Our drive down into California was a bit longer than we had originally anticipated due to our lengthy stop in Florence, and we neglected to plan accordingly. The end result of this poor planning was five famished travellers by the time we reached Port Orford! We lucked upon the fantastic Port Orford Community Co-Op right across the street from an empty parking lot where we could safely park the RV while Juliette popped across the street to pick up some snacks for everyone. It is so nice to see healthy shops in small communities supporting local farms and industry, especially when those same shops have long line ups of like minded people!
We noticed a huge difference in gas price between Oregon and California, partly to do with tax rates and perhaps a hike in price between states. We drove down to the Kamp Klamath RV Park, arriving shortly after dark. Thankfully setting up the RV has become a pretty straightforward procedure, which allowed us to settle in easily. We noticed an immediate shift in temperature as soon as we crossed the border, with warm and balmy breezes surrounding us during our set up.
We woke to crazy wind and rain the following day, which led to some indoor playtime for the kids while Juliette caught up on blog posts before we ventured out to explore the grounds and take in some fresh air. After spending most of the day indoors and running low on groceries, we decided to drive into Crescent City, CA where we had lots of fun grocery shopping at the Wild River Market and treating ourselves to a lovely dinner at The Good Harvest Cafe. We really enjoyed their delicious vegetable soup, and appreciated their focus on whole foods!
The next day we made our way into the Redwood National Park, taking a spectacular drive through the woods followed by a walk through Stout Grove. It was fun to visit the Redwood Forests right after watching Star Wars, we kept expecting to see Storm Troopers and Ewoks coming around the bend! We had a picnic lunch in the truck (very glamorous!) due to the pouring rain before stopping at the interpretive center to chat with some more lovely Park Rangers. We have been so impressed with the friendliness of the Rangers we have met thus far!
On the Ranger’s recommendation we then made our way over to the Simpson-Reed trail in the Jedidiah Smith State Park. The Redwood trees are so massive, we were completely dwarfed by them! It’s amazing to think of how long they have been there. We really appreciated the signs throughout the parks, which gave us lots of information about the surrounding trees and vegetation, including fascinating information about nurse logs (and some pretty awesome examples!) For those who don’t know, a nurse log is a dead fallen tree that acts as a support and provides nourishment for new growth (aka baby trees). Armand had a nap on Dom’s head during the walk, he was riding on Dom’s shoulders as his legs got tuckered out part way through our second hike!
We packed up the following morning, and had a lovely chat with a woman who is at the camp doing a work stay program with her family. She gave the kids a golf cart ride, which was a big thrill for them! We have read a lot about these programs, and would love to do one with the kids down the road. We suspect we would learn quite a lot in the process, as would the kids. There are quite a few organic farms across Canada - getting a chance to work at one of them in the future would be pretty amazing!
We arrived at the Russian River RV camp after dark only to find out that our reservation had disappeared! No biggie, we re-booked ourselves with the ranger at the front gate and despite the fact that it was pitch black and raining we found a lovely spot among the trees, in close proximity to the laundry and showers, which is always a good thing! We settled in and enjoyed the pitter patter of rain on the roof all night, so relaxing. It has been lovely cracking the windows open for fresh air, now that the weather is considerably warmer.
We woke up to another heavy downpour, so we elected to take a exploration day. We are currently learning about Greek Gods and Heros via Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson Series. The kids are really enjoying it, and it is giving us a good refresher as well! We are listening the audio versions of the first couple of books, thanks to the Victoria Public Library. It makes for fun driving days, and it’s educational at the same time as it has prompted lots of additional reading about Greek Myths and Legends.
We started out driving into Fort Bragg, which was a nice little town where we enjoyed lunch at a local cafe. We then made our way into the town of Medocino, a picturesque town on the coast with lots of old historic houses and a lovely main street. We bought groceries at the local store, and then took a walk around town with the kids. We arrived too late for the visitor center, but enjoyed the view from outside. It is definitely a seasonal spot, lots of places have restricted hours this time of year. Even so it was lovely to visit! We had a bit of trouble finding gas on our way out of town (the single pump in Mendocino closed at 2pm!) but managed to find a little pump and grocery store up the road where we filled up half a tank (as the cost was $1.00/gallon more than anywhere else). Crazy! We took the coastal highway back that night, we were glad of the darkness as it was a pretty steep drop off and probably for the best that we were not able to get a clear view!
