Each week, I’ll update you on my one year trip. I’ve decided to leave everything behind and spend real time with the people that matter the most in my life: my wife and three children. This is my story, I hope it will inspire you to create yours.
Date: from July July 29th to August 6th
Miles on the road so far: 7,203
States/Province traveled through: Oregon & California
As I’m writing these lines, I’m parked in Marina Green, San Francisco, right in front of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island. I’ve been a bit of a wreck as we ran into a few bumps lately. #1: Our trip to Big Sur has been compromised due to a big fire. #2: We can’t go to Alcatraz as we had to buy tickets a month in advance. #3: I ordered a water pump and it’s already being delivered in Vegas… but it will be shipped back since I can’t be there on time. #4: It has been quite an adventure to drive all the way to SF with my RV and we are now planning on parking overnight in a place we aren’t allowed. But since we haven’t found any other options, I have to try it! Right now, it’s 5pm and technically, I have until 10pm to be legitimately parked where I am… let’s see how it goes tonight! But for now, let’s go back to the moment when we left Seattle for the West Coast.
Day #47-48-49-50-51 Impressive Highway 101
Day #47 was William’s Birthday. It was a good thing we celebrated his birthday in Seattle as today is a “road day”. This includes going to the dump, finding fresh water and driving all the way down to highway 101 to see some beaches. We finally hit Cannon Beach by the end of the day. Big surprise; it’s incredibly cold here! I never thought I’d need my sweatshirt and pants on the beach here! A few days ago, we were almost ready to dive into the cold waters of Tofino as it was warm by the beach. In Oregon; it’s just plain cold!
However, the view of these big rocks in the ocean is breathtaking:
We spent the rest of the afternoon by the beach and went through the whole village to find a birthday cake for William. We ended-up buying 6 pieces of fudge altogether. I don’t think he will complain:
On Day #48, 49 and 50 we meandered down highway 101. We basically stopped whenever we wanted to see beaches, rocks and other astounding view points and also for a great hike. It was a nice experience to never drive more than 2 hours per day and stopping multiple times throughout the day. We did spend quite some time on the beach with our new favorite activity: building shelters with driftwood. Once we successfully build a shelter, it’s time to spend some time relaxing for the kids and blogging by the beach for me. The sun is very hot and once you have found a way to protect yourself from the cold wind, you are all set for several hours!
Blue Heron Brie is amazing;-)
I’ve also experienced sleeping by the highway in a vista point where the police probably forgot to put a “no overnight camping” sign. We slept right by Thor’s Well:
It was windy, we had trucks waking us from time to time as they passed by and we had to leave at 6am as construction workers started their job just beside our RV. Still, it was a very interesting experience. We drove to another viewpoint and slept until 9am ;-). After 4 days by the beach and taking the time to enjoy each part of it, it was time for us to drive back into the mainland on Day #51. We finally found some heat at the beginning of California in a small town called Yreka.
Day #52-53-54-55 First Taste of California
For our first full day in California, we drove a few hours to get close to Napa Valley. In fact, we stopped right beforehand in Clearlake where there is an amazing vineyard called Six Sigma. Kaj, the proprietor, is a former finance guy who previously worked for GE Capital. He was very welcoming and even stopped by during the evening to make sure we had everything we want. Yup, we basically had the 4,300 acres property all to ourselves that night! The ranch is gated and all activities stopped by 5pm. Then, everybody goes home and we were all alone to enjoy this peaceful place. They not only produced very good wine, but also do their own meat. This is where we enjoyed the best burger I’ve made on my bbq so far with wine and a game of washers (for those who camp, you know how cool this game is!).
The wine was good, the burgers were amazing and the silence around us for the whole night was priceless. For our first experience in California, I couldn’t be happier!
The next day, we hit the road only for 30 minutes in order to get to another vineyard. Langtry Estate was founded in 1888 by Eve Langtry. This place is absolutely gorgeous:
We decided to buy a bottle of white wine and sit down at the table to talk about our future:
The best part was yet to come. The first Friday of each month, they host a small party where musicians play from 6 to 9pm. There was a taco & burrito food truck for our pleasure. It was amazing timing since it was my daughter’s birthday!
