Wednesday, January 7, 2015


We decided to make our recent drive up to Northern California a meandering journey, stopping overnight to enjoy new sights rather than busting it straight up the godforsaken 5. We left San Diego for what should have been a 5 hour drive to the Pismo Beach area, and arrived at our funny/perfect little hotel just after longer-than-that o'clock. It was dark out so we couldn't see much of the surroundings, but in the morning we were walked half a block to this reward:

We took our time farting around, going back and forth between the coffee shop and the cliffs and the hotel and the car, each on our own timeline. Eventually we piled in to the "full sized" car we'd rented and drove a few miles south to Pismo Beach proper, where Bill and I had once camped on the beach with the dear departed Porgie dog. We remembered doing two very cool things on that long ago trip (and oh god I should go out to the garage and find that photo album with the cool dune photo, shouldn't I? spoiler alert: not gonna happen): driving on the beach and jumping on the dunes. We were psyched to repeat both activities with the chit'lins and the new and improved canine companion.

First up, the beach drive:

It looks like I'm driving on a road, right? I'M NOT. THAT IS THE BEACH. It's awesome.

It really is so very cool. When we arrived, the helpful kiosk ranger friend pointed us in the direction of the entrance ramp and advised us to drive diagonally until we reached the hard packed sand near the water.

Look at the horsey in my rearview!
Look at the horsey in my back seat!
We traipsed along a while, then came to the ATV area that signified access to da dunes. We couldn't quite remember how or where we got out there the last time, but we saw a spot that looked promising so we parked our little rig and set off on foot.

Bye little rig! Don't get swept out to sea.

We walked a long way then stopped for a nourishing family selfie.

Before setting ourselves loose in the surreal landscape of the duneys


both this photo and the one below were taken with the shutter (as it were) pressed down (so to speak) so it takes a million pictures in a row that look like a video when/if you post them on your blog (foreshadowing my next post)

It was crazy great out there. A hot day, the surface of the moon ours to explore, another full week of vacation laid out wide before us. We enjoyed our time out there and then headed back to the little rig to begin a short journey to visit with family at Bill's childhood home.

The tide had come in some while we were out exploring the Sahara, and the sand was a little softer. We came to what we thought was the ramp where we had entered, and we started the diagonal path to the pavement. I was driving. I balked. The sand was really soft. I tried again, with Bill's helpful coaching (snort). It was really, really soft. There were 2 RVs dead stuck right in the middle of the exit path. We decided that Bill should drive.

When we first got stuck, we tried digging out behind the tires like one does in a snow bank, trying to get some purchase on the soft, soft, endlessly soft stupid sand.

Passersby gave us helpful advice and instruction, and we thought we had it.A couple in a truck pulled over and asked if we needed help, but we really thought we had it.

Alas, we did not have it.

The truck guy hopped out, pointing out his San Diego Chargers sweatshirt to match Bill's lid. He and his girlfriend were so great, got right to work setting up a tow line and when the front end was too sunk to reveal a place to hitch said line, he retrieved the brand new fold up shovel he'd just received for Christmas. He handed it to Bill, and directed him on where to dig. I should note that our two teenage children and one giant dog stayed put in the backseat for the duration of this adventure. Slackers. Once the tow line was secured, our new friend easily yanked our little rig out of her shallow grave with nary a mark upon her. I had already demanded that the slackers empty their pockets of cash for us to hand over, but when I tried to do so both of our new friends backed away and adamantly refused. Then they pointed us to the 2 wheel drive exit just up the beach, and rode off into the sunset. It was a lovely lesson in the goodness of helping others, and we agreed that if they ever come down for a Charger game, they can park in our driveway for free.

And now we've got THREE activities to cross off of our list next time we go to Pismo.

1. Drive on the beach
2. Jump in the dunes
3. Help someone out



MB said...

Love that beautiful California landscape; love your family selfies; love your Chargers friends! xo

Beth said...

What a great outing! Love this post. Amazing photos. Love your kids out there on those dunes.

It really is so gorgeous up there. Makes me want to drive north. Right now. And get stuck in the sand in a little rig. (Were the kids dying when you got stuck?! Your girl especially horrified when people stopped to inquire if all was well?)

How perfect that Chargers fans towed you out. I think they deserve free water too.


Me, You, or Ellie said...

Wait, your kids stayed in the car? How hilarious! And confusing! And really really funny.

I *love* this. I love those shots of y'all jumping on the Saharan dune. Isn't that place gorgeous? I would love to go there and jump on those sand dunes and get stuck in the sand (happened to us in the Westy once but I don't think it was exactly there.)

California sounds just about perfect right abouts now.

Love. Can't wait for more photos.