Coastal Adventure: Day One

CoastalAdventure

In an effort to milk my little mini-vacation for all it’s worth, I’ll be giving a day-by-day recap, more bang for my buck.

Day one had us heading down the inland route, through San Jose, down the 101 and then cutting over to the coast at Castroville. A late start and midway stop at the Nike store had us a little behind schedule, so we didn’t see the water ’till around 4 in the afternoon. We quickly drove through Carmel and into Big Sur to the campground were we were hoping to stay (it seems the majority of campgrounds in the area don’t take reservations) and found that all of the spots were spoken for. Feeling a little disheartened, we ventured up a ridiculously windy Big Sur back road, looking for a secret camping spot that the ranger had told us about.

After about 8 miles and a half-hour later (I told you, this road was crazy), having long since left any signs of humanity behind, we saw a camper up ahead. Thinking we had finally made it, I slowed down as we rolled up to them, (from 10 miles an hour to 5) and to our surprise were met by the glares of a Manson family/Children of the Corn looking crew. Mean-eyed little kids who hadn’t had their hair cut once in their whole lives, barefoot and grubby looking, with some rough looking older folks who made it clear that we were not welcome in their little patch of the woods. In all reality, I’m sure that they were “farmers” who were worried that we were there to interrupt their harvest, or that we were out to do a little harvesting of our own.

That definitely was not our plan though, and we passed by as quickly as we could. After a few more miles, we threw in the towel, and headed back to the highway, stopped at a restaurant and paid waaay to much for oysters and a drink before heading back into town, feeling bleak about the whole camping plan. After being turned away from one last campground, we stopped at a motel in Monterey and haggled with the owner, who wanted an outrageous $130 plus tax and fees to stay in his little econo-motel for the night. I got him down to $89, and we settled into our room, hungry, road-weary and a still a little freaked out from our encounter in the woods.

We wrapped up our day with Chinese food from a little spot down the street called the Happy Dragon, and this is where our luck took a turn for the better. I don’t know if it’s because we were so tired and hungry, but the food was great, cheap, there was a ton of it. The staff was super friendly, and everyone in there was having a great time. After a rough day on the road, the Happy Dragon settled things on a high note for us, and set us up nicely for the next day…

Lo enjoying her soup at The Happy Dragon

Lo enjoying her soup at The Happy Dragon

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