Saturday, 29 September 2012

Hippies to KOA

Sept. 26th - Wednesday

We woke the next morning fairly rejuvenated.. Eric's muscles in his shoulders were still a bit tense from the scary drive the night before but otherwise it was  fine morning. Our only neighbours in the camp area came over and offered us brewed coffee.. can't go wrong with that kind of start to the day!  Our neighbours were self proclaimed hippies (they said "hippies like us")  who have been travelling the coastal highway from Washington to Calfiornia for several years. Their camper van looked like it should have belonged in a scrap yard but it was still going (had duck tape to hold the antanea up) and it had a "Jesus loves us" hand painted on the side.  As we chatted with them in the early morning fog and everyone at their site was starting to wake up.. people were popping up everywhere.. a kid out the window.. then another.. than another dog.. than a person out of a very grimy tent..and after we parted ways and thanked them for the coffee.. I noticed that there were still more people emerging.. from not sure where! I think there must of been about 7 adults, 2 kids, and 4-5 dogs.. all in a not so big trailer! The one  young girl, maybe 5 years old, had tangled hair and dirt smeared face, the "hippies" we were talking with also had dirty smeared faces and filthy clothes and I noticed the very friendly lady who offered us the coffee had the grimiest fingernails. I felt so clean and proper compared to them.. in my Gap jeans and fleece.. and pre-packaged oatmeal for my kids (they had a huge pot (also dinged and dirty looking) of communal oatmeal that the kids, maybe ages 4 & 5,  just ladled out themselves.. and here I was making Quakers Apple and Cinnamon instant oatmeal for my 9 year old.) I didn't even venture to ask about homeschooling for the kids.. just seemed too mainstream to start a conversation about that.

But it was a beautiful morning with fog and sun fighting it out to see who would win. Before breaking camp, Liam and Eric ventured down to the beach (Sean was feeling protective of the van and didn't want to leave it and seemed to sense the more interesting action would be at the camp anyways with the unusual campers next door )  Eric and Liam came across a dead seagull which Liam wanted to bury.. then later when when he was back at our campste, he found a flower that he wanted to place on the seagull's grave and was quite adamant about  it.. so Eric and he returned to the beach. Lucky thing too (or was it Karma?) as they ended up seeing a sea otter!  Liam said it looked like a weasel at first. He was very excited and kept re-telling the story about how it all happened.

campsite.. not even sure where.. Hwy 1

 Our morning starts.. Eric up first to get coffee...

Can you see the sun trying to burn off the fog behind Eric?

Liam really liked watching the waves..
it has the same effect as watching a fire
Liam taking my picture

exploring on the beach and burying a seagull

We left camp about 10, wished our friendly neighbours safe travels, and drove south along Hwy 1 on the coast. The northern California coastline.. this was it.. the full day of driving to see it all.. soak it in… and we got fog … the whole day… and more tense driving for Eric.. the road really hugs the coast line! So. though it was interesting.. I wouldn't say it met the build up in my mind..  .. and Sean was getting car sick with all the twists and turns. We had a picnic lunch at a look out (Vista Point 1/4 mile.. the signs say).. and we got a full blanket of grey. But at one point on the drive we did see a group of seals up on the beach.. we were able to stop and Eric said "they are dead!".. they were all just lying there.. beached.. but we got the binoculars out and saw some movement.. not much.. and decided they couldn't all be dead.. they are just sleeping.. but they really did look dead!

Seals.. don't they look dead?

So, we ended the day inland (got real tired of the road and the fog).. at the Petaluma KOA just an hour north of San Fransisco. What a contrast to campsite we just had that morning.. the setting, the neighbours.. everything! Our VW van looked so small and old and I was really conscious of the boys being out of school in the middle of the day just goofing around at the playground. We had the grimy towels drying out.. old plastic tubs as storage.. compared to our clean, orderly, in control neighbours (one had a nice sleek Airstream). The KOA was big time!..Cable tv hook ups… huge pool.. bouncy thing.. petting zoo.. basketball court.. huge kids playground.. and even a playground for dogs - they had everything you needed (even a little store fully stocked with anything you might run out of). 

It was kind of nice, easy.. to have  all the amenities around us at the KOA, but I really liked our morning camp spot.. the booming waves, the realism of the the dead seagull along side the playful sea otter, the drifters of society offering their neighbours a warm coffee, and the sun and fog battling for control... it all seemed more real... 


  1. Hello! This is Ava. Just wanted to tell you that your trip looks amazing so far, and I'm really jealous of you and Sean and Liam because you get to travel all around and see cool places and all I do is stick around at home and go to school everyday. Nothing special. You guys should facetime me sometime. See you in October!

  2. Hi Ava! It's so good to hear from you - we miss you guys and are really looking forward to seeing you in just a few weeks! You should tell your Mom and Dad to take you to San Francisco :) ...I think you would love it here!