6:54 am - PDST - Thursday - 51º F, humidity 89%, wind 3 mph out of the southeast.....heavy marine layer.....we are one block from the ocean here in Oceano.
I woke up Wednesday knowing we were under no pressure to get underway early. Our next destination, Oceano Elks Lodge, was only 45 miles north of Lompoc along the iconic Pacific Coast Highway, and according to the Oceano Elks Lodge website check in time for their RV sites is 1 pm. In order to get a site at this popular seaside lodge you must make a reservation secured by a credit card. The site assignments are posted precisely at 1 pm by the onsite camphost, and you may not park in any site until the site assignments are posted. In light of that understanding my goal was to be on the road between 11:30 am and noon for the approximately one hour drive.
I began in earnest to put everything away in the trailer a little after 9 am knowing it would take about 90 minutes, and then I would have to maneuver the Newell into position to drop the trailer on the hitch once again, and finally drive our 62' over to the onsite dump station to dump my tanks before our departure. Everything went quite smoothly and by 11:30 am we were on our way down Ocean Ave. down to 'H' Street where Highway 1 (PCH) turns right and takes you out of town.
This section of PCH pretty much follows the contours of the very hilly land and is full of many big climbs with many big descents.....over and over and over again. No worries though.....we left the Lompoc Elks Lodge about 11:30 so we had 90 minutes to cover 45 miles. The landscape this time of year is amazingly green and lush.....flowers are blooming and the famously ubiquitous California poppies are in full bloom everywhere. PCH north of Lompoc is initially a divided highway for about half the distance to Oceano, but it narrows to a two lane road, and then that road continues to narrow as you pass through farmland, and then just past Guadalupe it narrows considerably just as you begin the last steep descent into Oceano.....that last 2 mile steep, windy, twisty 7% grade declivity is almost enough to suck the pleasure out of a mostly pleasant drive.
Nevertheless, we arrive just a few minutes later at the entrance to the Ocean Elks Lodge with our composure still intact.....the time is 12:40 pm, so we have about 20 minutes until we can access our site (#29).....we use the time wisely unloading the car, and talking to the gentleman in site #27.....all the sites are back-in sites, and we are hoping we have been assigned 28, 29, 30, or 31 as they are all well over 60 feet long and will be easy for us to enter. As it turns out, we are assigned #29, and are backed into it within 5 minutes.....several folks walk over to congratulate us on how well TLE and I worked together to get into the site.....she has really gotten good at giving me directions via our 'walkie talkies'.....I just listen while she directs and follow her instructions to the letter. After 6 years of getting in and out of some very tight spaces it does not seem extraordinary to us anymore, but we always appreciate the praise.....who doesn't, right?
Within 30 minutes we are hooked up to the water and electric (30 amp) have our awning mats deployed along with a couple of chairs and decide to walk one block down Pier Street to take a long walk on the local beach......we are just one mile from Pismo Beach State Park were there are large sand dunes.