That sounds a lot fancier than it actually is. But apparently central and southern California’s RV Park off seasons aren’t quite as quiet as those in Oregon. And we haven’t always been that good about advance planning. So our first (and second) choices for parks in Pismo Beach were full up. Tom’s mom lives in nearby SLO or San Luis Obispo, so location was important, and I was ready for some beach time. As it turns out I’m pretty sure we could have stayed at the beachfront no frills (dry) campground nearby, but I wasn’t in charge of reservations. No biggie, but the park was tiny and full of big rigs and we were lined up like sardines in there. Pulling in at night was no picnic either. We had to make a U-turn to get into our “street” which was phenomenally awkward, and Tom was so worn out by it that he literally could not understand my directions to line up the trailer. So I did it. My parking lot practice was paying off.
We set up camp then headed straight to Judy’s house for dinner. She lives in a little four-plex in downtown SLO and had been cooking and baking up a vegan storm for us. We had a lovely time chatting while Tom started our heaps of laundry. Sunday morning I headed straight to the beach to soak up some Vitamin D and quiet my thoughts. It was heaven. Eventually I fetched Tom and we wandered over to see the Monarchs which were remarkable. Thousands of them migrate to these same trees every year and humans crowd the shoulders of the PCH to stop and marvel at them fluttering overhead.
Unfortunately the days are short, even if the sun is warm, so we hopped in the truck and headed north to Montana de Oro
state park with intentions of an easy bike ride followed by a sunset hike along the bluff. Turns out it isn’t a great location for road riding (mountain bikes everywhere though!) so we just went for a much longer hike than planned. The stupidly parked in a lot a mile away from the main beach area where the Bluff Trail is located, and had to schlep through the super soft sandy dunes trails to get there. The cliffs were beautiful and the place got busy for sunset. The Bluff Trail is very tame, flat, well groomed, and well-trafficked. There were families with unattended children running perilously close to the cliff edges, lots of runners, some hippies w their guitars, asian tourists with their selfie sticks, and even a fisherman harvesting something out on some rocks that for the life of me I could not figure out how he got to (or more importantly, how he’d get back!). As the sun set we hustled back up the road to the truck because we were hosting Judy for dinner back at the trailer and were running really late. But as a former full-timer herself (she spent a year towing the kids around the country back in the 70s), she was content to wander around the park and down to the beach in our absence.
We rose early and went for separate beach runs in the morning fog. A few miles south they allow overnight camping on the beach so lots of RVs were digging themselves out of the sand before the day users showed up in their jeeps. It sounds fun, but oh my, just think of all the sand, everywhere, in the trailer, in the mechanics of the truck… plus it gets cold at night! No thank you! We had a long drive ahead of us, including the much-dreaded trek through LA. Tom handled it like a champ and when we were finally able to pull over in San Bernardino we switched. My first pull! On the highway, in the dark, eeee! To be continued…