Stunning. That’s the single word to best describe Emma Wood State Beach. All campsites are feet from the rocky shore that hugs the oceanfront. No hook-ups available for the trailer, but it doesn’t matter with this view. If you turn away from the ocean view (and why would you?), you see the equally stunning cliff-side landscape. It is unbelievable you don’t have to pay millions of dollars to “live” here, let alone camp.
The misty morning fog floats over our head and you almost could reach up and grab ahold of it. Some days, you are hard pressed to discern where the water ends and the shore begins with this fog. Then a strong wind blows and the fog floats onwards to Ventura and you are left with the sparkling blue sky and ocean.
Our first day, after setting everything up trailer-wise, I settled in to feed Gabriel. As I looked out to the ocean, I saw a dolphin leap up out of the water. It was magical. The wind was blowing quite strong, but the birds (pelican and seagulls) were flying and diving kamikaze-style into the waves, usually flying together in groups, back and forth from my view. There was one pelican that didn’t fly with the other pelicans. Trailing slightly behind him was his little shadow – a small seagull. At first I thought I was mistaken about them being together. After several passes back and forth, it was clear they had developed some type of friendship or comradely. When the pelican dived below the surface, the seagull landed in the water to wait patiently for his friend. Then they were off again. We saw these same two birds every day, just hanging out and catching fish. What a life!
We took a long walk one morning on the beach, mostly to tire Sophia out and to explore the area. We walked about one and half miles in one direction (poor Jon just knew he’d have to carry Sophia back). Sophia and Lucy ran in and out of the water, laughing and playing. I carried a sleeping Gabriel on my chest and Jon and I just talked. It was a lovely experience. Of course, Jon did end up having to carry Sophia back, as it had gotten cold and she was very tired!
Jon was able to try out his kayak. We drove over to the harbor area, where the water was much calmer. He kayaked for a couple of hours while the kids and I ran some errands. Our water tank had developed a slow leak that wasn’t noticeable at the last place with a full water hook-up (and constant water pressure), so I needed to purchase some extra external water tanks. We were able to fill up the water tanks at McGrath State Beach and campground. They also had hot showers, a blessing after three days with no showers and a sponge bath. Even Gabriel enjoyed his hot shower – with no crying!
Downtown Ventura is adorable. The city clearly wants to entice visitors, what with the free parking, Mission to visit (we’ll have to do that next time), and lovely parks. The people are so friendly too! We had dinner at Anacapa Brewery. The beers were good (we had a flight of beer to determine which one we liked best, naturally) and tv. Sophia was smitten with the tv and her food. We didn’t explore the area too much – just got some ice cream we promised to Sophia – because it was getting very cold and we had driven all day. I came back to downtown to shop and visit the thrift store for some much needed extra sweaters the next day with Gabriel while Jon and Sophia played in the ocean.
We visited Marina Park – also located at one tip of the harbor. Sophia enjoyed the playground after lunch one day. The park also has beach access and lots of green grass. A lovely little place to visit – next time, we’ll make a whole day of it – Jon can kayak and the kids and I will hang out at the park. Then we’ll all hang out at the beach. It’s only a short drive from the park to the hot showers!
An interesting note about the beaches here in Ventura – dogs are supposed to be leashes and not go on beaches…but no one seems to pay any mind to this rule. Even in our campsite, dogs went on the beach and as long as the dog was well behaved, there was no need to keep the dog on a leash in your campsite. Many people did keep their dogs on a long leash, which we appreciated when we went on our sunset walks.
We saw two other airstreams in the park – a brand-new 2012 one rented (23 feet, very modern and sleek inside – but all silver and black) and a heavily used 1993 (34 feet). Both were nice to see, but our airstream, even though small, was cozier. Jon did admit that we could use a slightly larger airstream, but that we were keeping this one regardless of buying another one. Music to my ears – a little more space would be lovely. We off-loaded a number of items with my parents (those over-sized poofs being one thing) and have almost used everything else be brought. Our outdoor canopy works well for shade in the sun. We haven’t had to set up the outdoor bed yet (although Sophia did have one bad night and then day as a result of the late night before). The outdoor space is nice, but the wind has been really strong at the last two places we’ve visited. We didn’t put up the extra screens to block the wind, since we were going to sleep outside. Dinners have been either inside or outside, depending on if Gabriel is asleep. Still, you can’t beat the view!
Our next stop is Morro Bay – we’re headed there while I type these words. For those of you concerned, we have a house sitter and an alarm, not to mention an extremely fat cat who will love anyone who steps foot inside to death. Not quite as good as a *dire wolf* to guard the place, but the next best thing.
*The dire wolf reference is from Game of Thrones, which we just finished watching before we left. Loved it! Can’t wait for the next season.
I’ll upload more photos once we’ve reach Morro Bay and can use their internet!