Hopping Overnight Over to Hopland, CA
What we wanted was an overnight stop. Our ultimate goal was Fort Bragg, but we knew that it was going to be a windy, twisty, crazy road to get out there, so we figured we’d rest up somewhere close(ish) and just tackle it in the morning. The question was just…where?
The Whole Overnight Thing…..
The whole overnight thing is actually not something we do that often.
If we’re driving thro’ a place, even just randomly, we typically like to stop at least 2 days, just to relax a bit and space out the number of times we set-up and take-down the “beast”. It’s not that it’s really that hard to move, it’s just that there’s a certain amount of stuff you need to do every single time (e.g. put everything away, secure the wine-glasses, protect the beer and such) and we’re really basically just slo-mo travelers at heart. We learned that lesson the hard way our first year on the road.
In 2010 moved like Speedy Gonzales all year, stopping only a few days in each spot as we traveled coast to coast. By the time we reached the Atlantic we were so burned out we were veeeeery close to hanging up the RV keys. It was all too much!
The whole “we must see everything we can” mindset is a common mistake that happens to a lot of novice fulltime RVers. You don’t want to miss anything, so you try to go everywhere and plan routes that cover it all in the shortest time possible. It’s what you’d do if you were sightseeing on vacation, after all. But fulltime RVing is not vacationing. You’re living a lifestyle in which you just happen to change your backyard view every now and then. It’s a fundamental mind-switch that takes a while to sink in, at least it did for us.
Starting our 2nd year we slowed waaaay down, and that’s pretty much how we’ve traveled ever since. It’s nicer for the paws, nicer for us and…more importantly….it’s keeps us all sane(ish).
But every now and then we’ll still do an overnight, just to split up a drive (say) or to get some miles in towards wherever we really want to be. Most of our overnights have been Walmarts (perfectly fine places to stay) and we research them through overnightRVparking.com. But just last year we added Harvest Hosts and since we had such a good experience at our first stop in Paso Robles (just last month!) we decided we’d try it again.
Which is how we ended up in (of all places) Hopland, CA.
Hopland Is Hopping….In Wine!
This teeny little completely unknown spot (at least to us) does not, as you might expect, grow any hops but has followed the way of just about everything north of San Fran and entered the wine biz.
There’s less than 1000 people that live here, but there seem to be at least that many vineyards, none of which we’ve ever heard of. Plus there’s a cute little downtown with a very organic/wine-region/high-tasting twist, several restaurants and at least 3 tasting rooms. It’s super small, but it packs in a lot for it’s size.
The main Harvest Host location in this area is Jaxon Keys and since it was directly on our route, that’s where we decided to spend our overnight. It’s a friendly little spot, with a square, dirt RV parking area in the back, just over a small hill and far enough away from the main highway that you don’t really hear anything. Plus they have a very nice tasting room (with a view), they’re dog-friendly and they have some nice, short trails to walk around the vineyard.
We parked our two “beasts” and wandered over to the winery for a lovely tasting (nice wines, and some insanely pricey/fancy brandy which they (sadly) do not taste). It was cute and we liked it. Following our tasting we headed into town for a pizza dinner at Piazza De Campovida, a super-cozy downtown pizzeria with rustic-modern decor which was outstandingly tasty, and probably one of the best we’ve had since San Diego. Plus they have a most excellent craft beer and wine list. Well worth the visit.
So, how was our overnight experience overall? Quiet, nice, flavorful. Given this was only our second Harvest Hosts (ever) I can’t proclaim it a total success (yet), but we’re definitely warming to the program and I’m interested to try more of their spots as we travel East. The only problem of course, is that it’s never quite free. Despite the apparent free parking spot, we ended up buying $65 of wine which, for basic dry camping may be the most we’ve ever spent. I guess we’re just suckers for the good stuff? Still it was easy, and pleasant and prepped us nicely for the twisty, windy road the next day.
But that, my friends, is a story for another blog post…..
- 10 Things I Wish I’d Known Before Fulltime RVing…
- Free Overnight RV Parking = Finding “Freebies”
- Re-Discovering Our Inner Winos – Paso Robles, CA
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