Boondocking in Santa Cruz and Camping Among the Redwoods
We took our new RV out for our maiden voyage Sept. 9-11, 2016. First stop was Santa Cruz! After hauling what seemed like our entire apartment out to the RV storage lot on Treasure Island after work on Friday night, and getting things somewhat organized and or stashed as to not fly around once mobile, we finally were off on our first RV adventure!
The RV was just as noisy as I remembered from when we first picked it up. Like - can’t hear the radio or each other - loud. We noted again how we need to replace the mini blinds with some curtains that don’t sway and bang. We took the 101 to 85 to 17. Our first real test came driving Highway 17. That road is no joke. Tight turns, narrow lanes, lots of hills, and maniacs driving 80 mph all around you. The hubs and the RV handled it like a dream. Me, not so much.
We finally rolled into Santa Cruz around 11 p.m. and after realizing the town shuts down around then (seriously, not even the gas stations were open!) decided to boondock on a side street a few blocks from the beach so we could check the surf at Steamer Lane at first light.
Note to self: Do not park across the street from the only food joint open 24/7 just because they have the best donuts in town and you think it’ll be safer. Car doors slamming into the wee hours and drunk UC Santa Cruz students regaling the nights festivities do not make for a restful nights sleep. Also, buy a sound machine to drown out said noise!
Since we were pretty much up anyway, we drove over to check the waves at Steamer Lane, which looked good, so the hubs suited up and went for a surf session while I attempted a few photos.
After surfing grabbed some lunch and popped by a Target in town to buy supplies to outfit the RV and beers and snacks to enjoy once we were parked at the RV resort.
Our first RV hook-up experience came compliments of Santa Cruz Redwoods RV Resort in Felton, CA, and it was a success!
Getting there was an adventure in itself as Highway 9 is quite windy with sharp, hairpin turns and large rock formations and giant redwood trees mere inches away. Forget about taking your eyes off of the road to look at the beautiful valley!
Note to readers: The resort actually advises large rigs (27’+) should not take Highway 9 from the Santa Cruz area but instead take Highway 17 North to the Mt. Hermon Road exit.
Not that we have much to compare it to this being our first RV trip and all, but the RV resort was well maintained, clean, quiet, and the staff was very friendly. Check in was a breeze and our spot was easy to back into. We mostly kept to ourselves, but the few guests we ran into were nice including a sweet Australian gentleman who was there with his son who had purchased a trailer in the states and was planning to ship it back to Australia. Sounded expensive!
Through some trial and error, we figured out how to hook up to all of the amenities - electric, sewer, and water. Thank goodness for Youtube videos to ensure we had the sewer line connected properly and the propane turned on the right way before testing those out. We don’t have a TV (yet?), but cable hook up was available if needed.
Since we got up there by late afternoon, we spent the rest of the day listening to music, tinkering around with the RV (hello hot water!), and enjoying nature. Dinner consisted of some pre-prepared chicken kebabs we bought at Target and cooked in our oven, plus chips and salsa, and beer.
Note to self: Buy some games to keep us entertained once the sun goes down.
In the morning we enjoyed a yummy egg and bacon breakfast cooked by the staff in the common area at the resort. The cozy, cabin-like little gathering spot overlooks a creek and has a spot just outside to grill.
We departed on Sunday and stopped just about a mile or so down the road at the Falls Creek Unit of Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park for a lovely hike through the fern-lined river canyon. We left the pup in the RV (no dogs allowed) and walked on a well-maintained trail with a subtle incline for about an hour.
After our hike we headed back to San Francisco via scenic Route 1 so that we could stop off at a few surf spots along the way. The hubs caught a few waves at Waddell Beach and I was entertained by a random marching band practicing on the beach.
All and all I think this first trip was a rousing success. We were truly tested in every way possible and came out of this adventure wanting to do it again! Where are we headed next?