With our late start crossing the border, we rolled into our beach view campsite just before sunset. It was a weekend, and according to some of the other campers, the beach was filled with folks from Mexicali trying to escape the heat inland.
Apparently, sunset isn’t the cue to pack up and go home. Neither is the tide coming in. We watched from above as people waited until the tide was running below their car before attempting to move it. And then, they decided driving into the surf was a better option. Some tried to time their entrance with the wave’s retreat, but some didn’t.
We must have watched 5 cars that got sea water up to their windows. The cars that could keep going would then speed across the water break, and several almost hit people still playing in the surf.
Eventually, we had to get back to the grill and make some dinner. Later, when we returned, their were just two cars waiting to be towed, but farther down the beach there was a lot of emergency vehicles. I was told it was probably a DUI checkpoint, but I hope everyone was okay.
Crazy – just 50 miles north of here, the campgrounds are packed and some are charging upwards of $100 USD (seriously) for a single night of camping near the beach. Here, we’re beachfront with plenty of space for 10 bucks. It’s good to be back in Mexico.
I think it was luck, but we managed a campsite at El Refugio Beach. We pulled up to see the familiar ‘campground full’ sign at the entrance, but just asked the dumb question anyway. “Any campsites available?”
“Sure, we have two,” the cheery ranger replied.
Kids, beach, beach forts. OK, this is good. There are so many great memories here, but for now my favorite quote from Bode telling me about the friends he made: “They’ve been camping here for 11 years! Well, not in a row.”
And just before the real heat hits, the window roller-upper breaks again. Seriously, we replace this thing annually (at least.) Luckily, a few extras have made it into the ‘parts bag’. Now, it’s just a matter of when Jason can get around to fixing it. Good news though, we found the missing fork.
Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.
We continued down the coast of California and the whales continued to put on a show. We heard that this was early for them, so we are hoping to catch them again in Mexico.
If you ever happen to be passing through Cayucos and stop at LaundraLand, try the 2nd dryer from the right on the top row. It seems to be a magic dryer with no timer. run it all day for $0.25. It’s the little things in life that brighten your day.
Coastal camping has become even more problematic as we get farther south. It’s still summer and most of the campsites have been booked for months. We weren’t able to luck into any cancellations, so after getting turned away at a state park we headed inland and ended up following another bus all the way to county campsite ‘Cero Alto’ in the mountains. We got the last two spots, right next to each other. Go figure.
Scott, Laura, Eloise, Piper, Boone (& their dog Euie) hopped out of their Champagne Edition and we knew we had met some new friends. These guys were heading back to Olympia, WA after a month-long camping trip down the coast.
They bought their bus for one dollar ten years ago. Yep, you read that right. But since then, they’ve put the requisite blood, sweat, tears and of course money into their sweet ride. Perfect for a family of 5 plus a dog.
We swapped stories, shared ‘tales of woe’, and roasted some s’mores. Eloise, Piper and Bode played games, created art, and decided to have a slumber party in the bus. You see, in some circles, having a camper is pretty cool.
The next morning, we had to go our separate directions, but we’re looking forward to visiting them on our way to Alaska sometime (next year?)
We timed our drive through Los Osos badly and were there on a Sunday. We had planned to meet Jad and the GoWesty gang a few days earlier but didn’t make it. We had to be in L.A. the next day. So, we had to settle for a drive-by sticker tag of their office. Hope to catch them on our next loop around.
From Monterey, we headed south down Highway 1 along the Pacific coast. Even in August, the weather is chilly and the fog is present most of the day.
The drive is windy and slow, and perfect for gazing over the rocky cliffs and looking for secluded beaches. Several times, we were able to see whales breaching off the coast and pulled over to watch them while making lunch.
There is an elephant seal viewing area, where we joined hundreds of other tourists to get a look. They were much closer than I got in Argentina. And a little more active as well.
We’re slowly getting back into the swing of being back on the road again. But each day, we find there is something that we need we no longer have. When we shipped the bus back from Colombia, it had to be empty, so we donated most of our things. The airline also lost 1 large bag of Jason’s. At the time, we couldn’t really figure out what exactly was missing besides his hiking boots and some dirty clothes. Now, I realize it was our cooking pot, a few of our decent knives and some other kitchen odds and ends.
GoWesty had hooked us up with three great sets of bamboo utensils, but somehow after a few weeks on the road, we’re missing a fork. Jason and Bode have decided it was MY fork that went missing, and keep giving me a spoon at every meal. Yes, you can eat a pork chop with a spoon.
Jason’s dad was stationed in Monterrey in the 50’s. He’s always loved the area, and especially the weather.
We met him here for a few days of reminiscing and wave watching. What we didn’t know when he booked his flight, was that this was Concours d’Elegance week- the most crowded week in the area. I’ve never heard of this, but from what I could tell, it was a bunch of rich, old white men driving their fancy cars around. Or, in a lot of cases, towing their old cars around.
We were able to luck into a hotel room that slept 3, so I camped in the parking lot surrounded by some rare Czech car and an Italian number.
We did a lot of Pacific Grove walking, and of course went to the excellent Monterrey Aquarium.
*Bode has been bugging us about wanting a job, so we suggested roof sea gull poop removing.
We had a visitor coming to meet us farther south, so we had to leave the S.F. area before we got a chance to see a lot of our friends. Hopefully we’ll be able to catch them on our way back north this winter.
But, a stop at one of our favorite California towns is always on the schedule. Campsites are full on the entire west coast of California, but we lucked out with a private site in Santa Cruz. It’s the little things, like running water and a sink that make a site good, but $0.25 for a 10 minute hot shower make a place great.
The cold ocean and big waves here make surfing a spectator sport for us. I think it’s more entertaining that way.
We also lucked out when we hit the boardwalk that evening. It was Dollar Night – all rides were a dollar. We went big.
We swung through the San Francisco Bay Area again and got to spend some quality time with a few folks.
First, our good friend JenMo met us in Tomales Bay for a night of camping. A cold, windy night of camping. On the way, Jason decided that the blackberries were worth risking the pain of the stinging nettle, and collected some for our breakfast. No nettles this time.
We cooked up some fish and greens and then spent the evening warming up by the campfire. It’s been a while since we’ve had company while camping, and it was great to catch up with a friend.
We also met up with Bel, Jeremy and Pablo in Santa Rosa. We met these guys way back in Paraguay. Not only did they give us an authentic look at Paraguayan culture the first time, but they even put up with us a second time in the U.S. Thanks, guys!
And, I got a chance to catch up with one of my best pals for a super-urban gal weekend. We coffee’d, we walked, we people-watched, we ate and we ended each day with champagne. Not bad, not bad at all.
We got to visit with other friends, but we still didn’t do a good enough job of planning and had to miss some folks. We’ll catch you the next time around!