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California in the RV

I have been in my RV for 2.5 months so far and made it to California all the way from Wisconsin. I have been to California in the past near the Venice Beach, Disney, and San Diego area. I was not totally sure what to expect when driving through California in the RV, but after my experiences the last 3 weeks, I don't think I will be back.

I am writing this a little pre-maturely as I still plan to visit Joshua Tree National Park, but alas, I need a blog for this week.

I entered the north side of California through the state of Oregon. The first night I stayed in California in the RV, we were at a Harvest Hosts site in the city of Mt. Shasta. There looked to be several dispersed campsites about 45-minutes south, so that was the plan for the remainder of the week. That Monday, we spent the day at Mt. Shasta city park which was filled with tons of other RVers and van-lifers. When the work day was finished, we packed up the RV and headed to our campsite.

Unfortunately, when we arrived to the "site," it turned out it was not a campsite at all. It was an area where several homeless people lived. I use the iOverlander app to find most of my campsites, and this particular spot had not been updated in about 8-months. Apparently within that timeframe, the campsite had been overtaken.

I did not feel safe staying there, so we tried another site... and then another. After a lot of panic and tears, we headed back in the direction we came to stay in the forest. We camped outside of a trailhead in the Castle Crag's Wilderness for 3 nights. The only plus side to this was that our campsite was right outside of the Pacific Crest Trail, so we got some good hikes in.

On the 4th night that week, we stayed at another Harvest Host site in Redding. I did not love Redding. It is a very large city and abundant with homeless people. I tried to find a park to walk Kona, and it took me 3 tries to find one that felt safe enough. I Googled "crime rate in Redding" and it is one of the highest in the United States. The last night there, I decided to get a campsite in Whiskey Town - about 30 minutes east. This allowed me to refill my water, dump the tanks, and most importantly... sleep safely.

When we finally headed out of the area, we made out way south to Lassen National Park - which was closed. We were able to spend Friday night at a dispersed campsite in Lassen National Forest. It was beautiful but absolutely frigid. The next morning we started our adventure to Lake Tahoe.

I have never been to Lake Tahoe but it absolutely lived up to the expectation. On Saturday morning, we did the Monkey Rock hike. It was very crowded, but the views were worth it. There is an actual rock that looks like a monkey. It's a real thing.

I stayed the night about 40 minutes outside of town in Carson City, NV. I found a dispersed campsite in Voltaire Canyon and it provided us the coolest sunset and sunrise views. I also got to get gas in Nevada... which is significantly cheaper than gas in California (at this time, it was $4.09 in NV and $6.79 in CA). I stopped at the Walmart there, too, to stock up on things for the week. Again - much cheaper than California.

The next morning (Sunday, if you have lost track), we did the Eagle Lake Trail in South Lake Tahoe. The hike was *literally* all steps. It really got the blood pumping! Eagle Lake Trail was absolutely stunning. The water crystal clear and the mountains in the distance are magical. It was a little slippery at times because of previously fallen snow, but nothing we couldn't handle.

After our hike at Eagle Lake, we headed to Yosemite National Park. I was a bit worried about the east entrance being open but lucky for us, it was! Dogs are not allowed to hike on trails in National Parks, so our visit didn't take very long. I took Kona out on road pull-offs and parking lots to take in the sights. It is an absolutely gorgeous park.

We drove 30-ish more minutes south to a town called Mammoth Lakes. We found a campsite within the Inyo National Forest and stayed Sunday-Friday. Mammoth Lakes is the cutest town - very focused on skiing. I don't ski, but Kona and I still adventured around town a bit enjoying the scenery. I spent the day on Friday in one of the biggest Starbucks locations I have ever seen. Yes, it was so big that I felt the need to mention it here.

That Friday evening, we headed to Bishop, CA. Mammoth Lakes was in the 30's (teens at night) all week and I was so sick of being cold. Bishop is 40 minutes south and had all of the things I needed for my RV: water fill up, dump tank station, and propane refill. We did all of those things and then headed to a dispersed site in Inyo National Forest. It was absolutely beautiful and twenty degrees warmer (not an exaggeration).

The next morning, we drove about 90 minutes to Alabama Hills, CA. One of my followers on Instagram sent me here and I genuinely cannot thank them enough. I intended to just do a hike or two and then head out, but I stayed the entire day and overnight. Alabama Hills National Scenic Area is 18,000+ acres of beauty. SO much hiking! So much to see! Kona and I hiked over 6 miles and then 2 more the next day before heading out. I loved it so much.


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