Saturday, December 31, 2011

One more for the Road

It's December 26th, and I'm packing minimally. I'm driving to L.A. to both visit my wife and get one last road trip in before the end of the year. I had some things to take care of, so I didn't hit the road till noon.

Other travellers were with me:

Blake and Shelby let me know they were satying down the coast in Avilla beach. Google that town when you can, it is hope to both an oil refinery accident and a Nuclear powerplant. If Godzilla were going to arise from the waters, it would be here.

But you couldn't blame him for the scenery:
This guy was playing in the surf and rolling around on the sand.
Avilla Beach does not like RV's that don't have self contained grey water and black water reservoirs. They let us know that normally they wouldn't allow us to camp there, but considering that no one was around, and they explained the rules to us, they were going to let us slide.

No fires on the beach, but fires are allowed in self contained fire boxes. This one was exceptionally well made.
Blake and I had excellent coffee the next morning, courtesy of Starbucks Via. (Not a sponsor of this site for the record, but they could be... hint hint...)

This shirt was my Christmas present. Marine Layer Shirts, San Francisco. They have a 1969 Bus with their logo on it..

I finish the drive to L.A. by heading down State street in Santa Barbara, then over to Ojai.
I get coffee, walk around a little, and am just about to get back in the bus when it gets noticed. Conversations about the one they sold, or that guy who lives in one up the canyon, or the one that broke down all the time, or the one they really loved but didn't want to fix, but they should have not let it go, and about 20 minutes later, I insist on heading up the road. One of the people looking at it offer to buy it, I tell him he can't afford it. He says "seriously, $1000.00" I say seriously, you can't afford it. I don't think he understood.

I got down to the apartment around 3:30, and have been spending the rest of my time going to Griffith Park:
driving through Hollywood:

and visiting museums.

I'll start next year tomorrow by adjusting the valves, checking my fuel lines, and making sure I'm good for the drive back up.

It's been a good camping year. Thanks for the company and Happy New Year. Since we aren't spending it together, can we have a beer at the next camp out?

Aloha,  Peter

Friday, December 16, 2011

Californias State Parks

There are 278 state parks in California. 70 will be closed in June of next year. Here's a list of them.

There is one on that list that I adore. It's about three hours south of San Francisco, but completely worth it. I needed a break from the world, so I took a Thursday off, and headed down to Limekiln State Park.

Limekiln is named for it's kilns that were used to process lime. They were brought there in the late 1800's and the surrounding redwoods were used for fuel while the worked quarried the stones and baked them into bricks. The trees have grown back, and the Kilns have gone the way nature would take them.

I arrived mid-afternoon. There was one other person there - a cyclist working his way down the coast. The camp host wasn't there, and I could have camped for free, but not wanting to ruin good karma, I paid the fee.

I like campsites with a view.

Anyone who has driven highway one knows words are inadequate. Cliffs, beautiful bridges, ocean, windswept trees, and endless beauty are part of the twists and turns that make up the coast highway. I arrived mid afternoon and spent the evening over a warm fire and watching the world change color.

The next morning I resolved to see the rest of the park, it's less than a mile hike and the last time I was here (about 10 years ago) it was closed off.

So the first thing I did after coffee was argue with the Gull who decided that it was his bus.

Conversation was pretty much like this:
Me: "Bird, I need to drop the top and pack it up"
Bird: "squawk!"
Me: "No seriously, I have to be home mid-afternoon"
Bird: "Squawk!"

So bird just sat there and watched me pack up, and gave me cautious looks while I did everything *but* lower the pop top. He eventually got bored.

I finished packing up and headed over the namesake of the park. About a half mile up from the beach, through trees that look like this:
on a path that looks like this:
are hundred year old kilns that look like this:

And a mere half mile more across some fallen trees and up a precarious path is this 100 foot water fall.

And even though we are by the coast, you still get the benefits of being in a rainforest:
I saw an osprey nest and could see a bunch of sea birds following a school of fish. I didn't see any whales, but I caught a glimpse of some sea otters.

Once I packed up, I said goodbye to my wonderful view
and admired the landscape once more:
As anyone who drives a bus knows, we all look out for each other - other bus drivers that is. We wave to each other and admire each others vehicles.

I counted 12 between Monterey and Limekiln. Mostly vanagons, on syncro, but 3 bay windows.

The park is slated to close in June, I suspect I will go back before it does.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Annual non-Thanksgiving

I've been behind again on posting. so I'll get to the good stuff.

