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Monterey Coast – RV Trip #51

We visited the Monterey bay for the 5th time in the Big White Box (BWB), enjoying the Carmel Coast and also Moss Landing, where we camped at the Mosss Landing KOA. Each trip, we try to take in something different, and the highlights of our previous trips are listed below. They bring back good memories.

Elkhorn Slough Safari

Monterey Bay Aquarium, 17-Mile Drive, Phil’s Fish Market

Kayaking Elkhorn Slough, Vivolo’s Chowder House, Fisherman’s Wharf

Pacific Grove, Carmel Mission

I usually get up early to take Lucy, our terrier-mix, for a walk. Moss Landing is a great place for this, and one of the reasons we enjoy staying there. Lucy and I walk past the harbor and marina, where the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute is located,



and down a dirt pathway with the ocean on your right (note the moon setting over the ocean in the photo below) and the slough on your left.


As I walk along the pathway, I listen to the ocean surf just on the other side of the dunes, while inside the slough I hear birds calling to each other, and watch egrets patiently waiting for their breakfast to swim by. I can also usually find an otter or two swimming by (that’s an otter in the photo below out for an early morning swim).


And then there are the many bunnies that seem to love teasing Lucy as they hop to the other side of the fence or into the bushes before she can get too close. They seem to both enjoy the game.


On the way back this morning, the sun started to peek over the roof of the Moss Landing Marine Labs (MLML), which dominates the east side of the slough. MLML is a consortium of seven CSU campuses dedicated to excellence in the Marine Sciences.



While most people are just waking up, Lucy and I have enjoyed a great start to our day. To top things off, there is usually a hot cup off coffee waiting for me at the BWB, and Lucy is ready for her breakfast. 🙂



We decided to drive in to Carmel today, as the ProAm tournament was this weekend, and the Pacific Grove area was extra crowded. We intended to hike at Point Lobos, but as entered we found out that no dogs are allowed anywhere in the park! The helpful ranger suggest the dog-friendly Monastery Beach, about a mile away. It’s a great beach for walking, but the coast here is treacherous and we were advised to stay our of the water!



Off in the distance we saw another beach, but did not see a way to get there. A quick look at Apple Maps and we were on our way to Ribera Beach, a real find! If you are tired of the crowds along Pacific Grove, this is a great alternative!

You enter at the end of residential street and there are only a few parking places. Walking through these trees and down the steps (a very middle-earth feeling to the entrance 🙂 reveals breath-taking views.


The pathway meanders along the coast, but also along the top of the interesting rock formations which adds a different dimension to the views.




We really enjoyed Ribera Beach and highly recommend a walk along the beach here. The walk worked up our appetite, so we drive into Carmel for lunch at the Forge in the Forrest. We liked the food there and loved the atmosphere.


We also visited the Whole Enchilada in Moss Landing during the trip. They specialize in Mexican seafood, and we both really enjoyed our meals. They also draw a crowd to their open air market and cafe, where you can get all kinds of produce, including locally grown artichokes. It’s a fun place to stop and browse.


All too soon, it was time to pack up and travel back home. We enjoyed our stay. The trip home was more of an adventure than usual, as Highway 17 was down to one lane due to a mud-slide caused by recent rainstorms dumping over 8 inches on the Santa Cruz mountains.

We decided to stay on Highway 1 and head east at Half Moon Bay. Interestingly, Highway 1 was also narrowed to one lane above Santa Cruz due to a mud-slide taking out one of the southbound lanes. We were stopped on the highway for about 20 minutes as we waited for the road crews to do their work. The great thing about having an RV is that we simply used that as an opportunity to make lunch and have a bathroom break. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade! 🙂

Buellton, CA – RV Trip #50

This trip was our 50th in the Big White Box (BWB), a milestone for us. 🙂 We’ve had a lot of fun camping in her over the last 5 years (since June 2012).


We travelled south to Buellton, just north of Santa Barbara, and stayed in the Flying Flags RV Resort. This is a great place to stay in an RV, but they also offer cabins and vintage trailers (Air Streams, etc.). Because of that, it’s also a great place for groups to gather, even if everyone doesn’t have an RV. The amenities, including bocci ball, pool, restaurant, etc. offer something for everyone.

Flying Flags was our base as we spent time in Solvang, Mission Santa Ines, Nojoqui Falls, Cachuma Lake, Knapp’s Castle, and the Chumash Painted Cave. We spent a little time along the coast, but mainly explored interesting places in the Santa Ynez Mountains just to the east.

