Category Archives: Road Trips

Westfalia Road Trip Day 23 San Luis Obispo CA – Los Osos CA

It’s with a heavy heart that our time in is coming to an end in San Luis Obispo, but we still had a few hours to enjoy it while Westy Werks put the final touches on our Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia.  We spent the day picking up a couple things at the shops on main street and had a great lunch in the park with Archer and Zucca.

Zucca at the park
Zucca at the park

We got the call from Westy Werks that our Westfalia was done and ready to roll. Words can’t describe the positive experience we had with this shop, not only do they know their Volkswagen’s they have perfected customer experience.  They picked me up downtown and brought me back to the shop to settle up and explain everything they did.  Although they were not cheap I felt comfortable for our upcoming trip across the desert knowing I had specialists working on our 23 year old Westy.  Money well spent.

Westy Werks Sign
Westy Werks Sign Says it All

One of the must stop destinations on our trip was Go Westy in Los Osos California. This is a parts supplier that I had purchased parts from before our trip and they’re the foremost supplier and manufacturer of specialty parts for Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalias in the world.  Unfortunately when we arrived they had just closed although we did manage to get a campground recommendation from an employee that was leaving the parking lot.

Although the last few nights in a hotel was a nice luxury we were looking forward to some more camping.  We headed to Montana de Oro State Park based on the recommendation, if you’re heading there it’s further down the road than you think it should be. This turned out to be a pretty plain and uneventful State Park and had a few sketchy campers there. Probably the most uneasy feeling place we have stayed so far, not bad enough to leave although I wouldn’t go again.

It was also nice to have a “home cooked” meal again on the Primus camp stove.  One more sleep by the ocean before we start heading across the desert.  Mixed Emotions!

Accommodation Cost:  Montana De Oro State Park in Los Osos $25.00.

Volkswagen Camper Sightings: Vanagons are everywhere!

 

Westfalia Road Trip Day 21,22 – San Luis Obispo CA

We love this town!  We had stopped in San Luis Obispo (SLO) on a trip a few years ago when we rented a convertible Nissan 350Z and drove California Coast, the days before a child seat was mandatory.  The San Luis Obispo of our memories was beautiful and full of very friendly people, not a bad combo.

We decided to spend a couple days here in advance which worked out well since there is a highly recommended shop that specializes in Volkswagen campers called Westy Werkz.  Our Volkswagen Westfalia had been making some noise while turning left we thought it would be good to have them check it out.  It turned out the Westy needed new Axles and brakes and would take a couple days, well at least the timing worked out.  A couple days in a hotel in one place would be a nice change.

Westy Werks
Westy Werks

Once thing we love about San Luis Obispo and is how dog friendly they are.  It seemed that most restaurants were welcoming to dogs as long as you dined on the patio.  Most of the stores we went to also allowed dogs inside, even finding it odd that we even asked before coming in.   The first night our Porty Zucca had been holding in a pee and when we couldn’t find some grass she took the initiative and made due with this bush, felt I need to explain the picture.

Zucca's gotta go!
Zucca’s gotta go!

While we were in town we celebrated our anniversary at Novo Restaurant on their beautiful Patio.  The fact that you can take your dog to a restaurant of this caliber is amazing and the service was fantastic in catering to our needs while dining with a baby.  The great reviews online are well deserved, check it out if you’re in San Luis Obispo.

Patio at Novo
Patio at Novo

Another great culinary find was a block away from the Garden Street Inn was Batch, an ice cream sandwich store…yup that’s what I said.  They make their cookies and ice cream and have have a feature flavour each day.  You pick your cookie and ice cream combo and they assemble it for you, simple but so so good.  We actually went back 3 times while we were in SLO.  When traveling with Children there is a large candy and shop called Rocket Fizz across the street with hundreds of different treats and sodas that the kids will love.

This is one of those places you visit and you wonder for days afterwards why you don’t reside there.  The weather, the people, the great VW repair shop, fabulous food, dog friendly, kid friendly and the laid back vibe all add up to make this a great town.  It lived up to our memories and to it’s title of Happiest City in America, we love it!

