Bumps and the Beach

We have spent our last few days in America on the beach and getting ready for Mexico. Unfortunately after 17,000kms of stress free driving we had 2 minor bumps in the space of a few days. Bump number 1 was clipping a palm tree when pulling away from parking which knocked the rear marker light on the top of the truck at the back off. We had pulled in to get some cash and did not realise this tree was leaning into the road. Southern California is very beautiful and the weather fantastic but it is a lot busier and not so easy in the truck. Since we knew places to camp would be at a premium at the weekend we had booked ahead to camp near San Diego on Silver Strand Beach. Having just had a the bump I was not in a good mood and when we turned up at the campsite the lady was not going to let us in as she thought we were a commercial vehicle. After insisting we were not she wanted to see the vehicle registration document to prove it was an RV. I said we had an English registration document and we did not use the term RV in England. This flumaxed her and she let us in without looking at the document. Whilst we were camped on a beautiful beach.

20131020-201237.jpg The camping space was nothing more than a car park which was pretty full so not great.

20131020-201343.jpg The beach itself was not that busy and we spent a nice afternoon on it. It is right next to a naval base so note the signs. We also saw an aircraft carrier sailing into port.

20131020-201509.jpg We have spent our last day in the US doing jobs, shopping, laundry etc and bump number 2. This was when parking on another palm tree lined street. I was too busy focusing on the trees I inadvertently reversed into a car. As we are much higher than the car only minor damage was done and a small cash payment sorted it. For our last night in the US we headed inland to Portero County Park which is a lot quieter and a much more picturesque place to camp with the trees just starting to show their autumn colours.

20131020-201847.jpg This meant a nice relaxing end to the day before the border crossing tomorrow.

LA and Disneyland

From Santa Barbara we headed down the Pacific Coast Highway to Malibu where we headed to the Malibu Country Mart to shop with the film stars. Alas none were out shopping but we did meet an old work colleague of mine, Steve Perkins for dinner. It was great to catch up and hear how he has settled into life in LA. We camped that night in the Santa Monica hills behind Malibu which was a world away from the hustle and bustle of LA. The next day we headed into that hustle and bustle with the truck. We did not plan to spend much time in LA but still took the truck off the highway to see some of the highlights ie Beverley Hills, Hollywood etc

20131017-210257.jpg We arrived in Anaheim as we had promised Lucy a trip to Disneyland for her birthday. So the next morning we set off for Disneyland and what promised to be a long 12 hour day. Of course the kids absolutely loved it. Whilst they did not want to go on any rides that were remotely scary, they loved meeting the characters from films they had seen and also saw some live shows. We did manage to do a few rides too.



20131017-210639.jpg Gilly and I also thoroughly enjoyed it, much to my surprise. It was very well done with lots to do although the queues were a little tedious and this was mid week outside school holidays! But the real pleasure was seeing how much Alisha and Lucy loved it. I suspect we will be hearing a lot more about it from them in the coming days.


20131017-210927.jpg The day finished with the traditional parade.


20131017-211055.jpg And at the end of a long day we walked back to the truck with 2 very happy daughters. I am sure they could go back the following day but one day will have to do.


San Francisco and the Beach

After hearing how tricky it was for RVs and larger vehicles, we were pleasantly surprised how easy it was to get around San Francisco. Admittedly we didn't stay downtown but after several hours researching where was the best place to stay, we ended up in Larkspur on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge. Marin RV park, although it was another example of a very expensive city RV park (actually literally a car park) with more rules than Alcatraz it was perfectly located for the ferry that took us straight into the city.

20131014-202731.jpg We spent two days exploring the city and had a great time. Entering the city from the water, even on a commuter ferry gave us a taste of the harbour, including the closed Alcatraz (another victim of the federal close down). We did the usual tourist things including Fisherman's Wharf and the sea lions.


20131014-202922.jpg Other highlights were fabulous dim sim in Chinatown, trawling up and down those steep hills for the views and the Exploratorium museum for the kids and I (way too many school kids to be in Steve's comfort zone).


20131014-203106.jpg As Yosemite is still closed we then headed southwards to a couple of state beaches north of Santa Barbara. It is warm enough for them to be pretty busy and it's too rough and cold in the sea to swim but it is perfect weather for kite flying and digging in the sand.


20131014-203245.jpg It's also given us time to play with our new kitchen "toy" a Dutch oven, a cast iron pot with 3 little legs that sits in the coals of the fire. We've made a couple of delicious stews in it so far and are looking forward to see if we can bake something in it another night.