An occasional journal of the Life of Reilly

Friday, June 2, 2006

Nude Beach


Note: Due to spotty Internet access, this entry describes events on or around May 25, 2006 -- DR

I can recollect visiting the California coastline between Los Angeles and San Francisco only in short segments, and not as a continuous experience. Our plans were to meet my parents at a family friend’s homestead outside Marysville in Central California, and we had a few days to get there. We decided to take Highway 1 as far as we could before we needed to turn inland.

From the point where we first reached the ocean in Santa Monica to just north of Ventura, the traffic was congested at the typical LA gotta-get-there fast pace. It eased up northward, and we enjoyed the afternoon sun reflecting off the ocean as we cruised along. We thought we might camp at one of the State parks along the way, and pulled into Gaviota State Park for a look. There were available campsites, but the wind was howling at tree-bending speeds. There was a sign at the entrance station stating that there were no refunds due to wind, so we had the suspicion that it would not ease up. We continued on, hoping for something further north.

Vandenberg Air Force Base occupies much of the area north of Lompoc with no camping opportunities, and the sun was beginning to set. Maybe around Santa Maria…we pushed on. The road to Point Sal State Beach was closed, and the only campground in Santa Maria was a private RV park next to the off-ramp for $28 a night and we would be sandwiched between trailers with minimal privacy. Motel 6 offered a few more amenities for just a few more dollars, so at this late hour we opted for what was apparently our only option, and we were a bit disappointed that we had to start this second leg of our trip not in our tent, but in the generic room of a motel!

The next day we continued on, the wind still howling, but with clear skies the entire way. John at one point excitedly pointed out the window proclaiming “Look, otters!” We pulled off at the next available vista point, which was Piedras Beach. Well, it wasn’t otters, but much larger elephant seals, basking in the sun and molting their winter fur. There they were, plump in random rows, motionless except for an occasional flipper flicking sand on their back. A couple of large males with their prominent proboscis were sparring. There was a walkway constructed for up-close viewing, so the vantage was as good as anything seen on public television. Our timing was good, for spring is when they come ashore to rear their young and renew their fur. Encountering the seals was certainly a discovery for us, and the highlight of our coastal diversion.
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1 comments:

Anonymous said...

I was expecting real nudes . . . . .

Gwen

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