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  • Writer's pictureRobert Gidley

Sliding along Highway 101

March 25, 2024 (Mon)

11:30 am Golden Shore RV, Long Beach, CA

When we checked into the RV park yesterday, they gave us a packet of papers (you always get a packet of papers when you check into an RV park—apparently, most of their customers aren’t web savvy). One of them is actually useful—a map of the RV park, with codes for the various facilities. Four of them are about not getting your bicycle stolen (how to register it, what to do when it is stolen, where to go to recover your stolen bike).


We think about going to the RV office and saying, “There’s no bicycle at our campsite!”


But we have places to go, so we saddle up Harvey and head out!


This RV park has tall buildings along one side, which leads us to believe that maybe we’re near downtown Long Beach. We also wonder if the people in the tall buildings enjoy watching the RV people below living their lives and doing exciting things like walking their dogs and taking the trash to the dumpster.

View from the Golden Shore RV park—apparently near downtown Long Beach!



1:30 pm Carl’s Jr, Santa Monica, CA

The Carl’s Jr. hamburger chain is everywhere in California and nowhere in Washington, so Gini likes to regularly stop at them for a hamburger. The burgers aren’t bad, it’s fast, and before you know it, we’re back on the road.


We have been sticking to the Pacific Coast Highway, despite Siri’s constant nagging that we would be happier driving on one of the many freeways. It’s a lot of stop-and-go because there are a lot of traffic lights. Still, there’s a light breeze, it’s a sunny day and life is pretty good.


The highway is mostly lined with stores and businesses, as we’re still in the Los Angeles area. The stores are slightly run-down storefronts from the last century. Occasionally, there will be a newer store (Target, Walmart) but mostly it’s small older stores.


2:00 pm South of Malibu, CA

We discover why Siri has been encouraging us to take a freeway and bypass this entire area. Remember all that rain they had in California a couple of weeks ago? And how there were mudslides that blocked Highway 101?


We didn’t. But as we hit the five-mile backup, that memory comes back to us.


Seems those mudslides haven’t been completely cleared away and are still blocking one lane of Highway 101, which carries a lot of traffic, so any little disturbance backs things up. This is no little disturbance, so the back-ups extend for miles.

A big chunk of the day was spent looking at scenery like this along Highway 101


We feel sorry for the local folks who have to run out for a gallon of milk in this mess, but then we remember where we are, so we feel sorry for their staff who has to run out for a gallon of milk. The residents probably just catch a helicopter to wherever they want to go.

Genuine Malibu mudslide blocking one lane of Highway 101


5:00 pm Costco, Goleta, CA

Gini needs a different prescription filled, so we stop by the Costco in Goleta. While we wait, Robert tries to find us a place to stay for the night. There’s a nearby RV Park that quotes $193 a night. Ulp! That’s twice what we paid in Palm Springs!


The lady on the phone says they have lots of spaces, but we politely pass. “Yes, a lot of people seem to do that,” she replies in a puzzled voice.


Fortunately, there are some State Beaches that are nearby. Robert calls them and is informed that space is available on a “First-come, first-served” basis. We’re hoping it’s cold enough that nobody in their right mind will be camping at this time of year.


6:30 pm Refugio State Beach Campgrounds, CA

This is the “first-come, first-served” campground, but apparently, the state got there first. The entrance is blocked off, and there’s a big electronic sign that says “Park Closed!” On to the next park.


6:50 pm Gaviota State Park Campgrounds, CA

According to our online resources, camping at this park starts in March. According to the sign at the park, camping doesn’t start until April. Also, it’s $45 a night for no services. Just a flat parking spot. Hmm.


We are running out of daylight.


7:00 pm Gaviota Rest Area, CA

There is a tiny Rest Area here (about 20 spots, plus room for maybe four semi’s). It’s not very heavily used, and Robert checks to see if there’s any signs about parking. At most rest stops in Washington, there are multiple signs that inform you that there’s an eight hour limit on staying there.


At this rest stop, there are seven signs warning you that there are rattlesnakes everywhere and you shouldn’t let your kids play with them. Nothing about not staying the night, though!

Our tiny Rest Area had seven of these signs


So we park Harvey, put up our sun shields for some privacy and drift off to sleep to the pleasant sounds of semi’s idling the entire night.

Harvey nestled in our small rest area



Day 41 Travel

Our travel on Day 41 (Mon)




March 26, 2024 (Tue)

7:25 am Gaviota Rest Area, CA

One of us didn’t get much sleep, because of the semi-trucks idling the night away. The other one got a good night’s sleep and didn’t even notice.