Solvang, a Danish community, is always a great place to visit for baked goods. We tried the Kringle this time at Olsen’s Bakery and it was delicious. Along the route to Solvang, you also pass by beautiful ranch land, which also includes an Ostrich farm.



Right next to Solvang is the Old Mission Santa Ines, founded in 1804. It’s beautifully maintained and well worth a visit. In fact, you can take a stroll there after finishing your Kringle, like we did. 🙂




Our next stop was a visit to Nojoqui Falls. A short hike from the parking lot through through the forest leads to the seasonal fall. The fall seems to jut out from the surrounding rock, and the face of the fall is covered in ferns. It makes for a peaceful place to spend some time. When we are there, there was just a little water flowing, but still a nice walk. It’s also a popular place for dog walking, and Lucy loved meeting new friends along the trail.


For dinner, we decided to try Industrial Eats in Buellton. You can see the menu on the wall written on a roll of paper. We tried the clay oven pizza, which was awesome, but the plates from the four-item menu also looked great, and I’ll have to try something off that menu the next time we visit.

The next day we headed to the mountains. Our first stop was Lake Cachuma. The water was  still really low at the dam, but hopefully the recent rains have started filling it up again. We had a really nice walk down to the water before heading to our next destination.

Our next stop was the ruins of Knapp’s Castle, which has an incredible view of the Santa Ynez Valley. The mansion burned down to the foundation in 1940 and was never rebuilt.

Our final stop for the day was the Chumash Painted Cave, located on a winding one-lane road about a mile from Knapp’s Castle. You hike up to the cave, protected by an iron fence, and are rewarded with beautiful drawings made by the Chumash hundreds of years ago. They are so ancient, even the Chumash people do not know the meaning of the drawings, but to us, they seem to relate to the cosmos. What do you think?

We then found our way down the mountain and drove north, back to Buellton, in time for a coffee break.

Another enjoyable RV trip in the Big White Box, and we are looking forward to our next trip, which will be on the coast of the Monterey Bay.

Al & Deb

p.s. Our days in the BWB are numbered, as we have a new Winnebago on order for arrival some time in early April. It’s a 2017 Winnebago Adventurer 35P. We will always appreciate the BWB, and the many great trips and lessons in RVing in her, but also look forward to new adventures in the Adventurer!


New Years at New Brighton Beach – RV Trip #49

With a few days off work for the holiday, we went to New Brighton State Beach on the Pacific Coast Highway to usher in the new year in a very relaxing and enjoyable way.

Lucy is starting to get used to these RV trips, because she loves the long walks and getting to meet all kinds of animals (including pet pigs!)

Lucy and I took a walk to the beach and were greeted with this beautiful sunrise. Since New Brighton is a south facing beach, you get to enjoy both a sunrise and a sunset each day!




New Years Eve we went on a nice drive in the surrounding area by Pigeon Point Lighthouse.



We also stopped for lunch at Aptos St. Barbecue and their killer pulled pork.


We spent the rest of the day in Capitola, walking along the pier, shopping, watching the surfers, and finishing the day with a cappuccino at Mr. Toots.







As we walked away from the Capitola beach, we noticed this great rainbow over New Brighton State Beach where we were staying…a fitting end to the day. I guess it was nature’s way of celebrating the new year. 🙂



We had a great day, but a quiet New Year’s Eve. We decided to enjoy it on New York time (9pm our time) so we could get up early and enjoy the morning the next day.

We had a good time at New Brighton, and we are already looking forward to our next trip to Flying Flags RV Resort in Buellton, CA.

Al & Deb

Half Moon Bay in the fall – RV Trip #48

We recently visited Half Moon Bay for the weekend this fall. The park was booked solid, but there was a cancellation we scooped up. 🙂 It turned out to be a nice spot, even if it wasn’t our favorite ocean front campsite.


Here’s why we love coming back here. A beautiful picturesque beach nestled between San Francisco and Santa Cruz.


The sea was rough and mesmerizing to watch.


About 10 miles south is Bean Hollow State Beach. We love the drive there as well as the beach.


Named after the pebbly sand, it is also known for it’s very interesting rick formations, called tafoni.



Our friends stopped by the next day to celebrate my birthday.


We enjoyed dinner at Sam’s Chowder House, my favorite seafood restaurant. Great friends, good food and live jazz band made for a great evening. 


It was a nice 3-day get-away, and we are already looking forward to our next trip to New Brighton State Beach.


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