Big Sur Report
(Written on 11/19; posted on 11/21).
We’re at Big Sur on the California coast.
The Pacific Ocean stretches for thousands of miles to our West; the mountains rise thousands of feet to our east. There’s very little in between except a narrow strip of road and the occasional turn off to a beach.
In a lifetime of camping, this may be the most beautiful site I’ve ever had. At Kirk Creek we are nestled cozily into the jagged cliffs above the beach. The huge waves are constantly breaking against the rocks and cliffs. We listen all day and all night. That sound would never get old.
It’s amazing how long and desolate this stretch of coast is. Sometimes there’s nothing for fifty miles at a time except for travelers. There are vagabonds with guitars and matted hair walking up and down the highway.
Kelly said that this road attracts wanders, and I think she’s right.
The Couple From Berlin - and the Barter Economy.
We’ve met interesting people along the way. Last night a young German couple walked to our site looking a little forlorn. Their new stove wasn’t working and the husband (ironically, an engineer) was asking for a little advice. I couldn’t fix his stove - but we invited them to stay for dinner.
We had a bottle of wine, but no corkscrew. They had a corkscrew, but no wine. An ideal scenario for making new friends. We ate and drank into the night. This morning when I woke up the beer and wine were gone, and the bourbon was half gone. I’m telling myself that this queasiness this morning sea sickness from the sound of the surf, but I know better.
The strange circles and parallels that connect people never fail to amaze me. They were on their honeymoon; had been to San Francisco when we were there; and were ending their trip in Vegas, just like we have planned. Our paths are basically the same, discounting their flight from Berlin. But, in another bit of strange serendipity, I’ve lived in Berlin where they live know.
I guess if you live long enough, you live in a lot of places.
(Travelers’s Note: the raccoons at Kirk Creek are legion and fearless. And, judging by their size, extremely well fed. Legends at camp is that they can actually unzip tents with their strange, oddly delicate fingers. When we arrived the first night I walked to the bathroom in the dark, and saw Kelly looking somewhat frantic when I returned. She was surrounded by glowing, baleful eyes reflecting back from her headlamp. They gave her a bit of a start.)
Every trip has its ebb and flow. We’ve slid into the rhythms of ours. Learning how to camp in the Sportsmobile was frustrating at first - everything done for the first time takes twice as long, and seems longer when done in the dark. Now all systems are go. We’ve figured out the toilet, the water tank, the electrical system, and the bed. Everything is stowed away, in its place, and we have room to move.
We even took a hot shower outside today.
This is the point in the trip that was unplanned. We don’t really know where we’re staying tomorrow, or for the next several days. The coast is so beautiful that we’re thinking of continuing to meander down and around it. See the Hearst Castle, maybe.
Or, test out the four wheel drive and go off the grid along the Kern river in Sequoia National Forest. National Parks are highly regimented and controlled. National forests are more sparse, and there are fewer people, and you can basically camp wherever you want. I’d like to get some fishing in. Their’s a trout called the Golden trout that only life in California.
As I type this we have covered many miles of coast today, and we’re safely ensconced near Hearst Castle. The sounds of the sea are still audible a mile inland. The waves in the Pacific do not mess around, and are not to be confused with the gentle lapping of the Florida gulf coast. They don’t like the rocky cliffs and are determined to wear them down. In a couple million years, they undoubtedly will.
But we will be asleep under the stars long before that.