Winter Storm Trip to Bodega Bay
February 5 and 6, 2015
My wife Nora insisted on taking a short trip to enjoy the major winter storm that was heading for Northern California. I had just upgraded and partly packed up the camper for my first big trip of the year, so it was a welcome chance to try it out.
(Click any picture to open a larger version.)
It was a quick and easy drive out to the coast at Bodega Bay, under gray skies but with no rain. We made a supply stop at Whole Foods in Petaluma.
Once at the coast we drove through three campgrounds to see which best suited our whim. Doran County Park is on the spit at the entrance to Bodega Bay is very exposed to the weather, with open ocean on one side and the bay on the other. The state park campground at Bodega Dunes is nestled in the sand dunes and many campsites are almost completely roofed over by pines and cypresses (at least in the one loop they keep open all winter). The small campground at Wright's Beach is densely packed and well sheltered by Myoporum trees, with a few premium sites facing right onto the beach.
We chose Doran to maximize the experience of camping in a major storm, set up the camper in the most exposed site available, then walked on the beach. It was not cold, 60° when we got there and 57° the next morning, but the wind was strong and steady.
That evening the wind rose to gale force with incredible gusts. I had intended to cook steaks on a gas grill outside, but abandoned that idea because of the wind. During the night the camper was rocking so much that I suffered from motion sickness. The noise and vibration was overwhelming, but the camper did just fine.
There was horizontal rain much of the night, continuing as day broke. I made coffee, but we decided to treat ourselves to breakfast in a restaurant. The only real challenge of the trip was getting the pop-up top to come down - the wind kept inflating the camper and popping it back up. Driving into the lee of the restroom building and facing the truck into the wind solved the problem.
It was a wild drive home, heavy rain and amazing wind as we followed Highway 1 south to Point Reyes Station.