Home on The Road
Our time away from the boat flew by as we visited family and friends and also hit the road exploring some of our favorite places and few new ones as well. We stayed with Rachel’s parents, Jack & Lynn, who were nice enough to once again welcome us with open arms!!! It’s not always easy to move back in with your parents/in-laws for three months when you are married and have been moved out, but they made our time back home feel easy and really special. Not only did we take over one of their rooms, a big section of their garage, park our van on the side of their house, but I also tried and almost succeeded to eat my weight in food daily. So let me start this post with this, THANK YOU SO, SO MUCH Momma Lynn and Papa Jack! You both are always beyond generous with your time, home and love, and Rachel and I are so blessed to have you in our lives.
We’d use their home as our home base as we took Ron Burgundy, our van, back to all our old stomping grounds. This year the highlight was Mineral King, California on the west side of the Sierras. Mineral King has a much different feel than the east side that we normally visit, off our beloved 395 highway. Much of the moisture that rolls in from the sea is stopped by the 13,000+ ft peaks and falls as rain, sleet and snow making this side of the Sierra’s lush with greenery, massive sequoias and hundreds of alpine lakes. Deep in the valley here and over a long steep, one lane cliff road (that’s occasionally completely washed out), is the quaint resort town of Silver City. If you continue on just another thirty minutes or so, the road will bring you to one of my favorite places in all of California.
Settled in amongst the towering sequoias and winding rivers are three beautiful camp grounds. Space is limited and RV’s and trailers are not allowed. The patrons here are a different kind of camper. There is no general store, internet service or really much of anything other than wilderness for miles. You come here for what Mother Nature provides and has designed, the most beautiful hiking and picturesque landscape in California. Deer, squirrels, marmots, bears, hawks, and all sorts of wildlife abound and in the still of morning you can watch them walk through the trees around the camp.
I would wake up early every morning and climb down out of Ron just after sunrise and stumble to the camp stove, bundled up in all my warm clothes to start the coffee. As the coffee grounds steeped and breakfast was started, I would crack open the back door to the van and let the sunlight and influx of frigged air wake Rachel for another beautiful day. We’d then pack a lunch, snacks and fill our water bottles with cold stream water, and head out excited for what the trail would bring.
We hiked about 10-15 miles a day, doing loop and “out & back” trails to alpine lakes, abandoned mines and beautiful meadows. It was so nice to be able to just walk and talk for hours. On the boat, there are often days that we walk less than a mile, so to be able to really stretch our legs and build back some muscle was great.
Our Favorite Mineral King Hikes
Monarch Lake to Crystal Lake: 15.2 miles with 7,617’ of elevation change.
White Chief: 9.6 miles with 4,176’ of elevation change.
Franklin Lakes: 11.2 miles with 7,000’ of elevation change.
Eagle Lake: 6.5 miles with 4,428’ of elevation change.
Having the van and being able to sleep in a real bed, have power for all our little devices and take all our adventure gear with us has truly been a game changer. We can camp in comfort almost anywhere, any season and wake up feeling rested and ready for an adventure even when it’s raining or the wind is really howling.
While we were back home in California we went on a few road trips, bike rides (I rode over 1,000 miles just on my road bike) and went on dozens of adventures, but the sweetest time was that spent with family. My parents also came to California in-between trips and rented a condo in Mammoth mountain. We all drove up and enjoyed a week of hiking, hot springs, dinners and time together. While we were there, the season had begun to change and it was amazing to see all the tree’s start changing color, we even managed to find a bit of snow so I could make a mini snowman!
Being away cruising for months at a time makes us really appreciate time with our loved ones. I was so happy to be able to spend time with my family unplugged and undistracted. We love our life of travel and adventure, but we often find ourselves longing for the simple joys of sitting and talking with family and the closeness that time brings.
At the end of our time back in California, we decided that it was time to sell our beloved Ron Burgundy. The idea of him sitting for another year, or possibly two, while we were away just didn’t make sense to us. Cars, boats and other toys don’t like to be left sitting for too long, and before you know it, things just start to break because they haven’t been used. We figured it was better to sell the van and let someone else enjoy the adventure mobile.
We loved the van and we fell in love with “van life”. Rachel and I both think that in a future season of our life we will call an RV or van conversion home. Waking up and being able to walk outside and enjoy the remote and beautiful places of this world is something we want to always have. After living on Agape, we think that an RV would be so much easier and less complicated. No worrying about the RV dragging in high winds or in the middle of the night. We never know what the next season will bring, but we like to daydream about all the different possibilities.
For now though it was time to head back to Panama and see how Agape had faired being on her own for three months in marina prison. Being away from the boat makes us long to be back with her and it always gives us the perspective shift we need. It’s hard since our hearts are torn between the mountains and the sea.
This year though we were eager to get back, as this season would be the culmination of years of working, saving, and learning. Finally, it was time for us to cross the Pacific, and over three thousand miles of the world’s largest ocean!