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Campsite Photo Trip - 2013

Little Rascals

Our 2013 Campsite Photo Tour wraps up after 14,000 miles and over 160 campgrounds.

I do not mean these ones.


I mean certain animals that will bring their young ones around your campsite and steal your food while you are distracted.


That is momma raccoon stealing my lettuce while I was attempting to make tacos.

They fought over it.

Rat-2 Rat-3

But left after a stern talk.


No big deal as I had finally found some sprouts. Yes. I like sprouts on my tacos. And the lettuce was old anyway.


So what is better than tacos for dinner? Nothing. But to follow it up with breakfast tacos is outstanding.


This all took place at Big Basin Redwoods State Park near Santa Cruz.


The first State Park in California, it opened in 1902.

Almost 190 sites and 1-41 have tent cabins, like number 9.


I stayed in 48.


Most of the sites are shaded. Well, there are big trees around here. Number 128 was nice.


Lots of trails to explore.

Big-Basin-Trail-1 Big-Basin-Trail-2

Nearby is Little Basin.


It used to be a regular campground but is now a group site. In fact, it is run by a private company.


Looks like some kind of school thing.

Anyway, I also visited Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park while I was in the area.


It is lower in elevation than Big Basin and the 113 campsites are surrounded by oak trees.


That is number 65. The redwoods are located a few miles away. So if you want a sunnier and warmer campground stay here.

Wednesday morning I continued south, with a brief stop at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park.

After breakfast.




This is a large place with 189 sites and some unusual security at the entrance.


There is a mixture of open and shaded spots. I liked number 98.


Actually I liked the trailer in number 98.

Some of the sites are along the Big Sur River. Notice the sign on the post in the photo below.


It says "River Site" and those will cost you $60 per night.

So I left and enjoyed the scenery of the coast. If you are only going to drive this section of Highway 1 in one direction, go North to South. The pullouts are on that side and you will be stopping often to check out the magnificent views.


Near the town of San Simeon I stumbled upon a bunch of beach bums.


Hundreds of seals were catching some rays.


They only moved occasionally to flip some sand in the air.


Quite a few other people stopped to look at them.


I ended up at Pismo Beach.


I set up camp in site number 2.


And made dinner.


I have been on a taco binge lately...

The are two campgrounds at Pismo State Beach about 2 miles apart.

North Beach has 103 sites and some, like number 22, are just over a hill from the beach.


Which looks like this.

Pismo-Beach-2 Pismo-Beach-1

The dunes here are extremely popular for off road vehicles. There were a bunch of old Willy's at the campground. With the required necessities.


Even the staff had some cool toys.


On Thursday I visited the other campground, Oceano.


The 82 sites here are split up into two areas. Half have water and electrical hookups, like number 17.


The other half have none. But some, like number 56, are next to the creek.


Lot's of choices in this area. They are also several private campgrounds nearby.

Friday morning I headed south to Gaviota State Park. I had planned to stop at Jalama Beach but completely forgot. Brain cramp. Hey, I am getting old.


Most of the Southern California State Parks and Beaches have one thing in common. Trains.

And Gaviota was no exception.


I didn't mind. In fact, I liked it. These are not freight trains, just passenger cars. Came through maybe a couple of times a day and the engineer would give us a toot.

There are only 39 sites here and they look like mine, number 35.


And number 17.


But the attraction here is the beach. A group of college students from Loyola-Marymount showed up in the afternoon.


Unfortunately for them they brought a couple of these things.


Which brought the cops who quickly booted them out. Which was sad. Because I was starting to feeling young again.

There is a pier here.


One of the interesting laws in California is that you do not need a fishing license to cast a line from man-made objects that extend into the ocean, like piers and jettys. So there were plenty of people hoping to hook up with a white sea bass or halibut.


There is also a good surf break. The waves were small but nicely formed, with an offshore breeze in the morning.

Wave-2 Wave-3

Tubular! A raccoon on a small board could get totally barreled.

My neighbors had fun chopping wood.

Ax-1 Ax-2

Meanwhile I was checking this out.


That would be fun. Zipping around campgrounds snapping photos. I tried it out.


Yes, that is me, but the owner would not give me the key. I offered to trade my bike for it. Didn't happen.

On Sunday I headed south for my last stop on this trip.

Carpinteria State Beach.


When picking a good campsite there are several factors that enter in to your decision. Sun, shade, proximity to bathrooms and water spigots, privacy, those are just a few.

But sometimes the choice is obvious. Which is why I chose site number 19.


Yes, that was all left there just waiting for somebody. Me.

Which led to this.


A perfect way to enjoy my last night on a long trip.

Monday morning I walked the campground, after checking out the beach.

Carpenteria-Beach-2 Carpenteria-Beach-1

Carpinteria bills itself as having the world's safest beach. The Channel Islands block most of the swells so the waves are rarely more than ankle slappers. That makes it a very popular campground for families with kids.

There are 206 sites here but the numbers are misleading. They go from 1 to 146 and then 401 to 460. Go figure.

A couple of my favorites were number 128,


And 448.


California beach camping at it's best. Plus the town is within walking distance. A definite destination campground.

So that's it. Over 14,000 miles and over 160 campgrounds. What a long strange trip it's been.

My next and last blog for this year will be a trip wrap up but I need to mention now a disconcerting trend I have been noticing.

Blatant discrimination.

Yep, directed at certain people with certain last names.

My first name is Greg. My last name is Wood. And like many other campers I enjoy getting together with a large bunch of family members to enjoy the outdoors. Maybe get a group site or such. A gathering of the Wood clan.

But no, apparently that is not allowed. I saw this nasty sign in many campgrounds.


Simply unbelievable.

Regards, Park Ranger


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