Our Vie Adventures consists of Cees, Madison, Vladimir the Kitten, and a 1989 Toyota Motorhome named Vie. Cees and Madison are on the road, living the dream of every outdoor-minded couple by visiting each national park in the country over the course of the year. In celebration of our National Parks centennial, we’ve partnered with Cees and Madison to bring you stories and photos of their yearlong quest (and of course, plenty of #vladimirkitten along the way).
Keep scrolling to see Cees, Madison, and Vladimir’s visit to Redwood National Park, CA. Stay tuned to Downstream for updates on their adventures and follow them on Instagram (@ourvieadventures) for more frequent updates from the road.
On our way to Redwood National Park, we drove through Willow Creek, A.K.A. the Bigfoot Capitol of the World! We had no idea where we were until we started seeing Bigfoot signs everywhere! It was hilarious. There have been a ton of sightings around the area – in fact if you watch the vlog at the end of this post, you can see an interview with a first-hand account!
This is a copy of the plaster cast footprint that set off the craze! This was taken less than a mile from the town, just up the creek!
We had a crazy ride into the park – our Google directions took us “the back way”. Let’s just say that I was glad we actually made it through – the road was pretty terrible. Once we finally made it to the park, we decided to save the trees for later, and went straight to the beach!
Tacos and watermelon on the beach – it doesn’t get much better. OR WAIT – it does! Peach cobbler! We wanted to make it for the Fourth of July party, but we ran out of time that night. It was so good. Madison has an amazing ability to bake. She always says, “you can’t just YOLO when you bake – you have to do it just right.” But for some reason, I feel like she is always YOLO-ing.
Madison caught me sharing my ice cream with the kitty – and she wonders why I am the favorite. Too easy.
Vladimir is scared of the waves. He just can’t seem to get over the loud noises they make. We tried and tired to convince him that walking on the beach was safe. He was NOT having it. He was fine when he was up high in our arms or on our shoulders, but as soon as we tried to take him down, he would freak out.
The sunset on the beach was amazing. There is something about the “as far as your eye can see” feeling. You can’t help but stare at the flat horizon. It pulls you in and you strain to see past it.
The beach was epic. We had a great time taking in the good air. The next morning we were hanging out with our door open and happened to spot a whale! There was a humpback whale out there just swimming right in our view! We got the zoom lens out and watched him for over an hour. I would have never thought that the RV would be a whale watching vehicle.
After we parted ways with the whale, we drove up the mountain and into the trees. We needed to compare the giant sequoia, Sequoiadendron giganteum, we saw in Sequoia National Park to its taller cousins, Sequoia sempervirens.
As we planned our stay in Redwood, I was kind of thinking to myself, “Okay, more big trees, nice forest – nothing we didn’t get to see in Sequoia NP.” I thought the unique part of the park will be the beach. I was wrong. There really wasn’t anything similar to the forests we saw in the Sierra Nevada earlier on the trip. Instead of granite, there was jungle. It felt like we were in Jurassic Park!
The Tall Tree Grove was pretty special. It is hard to take in how tall these things are. You can’t even see the top of them!
The old growth in the forest was my favorite part. The ferns and the moss and all the green was overwhelming.
We walked around the loop in awe.
By the time we finished the trail, a thick fog had rolled in. From the same overlook, we could see all the way down into the valley before we started.
On the way out, we had some issues with Vie. The bar that holds the battery in place became dislodged. Not only did it come off, but it bounced into the positive terminal of the battery! This sent sparks flying all down the road – and shut down our whole electrical system. We caught it early enough that we were able to re-secure the battery. But we didn’t find out, until a few days down the road that when the battery was jostling around, it had bounced into one of the pulleys and put a hole in its side! Needless to say, we had to get a new battery. It is now being held in place with a nice red bungee cord.
Redwood National Park is coupled with state parks all the way up the northern coast. It is the most disjointed park for that reason. Sometimes we would be driving down the road without even realizing that we had left the park.
During our last day in the park, we were rained on the entire time. Not just drizzly, but crazy hard rain! It was ridiculous.
After staying in the RV for a hearty meal and movie (we watched Goonies to get excited about the Oregon coast), we had to force ourselves to get out on a hike. So, we drove to the shortest lookout hike that we could find. That way we could check off a hike for the day, and not feel so pathetic.
It was paved, so we brought the kitty along. He was NOT amused. In fact, his evil stare had both Madison and I fearing for our lives.
As soon as we set him down, he took off towards the RV! He was done with the rain.
We got back the the RV just soaked. Everything was wet. That’s the thing with a small space – it doesn’t take that much water to soak it all the way through!
Before we left we had to get out again for the sign picture. Shortly after, we stumbled on a herd of elk trespassing on one of the sections of private land!
Here is a very flattering shot of the self-lick service. As we were standing there in the rain, I thought how it would stink to be an animal. You can never escape the rain.
We try not to stay at Walmart too often. It is our “last resort”. But that is life on the road for you. Sometimes you get epic beach-side property, and then some nights you get Walmart. It was funny as we pulled into the parking lot at 3 AM, there were another 20 RVs with the same idea!
Sometimes we feel sorry for the cat. We drag him around strange places, we are always taking pictures of him, he has no real routine, he doesn’t get to kill mice on the regular, and sometimes he loses his mind after driving for too long!
The last trail we stopped at was the famous Stout Grove Trail. For me, the drive down was the most epic part. The road wound tightly between some of the tallest trees on earth. It was a slow, but epic drive. We barely fit through some of the narrow spots! (In fact, I may or may not have scraped one of the boxes!)
It was still raining on us, but the trees reduced how much water actually landed on us.
The Redwood National and State Parks are the perfect mix for Madison and me. The combination of the beach life and the beautiful mountain forests really spoke to each of us. Madison will always be a beach girl. I belong in the mountains and the trees. It was a great mix for our marriage. Maybe this is the place we will retire? If we ever get around to it!