Back in the Airstream, For Now at Least
This fall our travels didn't quite go to plan. We had arranged a side trip with flights to Boston to see friends. On our return from our East coast diversion we were going to wind our way back south to 1) escape the fall and winter weather in the Northwest, and 2) get to Los Angeles for the beginning of November for a flight back to the UK to see family.
Our unplanned trip to Mexico took out the months of September and most of October from these travel plans. While we enjoyed being in Mexico, upon our return we found ourselves in the Pacific Northwest at the end of October. We had only 2 weeks to get to the bottom of the country and with a lot more rain and cold than we had anticipated. I should say that we are originally from the UK, so we know cold and wet, but we have lived in California for the last 16 years and have become extreme lightweights!
Our travel style is usually to take our time, drive only 200 miles per day and settle in one place for 5 to 7 days. Given the 1,200 miles we needed to cover in 2 weeks this went out the window. Before the Mexico diversion we had planned a whole week in Portland. Without the luxury of time we still managed 4 days there. That gave us some time to "blow the cobwebs" of the Airstream. The 7 weeks in storage near Seattle had left the inside of the trailer feeling a little damp and cold and the truck was filthy with fall leaves. We also restocked our cupboards and generally took the time to get back into our rhythm before pushing on south towards LA.
Rather than do a lot more driving than usual each day, we planned a few overnight stops on the way down. When we travel like this, we research campgrounds that are not too far from the freeway and have spots that allow us to park up for the night without having to unhitch. It saves a lot of time and effort with the long driving days on either side. Valley of the Rogue State Park in Southern Oregon and Sycamore Grove in Red Bluff were both perfect for our purposes.
We decided to break up the journey in the middle with a few nights near Sacramento and found a great little camping spot about 10 minutes from the city. My previous visit to California's state capital have left me unimpressed. I'm glad to say that the city seems to have moved on and we found a cool, if small, microbrewery scene and some great neighborhood restaurants and coffee shops in Midtown.
The final push south saw us spending one short night in a casino parking lot just outside of Fresno, before getting to Southern California. Now we have a few days in SoCal to relax and catch up with some friends before we head for our UK trip. We were relieved to reach the LA basin with a few days to spare. Travel delays can and often do happen, and we have suffered mechanical breakdowns and punctures in the past. Plus, the extra few days are welcome so we can stock up on some warmer clothes and boots for the British weather. Our rainy time in Oregon and Washington has reminded us what cold weather wimps we are.