My boyfriend and I have been on the road for about week now, starting our journey from California to Maine in our Ford Transit Connect. I thought I would write an update on the van, and the sites we have seen in California.
The van has been performing really well so far. We have stored most of our food, cooking, cleaning, and repair utensils in boxes below the platform we created. Our clothes are stored on the shelves in the back. Our cold weather gear is in the cargo box on top of the van. I have found that since we are in such a small space, it is super important to stay organized and put everything away in the same place when we are done using it. When we feel that we want to sleep with a bit more space, we pull out our van’s awning and sleep in a tent that attaches to the awning.
Traveling through California has been great, and I have been impressed by the diverse landscapes we have traveled through. Over lunch, on our very first day on the road, we saw approximately 35 humpback whales feeding off the pier in Pismo Beach. It was amazing to see spray from the whale blow holes all around the bay. This was by far the most whales I have ever seen in one place. It was interesting to see them working together to circle around krill and drive them to the surface.
From Pismo we travelled on to Morro Bay and spent a few days exploring the beaches and forests of Big Sur. After Big Sur we made our way to Monterey. I loved the Monterey Bay aquarium, as well as the local art museum, and some of the great tide pools in the area.
After Monterey we went on to Yosemite. This was my first time visiting Yosemite – so I was looking forward to seeing the Valley. Unfortunately, even in September the campsites in the Valley were all filled and there were tons of people everywhere. We found a camp site at Tamarack Flats outside of the Valley and as we were pulling in we noticed on the map a trail that led from the campsite to the top of El Capitan. We scoped the trail and determined that it would be about 20 miles to hike to the face of El Capitan and back. This is right on the limit of what we are able to hike in one day – but we decided that if brought lots of water and food we would be able to do it. The next morning we left early, and spent the day hiking to the face of El Capitan. We didn’t see a single person on our way there, which was a welcome change after the crowds of the Valley. It was quite surprising when we made it to the face, as it is right on the edge of a very thick forest. Unfortunately, local fires made everything quite hazy, but we were still able to make out Half Dome from the top of El Cap. Even though we were quite tired after that hike, I am very glad that we decided to do it as it was a perspective of the park that most people don’t get to see.