The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

We had another 3-day getaway so it was again time to find a place to go to.  I thought a coastal location would be nice.  Get out of some of the heat we bear here in the Central Valley of California.  We have done the Pismo area many times.  I started to look at State Parks on the coast in the LA area.  Not much available but I did find 2 spots at Emma Wood State Beach in Ventura.  I got one of the spots and told our friends, the Chens, about it and they got the other spot.  So we had the location set.  It is nice because we rarely go to that area of California but it is only a 3 hour drive.

We headed down there on a Friday and started up the Grapevine in 104 degree weather.  When we got to Ventura it was 65 degrees and had a marine layer going on.  We got there about 3 in the afternoon and saw our site.  The state beach site says the site will handle 25' of RV and ours is 25' so I thought it would be perfect.  Not exactly.  I don't know what kind of foot measurements they were using but it wasn't any I was used to.  I also looked at the site at campsitephotos.com.  The spot was very short so this made backing in difficult.  Also about 15' of the spot was paved with a 4" drop to the dirt at the end of it.  Naturally this meant that my wheels would drop off the asphalt before my tongue was off the road.  This was the ugly part:

I depleted almost all my orange blocks on this setup.  You see under my stabilizer jack?  You see the creative situation of stacking?  That is because there was a rock right under where the jack sits.  I had to improvise.  Speaking of ROCKS!  Look a bit further back.  You will see a BIG rock right under our frame.  This caused issues when we were unhooking.  I could not get the tongue up high enough to get the trailer off the hitch ball.  So I unlocked the hitch in the receiver to slide the hitch out of the truck.  This did not work but the ball did come out.  We were disconnected!  But I was thinking how the heck am I going to hook up when we leave?  Oh well, that was 3 days from now.

Our friends, the Chen's arrived a couple of hours after us and had a few issues with the short spots but were able to get setup quickly.  George still hasn't posted his story from Death Valley!  Come on George!!  The Chen's only had one evening of camping we visited with them for a bit.  It was nice to be in the cool weather.  That evening we also saw numerous dolphins, seals and other aquatic life swimming by.  This thrilled children and child-like adults.

Emma Wood State Beach has about 90 spots right on the coast.  This makes this locale pretty popular.  Hence the bad:

This shows the proximity of vehicles to the road AND to each other.  But you live with it to get the good:

This is what we came for.  Right on the ocean.  Wave noises!  Sea breezes!  Ocean smell!  Sunsets:

The first full day we visited with the Chen's until they had to leave.  Too bad they couldn't have stayed longer but we made the best of the time we had.  At least they were right next to us:

The next day we headed to Santa Barbara to spend the day.  The last time I was here was for a CETPA conference in 2005 but I didn't venture out of the hotel much except to eat at the first Habit burger I had ever seen.  On our day we walked the downtown area and ate at a nice little Italian restaurant, the Olio pizzaria.  Very nice and their butterscotch pudding dessert is amazing.  After getting tired of walking we drove around sightseeing a bit before returning to the trailer for another sunset:

All good things (bad and ugly too) must come to an end.  Now the issue of hooking up with the rock issue.  The previous day I tried to chip away some of the rock with a hammer and screwdriver.  I was able to get a bit off the sides but not off the top.  I figured I am going to just jack the tongue up as far as possible.  We were able to get connected with very little issue, thankfully.  Further south from where we parked there is a section of road that is right next to the ocean AND it is getting worn away from the ocean.   You can see the ocean water pooled on the road in this shot::

We said goodbye to the coast and the cool weather.  The drive takes us over a very well traveled road, for us and the general populace.  I-5 and the Grapevine.  I can't count the number of times that we have been up and down that hill.  On the way back it happened that lunchtime was coming up.  Roxie had the idea of stopping and making our lunch at Fort Tejon State Historical Park.  One of those places we are always curious about but never stop because we are on the way somewhere.  So we stopped and had lunch.  After lunch we visited the park and learned about the local history of that area.  Learned the route is called the 'grapevine' because grapes grew wild up the canyon, not because of the roads' path.  While we were there a group of children were learning how life used to be at the fort.  They were making washing clothes, making wood and metal items, baking bread, making butter, making adobe bricks all under the guidance of mentors.  It was fun to see that and probably more fun for the kids.

The rest of the route was uneventful except right as we got home.  About 10 miles from home we saw a large dust cloud coming from the west, like a haboob.  The race was on.  Get home before it does.  I decided not to back the trailer into it's spot but just back it in front of the house.  As soon as it was backed in the wind hit!  We ran into the house and waited out the storm.

Can't wait to get out again.

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