Monthly Archives: September 2013

Lake Tahoe

We were wary of the Tahoe area, to quote our camping book “people come here in droves”. However, it is highly regarded by a number of our friends so we had to check it out. Tahoe was a pleasant surprise. I think we timed our visit just right. It was after the Labor Day long weekend in the states and as far as anyone there was concerned summer was over, despite the fact that it was still pretty hot. Apparently people were also staying away, worried that the smoke from the fires in Yosemite would spoil the views….suckers!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 24 Lake Tahoe - 02Sunrise and Coffee, Lake Tahoe.

The visitor information lady and the rangers were some of the most enthusiastic and helpful we’ve come across. It was supposed to be just an overnight hike but it quickly turned into a three day adventure.  We hiked up into the Desolation Wilderness, checked out the mountain lakes and then spent a day hiking without our packs up to Dick’s Peak. As you can imagine, we exhausted all the not so witty one-liners that day. 24 Lake Tahoe - 03 24 Lake Tahoe - 04 24 Lake Tahoe - 05Swimming and Cooking at Middle Velma Lake.

Scrambling up Dick’s Peak was awesome, and we were lucky to get clear views all the way back to Lake Tahoe. We also met some locals on the way to the top who said that we could get back to our campsite via a loop, rather than going back the way we came. There wasn’t really a trail so we had to figure it out as best we could with our map. It also meant that we had to do a bit of rock scaling. This was the scariest part for me, thanks to my clumsiness and fear of heights.24 Lake Tahoe - 06 24 Lake Tahoe - 07 24 Lake Tahoe - 08 24 Lake Tahoe - 0924 Lake Tahoe - 10

Although we passed a fair few people on the trail, we were able to find awesome campsites both nights. Each one was by a beautiful lake and with no one else around. For me, sunrise and sunset in the mountains with only my friends in sight is unbeatable.24 Lake Tahoe - 11 24 Lake Tahoe - 12 24 Lake Tahoe - 13Sunrise and Sunset at Middle Velma Lake. Sunset at Fontanillis Lake.

It was an awesome trip and so much better than expected. Brounie and I got back to Oscar with our feet covered in blisters. Luckily, he had cold beers waiting for us!24 Lake Tahoe - 14

Finding the Lost Coast

The Lost Coast… the name itself was enough to convince me I wanted to go there.   This section of the northern California Coast has remained relatively isolated over the years because the geography makes road building kind of hard.  When Highway 1 was built they put this section in the too hard basket, and I’m glad they did.

The drive in from Ferndale to Petrolia was one of the most beautiful afternoons we’ve had so far.  It’s hard to capture the mood, but the sun was just right and it illuminated the rolling ranchlands and coastline perfectly. IMG_7203 IMG_7212

Those who make the effort are rewarded with a beautiful section of coastline to explore.  This place is no big secret, but it kind of feels that way.IMG_7232 IMG_7236 DSC05118

We’d heard about another great beach further down the coast, accessed from the south by 6 or so miles of rough unmaintained dirt road.  We came it from the other end, and after about 15 miles of slowly crawling up steep climbs and down steeper descents, through washouts and hairpin turns we were wondering if we might have to turn back. But when we caught a glimpse of the ocean just around the bend, we knew we were close.  And it was well worth it. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA IMG_7314 IMG_7280 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA IMG_7340

The short drive back out to the paved highway was much easier.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA IMG_7368 IMG_7360

Pizza Nights and Pancake Mornings

We were so inspired by the wood fired pizzas at VJB that we had to have a go ourselves. Just so happened that we found a great campsite in the Jackson State Forest that had everything we needed: wood barbecues, lots of firewood and hardly another soul around. So we fired up the stereo and had ourselves a little pizza party. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA IMG_7156

After we ran out of wine and beer, we had to dip into the ’emergency kit’. Thanks Carly.IMG_7159

We haven’t seen much of Brounie over the past few years, so naturally we had a lot of catching up to do and plenty to chat about.IMG_7165

Next morning we got up and went for a run and did our campsite workout.  This is becoming a bit of a routine and Brounie has dubbed it ‘Brown Bus Bootcamp’.  We really earned our pancake breakfast.

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I hope that gives you all a little taste of van life.