For our first full weekend away, I wanted to head towards Monterey where we could sip wine, watch the sun set and toast our westy. As you can see from the photo above (and if you follow me: @headlinesandhemlines, then you saw an instagram photo of our actual toast) that we did in fact make it, but only just barely. What we now affectionately call “westy time” really just means that however long it should take someone to get somewhere, double it and that’s when we’ll arrive. Having enjoyed our wine, our view, and our moment we now needed to decide where to sleep.

We set out on this weekend with no plans; we were guerilla camping. Unfortunately, there is no camping allowed anywhere along the road, next to the beach in Monterey. So, we headed north to Marina, in the dark, half asleep, and decided to take advantage of Walmart’s hospitality and sleep in their parking lot. Kind angels to those who choose to guerilla camp. Not at all an unpleasant sleep, so when we woke, we took advantage of another perk, the bathrooms, and paid it forward by buying a couple of essentials we had forgotten.

Needing to move forward with our day, we did a little research and found out that the Veteran’s Memorial Park in Monterey offers first come, first serve camping spots as well as free showers. Having kicked ourselves briefly for the first discovery, we headed straight for the showers as we were off to Palo Alto next to catch up with a friend of ours, enjoy more wine and a delicious cheese spread and show off our new 30-year-old westy.

Offering us a place at her dinner table, we opted to say our goodbyes so we could head north to Mount Tamalpais to try and snag us a first come, first serve site there. As in true “westy time” we did not arrive until long after dark to a full campsite so we headed further down the coast, past Stinson Beach, before finding a tucked away spot off the side of the road in Marshall. Yeah, I’d never heard of it either, but we slept well there just the same.

What we awoke to, parked in front of an old, dilapidated, and for sale restaurant, overlooked the bay full of sea birds and boats…not a bad place to greet the day. And for someone who happens to be an amateur, self-proclaimed birder, I immediately grabbed my camera and without waking Steve I began shooting everything I saw. The Blue Heron in the photo above did not mind how close I got nor did he mind having his picture taken…the little minx.

Once we had both taken in and enjoyed our little home away from home, we decided to check out Stinson Beach (not really the kind of beach we grew up with in southern California), beautiful and clean as only a northern California beach can offer, and then did a little hiking in Mount Tamalpais; the ocean is vast and beautiful no matter the vantage point.

Before heading home and back to Monday, we stopped alongside the coast off highway 1, changed out of our sweaty clothes, left our shoes atop the westy to dry and had sandwiches while watching birds and baby harbor seals. This is why we have the westy. And so, as we packed up and changed our mental state to head home, there was just one thing we had forgotten…our shoes. Yep, as Steve pulled back into the flow of traffic our shoes flew off the top and landed in the street, missing the cars behind us. I wish I had taken a picture of my husband running back behind us, dodging cars to gather our tennis shoes, but I was too busy laughing.

And so, we head home talking about what we did, and what we learned, and what we’ll do next weekend.

Until then…