I put my foot down on the gas and I revved my engine as hard as I could. Sand was flying everywhere as I unwittingly dug myself deeper and deeper. I stepped out and after assessing my situation, realized I was fucked. My back wheels were completely submerged, I was losing sunlight and only had a skateboard to dig myself out. The only thought running through my head was “this is it, I’m gonna have to go home…”
Earlier that day…
I woke up around 8am after my first night of sleep in Santa Barbara. The air was crisp and chilly but it invigorated me as I made my way down the stairs to the beach to write in my journal. My night’s sleep was restless. The camper was very cramped that first night, evidenced by the destruction I had caused in my sleep. I had jostled the lights loose, knocked the flag down on my head and with every movement of my limbs, I struck the side of the pickup bed or camper which caused the entire truck to shake. Despite my lack of sleep, I woke up with a clear head ready to check my destinations off the list.
My list of destinations included the Santa Barbara Mission, Stearns Wharf and UCSB. The mission was huge compared to San Buenventura. It sits on a huge plot of land with the church being it’s biggest and most visible structure. Across the street is a field full of flowers and sitting areas which only add to the scope of the entire place. I was able to pick up a map of the original survey of the California/Oregon territory made by the missionaries and also got my first of many patches.
Stearns Wharf was where I got my first taste of the “real SB.” I got out of my truck and immediately was taken aback by the enormous expanse of sand in front of me. It was a bright, sunny, hot day so people were milling about and tanning on the beach. It was exactly the type of scene I had in mind when planning my first SB experience. The pier extended deep into the ocean which and I was able to shop around, get some food and get myself patch #2.
I pulled onto the UCSB campus and my jaw dropped. I went to USF which is a tiny little campus in the middle of San Francisco so setting foot on the SB campus was a little disorienting because of it’s sheer size. I decided the best way to see the entirety of the campus was to skate it. I hopped on my board and began to cruise through; dodging freshman moving into their dorms and early arriving students. Eventually I found what looked to be a hiking path so I decided to follow it. It led me right down to the coast where I was lucky enough to witness the end of a photo shoot as well as enjoy this small stretch of beach all to myself.
Now, I had already had a full day at this point but I was determined to keep on before I decided to settle in for the night. It was highly recommended to me that I check out the strange and wonderful town of Solvang, which was located about an hour away from the university. The city is dutch inspired, its architecture is indicative of that influence as are it’s shops and cuisine. It was an absolute trip for me to drive into the city because it’s seemingly in the middle of nowhere until you finally see these great parapets rising up through the sky. I spent about 2 hours walking around, checking out the strange shops (24/7, 365 days/year Christmas store) and even got myself a dutch beer to wash down my lunch.
So far, it had been a terrific day but dark clouds were on the horizon….
I pulled up to Pismo beach and I had just secured a very cheap and interesting campsite right on the beach. In my infinite wisdom, I decided to take the path to my campsite over the soft sand rather than follow the camper in front of me who smartly stayed on the harder, drivable sand. I slowly made my way out onto the beach when my car began to stop. I put my foot down on the gas and I revved my engine as hard as I could. Sand was flying everywhere as I unwittingly dug myself deeper and deeper. I stepped out and after assessing my situation, realized I was fucked. My back wheels were completely submerged, I was losing sunlight and only had a skateboard to dig myself out. The only thought running through my head was “this is it, I’m gonna have to go home…” I quickly grabbed my skateboard and began shoveling sand away from my wheels trying to dig myself out. I was sweating, losing daylight, probably close to a panic attack and was not getting any closer to pulling myself out when my savior arrived. It came in the form of a man driving a blue pickup truck with a Jurassic Park style pulley hook attached to the front of his vehicle. We hooked the back of my truck to his and he was able to drag my poor pickup out of its predicament and onto to the safe , solid roadway. I cannot tell you how simultaneously happy and crazy I felt in that moment. I was so close to ruining the whole trip, so close to disaster but I must have been living right and the universe gave me another chance. I will forever be grateful for that man and his truck because he really did it out of the kindness of his heart and had no ulterior motive. Regardless, I gave him the only cash I had on me at the time ($20) and the rest of my ice cold beer (6 Ballast Point sculpins) and he seemed please with that even though I felt it was inadequate compensation. After that debacle, I decided sleeping on the beach wasn’t for me and I ended up checking into a Hot springs campground near Avila Beach….
- pictured: Dennis Nedry, coming to save me with his pulley