The following day we trekked out to the Solar Living Institute, which was fantastic. We learned so much about different kinds of eco-friendly energy sources, including aquaponics and solar power (the former we experimented with in Victoria, and the latter we’ll be exploring more fully when we head down south as we’ll be able to make better use of the solar panels lining the roof of our RV). We got some tips on the composting toilet we will be installing soon, which was really helpful as we have been feeling a bit intimidated at the prospect! With five people we weren’t sure if high usage would get in the way of the composting process, but we found some tips and tricks (including an all natural composting accelerator) which will really help.
Our next stop was the McFadden Wine Tasting and Farm Stand, we don’t drink anymore but the Farm Stand part of the store was a big draw. We were glad we went, as we were able to find some gorgeous organic garlic, olive oil and dried herbs from the farm! Juliette chatted with the guy working in the shop and received several recommendations for places to go in Ukiah, the next town over. We made a couple of those recommendations our next stops, including the Ukiah Natural Foods Co-op where we stocked up on groceries, and Taste Buds, an amazing organic gluten free & plant based Caribbean restaurant that provided us with a lovely dinner.
Our last day in town we drove to the City of 10,000 Buddhas for lunch at their vegetarian restaurant (another recommendation from the day before) and a visit to their Interpretive Center, where we learned a lot about buddhism and the history of the 10,000 Buddha’s founder. We were impressed at how tasty the food was, despite the lack of garlic, leeks and onions. Apparently the scriptures dictate that using these foods will produce unfavourable aromas that will attract spirits, ergo they are avoided. I can only imagine how haunted our family must be, as we cook with a lot of onions and garlic! We then made our way back to the RV for a night of relaxation, Percy Jackson on audio book and some impromptu pasta for dinner. Yum!
Klamath & Cloverdale Highlights
Port Orford Food Community Co-Op - ok this one is in Port Orford, WA but it deserved an honourable mention as it is worth stopping in if you are passing through (or staying in) town. Finding little local and organic markets like this in small communities is such a treat!
Kamp Klamath RV Park - we really enjoyed our stay at Kamp Klamath RV Park, the park is simple but well maintained and is located in close proximity to the Redwood National Park. If you are a fan of local eggs, you can purchase some laid by the chickens on site.
The Wild River Market - a fantastic health food store located in Crescent City, CA.
The Good Harvest Cafe - located in Crescent, CA the Good Harvest Cafe has a focus on whole foods and is locally run and operated. They have a lengthy menu with lots of good selections, plant based eater or otherwise.
Redwood National Park - well worth a visit, these old growth forests are spectacular! Stout Grove and the Simpson-Reed trail are great picks for little ones.
Percy Jackson Series - we are really enjoying Rick Riordan's series, it has been a wonderful introduction to Greek Gods and Heroes for the kids!
Mendocino, CA - Mendocino is a lovely little town on the coast, with beautiful restored homes, shops and cafes.
Solar Living Institute - Located in Hopland the Solar Living Institute is a fantastic place to learn about sustainable living in all is forms.
McFadden Farm - We visited the Farm Stand (located in Hopland along with the Wine Tasting Room. We bought a bunch of garlic and some dried herbs and found them to be delicious.
Ukiah Natural Foods Co-Op - a fantastic health food store in Ukiah with a large selection of produce and products.
Taste Buds - a fantastic Caribbean restaurant in Ukiah with a focus on gluten free and veg friendly options!
City of 10,000 Buddhas - a Buddhist Monastery located in Ukiah, CA. The vegetarian restaurant is very tasty and they have a great interpretive centre discussing the center's founder and Buddhism in general.