The Southern California Coast

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We made it to San Diego and stopped at another car repair shop, seeking an alignment and ending up with new brakes. Finally our bad luck ran out and we enjoyed a beautiful sunset and lots of great beer.

San Diego waterfront at Sunset Sail boat in San Diego at Sunset

The laws about staying/sleeping at rest stops vary by state, in California you’re allowed to stay for eight hours. The coastal California rest stops were more crowded overnight than anywhere else we stopped in the country. We’ve found that all rest stops, especially ones on major routes (i-80, i-70) through middle America, tend to be well used by travelers—in RVs, campervans, and loaded-down SUVs—stopping for a few hours to sleep. The rest stops outside of San Diego and San Francisco were full of old sedans, station wagons, and minivans. By midnight every parking spot was taken and I had the sad impression that many weren’t travelers, but local workers and families who are spending every night there.

Tree on San Diego waterfront

After a couple of days in San Diego we started our drive up the Pacific Coast Highway. Our first stop was Seal Beach. The coast had gotten a lot of rain the week before and some areas had severe flooding. Seal Beach was covered in wood and garbage and we saw a lot of seagulls, but couldn’t find any seals.

Garbage on Seal Beach Seagulls at Seal Beach

Further up the coast, north of Malibu, the campground where we were planning to stay was closed because of the flooding and the rest stop a bit further up was also closed (though I don’t know why). It was dark and we had no idea where we were going to crash for the night.

Sunset over the Pacific Ocean

We drove into Buellton, where Miles took Jack for his bachelor vacation in Sideways, and scoped out the streets for a quiet spot where we could park for the night and not be noticed. We were just about to give up when we saw a sign for Flying Flags RV Park. Pearson wanted to check it out and I indulged him, sure that it would be too expensive or too disgusting.

We pulled in, the office was closed, but they had a form that we could fill out and pay for a spot. For $25 we got a nice grassy area to park. We were about 100 yards from a bathroom with a shower and a dish sink, had our own picnic table, and got free wifi. After a bunch of nights crashing at rest stops and showering at Planet Fitness, this was luxury. We had a nice picnic at our private table and then headed over to The Hitching Post, famed for its role in Sideways (the book and the movie).

Glasses of Pinot Noir at Hitching Poast

This place was even cooler than in Sideways; it doesn’t seem to have been ruined by its fame. It is still a place for locals, everyone there knew each other and they were really friendly. The only signs of the movie were a magnum wine bottle labeled ‘Sideways’ and a picture of Sandra Oh and Alexander Payne behind the bar. Not only was the place super cool, but they have great Pinot Noir!

The Hitching Post

Flying Flags RV Park

Flying Flags RV Park in the morning

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