Accommodation Cost: $132.08 per night in San Luis Obispo

Volkswagen Camper Sightings: Vanagons are everywhere!

Note: For some reason we didn’t take many pictures while here, sorry about that.

 

 

Westfalia Road Trip Day 20 – Pescadeno CA to San Luis Obispo CA

A good nights sleep in the Westy at the KOA Costanoa and we’re back on the road heading down the Coast.  Barely on the road 15 minutes and we were already pulling off of HWY1 into Swanton Berry Farm since I had been craving Pie for a couple of days.  This place was very cool and the karma led us to one of the best Strawberry Shortcakes on the planet!  To add to the uniqueness of this stop was the fact that they had a Honor Till in an unmanned store, there is still trusting people in this world and that is very refreshing.  This is a must stop if traveling this route, must stop!

Honor Till at Swanton Berry Farm
Honor Till at Swanton Berry Farm

This drive along the coast through California is beautiful and this clear sunny day was perfect for it.  Our trusty VW Westfalia camper has been holding up well and the twisty coast roads definitely taxing it’s 90hp engine.

Driving our 1990 Volkswagen Westfalia down Hwy1 California
From the Passenger Window

When traveling on a long road trip with a baby and a dog you need leave lots of wiggle room in your “schedule” for changes of plans.  We were starting to realize that our Portuguese Water Dog Zucca hadn’t had any real exercise in a few days and this breed needs to burn off energy regularly.  We had been told by someone in passing that the beach in Carmel was one of the few in California that allowed dogs, so we made sure to stop there when passing through.  Zucca went bananas and made a few doggie friends on the beach while Archer did his own thing.

Carmel Beach with baby and dog
Archer Digging in

One of the key destinations when we planed this trip was Big Sur California and unfortunately we ended up there on a weekend.  We called ahead to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park and they said they were sold out but informed us there could be spots due to cancellations.  When we showed up there it seemed like we lucked out and were given a spot, but upon arrival at camp site 58 it was essentially in the parking lot of a variety store.  This park didn’t live up to our expectations, I think it’s popularity has caused it to be over populated and worn out.  We did a U-Turn and changed our plan with sites set on San Luis Obispo.  I must add that the drive through Big Sur is breathtaking.

After a couple more hours on the road and a few pit stops along the way we rolled into San Louis Obispo a little after dark.  Using Trip Advisor to find a hotel downtown we ended up at the Garden Street Inn and were greeted by a very friendly host.  We love this town and can’t wait to spend some more time here.

Accommodation Cost: $132.08

Volkswagen Camper Sightings: 3 Vanagons

 

 

Westfalia Road Trip Day 19 – Gualala CA to Pescadeno CA

Gualala was a great relaxing camping find, we would recommend it to anyone heading down the coast.

Today was dedicated to mostly travel and taking advantage traveling through a city and getting some free wifi to communicate with home and work.

We b-lined it to Petaluma and set up shop in a Panera simply based on the fact they had free wifi.  I hung out with Archer and did some work on the laptop while Connie took the opportunity to get her hair washed and blow dried at a salon, a little bit of luxury after “roughing it”.

Dog friendly retail store at Lagunitas brewery in Petaluma California
Dog friendly retail store at Lagunitas brewery in Petaluma California

While in Petaluma you must stop at one of the coolest craft breweries in North America, Lagunitas Brewing Company. This is great stop if you like craft beer, they also have a ton of merchandise that makes it easy to spend your hard earned.  If you can plan ahead it would be awesome to check out a band at their LaguMiniamphitheater.

Westfalia crossing the Golden Gate Bridge with Laid Back Dad
Westfalia crossing the Golden Gate Bridge with Laid Back Dad

We headed south in the VW Westfalia and traveled across a the Golden Gate Bridge and passed through San Francisco although we decided not to stop.  We chose to not stop in major cities that we have been to before or figured we would return to at some point in the next few years, San Fran was one of those.

