Brie & Jesse’s California AdVentura – Part 3: CA to BC

Monday, September 14

On our last day in Ventura, we lounged around beachfront pool in the morning then went back to our hotel and packed up. We made a one last stop for food along the main drag at Blenders & Nature’s Grill for lunch before leaving town. I had booked us a campsite at Yosemite then decided to stay elsewhere due to a couple recent incidents of the plague. Yes, apparently that is still around. And while it was incredibly unlikely that we would get it, we didn’t want to spend our time sketching out at potentially disease-infected squirrels.

So we turned north and tried to devise a plan on the way. It was hard to find campsites that were close to the I5 and had definitive availability. It got dark and still we were driving. Finally, at close to midnight I just said let’s pull off at “Happy Time RV” and crash there. There was a crappy tent spot available so we filled out the registration envelope with $10 inside and dropped it in the mailbox. We went back to the site to set up and when I turned my headlamp on I saw a cockroach right in the middle of the spot. Then I looked around I noticed a few more. I’m not a fan of those huge bugs and made it very clear to Jesse, who was tired and indifferent to the whole situation, that we were NOT going to stay there.

Again, we kept driving. I googled hotels in the area of Williams, CA. There was a Ramada right off the I5 so we went inside and were told no vacancy. That’s weird, it’s such a small town in the middle of nowhere. Who is staying here? I quickly looked up hotels and reviews and found a Travelodge that was recently renovated and no reviews indicating cockroaches. They were full up too. The guy there told us that a lot of crews working on the the wildfires nearby were staying in town and suggested we drive up to the next town, Willows. I searched hotels or Trip Advisor and found that the Holiday Inn Express was reasonably priced and had amazing reviews … and one really long, confusing review that had me in tears as I read it to Jesse, both of us delirious from a full day of driving.

We arrived at the Holiday Inn Express at 1am and they offered us a special rate and a late check out which was much appreciated. It was paradise after a long day: new clean rooms, amenities such as wifi and a pool, plus a delicious continental breakfast included.

Tuesday, September 15

We slept in and recovered from the previous day then hit up the free breakfast. There was a cool pancake machine that was just a box with a button you could press and out popped golden brown pancakes a minute later – like magic!

As we left the hotel I spotted a couple small lizards (or geckos?) on the side of the building. They were pretty cute (much better than cockroaches)!

We drove just across the border into Oregon and then turned off the I5 and headed east along picturesque, winding farm roads to the Hyatt Lake is Recreation Area where I had very needlessly reserved a campsite. It was a huge campground that was practically deserted. We only saw one other group of campers who were clearly hunters.

It was freezing cold there but really beautiful and quiet. We didn’t explore much but the washroom facilities were nice (and even heated) and there was a playground for kids. There was no cell phone reception so I was pretty sure we were either going to be murdered in our sleep by deranged hunters or eaten by a bear. The fact that we heard gunshots as we set up camp didn’t exactly help.

We made dinner and then promptly crawled into bed to stay warm and get a good nights sleep. At the recommendation of my brother and his girlfriend, I had downloaded some podcasts by My Brother, My Brother, and Me (MBMBaM). We fell asleep laughing our asses off to The McElroy Family Fun Hour Brought to You by Totino’s episode. Enjoy.

Wednesday, September 16

In the morning we packed up and drove back down the winding road to the I5. We decided to go back to the first campground at Silver Falls State Park, OR, which we really liked. During the car ride, we listened to more MBMBaM – this time The Ballad of Tit Liquid. We were in tears from laughing so hard. We stopped at Applebees on the way, which was disappointingly not great.

Thursday, September 17

This was the last day of our honeymoon. We drove left Silver Falls in the morning and drove back across the border by evening. It was a great trip, although a little rushed, but it was nice to be home and have a couple days to relax before going back to work.

