The weather in San Francisco has turned surprisingly warm. As I write this, I see bright blue skies, and smell earth and trees wafting through my window. This is vastly different from what I’ve come to expect from my part of the world.
With warmer weather my thoughts quickly turn to summer and new adventures! I also just got my requested time-off approved at work so nothing is stopping me now. Future travels are all I can really think about right now, so I thought I’d give you a brief filler on what will be happening and also give you a little insight in my travel planning process. If this is not something that you find interesting, I offer you these mind-blowing K-pop videos instead. Look at this one or this one. Here at Travels of Mo, we aim to educate and amuse!
Gold Rush Trip!!!
First trip of the summer will find Zac and I voyaging eastward to Gold Country. Originally, the trip was just going to be 4 or 5 days extensively exploring this region. But it has become so much more. What was going to be a simple jaunt to tiny historical towns is now turning into a full week-long, Eastern and Northern Sierra Region extravaganza. We’re now planning on driving as far east as we can get on the first day to Mono Lake, then continuing north through Gold Country, the northern Mt. Shasta region, and going up into Oregon to Ashland before coming all the way back down. This trip will hit many spots that we’ve always wanted to see, including the Manzinar historical site, Mono Lake, the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, Lassen Volcanic National Park, Mt. Shasta, and Ashland. Ashland is especially of interest to both of us. Zac almost moved there when he was younger and has always wondered what it would have been like to grow up there. I applied for an internship with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival that happens there annually but didn’t get it, and have always wanted to check out some of their performances.
I have been extensively reading my copy of Lonely Planet’s Northern California to get a feel for what we want to see and do. Next step is to figure out lodging. Transportation and lodging are always the top priorities and expenses of any trip. Since this is a road trip and we will be going to some more remote regions, we are taking my car. Luckily, my car gets great gas mileage, emits almost zero emissions into the environment, and has an incredible trunk (seriously, I’ve fit an entire drum kit in there). It’s a road trip (and roadie) machine.
My goal is to make lodging as cheap as possible so we have more money to spend on sights and experiences. The trip is just over a month away, in early June, so I need to figure all of this out now to find us the most affordable lodgings. It’s been a while for us to take a big trip, so I spent some time updating our Couchsurfing account. For those of you that don’t know, couchsurfing is a godsend to travelers. The concept is simple: there are people that have couches, and there are people that need couches. The organization hooks the two up and voila! you get free places to stay and a chance to connect with locals in the places that you are seeing. The website is set up very safely, and I have always had positive experiences both as a surfer and a host. It’s important to have your profile filled out so that potential hosts and surfers get an idea of who you are as a person and how you will mesh. I personally do not trust people on the site that have no photos, scant information, and no references.
I’ve already sent out some couch requests to potential hosts for Ashland and Nevada City. I’ve gotten a couple maybes for Ashland, but we are all hooked up to surf in Nevada City with a guy named Stuart and his wife. They took a year to travel the US before settling in Nevada City recently and are into urban farming and leftist politics. Sounds good to me.
Another way that we are planning to save on lodging is camping. California has amazing places to camp and be outdoorsy, and we are definitely visiting many of them! Camping in the areas we are going to varies in cost, from free primitive sites with no water or toilets, to $35 sites at large RV campgrounds with showers, flush toilets, and delis. Most of the National Parks sites are pretty affordable and within the $10- $20 range, although I’m intrigued by the prospect of the free “primitive” camping. I guess it depends just how primitive it is! I’ve camped before, but not that hardcore.
To those readers who have visited the areas where we are going, any suggestions? Anything we’re missing that is a must see in the Eastern/Northern Sierra region?
Good Luck and Happy Travels