Fort Bragg is a sleepy little ex-logging town located in Mendocino County on the Northern California coast, not too far from the famous gigantic Redwood trees of Avenue of the Giants. Fort Bragg’s coastline is littered with cove after cove and headland after headland making you think that around the next point will be the perfect setup with pumping waves, but this just isn’t the case. Most of the beaches are sand bottom and seem to struggle to hold banks. However, there are a few places that hold big waves in some pretty sketchy spots. Towing-in would be more appropriate if you were wanting to tackle some of these waves.
Road trips are easily the best American pastime; from jaunts into the Great Smoky Mountains to the classic Route 66 family adventure, to visiting America's Best National Parks. It is with great happiness that it’s picking back up as one of the country’s favorite ways to get out of town and escape into travel mode. But unlike yesteryear, there’s plenty of apps to help get rid of the blues when driving across country, whether you’re going on a solo journey or taking the whole crew. So before you head out, make sure you’re a little download happy, and check out these picks!
Fort Point is a left hand point break which breaks under the Golden Gate bridge. To me, this spot was more of a novelty to surf but as it turns out, this spot actually gets pretty good and I was lucky enough to get some good waves here. The first two days I was there it was pretty much flat but they were predicting a big WNW swell which was what Fort Point needed to break. On the third day I was there the swell arrived but I missed the morning window due to the tide getting to high. This wave is very tide dependent and breaks best on a medium to low tide. I waited it out through the top of the tide which was around 2:30 pm. Slowly but surely as the tide started running out waves began wrapping around the point from underneath the Golden Gate Bridge. I waited and waited and finally threw on a wetsuit at 5:00 pm. I ran out to the top of the point and jumped off the rocks beneath the bridge. With fading day light, I managed to catch a few fun waves before it was pitch black and I had to navigate my way in and up the extremely slippery rocks.
The next morning I was back in the car park at 7:00 am. The waves were looking really fun with a low tide at 10:00am so I knew it was only going to improve. The fog was so thick I couldn’t even see the Golden Gate Bridge let alone the swells wrapping around the point. I surfed with only two other guys out for the first half hour before other surfers slowly started appearing out of the fog into the line-up.
We were slowly making our way down the PCH just south of Mendocino when we made a last minute decision to hightail it down to San Francisco because we had found out that a band we really liked was playing that night. We left the sleepy coastal towns behind and headed out to US101 making it just outside the city in around four hours. We stopped at McDonalds to use the free wifi and double-check the venue address but to our dismay I had mixed up the location and the gig was actually in Oakland. We don't know a lot about Oakland but had heard from many people it was a place best to avoid. We thought about risking it but we were most worried about the van as it is our home and our whole life in it. Devastated we found ourselves at an In 'N Out ordering ourselves a couple of double doubles. We easily could have spent another week cruising, camping and surfing down the northern California coast!
Santa Cruz is all about the surf lifestyle and has plenty of waves on offer such as Steamer Lane, Cowells Cove, The Harbor and Pleasure Point so you are bound to get a few turns in somewhere and more than likely a few barrels when it’s on.
My first day in Santa Cruz was spent trying to snag a few perfect glassy right handers off the mal riders at Steamer Lane. The conditions were on point with light winds, sunny skies and clear blue water. If only the swell was up it would have been all time although it was just nice to be surfing in 60ᵒf water and not having to wear a hood.
The highlights of this road trip include the Hoh Rainforest, Olympic National Park and the Washington Coast. The Olympic Peninsula is where Sitka spruce and western hemlock reach heights of up to 300 feet. Enjoy lake life, hiking trails and views of the forest. This trip could be done in as little as three days or you could linger a little longer. If you have time, combine this road trip with the North-Western Washington Road Trip Itinerary.
Hollywood Walk Of Fame
The Hollywood Walk of Fame is not as great as you would imagine and some may say a little over-rated. However, it is still always at the top of everyone else's to do list so you may as well cross it off the list too. Get to Hollywood Boulevard first thing in the morning so you can find a park easier and beat the crowds. You will probably only need to spend an hour or two here. You can check out a few of the celebrity stars and quickly get a few photos in front of the Chinese Graumans' Theatre. Madam Tussauds world famous wax museum is also a must see for fans of celebrity culture. Other than that there is nothing else here besides shopping and touristy knick-knacks. If you have kids they will love the costumed characters that they are able to get their photo's taken with. Just remember it is customary to tip them afterwards.
Death Valley is one of my favorite places in California and is definitely in my top three National Parks to visit. Here is a list of ten attractions in Death Valley which could be seen in two days (possibly one if you get an early start to the day) but if you have the time you should spend a couple of extra days to fully explore the area. There are many amazing hikes and camping here is magical because the night sky has very low levels of light pollution.
Free Comedy Nights
If you need a laugh you should get yourself over to the East Burn for their FREE stand up comedy night on Mondays. That's right, no cover charge. The show starts at 8:30pm and is 21+ only. And if that wasn't a good deal you could go back on Tuesday night when they offer pints of craft beer for only $2.50. That's right, craft beer. 1800 E Burnside Street, Portland.
Click here for a link to their website.
Head to Rae's Lakeview Lounge for brunch on the weekend and you'll be pleasantly surprised to find out they are serving $1 mimosa's from 9am - 2pm. Sounds like a good way to start your morning or a good way to start your evening. And we haven't tried the Monte Christo yet but it looks delicious don't you think? 1900 NW 27th Avenue, Portland.
Clickhere for a link to their website.
Thanks to a good friend of ours we were fortunate enough to spend a couple of months in the city of Portland. After having spent much time travelling the west coast we have come to the conclusion that Portland is our favorite U.S. city. Portland is Oregon's largest metropolis and is a haven for eco-activists, cyclists, artists, outdoorsy folk, hipsters and vegans. It is a laid back city with a small town feel, filled with charming neighborhoods and a hip downtown area. A place where it is the norm to rock up to five star restaurants in Gore-Tex outerwear and hiking boots. Portland consistently tops the "Greenest Cities in the USA' lists and has been able to nudge its carbon emissions to below 1990 levels. Although Portland is not on the top of the list of cities to visit in the USA for most people, I am going to tell you why it should be.
Food & Food Trucks
Portland is famous for its large number of food trucks found throughout the city. From what I have read there are over 500 to choose from. The best thing about the food trucks is the diversity in the type of food offered. There is the usual type of fare you would expect to see from a food truck like Greek food, hamburgers and pizza but you can also find food trucks serving up Egyptian, Ethiopian, African, Indonesian and Polish cuisine just to name a few. There are even food trucks that serve only grilled cheese sandwiches (highly recommended), gourmet crepes (equally as good), and just this week we discovered a new food truck which serves up fresh to order gourmet donuts (with flavors like French toast). I think it's really awesome that they dedicate whole corner blocks in some cases to these food carts (known as pods when there's a group of them). We have a pod across the road from where we have been staying which hold outdoor movies on the weekends during the summer and have fire pits for their customers during the winter. Another pod we have been to had under cover television screens and board games available. You can even B.Y.O. Besides the food trucks, there are many great restaurants to choose from that are equally as diverse such as Lebanese, Spanish and Cuban. I especially love how the local restaurants reinvent classic meals because I love trying new things. And they are really into organic produce, another plus in my books. But the best part about most of the restaurants and food trucks found in Portland are that a main meal is usually between $8 - $10 which is outstanding when compared to cities like Los Angeles or San Francisco.
Two Aussies road-tripping across the USA. Our goal is to discover America's wild places and vibrant cities... and make the most of every moment. Read more