Wednesday, April 7, 2010

More PCH and Camping

Day 15

Miles today: 195 Total miles: 3,996

One thing about riding on slow, winding roads is that you can spend a
full day riding and only cover 200 miles.

I had a great breakfast this morning at an oceanfront cafe. I met two
Aussies there who had rented Harleys in LA and were riding them up and
down the coast for a week. If any of you are looking for vacation
ideas, that's one of the best that I can think of.

I kept going north and figured that this time, I would start looking
for campsites earlier in the day so I had more time to find a good
(cheap) one. I was hoping that the campsites were so expensive last
night because I was so close to Santa Barbara, and that prices would
become more reasonable as I went north. Like most of my optimistic
theories, this one was also wrong.

I checked out Pismo Beach, which allows driving on the beach and
camping on the beach for 10 bucks, but you had to drive your vehicle
out to mark your campsite, which I wasn't about to do in a motorcycle.
I walked down the beach a little ways and got to talking with a guy
who was packing up his kite surfing gear. He was a professional
motocross racer for a long time, and apparently did pretty well. He
just bought a horse ranch about 30 miles inland from Pismo and was
working on opening it to the public. "My real name is Jeff, but my
friends call me Moto, like motocross."

I did luck out and find a secondary campsite at a park near San Simeon
for only $20, and that seemed like an ok deal to me. When I was
checking in, I got to talking with the guy next to me, and it turns
out he grew up in Chapel Hill! I forget his name, but he said he was
in the inagural class at East Chapel Hill High. He moved out to
Sacramento to work at a hospital and was down doing some camping this

These campsites in California are administered by camp hosts instead
of rangers. They're like professional campers who bring their RV to
the park for a few weeks, sell firewood and generally make sure nobody
burns the place down. I decided it was a great night for a fire and
went to see the host about some wood. He said "these bundles here are
a rip off. Why don't you go unload the gear on your bike, come back
here and I'll just load you down with the loose pieces I find, you
give me 5 bucks and we don't tell nobody nothin." Sounded like a good
plan to me, so I used my bungee net to strap a bunch of firewood to
the back of the bike and hauled it back up to the campsite.

Building fires is fun. You're basically playing with fire, which is
really what everyone wants to do deep down. And once you get it going
you feel very accomplished. Everyone look - I make fire! I wound up
just looking into the fire for about an hour before I realized what I
was doing. It's supposed to start raining right about now, so I'll
head in and get some sleep.

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