It was a stunning sight to wake up to the San Francisco skyline illuminated by the orange light of the rising sun and behind it the Golden Gate Bridge. Treasure Island proved to be a great place to spend a night on the RV after we have picked up our third member of the crew, Eugenio.
The first leg of our drive brought us across the Golden Gate Bridge once again in order to head north along the Pacific Highway.
We stopped for some food shopping on the way and had to fight through traffic until we made it to the coast at Bodega Bay. Our trip up to Portland and Seattle had begun, and we only made it halfway to our intended stop and had to find a place to stay close to Bodega Bay instead.
It was the weekend and all the campsites and RV Parks were full, but the Ranger did her best to find a spot for us after someone had canceled their reservation at the last minute.
“Enjoy your stay!” she said to us before closing up the office to go home.
Bodega Bay to Timber Cove
The first stop of the day was to visit the church where Hitchcock’s movie ‘Birds’ was filmed. I remembered watching Birds, and seeing the church in reality was slightly surreal. I had come to expect to stumble on a movie set at any minute on our trip as this stretch of coastline is a popular filming hot spot for Hollywood movies.
We continued north on the Pacific Highway and made quick stops here and there to take in the stunning coastline. Past Mendocino we picked up two elderly hitchhikers, who were keen to share their travel stories. They hiked all the way from their home east of the Sierra Nevada to escape the summer heat and planned to reach the Redwoods where we were heading as well.
Fanny’s friend Cami lives in the area around Humboldt and invited us to stay with her for a couple of days. We arrived just in time to drop off the hitchhikers and meet Cami for a BBQ at her house.
Redwoods to Meyers Creek
We stayed two nights at Cami’s for well deserved rest and relaxation. It was nice to stay somewhere for more than a day and not be crammed inside a tight space for a prolonged amount of time.
But time is limited and we wanted to get to Portland by the end of the week. After a slow morning we were back on the road once again. Passing through the Avenue of Giants must be one of the best drives we’ve done so far. It’s a small road winding in through the Redwood forest for roughly 20km, huge trees like these lining each side of it.
It took us a while to get back to the coast and follow the 101 north. I was half asleep when we stopped and picked up a Hitchhiker from Germany.
“I’m Steffen,” he introduced himself. “You’re going north too?” He added. “Yeah, we’re heading for Seattle!” Fanny replied.
The coastline was dramatic as ever. We stopped for a break at a rest area at Harris Beach when I spotted a trail heading down to the beach. “Let’s go hiking!”
The way down wasn’t particularly difficult or long but the forest was stunning and when we reached the end of the path of couldn’t believe my eyes. Small sand dunes led towards a rocky cliff, overgrown with pine trees and colorful wild flowers. Beneath it waves were crashing against the rock, and what looked like a sea cave. It looked like something out of a fairy tale, thanks to the beautiful golden hour light and the fine mist in the air.
It was already dark when we got back to the RV and drove for another hour to reach the roadside rest area where we were planned to spend the night. A couple of cars were parked there already. We heard someone playing guitar and Fanny went out to invite him over for dinner and beers.
Shaun turned out to be a local resident and surfer who loves spending the night at this spot in order to catch the morning surf. I went outside again to take a photo of the milkyway right above us before we called it a night.
Meyers Creek to Lighthouse
I woke up at 5:30am to look outside and watch as the sunlight revealed the landscape in front of me. A lone rock surrounded by numerous smaller ones sitting in between a beach of grey sand. I closed the window and fell back to sleep. The next time I woke up the fog had rolled in and covered the same landscape in a white veil.
It was now 9:30 and the others were up and ready to explore the beach below. “It’s like we’re on the frickin moon!” Fanny yelled in disbelief as we were walking in between the rocks and white driftwood logs.
We headed further north along the coast and decided to stick to the coast instead of turning inland towards Eugene. “Dunes,” I pointed to the gentle rolling sand dunes to the side of our RV. The dunes looked totally out of place in between the pine trees, and the cool ocean breeze added to my disbelief of what I saw before me. We found a day use area close to the aptly named Dune city where we got to climb the dunes and walk on chilling cold sand.
We were now close to Florence and Steffen found a sea lion cave on his offline map. It was closed when we got there, but as I was looking over the sea below us, I spotted something I had seen so many times before when I was traveling on the cargo ship. “Whale! Whale!” I called to the others as they were about to head back to the RV! “Looks like a pilot whale,” someone said. “I hope it’s an orca!” Fanny looked out to sea, her eyes focused on the waves below, waiting for the whale to resurface. “There!” Her voice sounded like she was about to cry. In the end, they turned out to be humpback whales, or at least that was our consensus.
We reached a Lighthouse close to the spot where we were supposed to camp. However the road leading there did definitely not look RV worthy at all. “Let’s just camp on the parking lot!” All of us agreed.
Lighthouse to Portland
Today was our last day of driving along the coast and we wanted to make the most of it by visiting Otter Rock, a small seaside town sitting atop a cliff, surrounded by breathtaking beaches and rock formations.
The fog had been driven away by the strong winds and the low tide revealed tide pools, caves and rock formations, normally submerged under the crushing waves. Steffen and me found a way down to the beach and began exploring the crooks and crannies of a collapsed cave. We were definitely not the only ones there as throngs of people flocked to the beach on this warm and sunny day.
I was exhausted and slept through the rest of the drive and missed the Evergreen plane Museum the others explored. It was a long week, filled with breathtaking sights along the coast, but now as we are approaching Portland, we were once again in need of rest and were looking forward to be staying in a city with all its comforts.
Follow along with Alex as he travels through California on Instagram, and when you’re ready to have your own adventure, rent an RV with Mighway!