Spring break 2016. It will definitely go down in the books as a great one! Los Padres National Forest, camping with my son and friends, snakes, river jumping, beautiful weather, beautiful scenery, off roading…well, let me back up.
With about 5 weeks till spring break. My good friend Eli shared interest in camping in Los Padres NF. With it still on my exploration list, I jumped at the opportunity. It would be his family, and my son and I. Our sons are good friends too, which is great! Knowing we couldn’t get to any of the “off road” spots. I looked at what was available to book…Arroyo Secco. The only place I could find. I’ve been seeing it on the map for months. But never checked it out. So I booked it and we were set.
The next challenge I set for my self was to get a 4×4 so we could go explore all the roads out there. This proved to be not so easy. A neighbor was selling a K30 (CUCV m1031) for a price I couldn’t pass up. The only real challenge was getting it running and safe for travel. Which is really another story in it self. With help from a friend we tried up in till the last day, but couldn’t finish in time.
So with my dirt road dreams swept clean, I did what any budget minded person would do. I called my mother and asked to barrow her car.
Picking it up the night prior to leaving. I planed to pack in the morning. I didn’t plan to sleep in! I had the whole (small) car packed in 45min! And mind you, that was from nothing, no list, no piles!…come on! I have to pat myself on the back for that one. I grabbed my gps for kicks. I hadn’t used it since my trip down to Big Sur on my KLR. If you have the patients to learn a digital lay out (gps app). I have to recommend OsmAnd maps. It’s by far the best gps app I’ve used. And it’s free!! Though it’s worth buying it, just to show thanks. It’s really that good! But I digress.
We were just about a 10 minutes from our camp, after a non adventurous trip down and I missed my turn. No worries. I looked on the gps, and we could connect up with the right road, just up a head. So I need to fill you in on a couple of things. I forgot to de-select “dirt roads” on my gps. And my moms car is a Toyota Yaris which has gotten stuck in our drive way with 10mm of snow.
So with in 2 minutes we’re on dirt and 30 more seconds we’ve gone past the point of turning around. It was all or nothing. And when I say, nothing. I mean, one of the many tractors that were working in the fields around us, pulling the one wheel drive Yaris out of the mud. But, we had a tail wind! We passed field workers, trucks, tractors, mud, sand…it was really quite amazing! I still don’t know how we made it back to the tarmac. But I will never speak negatively about that car again.
Eli and family had been there for a bit already. Both our boys were very excited to finally play! The weather was great too. I couldn’t wait till the next day to go jump in the river. That night I slept outside and fell asleep staring up at the stars.
It was like groundhogs day. Every day was the same, but we were loving it! Camp fires at night. Cooking outside. I figured out that If you forget to pack a cheese grater, or don’t want to carry one. If you open a can, say of beans, With a one piece opener. You can grate cheese on the metal top!
We were told to watch out for rattle snakes, but we only saw a 4 ft long snake without a rattle. 😉