View of the Ocean
A Bad Picture of the View of the Ocean

We ended our day at the KOA Costanoa in Pescadeno California.  This was a very interesting KOA that was part of a resort which included a fancy hotel and restaurant.  Since we arrived fairly late we decided take advantage of the Cascade Restaurant and we ended up with a fantastic meal backed up with great service.  Overall this was a nice resort with a great view and had very clean facilities, reminiscent of a higher end hotel.  You will pay a premium to stay here.

Another great day on the road!

Volkswagen Camper Sightings: 1 Vanagon, 1 Eurovan, 1 Split Window

Accommodation Cost: $51.00

Westfalia Road Trip Day 18 – Willits CA to Gualala CA

Well we had a great stay at the Willits KOA including a chance to relax in the hot tub before making breakfast and hitting the road.  As would be expected with a 1 year old, trips to the hot tub happen in shifts but are still worth the effort.  Now that the labour day weekend has passed we anticipate easier access to campsites like we experienced at Willits KOA.  Off we go!

Zucca and Archer ready to roll
Zucca and Archer ready to roll

From Willits we headed over to Fort Bragg and made a left on Highway 1 towards Elk California for a late lunch stop at Queenies Roadhouse.  This place is a great little restaurant that was very busy for a weekday and for good reason, the food was delicious and the service was great.

Queenies Roadhouse Cafe
Queenies Roadhouse Cafe

After a tasty lunch we hit the highway southbound along another stretch of beautiful coastal driving.  We were pushing the limits of time a 1 year old will tolerate his car seat and decided to stop for the night at Gualala Point Regional Park.

This small park is part of Sonoma County Regional Parks and although small with only 19 spots it was a great find.  The campground portion of the park is covered with very cool Laurel Trees which we have never seen before and it sits alongside the Gualala River which is almost entirely dried up this time of year.

Laurel Trees in Gualala
Laurel Trees in Gualala

We went for a 5km hike to the beach on the Pacific Ocean which turned out to be a little further than anticipated.  It was kind of cool to walk on the dried up riverbed which Archer and Zucca both enjoyed.  One interesting thing to mention here is the signs for “sleeper waves” which apparently can sneak up and carry you out into the Ocean, be safe kids.

Connie and Zucca on the Gualala River
Connie and Zucca on the Gualala River

Camping mid week after the kids are back in school makes for some peaceful camping.  We made a nice big campfire for warmth while we made dinner on the Primus.  Full of food and a sleepy baby, life is good.

Volkswagen Camper Sightings:

Accommodation Cost: $41.00 including firewood and dog fee (odd)

 

Westfalia Road Trip Day 17 – Crescent City CA to Willits CA

Nothing much to report about our night at Hiouchi RV Resort in Crescent City but they did have Wifi (after moving spots to catch the signal) and the showers were hot.  Westfalia away!

When in the land of the giant redwoods on a road trip you must drive through one, just cuz.  Well that was the plan when we took the Westfalia to Chandelier Tree in Leggett California.  Apparently when they designed this 2400 year old tree they didn’t have the Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia in mind, we didn’t fit through.  Oh well at least they had another gift shop to add to our list.

A really tight fit...too tight
A really tight fit…too tight

After the indescribable excitement of almost driving through a tree we b-lined it to the KOA in Willits California.  We have never stayed at a KOA style campground before and we didn’t know what to expect.  The Willits KOA definitely exceeded our expectations even though it didn’t offer the natural environment we’re getting used to in the Provincial and State parks.

Little Westy in a Big RV Spot
Lonely Little Westy in a Big RV Spot

It was an interesting change with all of the family programing that they have at this KOA, Fishing Pond, Arcade, Wild West Show, Mini Golf, Pool, Hot Tub, Splash Pad, Playground, Petting Zoo, Dog Park…really, there is more.  Our favorite thing was the Ice Cream Social and the Outdoor movie after the sun goes down.  Archer had a blast and it was nice to be able to watch a movie while he slept in our lap.  I’m not sure if all KOA’s are like this but if they are I can see the appeal, especially for family camping.