The Camper Family does an annual non-thanksgiving turkey fry. Those who have been following over the past few years know that it has traditionally been at Bothe-Napa State Park, and that it has traditionally rained. More accurately, poured. Even more accurately, dumped a small ocean on our campsite. We are used to rivers running through the site - yeah, that's how we roll.

So it was a surprise this year when we only got a little mist and a few drops.

We arrived Friday and tried something a little new - the Coleman oven pizza.
The Coleman Oven (we nicknamed it the EZ-Bake oven, we felt like little girls with toys ovens) is more-than-expected useful. It gets up to about 450 degrees, and folds flat for optimum space use. The pizzas were delicious. And warm.

The main event each year is the Turkey, of course. Here the fryer is set up a safe distance from the tent, while still be close enough in case of rain.

Kris Hansen is carefully lowering the bird. As opposed to giving us the bird - that's something different.

I didn't get many VW pics this year, but everyone here has already been seen before. So, here's a pic of Blake and Shelby for their Christmas cards.
And this is their bus from a distance.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Hardly Strictly VW's

The Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival is a free music festival in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, every first weekend of October. It brings headliners, small groups, up and coming artists, and several annual acts. (I watch Emmylou Harris every year.) The story is that the festival started out small and was "strictly Bluegrass", but the sponsor wated bigger, so the festival was expanded to "Hardly Strictly". With that in mind, I bring you the Hardly Strictly VW's camping on the street. Much thanks to the SFPD who apparently look the other way as long as you are not obnoxious.

Since I live a block away, it's never a problem for me to go, but for others, travel is a must. So inspite of this sign:

They park along Fulton and make due with the accommodations they drove.

The VW's:

And the hardly-strictly VWs.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

VW's of Austin

I have a crush on Austin, Tx. The music, the food, the people, the bats, the music, the music. There are stages in the Airport. And freaking amazing Tex mex and barbcue that you could binge on for weeks at a time.

Being a college town with lots of open minded people, and a thriving art scene, there are of course, lots of VW buses. I didn't get too many pictures - my hands were full of food - but I did get these.

This beauty was being driven out of a school for the deaf - the two people in the photo are signing to each other.

But this monster was my winner of the trip:

I didn't get to try the Freebird Burrito, I was still too stuffed on the Al Pastor taco from Guerros. Next time.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Buses, Beaches, and Bovines

I live in San Francisco in what is known as the "fog belt". The fog will stay here and won't burn off when the rest of the bay area is sunny and gorgeous. Though I miss the sun, I still enjoy the sound of distant fog horns, and when it is painfully hot elsewhere, the weather is perfect in my neighborhood.

This summer has been particularly hot in the valley, so it wasn't a surprise when some of my favorite camping people suggested that they camp "on the coast" in the fog belt.

About an hour north of SF, along highway one, there are lots of surf towns without the surf. You CAN surf there, but the water is a little cold for anything less than 6mm neoprene body suits. It's excellent for abalone diving, it's not so good for wave riding.

We arrived Friday afternoon, and circled the wagons.

The big red tent went up in about 30 minutes - I'm getting better at putting that thing up - and we began the infamous 2am chili making. Click here for the recipe, click on the picture to make it large enough to read. Yeah, smells like touchdowns.

It got a little windy, we were prepared.

 Lawsons Landing is an odd little town(is it a town?), there are a number of vintage trailer homes that are lived in year round.
The people of the landing have a design aesthetic that I'll call "abalone shell chic".

Occasionally seals hang out to bask in the sun. Sometimes they like a little shelter.

The campsite is popular among the "big RV" crowd. Perhaps I'm unclear on the concept, but I don't see the point of taking it all with you when you are trying to get away from it all. Regardless, here is a picture that shows the scale between us and them. We never did figure out why the large RV wanted to park so close to us, but since he shared abalone with us, I'm not complaining.

These corn muffins were baked in an old coleman stove. The stoves fold and sit on top of the old style two burner stoves, they can get to about 400 degrees and apparently, they can bake some sweet stuff. Baked by SailorKH who has some mad camping skills.

Coleman also makes a foldable camp fire ring.

You could buy a very strange blanket/rug/covering if you wanted.

Some like the the tops down, I'm occasionally a fan of the tops being up.
I think the coast guard has a sense of humor.
And of course I took a panoramic photo.

Introducing, The Squirrel

I have another VW. I know it's a sickness. I'm cutting and pasting the post that I put on the samba: The Back story: My grandpare...