California memories- 1 state, 78 nights, 20 stops

Wow! Can you believe we spent 78 nights in California? What’s even crazier is that we made stops at 20 different locations. That averages out to less than 4 nights per stop… yup we were on the move.

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Traveling through interior California

After spending so much time in one state- and visiting so many different places, it seems only fitting to write a round-up post of the past couple months. I won’t rehash all the stops (check out out our California Category on the side bar to see all 26 posts), but I will mention some of our favorites.

Our first night in California was spent in a redwood forest. For 3 nights we stayed at a small county run park full of towering trees, mossy logs and mounds of soft pine needles. After nearly 6 weeks on the coast of Oregon it was a nice change to be surrounded by such a lush, green forest.

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Among the trees

After some time in the trees we moved back to the coast where we headed down Hwy 101, a narrow, twisting road that travels along steep cliffs overlooking the Pacific below. We made a few stops on the northern coast but our favorite was in Bodega Bay, a small community not too far north of San Francisco. There we stayed at another county run park right on the bay with a nice water view. We really enjoyed exploring the scenic (but dangerous) beaches and cliff trails that surround the bay.

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A cliff view

After making our way inland to Santa Rosa for a few days in wine country, we headed back west to Half Moon Bay just south of San Francisco. There we stayed at a state park with an almost ocean view. The beach was mere minutes away – and what a beach it was. A seemingly endless stretch of golden sand lined with rounded cliffs became our daily destination.

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Beach time

Next we made three more short stops along the Central coast. Our favorite was Santa Cruz. Even though we only stayed one night at a very nice ocean side state park, we packed in the activities. Visiting the famous boardwalk, stocking up at the Wednesday afternoon farmer’s market and ending the day with a gorgeous sunset.

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Tons to do and see in this town

Leaving the coast we made our way eastward across the interior of California and all the way to Nevada. There we spent almost two weeks seeing the sights in Las Vegas and enjoying some amazing scenery and hiking at Lake Mead. (check out our Nevada posts here). We then traveled back into California where we spent 4 nights in the Mojave National Preserve.  To say we were in awe of this place would be an understatement. From a dense Joshua Tree forest, to mammoth mounds of sand, to rocky granite mountains and a unique desert landscape- everywhere we went in the preserve was simply incredible.

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Wonders of the Mojave

After several weeks of off-the grid camping next up was some luxury in the form of full hooks ups and mineral feed hot pools. We spent roughly a week and half at Sam’s Family Spa in Desert Hot Springs. While not the kind of campground we normally frequent, the mineral pools were amazing and it was the perfect location to enjoy a visit from Tim’s mom. We enjoyed exploring the surrounding area including the night life in Palm Springs, a visit to Joshua Tree National Park and a hike with stunning views at the nearby Whitewater Preserve.

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Tim & his mom at Joshua Tree National Park

Next it was back to the coast. This time we headed south to San Diego where we spent a little over a week. It was a busy week, full of trips to the dog beach, romps on nearby dog friendly Fiesta Island, a Christmas day stroll down on the boardwalk, a visit to the zoo, an afternoon in a historic park, and lots and lots of shopping.

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City Adventures

Several weeks of civilized city living left us longing for some wide open spaces…so off to the desert we went. And in the desert we stayed. For three weeks a boondocking spot just a few miles from the charming retirement community of Borrego Springs was our home. Free camping, gorgeous views, endless areas to explore, and wonderful company made this a place we weren’t in any hurry to leave.

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Desert Solitude

Our final stop in California was another boondocking spot 15 miles west of Yuma, AZ in the area where California, Arizona and Mexico meet. This was a pretty, but barren area with very little vegetation and a cool mountain back drop. The best part of our stay was that we were joined by two other RVing couples for the week. It was so much fun to hang out and we enjoyed many happy hours, a morning yoga session, several evenings of horseshoes, a bring-your-own plate eat along, and even a group trip to Mexico.

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There’s just something special about a desert sunrise

There you have it. 1 state, 78 nights, 20 stops and tons of memories. We hope to make it back to California early next fall for some exploration of the eastern mountains but for now we’re off to visit more new states and new places.

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