1990 Volkswagen Westfalia KOA
Willits KOA Fishing Pond

Weather’s warmer and it’s starting to feel like California, it’s crazy the distance we’ve traveled so far.  ZZzzzzz

 

Westfalia Road Trip Day 16 – Cape Blanco OR to Crescent City CA

Cape Blanco Oregon is a pretty nice place to wake up, a little bit cool and foggy but very nice.  Nothing an early morning campfire can’t cure.

Cape Blanco Volkswagen Westfalia road trip
View from Bed

We decided to spend the morning at Cape Blanco and go for a hike to the lighthouse.  Before a big hike you need a big breakfast, Connie was on chef duty this morning.

Cooking by campfire with baby
Breakfast by campfire

Of course when traveling on a road trip with a baby you need to factor in time for naps.  Archer loved the Volkswagen Westfalia and was quick to nap on the comfy bed before our hike.

Camping with kids
Archer’s unique napping position

We hiked to the lighthouse and back which is about 2km each way.  We took the trails through the park on the way there and on the way back we walked down the beach.  We had the whole beach to ourselves so our Portuguese Water Dog Zucca got to run off leash and burn off some energy.  Some pictures of Cape Blanco…

Baby backpack carrier hiking oregon
Archer watching my back
Cape Blanco Oregon hiking
Yup, Cape Blanco is Beautiful
Road Trip to Cape Blanco
Connie and Zucca taking it in

We had a great time in Oregon, now off to California.  We had our first bout of bad luck when we got to Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, the park was sold out so we had to stay at Hiouchi RV Resort down the road.  Hiouchi is a pretty plain park with not much to review, at least they had wifi…in some spots.  Sleep

Volkswagen Camper Sightings:

Accommodation Cost: $37

 

 

Westfalia Road Trip Day 15 – Lincoln City OR to Cape Blanco OR

Loved the Historic Anchor Inn!  Such a fun place with nice owners and it even included a real breakfast for the $89 a night rate.  Our server was super nice and even brought in peaches from her tree at home to included in our breakfast.

Road trip with baby Lincoln City Oregon
Breakfast at Historic Anchor Inn

After breakfast and a lazy start we were on the road to Cape Blano Oregon.  We chose Cape Blanco based on advice from some fellow Westfalia owners on TheSamba.com a website forum dedicated classic Volkswagens.  Since Cape Blanco is a first come first serve campsite we decided to head straight there and try and snag a spot.  We did make a quick stop in Newport Oregon at Rogue brewing, unfortunately there’s nothing exciting to report.

Brewery Road Trip Rogue Ales
Rogue Brewing

Blah blah blah beautiful scenery blah blah Oregon is amazing.  Since picking up Archer and Connie this was the longest drive day so far, arriving in Cape Blanco in about 5 hours.

Westfalia Road Trip in Oregon
Oregon Coast from the Westfalia

We managed to get a good spot across from the entrance to one of the Cape Blanco walking trails.  We set up the Westfalia and got started on dinner.  I think I have mentioned the Primus Firehole  a few times but haven’t mentioned the MSR Flex-4 System cook set, it’s been awesome and saves a lot of room in the VW camper.  We used them both and cooked up some tasty vittles before a camp fire and bed.

Family camping with baby at Cape Blanco Oregon
The Westfalia set up at Cape Blanco

Another shameless product plug is the Phil and Ted’s Lobster seat that archer is sitting in (below) attached to a picnic table.  This thing is super solid and fits every table we tried it on not to mention it packs down flat taking up little space in the Westfalia camper van.  It’s a must for traveling parents with a baby or toddler on a road trip.

Camping with baby phil ted lobster
Archer waiting for dinner

Volkswagen Camper Sightings:

Accommodation Cost: $35 incl. fire wood

 

 

Westfalia Road Trip Day 14 – Cannon Beach OR to Lincoln City OR

We got a good nights sleep considering we stayed in a parking lot at the Cannon Beach RV Resort.  The laundry facilities were handy and we’re starting off the day with a Westfalia full of clean clothes.

The drive down the coast in Oregon is beautiful but unlike California the road doesn’t always follow right along the coast line.  We headed south towards Tillamook arriving in a little over an hour at the Tillamook Cheese Factory.  This place is a tourist attraction in it’s truest form and they have done a great job at it.  We had some tasty cheese, took some pictures in their VW bus display and ended it off with some delicious ice cream.

