Sleeping at a noisy rest area, with semi-trucks coming and going all night long, can really put a dent in one’s beauty sleep, and I need all the beauty sleep I can get! Cate on the other hand, could never sleep a wink, and look as fresh as the driven snow. We pulled out of the Tejon Pass rest area and on the way out were pleasantly surprised at the discovery of a free RV dump! Traytray was in dire need of relief, and we obliged her! Next on the agenda was a National Monument called the Carrizo Plain. We had never heard of this monument. Carrizo Plain is the largest single remaining grassland in California, situated along the San Andreas Fault between the Tremblor Range and the Caliente Range. It is remote, vast, and a strange sight between LA and the Bay Area. We drove in from the southeast side near Maricopa. At one point we passed an almond farm, where the flower petals had just fallen and covered the ground like a fresh blanket of snow.
A long, well maintained dirt and paved road took us to the KCL campground smack-dab in the middle of the plain. Not a soul was to be found upon our arrival, and we happily chose our spot and unhooked. The great horned owls in the eucalyptus trees greeted us with their haunting Whoo’s. After claiming our spot we decided to drive by Soda Lake (which isn’t a lake at all, just a salt plain that reflects the light like water), and head towards Taft for groceries, and to mail Cate’s commission and Kepler’s birthday card. While in Taft, the town was being set for a music video shoot. Rumor had it that it was going to be the Bieb, but it turned out to be “the Weekend” (whoever that is!). After returning with our fish and sides, and driving for an hour back to camp, Cate realized she had forgotten the very much needed allergy meds (traveling with furry animals ain’t easy for someone with asthma). She ended up having to go back to town, and upon her return trip was besieged by a driving rainstorm which turned the road into a slippery treacherous challenge. After hours of tense driving, with me fretting away in the camper with the animals, she safely arrived back at the camp. The next day was spent attempting to fly the drone in the wind, short hikes, and lots of picture taking. The sound of the wind, the hoot of the owls, and the screech of hawks were invigorating after the city.
The rain was forecasted to return the following day, and not wanting to get caught on the mud slickened road, we pulled up stakes and made towards the Big Sur. Along the way was Pasa Robles, where we had an invitation from Annie and Steve to stay at their farm! Their farm was absolutely wonderful, and they were so welcoming and delightful!
We spent two nights at their farm on a high hill, overlooking the Pasa Robles vineyards, venturing out during the day to explore the southern side of Big Sur which was cut off from the Northern side by landslides a few years ago.
Not wanting to overstay our welcome, we rolled out of Pasa Robles and headed towards the North end of Big Sur. During our search for camping, we noticed that there was a brand spanking new National Park along the way. Pinnacles became a national park in 2013! This, in turn led us to the nearby Laguna Mountain Recreation Area! This was only a short stop for us, but was a beautiful almost 360 degree view, with snow on the mountains in the distance, and a nice network of trails in the area. Cate was desperate to get a cell signal! We stayed the night and attempted to drive through Pinnacles, but much to our chagrin and ignorance, the east and west sides do not connect, so in the the immortal words of gps apps everywhere, we “recalculated”.
The plan was to go to dog-friendly Pfeiffer beach, but unfortunately, trailers were not allowed, so we decided that since Cate wanted a paint day, and I wanted to hike, we would unhook on a turnout high upon a cliff overlooking the pacific ocean on highway 1. She stayed with the critters while I drove to McWay falls. It turned out to be a wonderful day and culminated on an an excursion to Garrata Beach where Frankie photobombed an engagement photoshoot and we watched the sunset.
Afterwards we stayed in another parking lot, ready to briefly check out Santa Cruz the next morning, before finally rolling into the Bay Area.