I've lost track of how many times we've had to pack up the truck and relocate it far away from trees that might possibly blow onto us. Yes, I can be kind of a worrier about this sort of thing. However, only a couple of weeks ago, I moved the truck in the middle of the night and the next morning a tree crashed onto a neighbor. This reinforced my paranoia. Of course, the tornado warning the next night didn't help.
So when we arrived at bucolic Olema, CA the other day, it was sunny, if not actually warm. We found a great spot near the creek (which, it turns out, flows over the top of the San Andreas fault). We were surrounded by big evergreens. We set up our big standalone awning, to have more living space, and made ourselves at home.
Yesterday, while going for a walk, we came across an art gallery that was in an old carriage house. A tree had blown over, and crashed through the gallery. The building had been there for close to 100 years. It was sad to see.
As we walked back to the truck, the woman running the campground noted that 50mph winds were forecast for the evening. The ground was supersaturated with last weeks heavy rains, and we were surrounded by these tall trees. Time to move the truck. Again. Happily, Nancy is a good sport.
We spent all of last week on the Central Coast, one night at Montana de Oro and several at San Simeon. Montana de Oro is a beautiful setting, and a short walk from the wild coast, with bluffs and tide pools. It had just finished raining there for a week and everything was wet and muddy. The lack of cell service (during a work week) caused us to relocate, or we could have stayed for some time.
We drove through Morro Bay and up the coast to San Simeon. We had great weather, and a view of the ocean. We took the short drive to the elephant seal rookery. Elephant seals are huge and spend 9 months of the year in the ocean. For a few months they come ashore here on the Central Coast, give birth to pups, mate again and head out to sea. The beach is covered with hundreds of these massive animals, with crying baby seals and the loud noises associated with 4,000 pound animals mating or attempting to do so. It's quite a scene.
We discovered a trail that led to the back of a great restaurant with a store, so we could easily drop by for lunch or have a beer while watching the sun go down.
Our site had a clear view of the coast, and every day people drove up to ask when we were leaving. "Hello, to you, too!"
We also were able to park out of the shade, so we could maximize solar gain on our panels. You notice short winter days when you are on 100% solar.
This time of year, we use a bit more electricity than we can make, so in the back of our mind we are working the equation for length of stay, battery state, and how badly we want to microwave something. The EarthRoamer's systems are well thought out. We have three large panels on the roof that feed to a solar controller in the electronics cabinet. This will meter electricity from the panels to the camper batteries, the truck batteries (there are two of each) or both. All of the lights are LED and consume very little power. The refrigerator/freezer is very efficient. But when you combine typical light usage, the water pump, and the air and water heater (when in use); there is a gradual and steady draw from the batteries. Our system dates back to 2008 and the latest generation of solar panels is far more efficient, and a planned upgrade.
We really didn't want to leave San Simeon, as the weather was perfect, and there was a lot to see, but we cut ourselves loose and drive up to Olema and Point Reyes. I've camped here since I was a kid and love it here. We are very close to places in Marin like Mill Valley or Novato yet every night we've heard coyotes and owls. There are easily more raccoons than people, which is one of my highest compliments.
Barring natural disasters, we can get some work done, some hiking, and some great food before we move on.