Tillamook Cheese Oregon road trip
Tillamook Cheese Factory VW Bus

After filling up on dairy products we bought a souvenir Tillamook VW bus and some handy individual packages of Tillamook cheddar for the fridge.  Back on the Highway 1 we headed south into Tilamook to search for a barber shop to get a much needed shave.   We stumbled upon a cool looking place called Bob’s Barber Shop and thankfully Bob could fit me in.  This is a great spot that I would recommend if you’re heading south down the Oregon Coast.

Next stop just south of Tillamook was the Tillamook Air Museum which is housed in a very impressive building originally constructed as a base for Military Air Ships (Blimps).  This structure is the largest wooden building in America and it really is a must see if you’re in the area.  The planes in the Museum are interesting but for me the building stole the show, it’s huge!

Air ship blimp museum

Archer in front of a Guppy
Archer in front of a Guppy

Our next stop was Pacific City for lunch at Pelican Pub & Brewery.  The restaurant is located right on the beach so after lunch we had a chance to take Zucca and Archer to the beach for first time on the trip.

Zucca with Haystack in the background
Zucca with Haystack in the background

Letting a baby and dog play in the water and sand made for a pretty good mess in the Westfalia.

Pelican pub Oregon
Zucca and Archer in the sand

Before we left for the trip Archer just started walking at 11 months.  His confidence is increasing very quickly and he has already started climbing around the van.  Gotta keep a close eye on the baby.

Archer's Westfalia playground
Archer’s Westfalia playground

We hoped to stay in Pacific City but the local accommodations didn’t work for us so we headed south.  It was getting a little late and Archer was getting a little fussy so we decided to pull into the next place we saw.  Well they didn’t allow dogs so we went to the next, next place which turned out to be awesome luck.  The Historic Anchor Inn was one of the most unique hotels we’ve ever seen and it’s a must stay if traveling in the area.  Check out their gallery to get the vibe.  This was a fantastic day, time for rest.

Dog Friendly Lincoln City Oregon
Zucca making decisions

Volkswagen Camper Sightings:

Accommodation Cost: $89

 

 

 

Westfalia Road Trip Day 13 – Millersylvania to Cannon Beach OR

Voodoo Doughnuts!!!  Never mind whatever happened in the morning let’s just skip ahead to Voodoo Doughnuts in Portland Oregon.  The first I heard about Voodoo was when Rogue brewing released their Voodoo Maple Bacon Ale and it was a must stop on this road trip.

Voodoo donuts with baby
Voodoo Doughnuts Sign

Well, Voodoo lived up to it’s reputation for being busy and at 11am on a weekday was lined up down the street.  After waiting 20 minutes we finally got to the counter and it was a seriously tough decision to pick only 6.  We sat on the patio and ate 4 of the 6 before checking out the city.  Yes they’re Awesome!

Voodoo Doughnuts Portland Bacon
They’re as good as they look

In my younger days I spent many hours playing Tony Hawks Pro Skater on Playstation.  One of the levels on the game was a place called Burnside which is in Portland Oregon, this was another on my list of places to see.  Well the game was pretty generous in it’s portrayal of the size of Burnside, it turns out that it’s pretty small and not a whole lot to see.  Oh well, off to the Coast.

Burnside Skate park Portland under bridge
Burnside Skate Park

We headed out to Cannon Beach Oregon to start our trip down the coast to California in the Westfalia.  Cannon Beach is a beautiful little tourist town that turned out to be very busy and had very little accommodations available.  We ended up “dry camping” in our VW camper at the Cannon Beach RV Park.  Dry camping means a spot with no hook ups for power or water, it also meant we paid $20 to camp in a parking lot.  It turned out to be a bit of a blessing since we go free wifi, access to laundry machines and all the other facilities.  A well spent $20 considering the other option was a $300 for a dog friendly hotel room.

Road trip cannon beach with kids and dog
The view from of Cannon Beach from Ecola State Park

Volkswagen Camper Sightings:

Accommodation Cost: $20