No surprise the weather wasn’t ideal on the north coast of California in September. But I was still looking for it. And the south coast is pretty damn reliable.
I was on my way to Claremont. My buddy Mike had planned to get us out to Yucca Valley for a week. Last year we took a week around California before he left country for a year. He was back and looking to get out to the desert for some land prospecting. I was happy to join him.
When I hit the road in Sacramento, my intention was to drive the 6 hours and arrive at Mike’s in the early evening.
You know how you see the signs saying “This area is patrolled by aircraft”? I’ve driven thousands of miles up and down Interstate 5 and have NEVER seen one until…
Years ago I spent some time on the midcoast, San Luis Obispo area, and became pretty familiar it. And I knew there were several prime beach camping spots just south. So I took Route 46, past the James Dean memorial, over to Paso Robles.
Back in the day I drove this highway every weekend on a commute from Riverside to Paso. Unbelievable how it’s grown and become a wine mecca when years ago it was just another little redneck town. (I say that with fondness as I made a couple local buddies while I worked there for six weeks inspecting steel that would eventually be used to construct water reservoirs in….Yucca Valley.)
The only thing about the beach camping is it’s a LOT more expensive than your average park camping. Totally worth it though.
I arrived at Refugio State Beach around dinner time so that might’ve explained the lack of people on the beach. But as I sat there over the course of the evening hardly anyone from the nearly full campground came out. Just me and the gulls, and it was perfect.
Woke up and took another walk on the beach. I couldn’t help but get nostalgic about the days when I spent a lot more time there. That feeling of the tide pulling around your feet as it slides back into the sea does it every time.
And on the road again. As usual, way too soon.
It was a beautiful place to stop for the night and I’m glad I finally got to dip my toes in the Pacific under more favorable conditions.