We took our first camping trip in the R-Pod last weekend for my husbands 34th birthday down to Dockweiler Beach, CA.
We went down on Thursday, but because we had to stop on the way out of town for gas and a few things from the store we got going much later than we’d hoped, but still with plenty of day left for setting up and exploring a bit. We unhooked the trailer and Jason got it all set up fairly easily. We walked down to the water just for a bit, and we had to coax Bubba down there the entire time, he wanted nothing to do with the beach or the water and kept asking to go back to the trailer.
While we were wandering around that first day, we kept noticing these little guys:
I feared they might be baby Man O’ Wars, but having only ever seen them in the movie The Heartbreak Kid, I really wasn’t sure what they actually looked like:
They were washed up all along the shoreline, and we worried if they were still there the following day we wouldn’t be able to let the kids play.
We did some googling when we got back to the trailer and found out they aren’t man o’ war jellyfish, they are actually called “velella velella” or “by the wind sailor”, and they are supposedly not harmful to humans. Luckily, we didn’t have to find out for certain because they were all gone by the next day.
We brought some snacks with us to the RV park but decided to run to the store to get a few more things, we came back and ate a quick dinner of ramen, and then took a stroll down to the water once more now that it was nighttime just to enjoy the sound of the waves. Again, Bubba wasn’t having it and wanted to go back almost immediately, but we bought a few minutes letting him check out an abandoned bonfire out on the sand.
The next day was actually Jason’s birthday and we planned to spend the better part of the day down near the water. We started the morning off taking a trip to Starbucks, where I was adamant I wasn’t getting out of the truck because I hadn’t gotten myself ready for the day yet. But, as Jason and the kids unloaded I realized I’d be missing out and figured, “Heck! I don’t live here, who cares what people think?”, so we got our drinks and little breakfasts and snagged a table outside to enjoy it all. And then, I got pooped on by a bird.
After Starbucks, we made it back to the RV park, changed, lathered up with sun block, and headed down to the beach. We pretty much had the entire beach to ourselves, save for the occasional passerby. It was so empty, I felt like maybe we weren’t supposed to be out there.
When we started to get hungry we came back to the trailer, where the only other R-Pod in the whole park had taken our previous neighbors spot and was parked right next to us! Jason was very happy about this.
I made us all lunch. I grilled Field Roast hotdogs (that I didn’t really care for) and chips, and then we all took turns getting showered and ready for Jason’s birthday dinner with his dad, sister, and his dad’s girlfriend, Sharon. We made reservations for dinner at Cantalini’s, which is where we ate on the second night of our honeymoon, and also on our first wedding anniversary (at which I was also pregnant).
We were having such a fantastic trip so far, and we were set to leave the next day by 11am, so Jason tried to reserve a spot for another day but they were completely booked up, so he put our names down for their waitlist in case they had any cancellations.
We had a fantastic time at Cantalini’s and the food was all amazing! Jason bought all of the ladies (myself, our daughter, Jason’s sister, and his dad’s girlfriend, Sharon) roses while we were there and our girl in particular was smitten with hers. We had hoped to make it back in time to have a bonfire of our own, but it was 9:30pm by the time we pulled back up to our trailer, so Jason threw a log into our site’s grill and we sat near it
for a bit until we realized the kids would much rather be in the trailer enjoying a movie before bed. We decided that if we were able to stay another night at the RV park that we would set up a bonfire earlier out on the beach so that the kids could really enjoy it.
