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.

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...