South of San Jose we spent the night on a beachside campground that was “full” — that’s at least what the sign read. However, the rangers had left for the day, and since we had already been rejected at two other campsites (one did not allow vehicles and the other denied access to anyone who wasn’t driving a “proper” RV) we, well… snuck in. Even though we woke up around 6AM, soon after one of the patrolling volunteers came over to ask for our fee receipt. I dutifully reported that I had yet to buy a permit. To my amazement, it turned out that we had stayed on a group parking spot which–because I had, er… bent the truth a bit by saying that I was part of a group–turned out to be free. US$35 saved — but read on below. In the evening we met up with Kent and Cat in Monterey where we also stayed for the night. Kent is thoroughly enjoying his deanship and Cat did a breathtakingly fabulous job decorating their new home.
… and, thanks to Jonathan’s great tips, exploring Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park by bike and on foot. In the evening we met Jill and Scott from Scotland and ended up emptying my bottle of Caol Ila together. On September 30 we woke to a plethora of exotic-looking birds singing and gathering food around la bestia. While I assume that to most Californians these aren’t particularly “exotic,” I found them marvelous.
On October 1 we stopped in San Luis Obispo to see if we could find a bicycle tire bag in one of the local bike shops. Flanders Bicycles had one that fit like a glove and only charged me US$10 for it. Afterwards we met with Danny in Santa Barbara. A friend of Doug and Sikina, he is currently wrapping up his doctoral studies. We had Mexican food and took advantage of the city’s fantastic beach. Harry dove right into the warm water to chase sticks and ducks.
Carpinteria campground came highly recommended, and we reached it right after sunset. US$45 is the steepest fee for a night that I’ve paid during our entire trip, but the amenities were excellent and we fell asleep to the sound of crushing waves.