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This years cross country trip started in Redding, CA which is two hours north of Sacramento. If you remember correctly, last year we concluded our cross country trip in San Diego. We left the old gal there with brother Michael and figured we would return this year and begin our trip from San Diego. That was up until I realized that the kids had 2 weeks off for Christmas break last year. What a perfect opportunity to squeeze in another RV trip! So we did. We flew to San Diego before Christmas. Enjoyed a fantastic Christmas  in San Diego and headed north. We had stops at Pinnacles National Park, San Louis Obisbo, Carmel, and ended in Redding where we stored the RV for the winter before heading home via Southwest (airline).

We arrived in Sacramento on late Saturday morning. As with all trips there was of course one hiccup. Only two of our three bags made the transfer from Chicago! Southwest promised to get us our bags, so we took them at their word and picked up the rental car and pointed it north once again.

Dottie in Storage

Two hours later we found ourselves looking at Dottie sitting all alone and depressed in a storage lot. She was dusty and full of chalky streaks. She looked sad. I had scheduled a day of maintenance, as I had no idea what I was in for after letting the old girl sit for eight months. I figured at the very least I would have to jump start her. At worst there would be critters that found a way in and took up residence. We tentatively unlocked the door and peeked in. Nothing jumped out at us. No snakes, mice, or raccoons seemed to have moved in. That is a good start. I slowly made my way through the coach and quickly found what critters had been there. SPIDERS! There were cobwebs everywhere. No actual spiders that I could see but tons of webs. I am sure we will find the spiders later in the trip while we are sleeping and they explore our faces! OK. All looked good. Windows shades open, battery switches on and fingers crossed. I took my seat at the helm and turned the key. The old gal fired to life with little effort and I got a genuine sense that she was happy we were home. We spend the night in Redding, and hit he road first thing Sunday morning.

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First stop was Redwood National Park. Here we were scheduled to meet our old friends and neighbors who were on their own three weeks tour of the National Parks of the west. We met at a local crab shack on the harbor and caught up and let the kids enjoy each others company for a while.

Lunch with the Lambertus clan

They were raised like siblings and despite the years that have gone by, they picked up right where they left off. After our late lunch with Carolyn, John and Amanda we headed up the road to Jedidiah Smith Redwood Park. Here we hiked the Stout Groove which was a truly impressive stand of redwoods. For those that have not been amongst these giants, I hope you will someday stand in this cathedral. A forest of Giant Redwoods or Sequoias is a unique place. There is always a sense of reverence that is shared among most hikers and visitors. You quickly find yourself talking in your church voice as you marvel at the beauty of the place. There is such sensory overload that is tough to capture in words or even photographs. The smell of the lush ferns, the crisp greens of the moss, the massive scope of trees make this a place that must be experienced in order to get a sense of it. I did however find a nice little trick that might help. My new phone has a panoramic picture mode that made capturing these trees much easier. I plan on fully exploiting this feature throughout the entire trip.

5-1406037290-21-jpgOn Sunday we moved on to Harris Beach State Park in Brooking, Oregon. The coastline here in especially beautiful. I always thought that Big Sur had the best coastline in the United States. I was wrong. This is better! We are camped among the coastal redwoods with a view to the ocean that is spectacular. Hunter who happens to know everything about………well everything informed us that this is some of the cheapest coastal real estate on the west coast despite being some of the best. It is simply a supply and demand thing. There is still tons of supply here in Oregon so the demand has not pushed prices into the stratosphere like other areas.

After a day of kayaking and exploring we will be moving up the coast before heading inland toward Crater Lake National Park.