I am writing this post from my own living room, where there is electricity and hot running water. In the room down the hall is a bed. Now none of this may seem very exciting to you, but I've spent the better part of the past week sleeping inches off the ground in a tent and barely showering. I still smell of campfire.
That's right. We're back from our first camping trip as a family of four. I planned for disaster, because who in their right mind takes a 10 month old and 4 year old camping? Or on a 2 day roadtrip to get to said campsite? But luckily, when your expectations are low, they are often exceeded, so the trip ended up being a rousing success. Since we were gone for such a long time, I'll break up the recap between several posts. This one is going to cover the trip up.
We left at 6am on Thursday morning, which meant we got stuck in morning AND evening rush hour traffic. Brilliant. Luckily the boys were very manageable on the trip up. We stopped just about every 3 hours for a bite to eat or to stretch our legs, and of course, bathroom breaks.
We don't do fast food often, so it's become a "thing" when we're on a roadtrip. My concession to Thatboy. I do have one rule, we only can eat at In n Out once and McDonalds once. Because even I have my limit. And Thatboy and Thatkid would eat every meal there if they could. On the way up we stopped at In n Out, because animal style fries are kind of Passover friendly, right?
We hit LA rush hour traffic in the morning, and San Francisco rush hour traffic in the evening. So we ended up stopping for dinner before actually getting in to SF to try and let the traffic lighten up a bit. It worked! So after dinner, as the sun was setting, we crossed over the Golden Gate bridge.
Around 9pm at night, 15 hours after we left the house that morning, we reached our home for the evening, a Best Western in Santa Rosa. Thatkid loved the fact that we had our own "front porch" which he took advantage of the next morning.
Our planned stop? The Chandelier Tree.
Unlike Sia, we weren't going to swing from this chandelier, we were going to drive through it!
So touristy. But when are you going to get the chance to drive your car right through the middle of a tree?
There were plenty of other giant trees in the area. We even managed to fit the entire family inside the trunk of one for more touristy photo ops.
Thatboy finally decided we should hit the road. We still had to stop for lunch, and he wanted to get to the campsite before it got dark.
We made a stop at the Peg House for some barbecue. It's the perfect place to stop if you have kids and dogs. The outdoor eating area is large and boasts special tables and chairs for your littlest travelers. The potato salad is also out of this world. And there are super clean bathrooms. Never don't stop at the Peg House.
After lunch both boys fell fast asleep, so Thatboy and I just took in the trees for the next hour before we arrived at camp.
We let the boys keep sleeping while Thatboy set up camp and I got the "kitchen" ready and dinner started.
Our campsite was fantastic. The Avenue of the Giants Half Marathon is a HUGE deal, and there aren't a lot of lodging options, so when I booked the site back in November there were only a couple sites left. A week later, the campsite was full. Our site seemed really large. It was at the end of a "cul de sac" so we had a nice paved area for Thatkid to play on his scooter. It was surrounded by a bunch of giant redwoods and not too far from the bathrooms. It was on the interior of the campground, so we weren't disturbed by the nearby road.
My motto for this trip was KISS - Keep It Simple Stupid, you've got kids with you. So all our meals were foil packets. I prepped them before we got there, packed each meal in a ziplock, so all I had to do was throw the packets on the fire.
Since the first night was still Passover, we went with bunless burgers, veggies, and bacon cheese fries. It was the simplest burger I could think of, not very fancy at all.
Now that we're home, and Passover is over, we can upgrade to fancier burgers. Burgers with a perfectly runny egg on top. Dripping with cheese and salsa. This is not your camping burger. It's good to be home.
The Poached Egger (From Cooking Light)
1 lb lean ground sirloin
4 poached eggs
4 Tbsp salsa
green leaf lettuce
4 Tbsp queso fresco
4 whole grain hamburger buns
- Divide sirloin into 4 patties. Grill the burgers for 3 minutes on each side, or until desired doneness.
- Place burger on bun and top with egg, salsa, lettuce, and queso fresco.