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  1. #1
    Bike touring webrarian
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    California coast camping site changes

    I am in the middle of a SF to LA ride. I am currently enjoying a rest day at a friend's house in Santa Barbara. There are a couple of things I've learned on this trip that I wanted to pass along to anyone else who might be riding down the California coast.

    One of the places I always stop on my way through Big Sur is just south of Lucia. There are two campgrounds very close to the town (a bit south) and each other. One is a state campground, Lime Kiln, and the other is a Federal campground (part of Los Padres National Forest), named Kirk Creek. The Federal one has no showers but has a nice hiker/biker site (the person in charge there told me that they have been approved for showers but don't hold your breath on when it will happen). The nightly tarrif is $5. The state campground does have showers but no hiker/biker sites and cost $25/night. That really puts the value of showers into dollars!

    For what it is worth, the night I was there the state campground didn't have showers either due to a power problem of some sort. The Federal camp sites are 2 miles down the road and have a great view of the ocean. The state camp has sites on the beach!

    Another common place to stay is the state campground in Oceano, just south of Pismo Beach. The first two times I stayed there, it was in their hiker/biker site. When I pulled in there three nights ago, the campground was full (it was a Friday night) and there no longer was a hiker/biker area. According to the guy on duty, the area was closed due to abuse from local homeless people. This is a shame as there isn't another hiker/biker camping area anywhere near there, that I am aware of.

    Since the campground was full, I thought I might have to get a hotel for the night, which would have been expensive. Instead, I was directed to a county park 200 yards, or so, away that had an open "camp" site. It was really an RV style place where most of the camp site was asphalt. It cost $29/night.

    I just wanted to let everyone know what was going on so that you can make plans if you are going to be in this area. While I would rather pay $5 to sleep on the ground, $29 sure beats $50+ for a hotel room. However, if you are going to camp at Oceano, be aware that you now have to make a reservation or risk not getting a spot there.

    As for other touring news, I have to say that the water off of Big Sur was surreal. The deeper water was deep blue (the color of my bike) and the shore was white. As the two mixed, the water seemed to be every shade in between. As I watched it all day, it began to look like someone was mixing blue and white paint together. Truly amazing!

    In addition, it has been one of those dreams situations where every day the wind is behind me. I'm sure I will pay for this run of luck sometime in the future but, for now, I can revel in feeling of coasting at 15+ MPH with pedaling!

    Ray

  2. #2
    Leather and Canvas Fetish
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    Quote Originally Posted by raybo
    Another common place to stay is the state campground in Oceano, just south of Pismo Beach. The first two times I stayed there, it was in their hiker/biker site. When I pulled in there three nights ago, the campground was full (it was a Friday night) and there no longer was a hiker/biker area. According to the guy on duty, the area was closed due to abuse from local homeless people. This is a shame as there isn't another hiker/biker camping area anywhere near there, that I am aware of.
    Ray
    Sorry to hear that the Oceano hiker/biker sites are gone. I don't know any other cheap campsites in the immediate area either.

    The last time I stayed there, I do remember the majority were "homeless" types camping out. It's ironic that hikers and bikers are generally now the minority in many of the hiker/biker sites I've been to.

  3. #3
    Let's Coast! shakeelium's Avatar
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    Thanks raybo... a buddy and I are riding down the coast (SF to LA) later in August. Any hints and timely updates would be very much appreciated as we are currently planning where to stay and whatnot.

    Cheers to all brisk tail winds!

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    Thanks for taking the time to share that information with others planning a similar trip.

  5. #5
    Senior Member LouD-Reno's Avatar
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    I'll add that one of the best climbs on the coast starts right across the street from Kirk Creek Campground. Switchbacks up ~2700' in ~7miles with absolutly stunning views. Don't pass it by !!!!

  6. #6
    Senior Member LouD-Reno's Avatar
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    Oh Yeah, it's called Nacimiento-Fergussen Road......

  7. #7
    Stand For Something mntbikedude's Avatar
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    Yeah the same thing happened to my son and I last summer at Oceano. It was late in the evening and we ended up having to stay at a hotel. The cheapest we could find was $100. They insisted on cash. All the way around it was a hassle. Had we known we would have made plans. But we counted on that hiker/biker site.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    How hard would it have been to find a stealth campsite in the vicinity?

  9. #9
    I'm Carbon Curious 531phile's Avatar
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    robert, can you give us newbies some pointers for finding a good stealth campsite without in trouble or killed?

    Quote Originally Posted by avner View Post
    I loled. Twice. Then I cried. Then I rubbed one out and cried again, but thanks for sharing.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
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    I've never done it, but plan to when on my future tours.

    Stockell has posted alot on stealth camping.

  11. #11
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    "without in trouble or killed?"

    Basically the idea is that you find a place where you won't be detected. If they can't find you they can't hassle or kill you. So the basic issue is how to find places where you won't be detected. That essentially describes my camping style for the last 35 years. I don't cook over a flame, smoke, make noise etc... that's just my nature. I like to make camp late in the day. It's pretty easy as long as the area you are traveling through isn't too hyped with people watching out for campers. Bike routes tend to go through cities or semi urban areas a lot, I'm not so good at that kind of thing.

    The other approach is to suck up to people, not stealth, but highly viable depending on your personality.

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