Rebecca Wilks

Rebecca Wilks; Photographer, Teacher, Yarnellian, Do-Gooder

Monday, September 16, 2013

The First Big Road Trip.

Sunrise over the granite fields, Sequoia National Forest

This idea started innocently enough, with two nights of very cold camping in my SUV at White Pocket AZ.  Several of my photo friends have Four Wheel Campers and they are thrilled.  Then I mentioned it to my husband, who loves technology and loves research, and he was off and running.  Honestly, I can’t mention a new toy to him without anticipating that I’m pulling a trigger.

So we sold my 1997 BMW Z3 (still getting over that) and bought a 4WD Tundra in June. The fire in Yarnell June 30 slowed us down a bit, and the trip north to have the camper installed was delayed until last week.

After 12 hours straight through to Reno, we spent the better part of the day with installation, tire inflation, Home Depot (they were kind enough to let us fill our water tank from the hose in the Garden Center), and Trader Joe’s.  By then we it was late enough that we adjusted our plan and found a place along CA Hwy 20, a gorgeous 2-lane with trees so tall we lost the XM signal.  We ended up camping in a horse staging area nestled in the trees, no one else in sight.

General's Highway, Sequoia National Park
The following day we were at the 4WC Factory in Woodland (NW of Sacramento) for a few minor adjustments which took 3 ½ hours.  We did go for a walk, but I don’t particularly recommend this neighborhood for a wilderness experience.  We enjoyed the factory tour and the sense that we were part of the 4WC Family.  Then we were on the road.  

Speaking of things I don’t recommend, Hwy 99 from Sacramento to Fresno about tops that list.  We did end up “Dispersed Camping,” which means outside a designated campground, in the Sequoia National Forest.  We spent two nights in the Sequoia – Kings Canyon area.  It was gorgeous, neither of us had been there before, and I was thrilled (especially after all that time with technical details) to finally pick up the camera.  At 7500ft elevation, we found that the heater works well.

Sunrise through Arch Rock, Joshua Tree National Park
The final night I had a chance to share Joshua Tree, one of my favorite National Parks, with my husband.  It’s still summer there, so we dawdled a bit in Bakersfield (I think we’re going to know every Trader Joe’s in the country soon) eating lunch and stocking up on ice cream sandwiches.  We rolled in about an hour before sunset, enjoyed a beer, met some nice young men with a telescope (Saturn, cool!) and settled down to sleep in perfect windows-open weather.
Home, Joshua Tree
 There were about two hours from dawn twilight before it got too hot for comfort, so we took a hike and we hit the road for home, talking about what the next trips will be.

More images from the trip are here.