We are so excited to share our “Stewie” adventure with you! This trip was greatly anticipated and meaningful. We’ll explain why in just a bit — at the end actually, let’s first get to the trip 🙂
Our trip started Saturday March 10, 2018 and ended on Saturday March 17, 2018.
We picked up Stewie in Mission Viejo. Jen showed us the ropes and we were on our way. We drove north for a few hours to Emma Wood State Beach where we stayed overnight. The motorhome was as easy to drive as a Suburban. And the air suspension made it smooth.
Emma Wood has spots right next to the beach. We could hear the waves with the windows open, and it was quiet with them closed.
This beach is unique with a variety of little ecosystems. Moss, sea anemones, and mussels. And a couple of humans!
Mitzi had never driven a motorhome before except on a very short test drive. She quickly felt comfortable driving Stewie.
Lunch the next day was at Lure Fish House in Ventura. It was the best clam chowder we’d ever had! We drove on to Solvang, a quaint Dutch-styled town where you can eat and shop.
We didn’t know where we wanted to stay the night. Looking at the map we saw that Cachuma Lake nearby had a campground so we drove over to check it out.
What a pleasant surprise! It was beautiful, there were very few people, and we picked a campsite on a small hill overlooking the lake.
The view was stunning, the weather clear and perfect.
Mitzi put up the screen in the back so we could see the lake from the bed and keep any little bugs out.
We hung out together on the bench seat, looking out the back, watching the amazing sunset over the still and peaceful lake. The colors just kept getting more and more brilliant and deep. It was a peaceful, gentle, reflective 45 minutes.
The next day we walked around the campground for exercise and to enjoy the tranquility and nature. I’m pretty sure this picture of Mitzi will be used on our LiveSlowly.com web site! It pretty much embodies our belief that we have more life, joy, and purpose when we slow down and appreciate the good and the beauty around us.
We drove on to Los Osos and had lunch at Celia’s Garden Cafe. It was a bit awkward when they sat us down in the patio and there was a bloody napkin left on the table. The waitress felt so bad. We didn’t make a big deal about it, just made funny gross faces at each other and laughed. She apologized and sat us at different table and we tried to forget about it 🙂
After lunch we decided to check out the campgrounds in the San Simeon area. Highway 1 was closed about 20 miles north because of landslides. So we figured we’d stay overnight in San Simeon then figure out what to the following day.
After checking out 4 campgrounds, we decided on Washburn.
Washburn is remote and clean. It rained a lot and was cold, but Stewie totally came through. We never needed to plug in or run the motor, and the motorhome heater was so efficient and effective we remained dry and comfortable through the night.
When Damon was 19 he lived in Brazil for two years on a church mission. He came to love Brazilian beans and rice! So we brought along our pressure cooker. Since the weather was so cold and rainy, it was the perfect time to make some warm food. Stewie’s battery handled the pressure cooker and the rice maker like nobody’s business. It was a joy to cook in. And the result … delicious and comforting!
Lunch the next day was in Cambria at Centrally Grown. One of the wonderful traits about Stewie is that parking is easy. We were many times able to park in normal parking spots. As you can see in the picture above, Stewie fit just fine.
After lunch we didn’t know where to go. We started driving south along highway 1 since the road to the north was closed.
When we got near Pismo Beach we checked what campgrounds were in the area. The Pismo State Beach looked appealing so on a whim we pulled in.
We loved all the places before this, but this turned out to be our favorite. We stayed for 3 nights! The campsite is near the beach, just over the dunes.
The beach is wide and flat, perfect for taking walks and running.
Perfect for finding beautiful shells. Perfect for binding a quilt. Perfect for cartwheels when you just gotta 🙂 Go Mitzi, she’s still got it!
Perfect for balancing while crossing an inlet stream and hoping to stay dry.
We enjoyed Pismo Beach so much with its many fun, beautiful, and relaxing things to do.
One of Damon’s little pleasures in life is drinking extra fine quality grape juice. It’s excellent wine, just not fermented. Delicious and fine and smooth. We brought some Castillo de Amorosa with us. So we built a campfire and Damon just had to drink straight from the bottle!
Lunch at Cracked Crab was a crab delicious feast. They dumped a bunch of crab and corn right on the table. Along with perfect sour dough rolls and clam chowder we fully enjoyed this meal.
Avila Hot Springs was relaxing to bathe in the natural mineral springs at 104 degrees.
The sulfur smell was a bit strong at first, then we didn’t notice it anymore and the minerals were really good for the skin.
We rented bikes at Avila Hot Springs and rode a pleasant 3 miles on the Bob Jones Trail to Avila Beach. The end of the trail treats you to nice shops, restaurants, and big playground swings 🙂 It’s a wonderful place!
At night we went to the nearby Great American Melodrama and Vaudeville for a play and vaudeville acts. Great entertainment!
After leaving Pismo Beach, we drove several hours to Dana Point for our last night. It’s close to where we would be meeting Jen to return Stewie. We had dinner at Angelina’s Pizzeria. Mmmmm.
We stayed at Doheny State Beach. When it was dark, our neighbor on the left had a florescent green blinking light high up on a tall pole. We were worried that the flashing light would be distracting inside. Stewie however handled it gracefully — with the blinds drawn and curtains closed, none of the flashing light made it into the interior. Bliss!
Mitzi was married to her husband Brandon for 24 years when he died in a bicycle accident, leaving Mitzi and her 3 daughters. Damon was married to his wife Tiffany for 27 years when she died from stage IV colon cancer, leaving Damon and his 2 daughters and 3 sons.
After a lot of time and gathering up the courage to love again, Damon and Mitzi got married in October 2017.
Traveling in a motorhome was a dream Mitzi and Brandon often talked about but hadn’t yet done before his death.
After Tiffany’s death, Damon purchased a large motorhome and travelled around the country by himself for a while. It was very lonely.
This trip with Stewie was a realization of Mitzi’s long desire to roam free and adventurous in a motorhome. It was a realization of Damon’s desire to have companionship while roaming around free and adventurous in a motorhome.
So you can see how this trip was the fulfillment of our deep dreams and desires.
We are so grateful to have companionship again. Grateful for our health that enabled us to make this trip. And grateful for the wonderful motorhome Advanced RV built and that Jen made available for us to rent.
We hope sharing our trip and story has inspired you to fulfill your desires, whatever they may be. Don’t wait! We don’t know what’s around the corner in our lives, so take it in while you can 🙂
Here’s to more roaming around, free and adventurous!
Damon & Mitzi, Spring 2018
Editor’s note: Here are links to destinations and activities mentioned in the article:
Celia’s Garden Cafe in Los Osos (psst…don’t mention the napkin)