Sunday, February 17, 2008

Welcome new readers from Hitch Itch! (see links)

We've now been in Pismo Beach, Grover Beach, and Arroyo Grande, Ca for the last few days. One of the reasons for that is that the 'charging module' on my power converter in the camper seems to have ceased functioning, making the charging of batteries somewhat more difficult. So we finally found an RV service place in Pismo Beach that has ordered the parts, so we are hanging around to hopefully get it installed on Monday - even though I'm told it's President's Day. But maybe only the banks are closed?

To save hassles finding good camp spots nearby in this mecca of campers, it was decided to bite the bullet and stay right in Pismo State Beach campground - and I can actually see the RV dealer's sign from my campsite.
But there is no power or other services supplied here, so it is also packed with generators. Last night, the disadvantage of being in a paid campsite became very evident - at 1230 AM! Some yahoos had moved in next to me - in tents. And it has been getting quite cold at night, so this bunch, who must have had electric heaters in their tents, decided that they could stay warm only if they ran their generator all night! Now, generators are not allowed past 8, and quiet time begins at 10. And this was NOT just one of the quiet little Honda generators like mine, this was a full-on construction site model and it was going full bore. Before calling in the troops, I decided on a little (Canadian) peacekeeping diplomacy. I approached the 4 tents of people and asked if they could please turn it off. There was no response ( they also must have had industrial strength hearing protection on - or have been very, very drunk, or both), so that called for plan B which involved a spark plug wire. So I tiptoed off to try to sleep once again, noticing all the silent cheering from adjacent campsites.
As might be expected, it only took them 20 minutes to notice the deafening silence, and the cold, and they got it running again. So then, I had no choice ( not being boondocking like I should have been!), but to call in an air strike, err Ranger. Plan C which was not required due to the prompt response for an air strike, involved wire cutters. To make matters worse, I had a touch of the flu, or some food poisoning, so it was not a great night.

One area of the beach ( and dunes?) just down the road allows ATV's and trucks on the beach, so many of my fellow campers are decked out with big, jacked up 4x4 trucks, full of ATV's with the requisite flags. There is a regular procession of these rigs, with tires half flat for traction, heading into town each evening to fuel up and pump up the tires again.
Did not think to get any god pics of them, but will try tomorrow if there is time and see what I can come up with. There also seems to be a lot of pit bull type dogs around here ... At least they are all on leashes, so Harley does not have to teach any of them manners!

There is a huge pier in the middle of town, that must be close to a half mile long. So you can walk out there and watch the surfers from above, as well as seeing the back sides of the waves, all without getting wet. Downtown is very surfer-oriented, with some obviously famous eateries, with lines stretching along the block to get in.

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Pismo Beach is also about the biggest wintering areas for the Monarch butterflies in the US, and the grove they like is right at the edge of the campground, literally less than 100 yards from my camp. They tend to stay in the tops of the tall trees, however, so taking good photos without a telephoto is pretty tough. The literature says that there were 230,000 of them in the late 90's, and last years count was only 22,000. Not sure if they have died off, or whether more of them have decided to head for Mexico? How to they count them, you ask? I'm guessing 'mark and re-capture' as there are ways to tag them, apparently.

In the morning, I was trying to see if I could spot any of these long distance flyers in the trees - with my head still on the pillow. When I gave up, and opened the door in the morning, I found that one had come to pay a visit and was sitting on the tailgate of the truck. He looked a little groggy because it was so cold.
I was sure hoping to get out of here today and get back out in the sticks where there are no people around, but the RV place prevented that in a big way. Even though I was there at 1PM for the half hour job, they still quit right at 5, and even after I had been running around town for parts they needed for the job. To make matters worse, they left me with NO power in the camper for lights, water, heat or anything else. So I had to do my own quick jury-rigged repair to get systems working at least for the night. Beginning to think I should have just done the whole job myself. Hopefully tomorrow we will finally get back on the road where we belong!

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