The past month Alvin and I have taken a short break from learning on organic farms. We worked hard for over a month with the Doss Family Farm and had a fantastic experience. We were excited to hit the road in search of warm weather, sun, and a goat farm in Lompoc, California.
Driving along the coastal route 101 from Tillamok, Oregon we found our friend the Pacific Ocean and a glimmer of sunshine among the clouds. Along the route, we stopped frequently to run the dogs on the beach and check out local businesses. We saw few people along many of the beaches on the central coast. Alvin finally got a chance to test his surf skills in Port Orford. In Northern California, we took a detour and drove the Avenue of the Giants. Our off-season travel luck continued and we were able to drive slow, soaking up fresh energy from the forest. Beach hopping down 101 to Route 1 we enjoyed sunset views on the beach and the freedom of the road. We did such a good job stealth camping and cooking meals for ourselves along the drive that we decided to splurge on a dog-friendly hotel in downtown San Fransisco. My anxiety over being in a city was doubled by our squealing brakes and the steepness of the streets. Leaving the city, on our way to Santa Cruz we were hit with a massive rain storm and saw at least four vehicle accidents along a 27-mile stretch. In Santa Cruz, I stopped into one of my favorite brands, Synergy Organic Clothing and met the creator Kate Fisher! We enjoyed watching sea life and walking around Monterey the next day.
It wasn’t until we got to Lompoc that we realized the WWOOFing arrangement wasn’t going to work out due to potential dog conflicts. With that, we decided that our focus needed to be on van repairs to prepare for Baja. We spent a few days around Santa Barbara getting the brakes repaired and coming up with a plan.
Living in the van during the rainy season proved to be more challenging than we first anticipated. Funky shades of green, white, and black mold slowly started taking over the top of the van and crept into any space that allowed moisture to stay. The condensation from two humans and two dogs in 40 degree rainy weather had us waking up to water dripping from the ceiling, wet windows, and saturated surfaces. We needed to dry out and do a massive deep clean. We decided to head to Arizona to spend Christmas with some very close friends of my family. There, we could clean and regroup but first we wanted to spend the weekend in Ventura. There we stopped at Patagonia to pursue Alvin’s dream of meeting Yvon Chouinard and collaborating on a life changing project (more on that later). We had a once in a lifetime experience there but I won’t spoil the fun, Alvin will tell the story, much better…