Part One: Brave the Elements Tour December 23, 2014 13:40
The first week of our tour started with us smoking our way out of the driveway….literally. The new brakes we put in for El Diablo Bianco were giving us trouble and the whole box was smoking then a fizzled out “Pop” followed. The first two hours of our trip was spent at the 101 diner in Oceanside 10 miles from our starting point.
After El Diablo Bianco was all fixed up, we were off at a snails pace heading to Big Sur for the first few nights. We arrived at Julia Pheiffer state park around 11 PM slept for six hours and we’re excited to go on a hike the next morning with some fresh air! Three steps into our hike, the ranger stopped us and told us they were closing the camp down because a big storm was coming. As we were taking down the tent, it started to pour….and continued for 24 hours couples with 25 MPH winds. We hid in a hotel room listening to the rain. Time, as far as we knew, stood still. The watery storm was exciting for our Southern California team! Yay rain!
The next morning, we were told that all State parks were closed for at least a week to clean up after the storm. Soaked and hungry for some outdoor adventure, we packed it up and headed out to Santa Cruz.
Our next stop was at Pro Scuba in the Santa Cruz area. Unfortunately, the plunge was cancelled due to dangerous bacteria levels in the water, so we did what any waterman would do…we surfed anyway. Steamers Lane was in the agenda with a stop off to Pro Scuba before we were off again to Pacifica for some more surf.
We finally got to camp in Pacifica and there were only two options available. Option one had electricity so we can spend a warmly comfortable night in el Diab, but it was right at the entrance not even within earshot of the ocean waves. Option two was right on the water with no hook ups heanse, no heat, but it was right on the water! Of course the choice was easy. We froze our butts off but could hear the ocean waves crashing all night long!
Dawn patrol brought us to Moss Beach the next morning where off shore winds and head high sets made the stormy wet ride well worth it. With the weather holding off, we went into China town for Dim Sum, free tea tastings and a cheap 15 minute foot massage. The whole team was feeling good. We figured the worst if he storm was over and we can now start to enjoy the outdoors again. Boy were we wrong!
Around 12.30 AM, we woke to El Diablo being tossed and blown all around by the worst storm yet! Rain was pelting the top and sides of her. My mind started to play paranoid games with me as I started to remember the warning signs all down the bluff “unstable bluff. Keep off or you will most likely fall to your death into the ocean below” or something along those lines. I started to picture the bluff giving away and all of us slipping down the 50 foot drop to the ocean below. If the erosion wasn’t going to kill us, the wind was definitely going to pick us up and take us away! By 4:30am, we decided to pack it up and head North to get out of the rain.
Since we had no TV and really shotty service with our cell phones, we had no idea that we were smack dab in the middle of the wettest, rainiest Winter weather California has ever had. There was no escaping it, we just had to deal with it and we weren’t staying in any more hotels! That would just be cheating. This is the Brave the Elements Tour! We are a fearless group of Wottermen laughing at weather! Ha ha ha! So, onward we traveled on twisty turny roads slippery with rainwater, my personal nightmare!
Our next stop was in Fort Bragg for some chowder and then up to Westport to the coolest campsite on the ocean we had ever seen! If it wasn’t raining cats and dogs the whole time, I think we would have had some pretty good days surfing right at the beach. When we began to unpack, we saw the damage from the Pacifica storm. Everything we had was wet! the tent was wet, the mattresses on the beds were wet from a leak on one side and from not securing the other, all of our rain gear was wet from having to pack up in tsunami-like conditions, every blanket was wet as well as both feather comforters (we nixed sleeping bags for sheets and down comforters so we could feel more at home. Not really a good idea.) We bombed the camp recreation room and set up right in front of the fireplace for most of the day watching Pink Panther and Riding Giants while we dropped $20 in quarters on all the laundry we accumulated in the one day.
The next morning brought more rain and winds while we trekked all the way up to the Coos Bay and North Bend area. We found another sweet campsite right near Sunset Bay and blasted the heat all night to dry out El Diab. It rained more.