The next morning, on Saturday, we began getting ready and packing up since we hadn’t heard from the office if they had any spots open up. Jason decided to go check with them in person, and it sounded like a couple of options might work out, and then a spot did open up with 2 hours until check out time, just 2 spots away! So we got ready and tidied up, Jason moved our trailer down to the new location. We went to Target to get a few things to last us an extra day (like food, a change of clothes, and pineapple and batman sunglasses for the kids). We also were able to swing by Whole Foods and I finally got my hands on the Beyond Burger! The Beyond Burger, if you aren’t familiar with the name, is a plant based burger patty, that is supposedly amazing. I’ve had an aversion to faux-meats this pregnancy, so while I was excited to finally get to try it, I didn’t have incredibly high hopes. By the time we got back to the RV park, it was about lunch time so I made a couple of sandwiches for the kids, and cooked up the Beyond Burgers in a skillet for us. I seasoned them with just salt & pepper, to get a real idea of how they tasted on their own. They had a bit of a strange smell while cooking, but nothing unpleasant, just maybe slightly unfamiliar. I gave Jason the more-cooked burger of the two, and we both had a side of chips. I wish I’d snapped a picture of the cooked burgers, but I do still have another pack to cook soon, so maybe next time! They certainly look like the real-deal, and are definitely not your typical flat veggie-burger patty, and they also brown up quite nicely. I was afraid to take that first bite, worried it might just taste like a chemically-flavored mushy mess, but as I chewed it… I didn’t really have words. I had to take a few more bites before I felt confident to say, “It’s… actually kind of good?” to which Jason replied, “I like it!” We both agreed they would taste even better on the grill, but they are without a doubt the closest a veggie burger has ever come to tasting like a real burger, in our opinions, and without any weird faux textures or flavors to boot. My only wish now is that a Whole Foods market would open up closer to us! I could live in the salad bar area alone.
After lunch, we all got ready to go back down to the beach. As we wandered down there we noticed a curious thing… all of the fire pits were claimed as far as the eye could see! Some had chairs encircling them, or bundles of wood piled up on the ledge, and many had people already set up all around them. The two previous nights had several empty ones, we hadn’t anticipated needing to claim one before it even got close to sunset! After we set up down at the water, Jason decided that he would just go buy a fire pit and we’d have a little fire at the campsite since he’d promised the kids a bonfire. I stayed and watched the kids play while he ran to Home Depot.
When he got back the kids were pretty much done with playing, and we went back to the trailer. Since we were able to stay another day, Jason’s dad and girlfriend decided to come and enjoy our new fire pit with us for a bit after dinner. I made ravioli, broccoli, and bread for dinner while Jason put the fire pit together.
The evening went really well, and Sharon even brought us the most delicious freshly baked chocolate chip cookies! She played with the kids for a long while in the trailer while Jason, his dad, and I enjoyed the fire and chatted. They left around 9:30pm, we put the fire out, and settled in again for the evening.
Though we were sad to leave the next morning, we were so thankful that we were able to have such a wonderful trip and we all got up and going right away. Breaking everything down at our site went smoothly, we pulled away, and of course hit Starbucks one last time before heading back home.
Some more trip highlights
My impressions of using the trailer as a recreational vehicle and not a living space are:
- There is so much more space! We did a lot less shuffling things around from nighttime to daytime (other than making the bed and breaking down the dinette bed). Our tiny closet was able to hold outfits for all 4 of us and all of our drawers still had plenty of space after they’d been filled. The food cabinet wasn’t packed full and I found myself feeling like the trailer had grown. The refrigerator was actually more full than it had been when we were living in it, but I think that was because we actually made more meals in the trailer while using it for camping than we did when we used it for living.
- Sand is, of course, a nuisance, but it wasn’t as bad as the mud and tiny rocks we were tracking in at the ranch. And as far as camping in general goes, it sure is nice having a small broom and cleaning supplies to get rid of the dirt; I don’t imagine I’d have brought all of that for tent camping and the sand would have eventually made me miserable.
- And strangely, we miss the trailer when we aren’t living in it. Towing it behind the truck on the way to the beach I found myself wondering if it was happy it was being used again. The close quarters, the minimalist lifestyle, and still having all of our necessities right there with us can’t really be beat. All in all, we love our little R-pod and wish we were able to use it a lot more often.
I hope someday we’re able to become actual full-timers, I think we’d be really great at it. Until the next adventure!