Really? We can just camp right here?
Coming right off a trip to Pismo, where we thought it was pretty weird to see people camping on a beach, we followed by being people who camp in a parking lot on the beach. We had walked through the Seacliff campground a few years ago, while staying at New Brighton. Our thought at the time was that it seemed really weird and not terribly appealing to be sitting in a parking lot, no matter how nice the view was. And yet, it is among the hardest campgrounds to reserve, so clearly we were in the minority. And at some point, while searching for reservations, I found an open spot and must have figured what the hell. It’s an experience to try.
So weird, but so fun!
I really was not expecting to like it, let alone love it. But yeah, we’d go back any day! It probably helped that the site next to us was closed, perhaps because it was next to the camp host? I did try to imagine whether it would be less fun if there were big rigs on both sides. But we sure did enjoy what we had.
It’s not really possible to be closer to the waves than at this place, and I seriously wonder whether campers ever get doused by a big one. Even with my hearing aids out, I could hear the surf and even feel the vibrations through the walls. It’s powerful stuff and ‘awesome’ is the word that captures it best.
And evening view
On the other hand, it was super weird. You are literally right on display for beach goers and walkers using the trail that runs the length of the campground. The only thing keeping people a minimal distance away is the existence of painted white lines on the pavement representing campsite boundaries. And the Alto is such a magnet, people just could not resist the urge to come right up. A lot of the time, this was pretty funny because they can’t really see through the tinted glass windows. So they didn’t know we were sitting right inside as they stood and stared, or took pictures, or made arm gestures to whomever they were with regarding how the roof must go up and down. It would have been fun to have kept a tally. Extra points for approaching the windows with hands around faces to peer inside. When we were sitting outside, we got frequent questions and I passed out several calling cards. This is not the place you want to go if you’re looking to get away from it all. Or if you’re in an ‘I hate people’ kind of mood. It’s party town.
Not too crowded on the beach.
As for safety, we didn’t have any close encounters, but we did notice not everyone out walking was masked. A couple people asked for peeks inside but were understanding when I politely declined. And lots of campers liked to stroll up and down the walkway, striking up conversation as they went. They respected the white lines though and almost all the campers were masked.
One amusing encounter was with a couple whose son owns an Alto. I asked his name, figuring he might be in the facebook group. Sure enough he was! Shout out to the owner of “Riggie Smalls.” Your parents are super nice.
Richard went on a bike ride and I just stared at the waves really. We spotted some dolphins that we were told are actually porpoises. That was fun to see!
You cannot beat the sunset views.
Meanwhile, table mod conversations continue. Richard was disappointed not to have gotten some new particle board fasteners in time to try for this weekend. Our next iteration will be to reinforce the mounting of the pedestal receiver to the wooden base, and lighten the weight of the slide assembly by changing out for less beefy hardware. If that doesn’t work, our next idea is to change out the particle board wooden base for a sandwich of thin metal sheets over a polyurethane cutting board and then use bolts that go all the way through. It is striking how many people are modding the table. There’s the Lagun crowd, of which we were once members, and a downsize-the-table-top crowd, and now there is a remove-the-table-completely crowd. Here’s the thing, I think to have a table that can also be used as a base for the single bed option up front, the table that comes standard is the best all around approach in terms of simplicity, weight, tow-ability, and ease of use. I think for most users, that setup is just fine. But for those of us who like to mod things, there is a holy grail we are chasing in finding a way to facilitate getting in and out of the sitting area, particularly on the driver’s side, while keeping the utility of such a nice, big surface area. I’m still not sure what the optimal approach might be, but I’ll keep you posted on our experiments.
Obligatory reflection shot.
And while we’re talking about that, it seems we are on a roll with breaking things. A side turn signal light lost its cover on the last trip, so that’s a fix it job. Plus, we turned a fasten down knob on the BFW strut too hard and broke that too. Dang. So that got added to an order we placed with Safari Condo that includes pieces of an Alto that we hope will be enough to fix Dory’s butt so that she can seal properly when she moves into our back yard. Exciting things on the horizon! We just have to maybe tone it down on the breaking things for a while.
Total miles: 89.6, 2 hours 20 min with traffic at the end, 16.4 mpg. Site B3 no hookups. Excellent solar because parking lot. Fairly good cell service for both but not enough to upload photos to WordPress. No dump, so go to New Brighton. Bathrooms were open but we didn’t use them.