From Long Beach, we ventured North to Santa Monica to see what all the fuss was about the infamous Santa Monica Pier. As it turns out, it’s just a small town carnival with a really awesome location. Nothing really all that special. The rides were pretty average and painfully overpriced so we only stuck around for the roller coaster and the beach. And don’t get me wrong, we definitely had a great time goofing around and taking pictures. Eli got some incredible sunset shots over the pier and I got some incredible shots of him taking some incredible shots. We also attempted to do some rope climbing on the beach but that was a failed endeavor, considering I have little to no upper arm strength.
So, we have been encountering a bit of hostility in the state of California in regards to homelessness and sleeping in a vehicle. It simply is not allowed. In residential areas, it’s a bit easier to get away with it but if you’re caught, it’s likely you will be ticketed. Sleeping in parking lots is generally prohibited unless the business is open for 24 hours…which is why California makes sure all of it’s storefronts are closed by midnight or so.
We read before embarking on our big trip that Walmart parking lots are usually a good option for travelers looking to catch some sleep without having to pay for a hotel room. No such luck here. Our first night on our own, not staying with family, we figured we would try our luck in the parking lot of the Oxnard Walmart. Around 3 a.m. we were forced awake by a security guard knocking on our door telling us to vacate the premises. It was bound to happen sooner or later, I guess. We ended up driving around for a little while, unsure of where to go, and eventually ended up in a gas station parking lot. Apparently, most gas stations are considered safe places for truckers and travelers who are passing through and need to catch a wink of sleep before moving on. It wasn’t too awful of a night, considering we are pretty heavy sleepers and could sleep through the early morning traffic noise.
It wasn’t too bad of an experience but it was a little annoying and it has really opened up a lot of dialogue between us about the homelessness situation in America and how some places would rather turn a blind eye to the problem instead of offering up ways to help.
Anyway, I digress. We continued up the coast on Saturday in persuit of Pismo beach. A quick stop was made at the Santa Barbara Zoo where we spent too much time photographing cute animals doing cute things.
The drive up the Pacific Coast Highway has been so beautiful so far. It’s such a unique experience to look to the right and see the beautiful rolling green hills of California and then look to the left and see waves crashing on the beach. They don’t call it America’s Best Roadtrip for nothing.
That night, we ended up in Pismo Beach, thanks to a recommendation from Eli’s cousin, Kevin. We intended to sleep on the beach, such as one does when visiting this particular place, but figured that it probably wouldn’t have been safe for our van. We had arrived at night during high tide and it makes for a dangerous route. We opted for a quaint little RV park instead, where we settled in for the night amongst giant campers.
Sunday morning, we ventured out to explore Pismo Beach and have since discovered that it is one of our favorite places that we have stopped at so far. The town itself is filled with picturesque little storefronts that are all unique to the area, hardly any chain restaurants or stores to be seen. Plus, there is something interesting to do or see about every half mile. We were lucky to be there during the National Kite Surfing competition so we got to see some talented surfers bouncing off of the waves and trying their best not to get dragged off by the heavy winds.
On our way out, we made a quick stop to a cliffside that overlooked the ocean and enjoyed some breathtaking views. The coast was nearly indescribable, something perfect enough to be on a postcard. The view stretched on for miles and miles and we spent our time soaking it all in and, of course, taking lots of pictures. We had come to the agreement that Pismo Beach’s new motto should be “Pismo Beach, something to do every half mile.” Our adventures continue and soon we plan to sleep at strangers’ houses, but as always, everything is fine.