Brie & Jesse’s California AdVentura – Part 1: BC to CA

Tuesday, September 8

Jesse and I left for our honeymoon road trip adventure around noon – a little later than we had hoped. We crossed the border and grabbed lunch at a nearby Subway. Jesse wanted to get CDs so our next stop was Best Buy where we picked out Hozier, Sam Smith, Mumford & Sons, Beck, and a 90s pop hits CD. I googled Trader Joes, which I had heard so many good things about, and there was one around the corner. It was amazing! We stocked up on so much delicious food. Jesse had picked out the campground we would stay at that night in Silver Falls State Park, OR, so we powered through Washington. Seattle traffic was terrible!

We took the I5 as far as we could then turned off onto more rural roads. Our late departure meant we were arriving late. Jesse noticed we were low on gas but no nearby gas stations were open. We continued on hoping that we had enough gas to make it back! After winding through farmland and up into the park, we reached the campground and found an empty spot to set up in the dark. The campground was really well maintained and had nice facilities including flush toilets and showers. We ate some food and went to sleep in our tent soon after.

Wednesday, September 9

In the morning, we got to see Silver Falls State Park in the daylight and it was beautiful. Unfortunately, we wanted to hit the road so we didn’t go see the falls. We made breakfast, showered, and packed everything up again and were on our way. We drove by many Christmas tree farms and picturesque countryside. We hit the I5 for a bit and then cut over to Route 101 on the coast. Once we reach the ocean, we made a quick stop at Port Orford to check out the breathtaking views and enjoy the crisp wind. We kept driving down the coast while I googled campgrounds to stay at in the Redwoods parks. I found one with amazing reviews just across the border into California called Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park.

Jesse and I arrived at the campground and were disappointed to find that it was super full – only one disabled spot remained. It was a little confusing so we took a second lap around to see if we had missed any spots. We came across the campground host and asked him about the disabled spot and he said we could use it. It was late in the day and he didn’t think it was likely that anyone would show up that needed it. He did warn us that we may have to move but we took our chances! We were SO happy! We did not want to have to drive around more campgrounds looking for spots, plus this one was PERFECT.

We set up camp in daylight this time and made dinner. On my way to the washroom building to brush my teeth I saw something moving in the dark. I shone my headlamp over at it and saw a big frog (or toad?). Either way it was pretty cool.

Thursday, September 10

In the morning we went for a short walk on the trails. We checked out some of the giant redwoods and read some informational signage. This was my favourite campground of the trip and I would definitely stay there again. It was so beautiful – I wish we’d had more time to explore!

We packed up and hit the road again, driving along Route 101 & 1. It was a long day of driving and we saw so much! We stopped at a beach in Orick, drove down the Avenue of the Giants, and winded around the coastal highway while fog rolled in. I drove for a while and came around a corner to find a cow leisurely crossing the road to eat a little grass. He realized something was up and headed back where he came and I was able to pass.

I had googled a campground that looked like it had lots of campsite. We reached it around 10 or 11pm, but something was wrong. There were only a handful of sites and there was a sign saying it was full! Apparently I had been looking at a campground by the same name but in a totally different location. It was cold and the air was filled with a damp mist from the ocean. We decided to keep driving and try to find a hotel to stay the night.

I ended up Hotwiring a really nice hotel in San Francisco for a reasonable price but when we arrived I found it it was an extra $50 USD for parking!!! Are you kidding me!?!? We were so tired though and didn’t really have an option so we paid it. They gave us a room near the top of the building and gave us a late check out at least.

We slept in luxury that night and woke up late the next morning.

Friday, September 11

My eyes opened to whiteness in the morning and I was so confused. I was looking out the window – but there was nothing there but emptiness. I was tripping out for a moment then realized the fog was so heavy that I literately couldn’t see anything. The fog, which we found out San Francisco is known for, eventually cleared to reveal a great view. We had driven across the Golden Gate Bridge during the night, in heavy fog, so I was hoping we would be able to see it from our room but unfortunately we were facing the wrong direction.

