“The mountains are calling, and I must go…” Yeah, well, the mountains damn near killed us traveling in and out of Fort Bragg, California, but it was worth it! We were drawn to Fort Bragg because of all the surreal photographs of glass beach. Small colorful pieces of rounded glass covered the shores creating a unique sight. It’s a romantic story, the one about how glass beach was created…Many years ago, our ancestors (bless their hearts) spent many long hard years DUMPING GARBAGE into the ocean. Okay, yeah, not romantic at all. But it does set me up to pitch this great cliché: It just goes to show that an ugly, troubled past can lead to a beautiful future. BAM. I know, impressed right? 😊
We stayed at Hidden Pines RV Park for our time in Fort Bragg. I’m not sure if it’s family owned/ran, but it sure felt that way. The employees gave the park a real “small home town” vibe. I felt like I walked into the home of a distant cousin (in a good way). The RV park was no resort by any stretch of the imagination, but the sites had generous amounts of space considering we were in the middle of a city, and it was affordable. And by “affordable” I mean, it was like $50.00 a night. BUT. Still the cheapest in the area. The biggest perk about the park was how close we were to a hidden beach just down the street. Tucked away in what seemed like a partially wealthy neighborhood was a the entrance to a long path down to the ocean. The path was darkened by overgrown trees, and because the sun didn’t reach the path, it was very muddy, steep, and slippery! As we wandered closer to the ocean, the sound of the waves crashing against the shore grew louder. It wasn’t long before Roxi began to completely lose her mind knowing she was approaching water. She pulled on the leash worse than normal, and before I knew it, down on my ass I went.
At the end of the path was a drop off about 5 feet high. A rope trailed down the slope inviting us to climb down to the sand. Roxi could no longer be contained, and as soon as I unclipped her leash, she was gone. It was the first time she had ever been to the ocean. Like a proud father, I looked on as she joyfully splashed through the waves. I imagine she had her mind blown by how interactive the water was as it crashed against her and carried her back to shore.
Even the squirrel…er…Shirley enjoyed the ocean! I mean, mostly. She seemed to like prancing through the water as the tide usually only went up to her ankles. A few times, she was caught by surprise and swept up by the waves. The look of horror on her face as she was suddenly neck deep in water made Gina and I ugly gut laugh. The little hidden beach was totally perfect. Small, clean, and uncrowded. I would recommend Hidden Pines RV Park on that alone!
We decided to stay at Hidden Pines RV Park for a few days because we hadn’t stayed put for longer than a day in over a week. But of course, not everything can always be perfect. The RV gods looked down upon us and said, “Hmm…It’s been a minute since they’ve had any RV struggles…Let’s make this destination a little more interesting.” And interesting it was! First, the automatic stairs stopped working completely. Without the stairs, the climb up into the RV was like trying to hop up into a back-country boy’s overly lifted pickup truck. I’m talking waist-high nonsense. It was so high that I had to pick Roxi up to get her into the RV. Sometimes she became overzealous and tried to make the leap up herself, taking a hard digger into the stairs every time. Thankfully, I had packed us a step stool before we left on our journey (short people problems). It wasn’t pretty or very convenient at all, but it was better than taking a running start at the RV, jumping and praying that we would clear the gap without any casualties.
Okay, so the stairs not working was a little hiccup. No big deal. We could get that fixed on our way to our next destination. Everything was A-Okay…until black water started to leak into the RV from a light fixture. *Cue meltdown*. The one thing that I had read repeatedly on travel blogs of other full-time RVers was that a water leak was one of THE WORST possible things that could happen to your RV besides, you know, totally breaking down. After an hour or so of disbelief, anger, sadness, and self-pity, we decided to not let the troubles ruin our time. The reality of the situation was that there was nothing we could do until we left the RV park and got further south…so, we threw a bucket under the leaky light socket, turned off the air conditioning (thinking it wasn’t draining properly), and hoped for the best.
Glass Beach was only a little over two miles away, and in the name of saving money, we decided not to call an Uber and walked instead. Walking kind of ended up sucking, but that’s just because we were walking along a busy city highway and not on a peaceful dirt path in the woods. I know, poor baby, right?
Though a little less spectacular than what some of the pictures circulating the internet portrayed, glass beach still glimmered colorfully in the sunlight. A wave of sadness overcame me as I watched several people gathering buckets full of the glass. At the rate people were gathering the glass, it seemed like it would only be a few years more before glass beach would need to be renamed. However, I’d go as far as to say it won’t happen in our lifetime. Though the more “rare” colors seemed to have been picked over, the white/clear, brown, and green pieces were very plentiful! We spent quite some time at glass beach admiring the shore and searching for rare pieces like blue and purple.
The strip of Fort Bragg along the coast highway seemed a little…drab?…but I only saw a small portion of it, so it’s not fair of me to say that the city is otherwise boring. However, I think it’s definitely worth a detour if you’re in Northern California! For my fellow RVers, the roads in and out of Fort Bragg are not big-rig friendly. Our RV is 35 feet long, and we were absolutely pushing it. I wouldn’t try driving anything longer than that through the mountainous roads near in the area. In fact, I believe there was a length limit of 36 feet on the two main highways in and out of Fort Bragg. You’ve been warned!
UPDATE ON OUR RV STRUGGLES: A few days later, we had our stairs and the leak fixed. All I can say is THANK OUR LUCKY STARS we bought the extended coverage. The repairs totaled over $1,000.00, but we only had to pay $100.00! Also, we can’t thank On the Spot RV Repair in Elk Grove enough for their incredible customer service! Knock on wood, we haven’t had any major issues since then…well, besides the sewage back up and ant invasion, but that’s a story for a future blog! Keep up to date so you can laugh at us!