We finished our stint in Arizona with an overnight in Lake Havasu overlooking the London Bridge. We stayed at a hotel once again due to the heat. Lake Havasu really does look like an oasis in the desert, populated mostly by retirees as we soon discovered. The water levels were quite good considering it was fed by the Colorado River which seems to be under constant threat due to drought. The London Bridge is quite something when you think that it was reconstructed brick by brick at this location.
We woke up to a toasty 82 degrees and decided to get out for a walk early. We strolled along the esplanade as the sun rose, passing a touching tribute to the queen and other gift shops and restaurants.
The next morning we headed out to Barstow; there isn’t much in this area and the Mojave National Reserve had been flooded out by monsoons (much like Death Valley) so we couldn’t swing by there for a look-see. I did find a feature near Barstow called the Rainbow Basin with colorful rock formations that reminded me of the Artist Palette in Death Valley. We decided that would be a fun geological adventure to hike, but we soon discovered that that road had been flooded out as well🌊
We decided to pack it in and went to the hotel. We had plenty to do with prepping BigB for sale, and other logistics related to our impending move to France.
The next morning we embarked to Bakersfield where we would spend the night at the Orange Grove RV Park. We stopped by a rest stop to clown around the Joshua Trees, and then drove through Tehachapi which was now brown, quite the contrast of the rolling green hills of our spring jaunt through this region.
Our stop over in Bakersfield this time was a bit different from our stay in the spring when we were surrounded by the heady scent of orange blossoms; there were now oranges on the trees, mostly green, and the temperature was a manageable 83 degrees.
I sat amongst the orange trees until the sun faded, enveloped by the cooling breeze – there were no ponds here to reflect upon, only what I had brought with me as I pondered the last legs of our trip; the thunderstorms I was so fond of that came in multiples while in Sedona, were now behind me.
The last strokes of the summer sun was now slipping past the fading fields, no longer in sway as we cross over from the solstice to the equinox of charitable memories. In the aftermath of a desert glow, my pupils, thankfully, no longer felt fazed by the sun. I watched the breeze as it ran its fingers through the trees, teasing the leaves as they turned to gold. The idea of autumn was upon us.
The next day we arrived at the California coast, specifically Morro Bay. I hadn’t seen my leggings and sweatshirts since we boondocked across the Columbia Icefields in mid-June. Thinking back on the early stage of this adventure it seems so long ago! We were staying at a small RV Park, it was more like a space attached to an Airbnb that had a cabin and across from that full hookups for our rig.
It was rather cold and windy as we went for an evening walk on the beach; I can never inhale enough of the effervescent Pacific breeze. We built a fire and roasted marshmallows then slumbered in the dark and quiet, only interrupted by the occasional calls of the nearby seals and then an owl.
The next morning we strolled along the beach and then stopped in the cove next to Morrow Rock where the sea otters 🦦 hung out. We watched them for about an hour, ensconced in their rituals. The rangers had set up scopes so we could see them closer. One of them had a baby on her belly – they are the most charming sea creatures!!!
We then turned our attention to the birders who were watching the Peregrine Falcons on the nearby Morro Rock – a beautifully stunning site.
We headed down the Embarcadero that had restaurants and shops dotted along the waterfront. It was a perfectly sunny day, hovering in the low to mid-sixties that made for such a treat after months of intense heat and humidity. We picked up a few souvenirs and then did some food shopping. We wound up walking several miles!
After relaxing back at the rig, one of Bob’s ex-coworkers picked us and gave us a tour then we have a great seafood pub dinner on the bay. It was a great end to a perfect day.
The next morning we headed out to Highway 1 to Big Sur and Carmel-By-The-Sea.
What we didn’t realize was the storm system that had hit California a few days ago had spun around and we were getting hammered as we drove the curvaceous wonders of the coastal highway. When we stopped at a viewpoint for tea, the rig was literally swaying due to the gusts.
When we hit the road again we watched as a Class C in front of us was spraying water every which way as it hit the vehicle, the driver struggling to stay on the road; we could empathize with his plight.
We made it to Carmel just in time for a respite from the storm. We encountered some gusts and a few passing showers, but otherwise we were able to browse this charming city for a few hours. The architecture was a cross between English Tudor with spanish influences.
It was busy, and there were some boutique shops hugging the big box stores that looked rather meek; I guessed that Carmel has a city code on the type of facades that were allowed. Thankfully this helped with a more authentic ambience.
In the afternoon, when we reached the KOA the rain had let up enough for us to get BigB set up, and we huddled for the evening as more storms were forecast. As the night drew to a close, we slumbered under the passing showers churning up from the coast. We woke to low clouds and then the blue sky opened up in all its glory. It was in the sixties and very comfortable, and the air smelled of eucalyptus and pine, courtesy of Mother Nature.
That afternoon we went to the beach, reading and watching surfers skate upon the waves. I observed the Pelicans diving for fish and the Curlews swirling in unison up, between and over the imperious waves. It made for a relaxing afternoon, the arresting clouds with occasional sun breaks. We were fortunate the storms were gone and we were able to laze in comfortable tempatures on a virtually empty beach.
When we returned, our side of the RV Park had emptied out and we sat in serenity by the fire with little wind, no bugs and other encumbrances we had so often encountered, especially in Canada and the east coast. We didn’t know when we would experience another classic American campfire since the Oregon Coast was beginning to recede into fall, beckoning the rain and cooler temperatures.
I roasted what would probably be my last marshmallows. One became a casualty of the fire, but I was not be dissuaded as I still had half a bag. S’mores are one of my fond childhood memories that I recapture from time to time. It can become quite the religion; weaponized with custom forged tongs for the very purpose of roasting the perfect marshmallow. Part of the experience is to find the right convection in an open fire, and as is the case with all wild things, one must be patient.
For those of us who revel in solitude, it was quite the treat to be on the California Coast lazing in the receding sun of the evening with only our low playing music, the surf and the organic sounds of wildlife.
We only have a few more nights in the rig, just overnight stops as we journey up the Oregon Coast. It’s a nostalgic thing to think we have traveled over 26k since May 9. So many of our experiences seem like an eternity ago. And the thought we will be leaving America on our migration to France is now upon us, literally week’s away. After years of dreaming and planning the stresses of this new and exciting reality are now taking hold.
Our life is changing in concert with the seasons.