From Redwoods to Alcatraz and the things that make us nuts!

Hitting the Pacific Ocean was such a milestone for us!


None of us have ever been there and lets be honest – there is just something about the ocean.

It was still raining when we left our spot in Oregon on the way to the Redwoods. We decided as a family to skip Portland knowing that it is so much like Seattle and the rain just wasn’t stopping.



The Redwoods were no different, but the rain did let up enough for us to take a beautiful hike through the forest and some beautiful drives to see the Redwoods up close. It really is amazing how old and giant these trees are. Its such a different experience to have that moistness of the moss growing everywhere, to have the branches of  the trees hanging down with thick leafy green making them look like monsters. Especially when you hold that in contrast to the drought California is experiencing everywhere else. We stayed at The Redwoods RV Resort which I really wish we would have been able to enjoy more because the campground was a great one. Due to only being there a short time, and lots of rain we just wanted to get out of the woods and on to drier air.


Here’s what Austin had to say about the experience:

Today we visited the redwoods. It was amazing trees that are 100 feet tall. The moss on the trees looked like it had been dripping for hours. They looked like monsters.  We found a staff for me. It was intimidating to go on the huge broken tree and I did some poses and it felt majestic. the end


After the Redwoods, we headed down to Santa Rosa where we would stay for the next two weeks with NO WiFi. Yes, you heard me right – NO WiFi. We actually stayed at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds and RV Park which was a nice, inexpensive place to stay that allowed us lots of time to visit the surrounding areas and experience the community there.


There was trick or treating on the coolest street I have ever seen at Halloween!


There was a birthday – 13!


And there was more of the Pacific Ocean. November 1st was the start of the crab season. It was fun to watch the boats and see all the hubub of people there pulling in the crab in small and large amounts.


Oh and a little town where they filmed The Birds. The general store there contained all things Alfred Hitchcock – that was cool.

We could not be in this area without experiencing at least a little of San Francisco. The weather just kept on being amazing (we were finally all dried out) and so we finally picked a day to head into the city to experience the Alcatraz tour and at least a little bit of San Francisco.


I had no idea what I was in for!



First of all, our experience with the Alcatraz tour was by far the coolest thing we have done so far on this trip. My boys are fascinated by Alcatraz and we have all watched the movie, Escape from Alcatraz and they talk about it all the time. I did not realize until planning for this trip that it IS indeed a National Park. Learning the history of this prison was just fascinating. Also, seeing the actual cells, being inside them and hearing first hand as former inmates narrator the tour’s audio presentation. You really feel like you understand prison life after taking this tour. I cannot do this tour justice by talking about it. Please put it on your bucket list next time you are in the area!

A bonus of this trip is that there was one of the 5 prisoners still living there at the bookstore signing a book he recently wrote about his experiences as an inmate at Alcatraz. The kids met him and we bought a book which we look forward to reading (I think?). This gentleman was very nice but he is a career criminal. I believe he has only been out of prison for the last 6 years or so! Austin later confessed that he was full of fear when he met him!


Austin also wrote about his time at Alcatraz:

Today I went to Alcatraz the top maximum prison in America. It was unbelievable the sound of the gun shots were so real the stains the detail it was amazing!! So the view was pretty. I felt like I was there in the story.That was my favorite thing so far.

So far, we are loving California – I really had no idea it was so beautiful and mountainous. Next stop – Yosemite National Park!

Before I go, I wanted to give a little shout out to the things that are driving me crazy on this trip. I don’t want everyone to think it is all sunshine and rainbows. People are in aw of us “living the dream” – but it isn’t always dreamy.

  • Campgrounds/RV Parks are strange places. You never know what your neighbors will be like and if you can trust where you park, or need to watch your every move.
  • Always having quarters on hand to do your laundry is annoying. Its especially annoying when you go out of your way to have a lot of quarters on hand and then you accidentally leave them in the laundry room and they are gone when you go back.
  • Traveling days are hard. You spend 30-45 minutes getting ready to go, 4-5 hours driving and an hour getting everything set up and organized. A whole day gone and its stressful with the elevation climbs and descents.
  • Its way more expensive than we imagined! We are so fortunate that my husband has a business that is doing well, because this lifestyle is not an easy one on the wallet. That can lead to more stress trying to budget everything out and make sure we have what we need for heavy gas days. Thank goodness for the lower gas prices these days! We filled up for the first time for under $100! $85.00 and we were jumping for joy!
  • Banks don’t like it when you travel. My debit card gets declined about every other time I use it and its very frustrating. We set up red flags everywhere because we are traveling. I think I have it squared away now but its never fun when it happens.
  • Grocery shopping and eating healthy have been more of a challenge than I want to admit. When we were living in our home, I knew exactly what stores to go to and exactly what I would spend when I went there. These days and especially when you are in towns that are more remote (like near National Parks) you just don’t know what you will have. The produce may be questionable, and the food items that you want and are familiar with just may not be there. Being closer to cities lately has been wonderful because there are Trader Joes everywhere! But then I have the problem of a teeny tiny refrigerator and boys that are growing like weeds and literally eating me right OUT of this RV. I am truly having a hard time keeping up with them! I will say that we are learning one thing though… that when I plan ahead on travel days and pack our car full of good sandwiches, apples, and snacks the drive goes by much better, everyone is happy and we save money! That has helped our travel days. Oh and making sure we have wine and whiskey for when we arrive. (I’m just being honest!)
  • Wifi. Sigh… I knew we would be dependent on it, but I think I thought we had things better equipped for what we would encounter. That is just not always the case. Even last week when I KNEW we would have no wifi at the park, I planned to go into the library everyday for the kids schoolwork and for me to get some of my own business done. But unfortunately, the library’s wifi was terrible and so we did our best, but it was in a word… frustrating. One day we were even in the upper part of Barnes & Noble using stools as tables and sitting on the floor to do school work. The things we do for wifi…. sigh…

And there it is…. the good AND the bad. Until next time!


  1. Going back to my fav movie, RV, have you sat in the campground John to try and get signals?? Where to next and where will you be for the upcoming holidays??
    Be safe ⛺️

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