It seems like ages ago since our last update, but it was only a week. A lot has happened since we left the elephant seal colony at San Simeon. It seems appropriate to continue our story with more wildlife tales. Every good road trip needs a ‘shark sighting’…
Some of you may have heard of the ‘red triangle’, an area in California extending from Bodega Bay (north of San Francisco) south to the Big Sur region. This area is rich in marine life, hence all the seals we’d been seeing. And of course, at the top of the food chain is the great white shark. We were lucky to have a couple of surfs on our trip down this coast line, but our second surf was cut short by the sighting of a nice big grey fin about 10 metres away from Phil and I. This was at Morro Bay, an area we later found out was home to a shark that roams between the headland to the south and Cayucos to the north. Slightly grumpy that we were out of the water so quickly, we were soon cheered up when we spotted tall spouts of water further out to see, which turned out to be a migrating pod of humpback whales.
After yet another breakfast burrito we drove the ‘Enterprise’ down into Southern California, where the water is warmer and the ocean life not so intimidating. Phil and I were both very excited for this leg of the journey, having spent so many years exposed to a surf culture that has its roots in the ‘SoCal’ region – there are so many famous spots along this coastline – Rincon, Ventura, Malibu, Huntington Beach, Trestles and so on. It‘s been great to see a few of these iconic areas in person.
I won’t bore you with tales of sun, sand and salt. But I would like to raise a few questions.
1. Has anyone seen the ‘goat guy’ in Ventura that cruises the streets with his pet goats? When he doesn’t feel like walking, he gets towed on this bike by his goats.
2. Can anyone please explain to us why parked motor homes have covers on their wheels?
3. Can anyone identify this flower seen in Ventura – it looks a lot like our native pohutukawa, known as New Zealand’s ‘christmas tree’…
I’d also like to make a claim, that the best beer we’ve experienced so far on this entire road trip has been Lagunitas IPA. I hope I haven’t upset anyone.
OK, back to business, and the reason we’re here in the USA. Last Saturday we hiked Sandstone Peak, a beautiful hike in the Malibu region, just north of Los Angeles. I must thank Casey Schreiner from Modern Hiker for suggesting this hike to us, it was a beauty. It’s great to hike in relative wilderness so close to developed areas. We were graced with a bluebird day and about a dozen Active hikers keen to share the hike with us. Later we found out there was another crew at the ‘overflow’ carpark, so unfortunately we didn’t have the whole group together, but from all accounts they enjoyed their hike too! It was an extremely hot day and another nice contrast to our previous hikes. The landscape was arid, and the trail offered a decent elevation gain with great views in all directions. Thank you to everyone who made the journey out to see us.
The following day, after a quick and very early tourist stop at Malibu (6am and there were already 30 surfers in the water) we drove straight through Los Angeles, missing the traffic, and down towards San Diego. We set up camp at the San Elijo RV Park (by ‘set up camp’ we mean we parked and connected), and then we made our way to La Jolla to meet with Active alumni at the Prospect Bar. It was awesome to walk in and see a table full of people waiting to see us – what a reception!
I think in hindsight we could have found a quieter meet-up location, but it still worked out fine and we were able to get around the room to meet everyone and swap stories. We were given a care package for our RV full of goodies, which was just so cool, and we also met a couple – John and Ashley Ohana who met down in New Zealand years ago. John was on the southbound ‘Rimu’ and Ashley on the northbound; they met very briefly in Christchurch before parting ways on their respective adventure and then met again on the plane on the way home. Now they’re married with a beautiful little girl – how AMAZING is that!
Our final day in California was punctuated with great hospitality, as Phil’s friends Dave, Heather and their daughter Sydney cooked us a yummy meal and we enjoyed a relaxing evening learning a new game called Man. After a long time on the road, there’s nothing better than a home cooked meal.
I’m writing this as we fly to Denver, where we’ll pick up a hire car and head for Boulder. It’s going to be cooler in Colorado, which will help us to acclimatise nicely for New Zealand. Stay tuned for our final blog post – we’re expecting a big turnout for our South Boulder Peak hike on Friday, rain, hail or shine (or thunder!)