Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Figuero, Figuero, Figueroa!!
We set up shop at the Oceano county campground for an evening. We rode our bikes down to the beach during the day and lounged around while trucks and dune buggies ran up and down the beach.
That night we drank a 12 pack on Keystone Light and watched several hours of 30 Rock, the Office, and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia online. The next morning we headed out into the wilderness yet again for a few more days cozying up with mother nature.
Our first attempt to find a camping spot was a bust. We drove up and down a winding mountain road (we seem to find a lot of those) to find out that the ENTIRE FOREST IS CLOSED TILL JULY 2010.
Discouraged at the loss of about 40 miles worth of gas we shifted gears and made our way the next site on our list.
We turned into Figueroa recreation area on Saturday and made our way up into the hills.
Along the way we passed by the back entrance to the Neverland Ranch. A nondescript gated entrance on the quiet road.
That evening we met Colin. Colin biked into the campground from Santa Barbara. He is a crew member on a $35 million yacht. The ship is docked in the harbor at Santa Barbara, and he decided to use the last few days of his leave to camp out here from a recommendation from one of his crew members.
That night Nikki was walking around the campsite and just happened to shine her light on the ground where she found this.
She screamed and ran back to the Dod. We assumed the darn thing was alive. The next morning I noticed he was still there. He was either dead or very patient.
After throwing a few rocks at him I decided he must be dead and Nikki approached close enough to snap this photo. Nikki, however, is still not sure he's dead, just lying in wait.
The next day Colin introduced us to Roy and his dog Betty, a fellow pair of transients roaming the coast in his self-made trailer.
That night we combined our resources and grilled cheeseburgers and dogs. I played a little guitar and we drank wine and whiskey into the night.
The next day we headed in to Santa Barbara. I had a little bit of work to do and we wanted to check out the city.
Colin hitched a ride back with us and we dropped him off at the harbor. A much better ride than the 7 hour bike trip he would have back to the city.
We found a parking spot near the beach and headed out on our bikes to find a coffee shop.
After I finished my work we biked through downtown, up and down State street, and stopped at a few shops, eventually making our way to a happy hour.
We found the Sandbar, which had 2 for 1 beers and half off appetizers.
It was nice, the beer was cold, and the food ("authentic" Mexican fare including chicken strips and taquitos) was decent. We sat near the outdoor fir pit and had a good time till a group of dudebros took up residence next to us in the open seats around the fire. It was time to go.
We crossed the street and went to James Joyce's, which bills itself as the best Irish pub in Santa Barbara. Great low-key bar with barrels of peanuts and a hardwood floor where you toss the shells.
We drove all the way back to Figueroa that night after checking out a few campsites which were too much for us (compared to the free camping at Figueroa).
We found a different site this time, one with a big open space up on a hill where we are able to get phone service. The next day was clear and hot and we pulled out the tent to set it up and air it out. Several weeks ago we discovered our storage bag on the roof leaks, so we dried everything out in the sun.
That night we dined with Roy again. Grilled chicken, potatoes, and baked beans. We were joined by Leonard, another resident of the road who stays mostly in the Los Padres forest area. We drank a little more wine and enjoyed a great dinner and great company.
Today is sunny and hot again. It has been getting a little cool at night and the wind has been picking up as the sun sets making a campfire a risky proposition in the dry California wilderness.
Tomorrow we're heading back into town to volunteer at the Goleta community center Thanksgiving dinner.
Hope everyone out there has a wonderful Thanksgiving.
As Roy says: "I'm not homeless, I'm a vagabond."