August 7th – To the Pacific Coast Highway

Since we had stayed up late while Gianna made delicious Cranberry Orange granola, we did not rise from our slumber until 11:30, which makes for a very late start on a traveling day. By the time we finished eating breakfast and packing the bike, it was 3:30. We said our goodbyes, and thanked our hosts for all they’d done for us. We decided to head north through Ojai and some mountains instead of west to the coast. Mark had highlighted part of my map that he really recommended riding, so we were taking him up on his recommendation.

We made to Ojai before too long, but sadly missed our turn from there, instead riding about 30 minutes in the wrong direction before we realized what was happening. An hour after we arrived in Ojai, we were back in Ojai, and ready to head off down the correct road. It was indeed a very beautiful section of road, and we were not even close to the only riders on it. Sharp bends in the road hug cliff faces, and lush vegetation. Eventually, I saw a sign for a park off to the left, and I turned off the highway to go find it and have a little picnic and smoke some weed.

The road to the park became unpaved very quickly, and though we rode in for perhaps 20-30 minutes, we never did find the camping and picnic area indicated by the sign. Oh well, we pulled over at the top of a hill overlooking a pretty valley, and sat down on the grass. After we’d eaten, we headed back out over the bumpy dirt path. The new shock rode like a dream. Eventually we made it to San Louis Obispo where we would pick up the legendary Highway 1, the Pacific Coast Highway.

The moon rising over the ocean was beautiful, though the air got quite chilly back down by the coast. It’s been really interesting to experience the effect geography has on weather. You can feel the temperature change quickly as you gain or lose altitude, or get nearer or further from the ocean. The PCH is extremely twisty, and fairly strong winds come whipping off the chilly pacific waters. We had hoped that we would be able to find camping, but this hope turned out to be completely naive. It turns out that California parks fill up their camping 6 months ahead of time sometimes, especially along the coast. We passed one “Campground Full” sign after another. Shortly after we passed Lime Kiln State Park, I started getting tired. No longer able to ignore the emptiness of my stomach, we finally pulled over on a particularly wide bit of shoulder overlooking the ocean.

Obviously, our stakes would not be helpful on the asphalt, but we did successfully bungee cord the tent between the motorcycle wheels, and the luggage. We heated up a can of chili on our stove, huddled together against the freezing winds. There was a thick fog beginning to settle over the area, and it was getting colder by the minute. Not a second too soon our chili was done, and we ate it quickly before diving into the tent to seek shelter in our sleeping bags. We smoked a bowl, and shivered for a bit until we had warmed up the bags. Sleep hit me hard the second I got warm. I hoped we wouldn’t get hassled for being camped on the side of the road.

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