Woman and Poodles vs. Mountain

It has been an eventful past few days! Joe had his work retreat in Santa Cruz, CA, this week which meant that the dogs and I found ourselves in an RV version of Survivor. Let me explain.

When Joe booked our current campsite, Mt. Madonna County Park, he did not realize that the mountain in which the campsite resides lacks cell service/Wifi, and with Joseph needing a vehicle to drive the 40 minutes to Santa Cruz, this left myself and the dogs alone on a mountain for 3 days with no means of transportation.

Well…technically that’s not true. Joe did leave the motorcycle, but who doesn’t know how to drive one and has refused to be taught by Joe? Moi.

Minor planning oversight…right? But not to worry, I had our SPOT device! For those unfamiliar, a SPOT is a GPS tracking device that uses the Globalstar satellite network to provide text messaging and GPS tracking. So, with our SPOT device, I was able to send and receive a few text messages to confirm proof of life.

Meanwhile, Joe was living his best life in Santa Cruz socializing with his co-workers.

Now before you give Joe a hard time, know that the circumstances were unintentional, and he feels terrible. Did I mention that he’s taking me to Disney in a week? Needless to say, all is forgiven!

Despite the less than ideal cell service and Wifi situation, I did have some form of entertainment during my 3 days of solitary confinement – a ticket to an exhibit like none other. What exhibit you may ask? RVers in their natural habitat.

My favorite full time RVer was a woman I met during my quest to find at least 1 bar of cell service. The conversation started out like any other until she casually mentioned that her first bigfoot encounter was in 2017.

She and her pitbull named Sophia Lorraine were on a hike when all of a sudden someone started throwing rocks at her – the kicker is that no one was around her while these rocks were being thrown. Naturally, she went home to conduct some research and discovered that what she had encountered was a bigfoot.

Because of this chance encounter with a bigfoot, my new friend began a YouTube channel and found herself driving like a bat-out-of-hell to Kentucky for a 2 week bigfoot enthusiast meetup. The meetup involved tent camping in the snow, and though she and Sophia Lorraine were freezing, the trip solidified her belief she was capable of RVing full-time.

And so, she sold her house for a cool 1.2 million, bought a brand new RV, and hit the road.

I have to say, meeting and chatting with new people is probably one of my favorite parts of life on the road – everyone is unique, and quite frankly, you never know where the conversation is going to take you!

I could continue to regale you with stories of other RVers that I have encountered in the wild, but you’re probably wondering about the other 7 days that I have left unaccounted.

Well…Joe and I took advantage of our location and visited a local vineyard/winery! We thoroughly enjoyed chatting with the owners’ daughter-in-law as we tasted various wines and watched adrenaline junkies skydiving in the distance.

Not only have we enjoyed tasting the local wines but also the local beers. The night before Joe’s work retreat, Joe and I met one of his co-workers and her husband for some brewery hopping. Afterward, we ate dinner on the Santa Cruz Wharf and saw some seals playing in the ocean!

Overall, visiting this area has been magical – we have enjoyed the serenity of the beach, as well as the cool comfort of the redwood trees. Hiking through the forrest has been rejuvenating and my somewhat exaggerated tale of solitude aside, it has been nice to be unplugged for a few days.

Until next time!

See You On The 405

After 5 weeks of traveling and living off grid, we made it to California! But first, allow me to start from where we last left off.

Previously on Garcia’s Moving Castle…we were wrapping up our time in Flagstaff, Arizona. My lungs were recovering from our jaunt to Grand Falls, and Joe and I had nixed our initial plans of traveling to Mammoth Lakes, CA. Instead, we decided to take off for the coast! So, we said goodbye to our new friends, packed up the camper, and readied ourselves for the 8 hour journey through the Mojave desert.

We decided to split up the trek to Simi Valley, CA, into 2 parts. Thankfully, the first leg of the journey was uneventful, and we stopped at a KOA (Kampgrounds of America) in Needles, CA, for the night.

Let me just say…God. Bless. Hookups. After fetching and toting water, setting up solar panels and maintaining a generator for 5 weeks, full hookups at a KOA might as well as have been an all-inclusive resort in the Bahamas. A bit hyperbolic? Perhaps. Completely accurate? Absolutely.

Joe and I both agree that our night at the Needles KOA Campground was both rejuvenating and peaceful, and by peaceful, I mean we slept like the dead.

After having one of the best nights of sleep in our lives, Joe and I girded our loins for the second half of our journey…the mountain pass. Spoiler alert, we made it, but we may have sprouted a few grey hairs along the way. From flash flood warnings and random torrential downpour, to manual grade shifting through the mountains, navigating Los Angeles traffic with an 8,000 lb. trailer would make even an atheist pray!

But hey, like I said, we made it. Phew!

So, we survived the journey to California. What have we been up to since then? Lots!

Joe’s brother’s family lives in LA, and because we don’t get to see them very often, we have been making up for lost time! The first day we got in, we met them for dinner, and last night, we went to the Santa Monica Pier!

It has always been a dream of mine to visit this famous pier and ride its ferris wheel, and Joe’s brother, Rick, made it happen. What can I say? I’m a sucker for a good funnel cake and amusement park, and by the end of the night, my blood sugar was certainly feeling the effects of the pizza and sugary goodness we consumed.

Induced sugar coma aside, our time at the Santa Monica Pier was magical. Feeling the ocean breeze, laughing and talking with family, and experiencing the city from the dizzying height of the ferris wheel left me with a sense of childlike wonder.

Gosh, I’m grateful.

And with that, I am going to end this post.

Until next time!