June 10 – August 26, 2015.
After camping and exploring 4 wonderful National Parks (Death Valley, Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon) we headed to the XPCamper factory in Grass Valley, CA. On the way we spent a couple of nights in Sacramento, California’s Capital, to regroup and do some laundry after a week of tent camping.
On June 12, 2015 we drove 2 hours North East of Sacramento to Grass Valley to meet with Marc the owner of XPC. We had already met him at the Overland Expo in May but it was nice to learn more about how he develop the XPCamper concept. He gave us a tour of the factory where everything is done in-house. They were not ready yet for us to leave the truck for the modifications because more parts had to be ordered. Marc told us to return in a week so we headed for Reno, Nevada about 2 hours away.
Reno is famous for its Casinos. We walked around town, had a nice dinner on a terrace and since neither of us are gamblers we were looking for something to do; it was Friday night after all!! We saw a sign on the street in front of Harrah’s Casino advertising Live Jazz at their Sapphire Lounge. To make it more attractive, it was also ladies night, 2 for 1 drinks. It turned out to be one of those memorable nights! So much fun! The vodka was flowing and the band was great!
Reno “The Biggest Little City in the World”
Our next destination was Lake Tahoe. It is known for the clarity of its water and the panorama of surrounding mountains on all sides. We spent 5 nights in the town of South Lake Tahoe on the California side of the Lake. We enjoyed the beauty of the scenery, sat by the lake, took long walks, drove all around the Lake (72 miles of shore lines) and did a lot of sightseeing : Emerald Bay, Tahoe City, Zephyr Cove … And watch the whole third season of Orange Is the New Black on Netflix in our Motel 6 room.
Lake Tahoe “Where California and Nevada meet”
We returned to Grass Valley on Saturday and left the truck at XPCamper. We were going to bus it to San Francisco to meet our friend Rozanne on Sunday June 21. Our intentions were to catch the bus from Grass Valley to Auburn to Sacramento to San Francisco. Once in Grass Valley we found out that there was no bus until Monday. Bummed out, we were sitting on a bench in Old Town Grass Valley trying to figure out a way to make it to Sacramento, when we met Nicole who’s family own a bakery on Mill Street in Old Town: Brew Bakers Family Café. She asked us what was the problem and we explained our situation and she immediately tried to help us find a solution. We went back to Brew Backers, met her mom and nephew. To make a long story short she ended up driving us to Sacramento that night! An example of the incredibly nice people you meet while traveling. Strangers who go out of their way to help you without expecting anything in return. Thank you Nicole!
As planed we met our friend Rozanne in San Francisco on Sunday. Rozanne has lived in San Francisco for 30 years before moving to Blue Sea in 2012 where we met her. A Californian in Blue Sea was a pretty rare occurrence, as soon has we met we became instant friends. She was in town visiting her daughter so when she told us we jumped on the occasion to see her. She picked us at the bus terminal and immediately took us all around town. She had arranged for us to stay a couple of nights at her friend’s Paula’s house located in a great neighborhood in the center of San Francisco. The next day we had a wonderful dinner with Rozanne and a few of her friends. Rozanne is an extraordinary person who’s generosity and ability to bring people together is remarkable. They welcomed us with open arms and made us feel like we were having an evening with long time friends. It was a great feeling after being on the road, just the two of us, for almost 2 months.
Our 2 night stay at Paula’s turned into 17 nights (minus 2 nights in Napa Valley)! When travelers talk about the generosity of strangers, we can’t imagine a better example. Paula opened her home to us like we were part of her own family. We will never forget her generosity, class and Joie de Vivre. We had a great base to be able to explore San Francisco. We walked for hours through the city exploring the different neighborhoods. Every day was a different area. We walked, rode cable cars and buses, hiked trails, tried so many restaurants, drank good wines, attended the 4th of July Celebrations and watched the 4 seasons of The Killing on Netflix!
San Francisco “The City by the Bay”
During our sojourn in the Wine Country, the highlight was roming through the vineyards and tasting the delicious wines. We visited 5 different wineries B.R. Cohn, Kunde, Imagery, Domaine Chandon and Robert Mondavi. We had so much fun! The scenery and decor are just unbelievable. We hate in great restaurants, stayed in a bed and breakfast in Sonoma and a nice Inn in Calistoga. Over all a wonderful experience, the wine definitely helped creating the mood.
Grass Valley, CA
We are now back in Grass Valley, CA staying in a nice little Motel waiting for our XPCamper! Grass Valley is located in the Gold Country, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. There is a lot to see and do in the area; historic towns, hiking trails, swimming holes … If everything goes well we will be back on the road by the end of July or at the latest sometime in August! In the mean time we are enjoying the area and just relaxing!