Monday, June 23, 2008

Camping in Santa Barbara

This past weekend Josh and I went to a friend's wedding in Santa Barbara. A few months ago, Josh had the brilliant idea that we should camp on the coast after the wedding. We both envisioned a peaceful campground on a beach that we would go to after attending what we knew would be a beautiful wedding. Things turned out to be slightly different than we had imagined. We arrived at Gaviota State Beach Campground (about 30 miles north of Santa Barbara). Our welcome to the campground was a young man who looked to be about 16. To give him the benefit of the doubt, I am going to say it was his first day on the job. As we pulled up to the booth he looked at us as though we were the first to arrive at the packed state beach. He said, "uh, camping?" It might not have been that articulate. We then drove another 100 yards to the "campsite." And by campsite, I mean a large parking lot with many tents splattered all over the place. Our reserved spot was filled with a city of tents and people. Josh and I just stared. It turns out that a rather large family set up camp and decided to use our 10 feet by 10 feet reserved space. In the spirit of generosity the man whose family set up a city on our spot offered to help us move the picnic table so we could set up our tent. I thought Josh was going to lose it, but I guess after reading Thich Nhat Hanh's, Peace is Every Step he was able to take a few deep breaths. To make a long story short, we set up the tent, used Olay facial wipes to clean ourselves off, put on our pretty clothes and headed to the wedding. Here is a picture of our tent (while it was still standing):

Note the amount of tents nearby. Also, the fire pit was almost inside our tent. Probably not safe.

The wedding was indeed beautiful. We had so much fun and I got to witness Josh's break dancing skills. Pretty remarkable. Obviously he learned the skills from me. After the wedding we returned to our campsite ready to crash, and instead found that our tent has actually crashed. With up to 50 mile per hour gusts of wind, our tent had blown over. Furthermore, smoke and ash from nearby campfires blew into our tent. At that point we decided the campground wasn't meant to be. Josh packed up the tent, and at 1 am we began driving north in hopes of finding a cheap hotel. It turns out that every hotel along the 101 was full on Saturday evening. Josh, being the trooper that he is, drove us all the way to Santa Cruz. We pulled up to Kam and Anne's house (his sister and her wife) around 5 am. The take aways from this adventure are:
1) Don't try to camp when attending a wedding. It's just never a good idea.
2) Don't try to camp on a large parking lot.
3) Don't camp when large signs say "no refunds due to wind."

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