On our way out of the city we were starving. We stopped at a Panera Breads, which I had randomly found nearby on Google maps. It was amazing – fresh, substantial food that was fast as well! We shared a veggie sandwich and a squash soup and bought a french baguette for later. I was navigating us to the coastal highway when I noticed we could easily make a quick detour to Cupertino, Apple’s headquarters. We did a lap around Infinite Loop, like a total stalker, and continued on our way.

Later we stopped at a beach known for elephant seals. There was a parking lot and viewpoint overlooking a massive amount of them just hanging out by the water. Some were snuggled up in groups and others were playing and/or fighting? They looked so cuddly I wanted to climb down there and join them, but I’m pretty sure that’s frowned upon … also I think they could swallow me whole if they felt so inclined.

I Hotwired another hotel for the few nights we stayed in Ventura. They don’t tell you the exact hotel until after you book it. We ended up at the Crowne Plaza, which is beach front and just steps from the expo and the start/finish line of the race. It was an older hotel – clean but not super fancy decor-wise. It had some great amenities including a beachfront pool and patio. We got arrived in the evening and checked in, parked our car, and finally got to relax a bit!

Weekend Adventures: Our Jack+Jill Stag(ette) at Kumsheen Rafting Resort

Jesse and I decided to do a jack and jill stag since he doesn’t drink and we like hanging out with all our friends together. We wanted to do a weekend trip and thought something like rafting would be a fun activity. We chose the weekend before our wedding so a good friend of mine who was flying in from Australia would be able to attend. My bridesmaids took over from there and planned an awesome weekend for us at the Kumsheen Rafting Resort.

My bridesmaids picked us up the Friday morning and we headed up to Lytton stopping for Starbucks and later Triple Os along the way. When we reached the resort, I could tell that Jesse would love it! The main building had arm chairs, board games, and some rustic decorations. I’m sure he could have spent an entire weekend in there just hanging out and relaxing.

The campground was open and had a great view of the canyon along the edges. Our friends all pitched in to get us teepee accommodations which was amazing! I wasn’t sure what to expect but it was a really cool experience. Jesse would live in one. It was super windy out so we helped our friends who were camping try to set up tarps and tents. It took a few tries but everyone managed to rig up some shelters (which would require ongoing maintenance due to the wind).

The next morning those that opted into the rafting trip departed. The weather was not great so we were given wet suits and jackets which we totally rocked. A bus took us to the starting point where our guide gave us a safety talk and a paddle. Off we went on a three-hour tour …

Jesse and I sat and the front of the raft and attempted to coordinate our paddling while the guide yelled out instructions at the back. The first rapids we went into were some of the biggest we saw. I had been rafting before so I knew what to expect but I was still a little nervous, especially being at the front. I had a little foot hold and was bracing myself as instructed but it felt like there wasn’t much keeping me in the boat!

It was so much fun and everyone seemed to have had a blast! We even were able to jump in the river and go through some smaller rapids out of the boat. Jesse and I bought forgot to time our breathing and ended up gasping for air between waves but it was a cool experience.

By the end of the rafting trip and the quick bus ride back to camp, I was getting cold. I hopped out of the bus, took my wet suit off, and jumped straight into the nearby hot tub! We had a couple drinks in there before heading back to the campsite. Then the party continued.

We went for dinner at the resort restaurant which had live music after. I hung around a while but the mellow singer was killing my buzz so some of us went back to the campsite. It was chilly out and we were bundled up in a covered picnic area unable to have a campfire due to fire bans. One by one our group thinned until it was just a handful of us left drinking and chatting. We had the brilliant idea to “sneak” into the hot tub at about 1AM. I was one of the final three before finally leaving the last two party-ers and going to bed.

The next morning we packed up and left, some of us more hungover than others. It was an awesome trip and I can’t thank my friends enough for making it so special!