We also had the opportunity to chat with a former hedge fund manager to find out that he is writing on Seeking Alpha too ;-). It was an amazing night with a good vibe and many parents were there with their children. Maybe we drank too much wine that night, because the next morning was rough… hahaha!
To be honest, I wasn’t hungover, but I was somewhat tired. The kids were tired too and making decisions was just a very complicated process with all the noise going on in the RV. We decided to hit the road towards Napa Valley… wow it’s beautiful!
Unfortunately, the whole valley isn’t very family friendly and even less RV friendly. As such, we then decided to go through it in short order and I made a mental note to come back for a romantic trip with my wife on another occasion ;-).
We couldn’t find a place to stop the RV and eat… this is how we ended-up entering San Francisco with just a handful of almonds at 3pm. It is always a challenge to drive throughout big cities where there are cars and construction everywhere. We finally hit Marina Green and settled for our sandwich. My wife was dead and decided to take a nap… I wrote this article still wondering what will happen to us tonight… but you (and I!) will only know what happen in this parking lot on my next “on the road” article!
You should have stopped in at the sand dunes in southern Oregon – the kids would have loved the sand buggies!
Yeah… you are a right! they would probably have loved it! On the other side, they have enjoyed their time at the beach building shelters 🙂
Dividends Down Under
Sounds like California is quite the nice change of scenery from where you’ve been so far 🙂 Some of those pictures are stunning Mike. I’m loving your roadtrip, I hope you’re enjoying part 8 – can’t wait to hear about it.
Yup! It felt good to feel the sun on our skin and to visit vineyards 🙂 It’s funny as we are currently back in California (today!), but I won’t spoil the last 2 weeks of our trip 😉 hahaha!
I used to RV too! I guess you are boon docking a bit? I only did that a couple of times…in a diner’s parking lot or Walmart. How do you like your rig? The RV is crowded with the kids,but the kids love it. They’ll be talking about this trip for years….good luck, and keep up the good work.
yup, we do a lot of boondocking. This is a great way to save money on the road!
Kids love their experience so far 🙂
I know Alcatraz was probably on the proverbial bucket list, but don’t fret, you didn’t miss much. Did you get a chance to go into Sausalito…north side of Golden Gate?
unfortunately we missed Sausalito. I just pulled it up and it seems a very nice place! I love the boat house pictures!
Mike it’s been inspiring to see you dedicated to long term family time like this. Such a rare thing so few will ever do. Thanks for sharing.
It’s definitely the best decision of my life! I’m very happy to do it when I’m young and I can travel with my whole family!
Great photos! Keep them coming.
Hi Mike! I hope you and your lovely family are doing well.
I wish I could have seen you & your family in San Francisco. I live Three (3)
miles from the Golden Gate Bridge. Great pictures, happy late birthdays
to your son and daughter.
that’s too bad… I would need to find a way to connect with readers prior to post my articles…
You live in a beautiful city btw 😉
Mike, if you’re still close to SF, drive down Hwy 1 to Santa Cruz (about 50 miles) and head up to Henry Cowell State Park. The area is gorgeous and you won’t regret it. I used to live in the area and still miss it greatly.
we were supposed to go that way, but the forest fire a few weeks ago made us go toward Yosemite instead.
Hi Mike, I have being following you trip and your financial blogs too. Thank your for the sharing. I wish I could do that too but I need to have a RV first:)
Just a question about the RV trip. How do you secure you three kids, especially the little boy, while the van is on the road? Are there enough seatbelts and a place to securely put the car seat?
We bought the RV for this trip (we are first time Rver!).
We have 5 legal seat belts around the dinette. This is where kids sit. Caleb (my 4yr old) sits in his “kid seat” that is attached on one of the seat belt. It looks pretty solid from what I can see :-).
Sounds like you have a great time. The coast line just looks great!
Your road posts are one of the drivers to push me to more adventurous travel next year. Seville is high on my list, a road trip through the north if France would be second.
In all honesty, I think I would do that for the rest of my life if I didn’t think of my children 😉 it’s an amazing feeling to be free and go wherever you want!