End of the Year 2018 Trip

New Years Break decision was originally Death Valley NP, but timing wasn’t quite right for four days of driving and potential weather issues. Won’t mention the Government Shutdown… Instead we chose to go back to the coast and head towards Carmel. I know from experience that coastal reservations are hard to get but managed to secure the last one at both the Monterey Fair Grounds and Carmel by the River RV Park. We will try to get into Seacliff the last two days of break. Leaving Friday, our goal was to get to Brannan Island SP before dark. However, we were delayed when John remember that the bike lock key was still in the kitchen. Next stop was to find a locksmith to grind the chain off. Mission accomplished and we were again on our way, making it to Brannan Island SP just after dark and into site 82. Relaxing evening with leftover Christmas Eve dinner and knowledge that we had eight days of Cloud time ahead of us.

It will be a long time before one can camp at Whiskeytown Lake again because of the Carr Fire.

Thank goodness for Google Maps and this locksmith right in Redding. Learned a lesson with this event!

Morning was gorgeously chilly. There were only three of us in the campground, but the hookup area campground was full. After breakfast we rode our bikes for ten miles on the levee roads watching water fowl and farm animals in the many different views. We also noticed on the ride back in that one of the boat landing parking lots was almost full (90 according to the camp host) but after all it was a Saturday. Driving into Rio Vista we looked at the downtown and bought groceries, then ventured out to the other two campgrounds in the area. 20$ for hookups at the Solano County Park and the other one was at the marina. Back at camp we made dinner and then ventured out to check out our new flashlights. Our tent camp neighbor (no tent sighted with lows in the low 40’s) came up to us and made us a bit uncomfortable with an axe in his hand asking about firewood. Strange encounter and a bit sketchy.

Nothing better than coffee, the water and the Cloud!

The Helen Madere Bridge – movable span bridge!

Bike ride from Brannan Island.

We crossed to the other side at Owl Harbor.

Sunny morning, cool temps, baked eggs and a bit of the worlds news started the day. Get away day and showers will consume the morning before we head to Monterey. Our first destination is the campground at the fairgrounds.

The drive into Monterey is slow and as we are a bit late from our original arrival time the campground calls us to make sure we are coming- such responsibility. The fairgrounds campground is located adjacent to a golf course and below the airport take off route. All sites are back in and our view is of the golf course with full hookups and we are in 16.Awesome WiFi allows me to update my blog as hubby takes off for a quick bike ride before dark.

New Year’s Eve day and we get up, have breakfast and drive down to the bay, park and walk to the historical section. It’s a beautiful, clear and brisk morning. We walk around touring the area that John had visited on his bike the day before, but quickly run out of time. We put it on our list to return to. Back at the fairgrounds we hookup and are on our way to Carmel just after noon.

Great location- but be aware of unevenness/sloping.

Clear morning on the bay.

Custom House – first historical landmark

An incredible collection of Native American artifacts in the museum.

Our site at the Carmel by the River RV Park.

It’s a quick drive to Carmel by the River RV Park ($255) , and since we can’t go in until after 1 we hang in a church parking lot. The drive in to the park is a bit narrow and we thankfully don’t meet any cars. The park is quiet, we are in the Big Sur site but packed and we loose sun by 2:30. After a quick lunch we drive to Garland Regional Park. We hike to the visitor’s center, chat it up with docent and walk around the grounds. On our way back to camp we notice a winery, Folktale, and decide to do some tasting. It turns out that they don’t usually close until 8 or 9 and with it being New Year’s Eve it’s quite packed and festive. After splitting our tastings, and buying a bottle of bubbly we head back to camp to bring in the new year.

Garland Ranch Regional Park

Display made of leather in the Visitor Center

Great spot for a tasting!

Folktale Winery – impressive for only three years!

New Year’s Day 2019! Our plan is to head into Carmel, walk around town, and have dinner at Mission Ranch Inn. Arriving around 11 we park in the downtown and visit shops, galleries, relax in one of the common areas and have a light lunch. We then drive to Mission Ranch Inn, park our truck and walk the coastline back into Carmel. And it’s a gorgeous day on the coast! We chat with numerous folks on walk and just after 4 we get back to the Inn to have a drink. It’s packed! Many are there to have a drink and watch the sunset which we do and then move to our table for dinner. The meal is fabulous although my steak has to be cooked a bit more. We enjoy every second of the day and return back to the Cloud looking forward to a great new year.

Carmel Bay at Carmel River State Beach.

Carmel Bay looking towards Pebble Beach.

New Years Day 2019!

Sunset at Mission Ranch.

Back to Monterey we decide to spend the day walking around the historical section. Our first stop is Old Whaling Station, then First Theater, on to Casa Soberanes, Merritt House, then back to rescue our truck from two hour parking and move it. Then we walk around Fisherman’s Wharf, and at that point move our truck up towards the Alvarado Street Brewery to have lunch and continue exploring. After a fabulous lunch there we walk back towards the water to go to the Presidio of Monterey Museum. The grounds have great views, however the museum is closed. It was a wonderful hike around the area and as such we would consider living here if not for home prices.

Old Whaling Station

The Monterey Mural

Alvarado Street Brewery

View from the Presido

Up early to go to Sea Cliff SP ad get into the lottery. During our wait we walk around the sites and decide on a couple, and get our second choice site A7. We go to New Brighton and get water, come back and wait a bit then settle in. Reservations are made that night at Manuel’s for dinner and see sister Linda. It’s a clear, nice temperature day at the beach, but hometown weather has caught our attention for a drive home the next day to avoid snow.

SeaCliff State beach cement ship

Looking towards Santa Cruz.

Sunset view from the water

Sunset view from the Cloud

Hard to leave the beach especially when it’s sunny and clear, but we do. It’s a long drive home leaving around 10 and arriving home at 6:30 on Friday. Let it snow!

Bird watching – hard to leave these guys!