Today marks seven weeks that we’ve been in Harvey, which kind of surprises us. Yes, it seems like a long time since we left (“Look how young we were!”). When we started camping with Harvey two years ago, we thought staying a week straight in him was a Big Deal. We’d regularly stop and stay a night in a motel room to recover.


Now we just sail along, trying to remember the last time we stayed in a place with a bed and a shower (for the record, it was Calipatria, which barely qualifies).


Best of all, there hasn’t been a single fight where one of us threatens to hang a “For Sale” sign on Harvey and hitchhike home!

It’s clear skies and smooth sailing today for Harvey



9:00 am Pismo Beach, CA

We’ve already got some miles under our belts (or under Harvey’s steel-belted radials), so we decide to stop for breakfast.


Robert picks “Pismo Beach,” because it has a funny name. This turns out to be a good choice, as it’s a quaint little touristy beach town with several choices for breakfast.


“Pismo” is the word for “tar” in the local Chumash language. There’s a lot of underground oil in this part of the world, and some of it oozed to the surface as tar. The local folk collected it and used it to seal their canoes. (Gini says that when she was a kid growing up in Newport, they had to regularly clean the tar off their feet when returning from swimming at the beach.)


The Chumash people were mostly wiped out in the mid-1800’s by the Mexicans, with some help from us Americans. There are no native speakers left.

Robert enjoys breakfast at Pismo Beach


10:00 am Pismo Beach, CA

After breakfast, we wander through the town and down to the pier that looks out on the beach. Gini browses the shops while Robert heads out to the pier. There are a couple of dozen surfers out on their boards, mostly watching waves go by. It seems that surfing here is a lot of waiting.

Gini contemplates Pismo Beach waves and sand


There’s a restaurant approximately every 20 feet, with souvenir shops in-between. Even the pier has a couple of old Airstream trailers converted into food trailers. You will not starve in Pismo Beach.

Harvey gets some sun at Pismo Beach

A local surfer gets a ride on a wave next to the pier


12:00 noon King City, CA

We decide to stop in King City, because we’ve been seeing it on mileage signs for the last 80 miles, and it’s about the correct distance for a lunch break. Could it be another Ghost Town, like Desert City?


Nope! It’s headquarters for Mexican Restaurants! There’s two dozen of them here, ranging from carcinerias to taquerias to Mexican Grocery stores.


We, of course, choose the very ethnic “The Cork and Plough,” which turns out to be a country bar that serves a very respectable spinach salad. Gini gets the French Onion Soup (“so-so” was her verdict).


Along the way, we’ve been seeing these oil pumps that are popular in California (Gini remembers seeing a few by Coast Highway at the north end of Newport Beach when she was a kid—and they are still there!) The pumps rock back-and-forth pumping oil out of the ground, looking like those dipping bird toys. At one point we saw a field of fifty pumps all clumped together, which left us wondering how the heck much oil is down there!

One of the many scenic oil pumps along Highway 101


2:20 pm Gilroy Garlic USA RV Park, Gilroy, CA

Here we are at the site of the Gilroy Garlic Festival, which isn’t actually held any more as Covid killed it. There’s nothing garlicky about our RV park, despite the name.


Since we covered a lot of ground today, we decide to hole up here for two nights. This’ll give us time to do laundry, get showered, and re-supply.


6:00 pm Gilroy, CA

Boy, did we pick the correct place to re-supply! We are across the street from a Salvation Army Thrift Shop which is next to a Target and a Dollar Store and some other stores. There’s a Costco, a Walmart, a Barnes and Noble and so forth. This is Suburban Paradise in one convenient location.


We’re happy because we can take care of all our needs in half-a-mile.


The one drawback is that there’s only one bar (we miss you, Pablito’s—heck, we miss Borrego Springs in general, which had a half-dozen bars!) and it’s a Wild Buffalo Wings.

Gini models a hat she found at the fabulous Gilroy Salvation Army Thrift Shop



Day 42 Travel

Our travel on Day 42 (Tue)


Gini & Robert                                                                                

Harvey Staff

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1 Comment

Stephen E. Moore
Stephen E. Moore
Mar 28

You can find Carl's Junior restaurants in Washington State in

Airway Heights




East Wenatchee



Gig Harbor




Liberty Lake




Moses Lake






Spokane Valley






We have "dined" with Carl in Marysville. Our meal was adequate.

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