I walked across the Golden Gate Bridge – which was of course encased in fog! In the city we took the trolly – visited Fisherman’s Warf and of course had some seafood.
Here is a photo which has special memory to me – it’s Wendy calling her Mom on her cell phone. The smell of the nearby seals and the noise was amazing.
Can you smell the seals?
Now that was fun – the old trolly with the wood brakes! Strange enough but they work.
We also went through Chinatown and visited where they were making fortune cookies – you can see the ones that get dropped on the floor. They charged $1 to take their picture – that was $1.40 in Canadian currency!
We stopped by the setting for the movie Mrs. Doubtfire. This is really a lovely city and we would go back for a visit another time. But we were out of money and needed to turn towards home!
We drove up the coast, staying by the water until we came across the border at Vancouver and took our usual route back to Calgary through Roger’s Pass. When we got home we were tired but thoroughly enjoyed exploring.