Carefully—very carefully—we hitched up and drove a few miles to Dos Picos County Park, where we spent a couple of nights moving back in and reacquainting ourselves with our little home on wheels.
We vacillated for a couple of days about whether to travel Highway 395 through the Sierra Nevada mountains or head to the California Coast on our trajectory north. (We avoid I-5; it’s the most direct route, but also boring and heavily trafficked.)
Fickle weather in the mountains made the decision for us, and we went to sleep comfortable with our plan of heading to Tehachapi, and then to Morro Bay and beyond. It’s a very good route to take, because it circumnavigates most of the insane traffic of southern California. But Mother Nature intervened.
An Unexpected Change Of Plans
I sensed Eric standing over me in the early morning light. “I have bad news,” he said. I opened one eye. “We can’t go to Tehachapi. There are severe wind and dust storms along our route through the Mojave Desert. We have to go through L.A.” THAT got my attention.
The entire time we were in San Diego, we only had to make one trip through the nightmare of Los Angeles traffic. It was a necessary expedition to transport Eric’s mother’s ashes to her final resting place (she had been in a closet for several years, patiently waiting for the cemetery to reopen after some legal ridiculousness). That was the most terrifying traffic experience of my life, and I swore that I would never, ever drive in Los Angeles again.
We hitched up and I steeled my nervous system for the journey. Miracle of miracles, it was without incident. We sailed smoothly up the freeway, encountered no kamikaze drivers, and arrived in peaceful Ojai within several hours. I wish I could tell you that it was because we planned the timing perfectly, or because it was a specific day of the week. We have no idea why the trip was so easy. But I can tell you that we were very happy.
Peaceful Ojai, California
We’ve wanted to visit Ojai for years, and our two days there gave us a taste of the serene beauty of this delightful little town. We stayed in a lovely county park at Lake Casitas, explored the picturesque downtown, shopped the fantastic farmers’ market, visited the peaceful sanctuary of Meditation Mount and enjoyed a delicious tapas lunch downtown at Azu.
It wasn’t nearly enough time—there’s a lot to do in Ojai and the surrounding area. We’ll definitely return, although we’ll come in from the north—we’re not counting on good traffic karma for a return visit.
A Short Stop At One Of Our Favorite Central Coast Campgrounds
Our next stop on our way up the coast was a revisit to El Chorro Regional Park—our favorite location for exploring nearby San Luis Obispo, Montana de Oro State Park, and Morro Bay. This time, we were here only two nights, but it was enough for long walks on Morro Rock Beach, saying hello to the flotilla of otters in the bay, and a hike in the fog at beautiful Montana de Oro. It feels great to be back on the road.