We left San Simeon and Hearst Castle with Santa Barbara as our next destination -but we wanted to spend a night or two on the beach somewhere before Santa Barbara. We decided to point towards Pismo Beach and thought maybe along the way we would find some place to boon dock. We never did. We first pulled into Pismo North Beach State Park-but Jim didn’t like it-plus the only available sites were very shady-not good for Ruby’s solar. We knew there was another campground south so I put in the GPS information and it took us to a Kiosk on the beach. Jim wanted to brave it-(queue argument music)- I didn’t. I’m just not so brave about taking chances with such a huge piece of expensive machinery like Ruby. Especially when the only vehicles heading to the camping area on the beach were pickup trucks. We knew the GPS was wrong but I input the Oceano campground again and started following the directions.
First we went through a dicey area of town; then through an agricultural area; then out onto a sandy road and the GPS kept saying turn left- turn left. Jim knew it was wrong but I was being pig headed and begged him to indulge me. It took us to some private RV Ranch in the dunes-we turned around and headed back towards the beach kiosk. Both of us thought we saw an RV park right down the street from the kiosk.
This is a good example of not paying attention to your environment. If we had been paying attention, we would have seen that all the little beach shops were boarded up ,out of business. The liquor store was still thriving and the little beach houses all looked like they might have vicious dogs and/or owners associated with them-not very welcoming. But somehow in our desire to stop driving we missed this. When we pulled into the campground, saying Jim was not happy would be putting it mildly. I tried to cheer things up by mentioning how wonderful the eucalyptus trees smelled and wouldn't it be nice to fall asleep to those smells. Didn't work. We pulled into a site and since there was electric and water we decided we would stay 2 days, take care of some business with the condo rental in Florida; catch up on our mail scanned by my sister in drop box; catch up on my blog and recharge everything including our internal batteries (ha). We were trying to time our stay to coincide with when we would be able to see our friends-Sherman & Kathy in Santa Barbara. We also decided that now would be a good time to reserve some campgrounds down the coast since we were running into full campground issues and no boon docking sites.
We had a quiet night in the campground and woke to sunshine the next morning.Once we settled into our daily routine-breakfast-shower and planning the day-some transients showed up in the site next to us. Jim, being the wonderful man that he is, wanted to take some coffee out to them. Me, who has been working very hard at practicing my Zen, had a bad vibe coming from these folks. I discouraged Jim and asked him to hold off for a bit. So glad-they set up their tent, then another couple joined them and everyone started bringing liquor into the tent. The next thing we know they were trying to light a fire with their cigarettes-yikes. We both really hate to judge people and work very hard at not doing that-again our law enforcement backgrounds overcome that and we usually end up erring on the side of safety instead of charity. And that is what we did this time. Because we didn't have reservations at this site you have to move to another site for your second day. Rules are with no reservations you can only stay in each site for 24 hours. So we moved a few sites away from our new neighbors. Jim had a little talk with the ranger who came through later in the day and alerted her to what was going on –she was going to keep an eye on things. About 4:30 the police and park rangers showed up. Seriously-we have got to stop staying at campsites near towns ! They spent about an hour with these folks checking id’s and shortly afterwards the camp broke up and they left . This trip has never been boring ,that is for certain.
We spent the later afternoon walking along the beach and both decided after seeing a few folks stuck in the soft sand that not camping on the beach was a wise decision. The beach at Pismo is huge and wide and apparently the only beach you can drive on in California. Because of the dunes this area is heavily used by folks with dune buggies and ATV’s-makes for a lot of fun for them-but not much “beach quiet time” for everyone else.
While getting cleaned up and ready to check out-Jim spent some time talking to Scooter, one of our campground neighbors. Very cool guy-traveling around the country for a year. I really wish we would have had a lot more time to spend with him. We exchanged emails and he gave us some tips on the campgrounds south of us –Scooter thanks very much if you read this we hope our paths cross again ! Safe travels to you.
When we checked out (sorry Pismo, vowing never to return) we headed back to Pismo North to use the sani dump. That’s when we saw the Monarch Butterfly Grove and pulled off to the side of the road.
Walking into that grove took away all the anxiety from our camping experience. I felt like Snow White must have felt when all the little birdies and butterflies were surrounding her.
Magic-just magic. Thousands of Monarch Butterflies surrounding you-gently fluttering in the wind, flying in and out of the trees. I felt like I was in some dream state. The pictures don’t do this grove justice. I have never seen so many butterflies in my entire life. It’s the moments like these that make up for the little nonsensical arguments or minor “bad” experiences.
You realize how very blessed you are to experience something like this and gratitude becomes very important-instead of whining about the transients and not even recognizing that the issue was with us and not them. Must work on this !
“We are taught by great actions that the universe is the property of everyone in it. Every rational creature has all the nature for his dowry and estate. It is his, if he will. He may divest himself of it; he may creep into a corner, and abdicate his kingdom, as most men do, but he is entitled to the world by his constitution. In proportion to the energy of his thought and will, he takes up the world into himself.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
Happy Trails !