Central and Southern California were just as sunny and beautiful as most would expect! Expensive, but cool evenings and warm days with a lot of sunshine made our September days pretty fantastic to spend time outside.
In mid-September, we left San Benito, CA, southeast of San Fransisco in Northern California, and drove to a BLM campground to stay for one night on our way to Pismo/Avila KOA on the coast. It was a bit off the beaten path, and up a very steep hill at the end, however, once we were up top we had a full campsite overlooking a beautiful valley! So, we set up camp and began to relax at the picnic table watching the kids play. I looked over at the girls playing tea party and noticed the van’s tire looking ‘funny’.
I got up to check it, and thank god that I did!
Tony immediately got on the phone to the nearest Big O Tire shop. You see, we had gotten 4 brand new tires back in Jackson, WY and paid extra for the warranty. The woman on the phone was very nice and helpful, and after a quick picture and e-mail back to her with a scanned in copy of our warranty and the work done on the van only 1 month prior, she called us back and said ‘Sweet Jesus!’. She assured us that if we came in at opening the next morning, Sunday, we would be taken care of right away.
The woman on the phone was very nice and helpful, and after a quick picture and e-mail back to her with a scanned in copy of our warranty and the work done on the van only 1 month prior, she called us back and said ‘Sweet Jesus!’. She assured us that if we came in at opening the next morning, Sunday, we would be taken care of right away.
Well, it was 4:30 pm so we had about 2 1/2 hours of daylight left to change the tire and be ready to go by dawn the next morning. Well, the tire changing went well….
……until we put the spare on and realized it was flat!!
We were told by some amazing friends, that we should invest in an air compressor for this very reason. Did we listen? No, of course not.
So what do you do when you are 6 miles off the paved road, up a mountainside with a flat spare tire and no generator?
You use your bike pump of course! LOL
It totally worked too!
Needless to say, we made it to the tire shop by 9 am the next morning, back in the city we started in the previous day. This was after waking up to drive into the most beautiful sunrise!
They did an amazing job and were quick about it too! While they worked on the van, we took the kids in the RV to the grocery store and the van was ready when we were finished. Everything was covered under warrenty too!
We made the drive to Pismo/Avilia KOA on the central coast of CA by dinner time that day. It was definitely time for a night of just hanging out at the playground. It was a really nice campground that was close to everything we wanted to see. The spots were a bit close together, but we had full hook-ups and we were only 3 miles off the ocean!
That week at the KOA, we really enjoyed playing in their pool and hot tub, in their game room, and at their playground.
The kids even joined in a game of basketball from a family from Germany who did not speak English, a family that was part Japenese who did speak English, and a dog! It was a great time!
Our family took two bike rides down the amazing bike trail from our campground to the Avilia beach that week! It was fantastic!
Tony actually said that this is the first place we have traveled to since we left Minnesota that he could say ‘Yeah, I could live here!’. (until you look at the cost of living around here! Yikes!)
We made some great memories playing in the water!
The kids enjoyed the park at Avila beach, even when Gwen got stung by a bee on the bottom of her foot!
Miss Gwen was a tough girl and managed to get her shoes back on and keep on playing!
Lilya did get a flat tire on our 3 mile ride back the second day. Tony carries a small hand pump on his bike so we were luckily able to pump it back up enough to have her ride it back to the campsite before it deflated again. We figured out that the tire must have had a small thorn still in it from our San Benito flat tire issues (we had 5 tires to change after San Benito due to SO MANY THORNS).
Luckily, Tony was in town with us and not away on a work trip while this one happened so he was able to run to the nearby bike shop and by new tubes and tires for Lilya’s bike. Problem solved!
Later that week we drove to Pismo beach just a few miles away.
We really enjoyed swinging and watching the surfers at Pismo.
On our way back to camp, we stopped at their ‘Dinosaur Park’ and the kids enjoyed playing at yet another new playground while Tony and I took some time to just relax and enjoy the view and smell of the Pacific while our kiddos played.
Wrapping up our stay in the Pismo/Avila area, we visited a huge farmer’s market in San Luis Obispo, CA. When I say huge, I mean HUGE!! I mean, they close down 5 city blocks in downtown San Luis Obispo….every….single…..Thursday!
There were people everywhere! Live bands were playing in several areas of the market, produce was being sold, local stores had tables and booths, local restaurants had huge grills and employees to stand outside to sell their food, and they had a bounce house for kids. We bought some really good BBQ and ate it on the street while watching a drumming school perform. Then we walked down the street and picked up several bags worth of produce….that lasted us about 3 days! 😉
Our kids eat so much lately, it’s crazy!!
Our time in the Pismo and Avila beach area was just what our family needed during our ‘week between’ Daddy’s two work trips.
We made some amazing memories and got our Daddy ‘fill’ in before we had to drive him to the airport in LA to fly out to Paris, France. However, this time around Granda Sandy was flying into the same airport to spend 7 days with us!!
The kids and I were SO excited!!