You can find links to any other 2016 Grand Adventure posts at the "home page."
Day 15: We left our friends and drove to San Francisco, arriving around noon. It was too early to go to our campsite, so we had a picnic lunch on Rodeo Beach in the Golden Gate Recreation Area. Finally, the children saw the Pacific Ocean. And promptly fell in love, despite the gray skies and cold water.
It's amazing they ate anything at all, given their fascination with standing as close to the waves as they could without getting wet. (They got wet, of course.)
We stopped by our campsite at Kirby Cove campground before driving out to a suburb to have dinner with Kansas Dad's aunt and uncle. This campground has access to a beach nearly under the Golden Gate Bridge with amazing views of San Francisco (if it's not too foggy) and ships going in and out of the harbor (even if it is).
This was one of my favorite campgrounds of the whole trip. Who would have guessed you can camp so near to San Francisco? There are disadvantages, of course. You have to trundle your gear down a hill (wheelbarrows provided) and there's no running water. Totally worth it!
We found plenty of wildlife, birds and a sea lion or seal unconcerned by our presence.
We had a lovely dinner with Kansas Dad's family and his aunt even graciously provided two bags full of cookies to sustain us over the next few days. We had been worried about the sound of the foghorn or the boats so nearby, but we mainly heard the waves crashing on the shore.
Total driving for day 15 - 155 miles.
Day 16: The following morning, the kids and I spent as long as we could on the beach while Kansas Dad packed the van.
The children amassed quite the nature collection by the time we needed to leave. We left everything there for future visitors, taking only pictures with us. Well, and a lot of sand and wet shoes. (The shoes were famously soggy and damp for the next week as we were never anywhere dry enough long enough. They should have worn their sandals!)
Being so close to the bridge, we stopped on our way out and walked out a bit on it. The noise from the vehicles is quite overwhelming, but it was fun to watch boats in the harbor.
Then we spent the entire day driving, arriving at one of the Redwoods campgrounds, Elk Prairie, in time to set up camp and make dinner. It lived up to its name as these Roosevelt Elk were nonchalantely relaxing across from the registration wall.
Total driving for day 16 - 319 miles.