After three days with a real bed, our own shower and a XXL fridge it was time to hit the road again on Friday. Our intermediate goal was now to get back to the Californian Coast. The first stopover (after all it takes a while to get from Vegas to the coast) was in a sleepy little town called Beatty, on the border of the Death Valley.
The campground was allright, nothing fancy and good enough for a stopover, but not much more. At least they had decent wifi, which was really helpful as we didn’t yet know where we’d camp on the following day. We hadn’t reserved anything, which (hindsight being 20/20) probably was really bad timing on our part as this weekend was the Memorial Day weekend. So we drove through the Death Valley and decided to try our luck at the FCFS campground in Lone Pine – with a view of snowcapped mountains and the Alabama Hills.
But to no avail – it was packed to the rafters. Even the BLM area right next to it was jam packed full of RVs and trailers. And we had thought: Who’s gonna boondock by choice? Well, as it turned out, quite a few. So again: no dice. It probably didn’t help that the Bishop Mule Days (an event with mule racing, rodeo and other mule related stuff) coincided with Memorial Day weekend, sending even more campers into the area.
Meanwhile it was 5 pm, the kids where somewhat annoyed with us and our mood had also officially hit rock bottom, the fruitless search over rough and smooth had not helped at all. Now we were faced with two choices: 1. Swallow the pill and drive to a private Campground in Lone Pine (and pay $38 for a dry site, now hookup at all) or 2. Drive another hour to the Fossil Falls Campground – without knowing if there was space there or not. After a short deliberation (which was deliberately interrupted by our two annoyed munchkins) we decided to drive to Fossil Falls. And our patience paid off. Even though the last mile was quite rocky and not easy to drive through (at least with an RV, any decent off-road vehicle, even pickups, would’ve gotten there easily) we got there eventually and even found a free site.
The view of the night sky was incredible. Thanks to my app I knew where to point my camera so I could catch the Milky Way. I got to bed some time around 1 AM, but I could’ve easily spent another hour or two taking pictures – it was that amazing and awe inspiring.
While I was busy taking photos of stars Diana was also busy trying to find a good campground for our next night. Our original plan had been to stay two nights at Fossil Falls – but as the activities are pretty limited there (you can take photos of stars or you can do a really short hike, but that pretty much covers it) we tried to find another campground that would take us closer to the coast. But that proved quite difficult again. Some were all already fully booked, others were just too hot at night (such as the Red Rock Canyon State Park, no hook up and also no generator after 8 pm). So we picked up the phone on Sunday morning and started to call a few campground in the Lake Isabell area. Lo and behold – one of the them (the Kern River Sequoia RV Resort) did indeed still have 2 free sites. The catch? I couldn’t reserve it via phone (or Email), we had to show up and then they’d check if it was still available (or if someone else had beat us to the punch, oh the sweet suspense of FCFS campgrounds). After packing up our stuff as fast as possible we headed to Kernville. And we haven’t even come to the best part of the campground yet: Yet again we’d have a brewery within walking distance (just like at Zion). Plus we also would’ve added the Sequoia National Forest to our list of awesome places we’ve seen on this trip. But first we actually had to get a spot.
As we got there around noon they did still have a spot for us – but that’s not all: Just as we were driving towards our site an employee of the campground told us that a river site had just become available – on Memorial Day Weekend! And we didn’t even have to pay extra for the river site. Very happy about the outcome of our drive (we had not yet forgotten the unsuccessful wanderings of our previous day) we set up camp and enjoyed watching the kayaks and the rafts in the Kern river.
In the late afternoon we went over to the Kern River Brewing company. They had really good beer (no comparison to the watery stuff we got in Utah) and the food was also not too shabby. Well nourished we went back to the campsite, all we wanted to do was enjoy the river and a campfire with some s’mores. But we hadn’t accounted for our neighbors, a 14 member family of Korean/Brazilian descent – in a good way that is. As usually we briefly went over there with some gummy bears to introduce ourselves. Shortly thereafter they invited us to dinner – we had Korean BBQ short ribs (LA Galbi) and Churasco directly from the skewer. Super tasty. Once again we realized, that even without planning and only with a little bit of trusting in God, everything turned out well in the end, even though it did not seem like it at the beginning – and we have planned a lot (and also mostly pretty well if I might add) for this vacation.
Monday morning we spontaneously decided to visit a special part of the Sequoia National Forest, the „Trail of a 100 Giants“. Even though this meant a 2h detour both the drive and the hike/walk were more than worth it – but see for yourselves:
Our campsite for the night (this time again reserved in advance) was in Bakersfield, directly at Lake Webb. The view was nice, but we can’t recommend the campground wholeheartedly – too dirty and run down. On our way there they had lots of Daturas right next to the road. Very poisonous, so don’t touch them.
Yesterday we finally arrived at the ocean again – now we have 2×2 nights directly at the beach.