It was a hard decision: Northeast to Yosemite, maybe a similar National Park we had seen several times before, or south on Highway 1 at the coast? We had not the time to enjoy the west coast before in cause of lack of time. On the same day we heard at the news that there was a wood fire close to Yosemite. Many thanks, the decision was made!
So we headed southwest on Highway 92, passed San Mateo and entered the Half Moon Bay. Very beautiful beach, but it doesn’t invite you for swimming, when all the people are hanging around with long shorts and sweatshirts. It took ten minutes to enjoy the moment and then we continued our drive. About one hour later we entered a campground at the Butano State Park. We had to fix some little jobs at our van we wanted to do for nearly three weeks and were glad to be in the “wilderness” again after a few days staying in the city. 😉
We were looking forward to do some surfing and heard Santa Cruz should be a good spot for it. But not that day! The tides were low, even at evening, and so it didn’t make sense to rent a surfboard + wet suit for 40 $ a day. So we walked around in the town, watched some sea lions under the pier at the coast and cooled our feet in the dirty water of the ocean. Sorry, but we predicted more that day!
Some parts of Highway 1 are still closed in cause of the flooding at spring. So we decided to hit a free campsite inland at Los Padres National Forest (not very special) and one at Williams Hill Recreation Area (very hot, but free and gorgeous). Then we got back to Highway 1 at famous Santa Barbara. But why famous? We walked around a while at the coast: The beach is dirty, the harbor stinks terrible like fish and the shops and restaurants don’t look special! Maybe wrong season (at July)!
We were enjoying our delayed 3:00 pm drink 😉 in our van at the parking lot, when we saw a girl dressing up her bikini. Only crazy American do it in public we thought, but then she and a guy came over and were interested in our travels. OK, these guys, Antonia and Adrian, are from Germany. We were talking a few minutes and then Antonia asked us, if she can join us. First we made jokes and suggested to stay all four for one night at a campground in the Santa Barbara National Forest. Next morning all her stuff was moved to our van …
Now being three in the party we passed Ventura and entered Malibu Beach. The frequency of expensive cars like Porsche, Mercedes and Tesla increased dramatically. We spent some time at a “beach access” between two exclusive houses and did some swimming. Afterwards we tried to find a campground. 110 $ sites, where people walk around with red wine glasses, are not our style and the three others we headed were full. Fed up with the situation we just went up a road at the coast and stayed overnight at the first pull out.
Next morning after breakfast four guys parked right next to us. Before we really recognized what’s happening, they all started paragliding away. Envious at the moment we decided that we also have to do it at least once in our lift time. Rest of the day we relaxed and did some swimming at Malibu Beach. Life is great!
We needed a shower and so we paid 45 $ at the outrageous Leo Carrillo State Park: No amenities, walk-in campsite and extra paid showers with COLD water. They only have two showers for more than 60 sites. Cold water is a good way to fasten a line, but we also waited more than half an hour! Let´s see, what the city of angels will bring for the next day!