My cousin got married! Since the wedding was being held in Santa Barbara (a 5-8 hour drive depending on traffic), my mom and I decided to make it a road trip. Instead of staying at a hotel, we thought it’d be fun to camp with Gypsy at a campground. Jef drove separately in Wanda.
Our first pit stop: Gilroy. We popped in to the Garlic Shoppe, a unique, eye-catching building just off Highway 101. My mom was excited to try Gilroy’s famous garlic ice cream.
For $3.00, we treated ourselves to a teeny tiny cup of Gilroy’s … wait, this ice cream was made in Santa Cruz!
Continuing on our trek, we finally arrived at the Upper Oso campground in the Los Padres National Forest around 9:00 p.m. By the by, if you’re thinking about camping in the LPNF, know that Highway 154 isn’t great for night driving. It’s mostly one lane in both directions, there are no street lights, and the speed limit is 55. I found it harrowing at night, but during the day it felt okay.
It took us a couple of hours to arrange our sleeping areas, eat snacks, and settle in to bed. Then, at a few minutes before midnight: Zoooooooom!
A half our later, pickup trucks drove by. Doors slamming. More ATVs.
Again and repeatedly, in the wee hours of the morning, more ATVs!
What is this, a nocturnal ATV convention???
So, we didn’t sleep very well that night. The next morning, we took showers using Gypsy’s handy new steel tub, and wandered over to downtown Santa Barbara for the wedding festivities.
Because of the all-night ATV festival going on at the campground, we decided to crash elsewhere the next night. My mom crashed with my aunt, and Jef and I stealth camped on the street. Once again, stealth camping in the city proved to be more peaceful than camping in the forest.
I should note, however, that stealth camping can get stressful if you’re a conscientious non-rule-breaker like me. The constant fear of being heard or seen camping in my van while parked on the street… the constant vigilance of being quiet, not shaking the van… after a few days of that I’d welcome the ATV noise in exchange for lower stress levels.
I’m not sure when or where our next trip is going to be. I’m thinking Los Angeles and San Diego some time in the next couple of months, and Quartzsite, AZ in January for the RTR. Maybe we’ll see you there!