Monday, May 26, 2014

Hello Pasadena!

We managed to live in Woodland Hills for just over 1 year and with my wife accepting a new position from Santa Monica to Pasadena we did not want to have an even further commute so it was time to find a new home. One of the many benefits of living in Pasadena is the vast array of nearby camping options for us to explore. That being said, here is the first of many new experiences.

After reading about a potential VW weekend experience at Willow Springs International Raceway called Fastivus, we decided attending was a must. I believe this was originally a track event for the very rare and extremely capable Volkswagen R32 that has now blossomed into an event open to all VW enthusiasts with a weekend full of fun activities. Unfortunately we were unable to attend the beginning of this event, we did manage to arrive late on Saturday for a night of camping and a Sunday of VW racing.
Arriving just before the gates closed, we were happy to find spaces available and quickly set up for a good night's sleep.
The bright sunshine woke us up early enabling us to enjoy several hours of surprisingly fast VW racing.
Another day off allowed us to visit Red Rock Canyon State Recreation area as it was only an hour away and located where the southernmost tip of the Sierra Nevada converges with the El Paso Mountains. Being Memorial Day weekend, there were worries about availability but was surprised to find that the park was practically empty.

With so much stunning scenery, I can see why several movies were filmed in the area.

On to our beloved little girl who was a super trooper throughout the entire trip. Here she is just fitting in her infant sleeper. We will definitely have to think of other sleeping arrangements for her shortly....
Enjoying some quality time in the back of the Vanagon.
You may think we might have some poor parenting skills bringing a baby to the desert but you have nothing to worry about. Keeping Brooke cool was easy when she's half naked and we kept her properly hydrated.
A little blue mood lighting to help us see our way "home" after a night of star gazing.

Another fantastic family camping weekend complete left us in awe of not only the beauty there is to discover in this world but thankful of amazing people to share it with.

Goodbye Woodland Hills

Our short time living in California has been nothing short of amazing with the highlight being the birth of our amazing little girl. Before we start the next California chapter, we wanted to get in a few more camping/day trips in our Vanagon. With a day off work and yet another beautiful day forecasted, we decided to make a short trip to the Malibu Lagoon State Beach area. Just a short 30 minute drive from home we were able to enjoy a nice lunch on the beach in beautiful Malibu:
And on the way home we stopped at the "Top of Topanga" overlooking the valley.
With two days off we again wanted to find a site somewhat close to home and were fortunate that our good friend Ric was not only available to join us, but was able to reserve a great spot at Leo Carrillo State Park. This busy but beautiful park has direct access to 1.5 miles of beach for swimming/surfing coastal caves and the best tidepools I have experienced. Just enough room to share two Vanagons, we had an ideal set-up with plenty of room, shade, and privacy.

A short walk to the beach on a amazing and sunny day.

Followed by our final evening that gave us the opportunity to set up my outdoor "home theatre". A simple white blanket on the back along with a $60 LCD projector attached to the laptop and easily run off the aux battery.
I realize this isn't a true camping experience but it sure was cool watching movies under the stars and of course we had to watch Extreme RV!
Here is a shot of our evening campfire set-up...and yes we did manage to roast some marshmallows.
A big thank you to Ric for not only sharing a site and costs but providing some excellent burgers as well as morning pancakes. Another great weekend in the books.