We spent our maiden voyage along the Newport Beach coastline at Crystal Cove Moro, California's first new coastal campground in decades, built at a mind blowing cost of $15 million dollars. Not quite sure I can see where all the $15 million went since the campground, nice as it is, is basically a whole lot of dirt with some lovely native landscaping, two bath/shower houses and a day use area, but for the drop dead ocean views alone, we intend to return again and again.
|The view from our bluff site.|
Getting backed into our site and set up went quick and super smooth. We did, however, get a lot of attention from our fellow campers when we went through the pop up part of the process. I don't think they knew what to make of our unique rig, appearing to be simultaneously confused and impressed. We had a lot of people stop by and ask us "What is it exactly?" which was a lot of fun.
Set up success!
Our first snafu occurred when we couldn't figure out how to turn on the kitchen sink faucet. It had worked perfectly when the dealership took us on the walk through a couple of weeks back, but it sure wasn't working now. So, since it was late (we didn't get in and set up till 7:00 PM, and didn't discover the faucet wasn't working till after 8:00) we used the campsite water spigot to fill an empty one gallon jug I carry around for just such emergencies.
We hit our second snafu when the auxiliary gas outlet we'd had installed on the outside of the trailer failed to make a connection with our new compressed gas campfire ring, and we therefore couldn't get it to light.
And not related to the trailer at all, we also couldn't get our Coleman propane lantern to work, adding to what was rapidly becoming a pretty frustrating first night.
To the rescue came our good friend, an engineer, who was camping alongside us for the weekend. He perused our water faucet for a few moments, flipped a button to ON . . . the one labeled as "Fan" by the way, not "Water Pump" . . . and voila, we had water! He next tackled the auxiliary gas issue and showed us a hidden valve under the trailer that needed to be turned on for the gas to flow . . . voila, we now had a campfire!
Equally appreciative and embarrassed, we declined to say a word about the lantern. We'd aired enough of our mechanical-ineptitude dirty laundry for one night. And besides, we were in great spirits now that everything having to do with the trailer was working. We poured some wine, sat by our little camp fire for a bit, and then turned into bed about 9:30 PM.
We slept great, and woke up after nine hours of sleep, something we rarely are able to pull off at home. We made coffee and went outside to watch for dolphins, pelicans, surfers and maybe (hopefully!) a whale. And actually saw all four things to our absolute delight.
Our delight over the whale sighting quickly turned to concern, however, when it became apparent the whale was unable to free itself from several buoys it was dragging behind it, and was actually in distress. Through our binoculars we saw two boats trailing the whale, and then a short time later, two more boats appear and release divers into the water to try and cut the whale free. We watched their repeated attempts to untangle the whale for as long as we could before the ocean current carried everyone beyond the reach of our binoculars. Fortunately, a news story posted today indicated the rescue team was ultimately successful in freeing the gray whale, a juvenile it turned out, from hundreds of pounds of netting it had become entangled in. Hooray!
We spent the remainder of Saturday hiking up and down the canyon immediately adjacent to the campground, returning to camp about 3:30 PM, good and tired after covering close to nine miles. We took showers and settled down in some comfy camp lounges with wine and some books for the remainder of the afternoon, pausing to watch the beautiful sunset, before heading into the trailer to make dinner. After dinner, exhausted, we barely made it through cleanup before crawling into bed and sleeping for a second nine straight hours.
On Sunday morning, totally refreshed, we again sat outside to enjoy the view and our morning coffee - no whales this time - before starting our campsite breakdown. Breakdown took about an hour since we stopped frequently to figure out our new routine. I'm sure we'll have it down to 30 minutes the next time now that we know what we're doing.
Oh, and our costs for the weekend were a lot less than $15 million -
- Crystal Cove Moro State Beach electric/water site: $50 x 2 days, plus $8 reservation fee: $108
- Gas: $12
- Groceries: No change from what we'd spend if at home
- Whale, pelican, dolphin and surfer watching: $0
- 9 mile hike through El Moro Canyon: $0
- Sunday morning breakfast at Pacific Whey Cafe in the Crystal Cove Promenade: $18.50
- TOTAL FOR TRIP: $138.50
All and all a wonderful, successful new trailer break-in weekend!
The daughter of a friend, using fallen tree branches she found on the trail to try and mimic my husband's walking sticks
Enormous squash blossoms were everywhere on the trail