Friday, April 29, 2022

From Airstream Driveway Mooching to Beach at Carlsbad, California

Driveway Mooching at Carlsbad, California
Two weeks of driveway mooching--quiet and private
This was my last bicycle ride along the Pacific Ocean, so I made sure I would savor the experience. Six days of traveling in our 16-foot Airstream Basecamp (five overnighters) landed my wife and me in Carlsbad, California, for thirteen nights of driveway mooching at her parents' cul-de-sac, quiet residence. We've planned for another five overnighters at different RV parks to get home, but first while my wife was gone for the day at a business meeting, I wanted one more day of riding the five and a half mile route along the ocean to Carlsbad State Park Campground. Since it was my last day ride this trip, I wanted to stop for every whim and gaze at every vista.

The morning began with the lightest misting rain, but that burned off before my departure. It was just part and parcel of the Carlsbad experience, walking out in the morning to a gray, overcast sky, the lightest mist of precipitation cool to the skin, the faint smell of the briny ocean perfuming the breeze off the ocean. I rode at a steady but easy clip, enjoying the sights, especially once I dropped off the hills above the ocean and reached the beach area. Carlsbad has a long paved sidewalk that skirts the beach, and the road along the ocean includes well-planned bicycle lanes for each direction, north and south, miles and miles of bicycling and walking opportunities. 

I headed south toward my destination of Carlsbad State Park. Although there are hills, none are excessive and the ride is easy. At several points there are long stretches of parallel parking available for beach goers, a bike lane next to the parked cars, but with a safe zone between so bicyclists don't get "doored." Along this stretch, I saw a tiny, homemade "standy" trailer parked, a "for sale" sign on its side. I rode by, admiring the craftsmanship, but then turned back to ask for a photo and maybe to ask a few questions. 

Tiny trailer at Carlsbad, California
Homemade tiny trailer/toy hauler
Warren Jackson, from Virginia, had bought himself an EZ Hauler trailer and then built his custom dream trailer inside the aluminum shell. What he ended up with was a tiny toy hauler with the rear tailgate door dropping down to make a deck for his lawnchair. The inside included a bed, TV and electronics up front, and a sink, portable toilet, and space for a portable stove. He also had installed 640 watts of solar power on the roof so that he could run his little air conditioner. The strength of the exterior aluminum shell and the exquisite custom interior woodwork were certainly pluses. He was moving to Europe, which was why the trailer and his F-150 Ford truck were for sale. 

Tiny trailer at Carlsbad, California
A toy hauler capacity with a back deck
Tiny trailer at Carlsbad, California
Beautifully finished interior
We chatted for a while, talking construction and pricing. Since I write this blog about tiny and little trailers, he was curious about pricing, saying he was asking $27,000 for the trailer. I told him that since the trailer was a bit larger than many tiny trailers, especially with the flat roof which enabled standing its entire length and with the big solar kit, the price wasn't unreasonable. I felt the bed set-up, which was twin size, would certainly be limited for a traveling couple. That could be worked around, though. I wished Warren well and continued on my way. 

After a bit more riding, passing beach volleyballers stretching and warming up and surfers out beyond the swells sitting their boards, I crested the next hill and stopped at a traffic light. A young man at a commuter bus stop asked me a question, rapidly speaking Spanish. I responded, ¿Que? He asked if I spoke Spanish. Un poquito, I said. ¿Ingl├ęs? he asked. When I nodded, the young man said he was up from Mexico, meeting friends, but his cellphone was dead and he needed to find out where the McDonalds was where he was to meet them. We searched on my phone and found the McDonalds he needed was just three tenths of a mile away, across the ocean highway and over an overpass to cross the freeway. He gave me a "Thank you, sir," and I was on my way.

This bicycle ride today was much easier for me because I knew my route, having traveled it several times already. Carlsbad State Park is dominated by the Pacific Ocean, the campground on the bluffs above the ocean. The campground is also close to the four-lane ocean frontage road, but even that manmade reality does not overshadow the ocean. I meandered along the camping strip this trip, and snapped a few photos of interesting rigs after chatting with owners. Quite a variety of rigs were showcased at the campground, which has almost completely primitive sites, without water or electricity. The campground does have modern restrooms, available spigots, and dump stations, though. A few solar arrays were in view, and the sound of a few generators also filled the air as the campers got on with their day. 

CampInn at Carlsbad State Park
A nice CampInn
Airstream at Carlsbad State Park
A classic Airstream at Carlsbad SP
Rooftop tent at Carlsbad State Park
A Thule rooftop and a 3/4 surround shade tent
Retro brand tiny trailer at Carlsbad State Park
The Retro trailers: as the owner said, "Everything you need in a small space."
Although it would be hard to beat my driveway mooching camp spot at my in-laws, I have to admit the camping right on the ocean would be special. With the Basecamp, I could back in and then open up the rear door for a spectacular "backyard" experience of the ocean. My solar panels would keep me in energy, although if we came in the winter and it were foggy or rainy, then a portable generator would certainly be handy. 

Heading back home, since my wife Sandy was at a business meeting for the day, I stopped at the Harbor Fish Cafe in Carlsbad for lunch, sitting on a cement bench on the bluff above the ocean, eating my fish and chips (a unique meal for my primarily vegetarian self), enjoying the slight breeze off the sea, the pelicans flying by in stately formation, and me humorously keeping an eye out for hungry seagulls swooping down. It was a grand last day on my bike, one in which I had finally felt more comfortably at home in the town, freeway driving aside. 

Pacific Ocean, Carlsbad Beach, California
What greater views for a bicycle day ride?
Yes, I could get used to this--bike rides with ocean views, walks on the beach with my sweet wife, the perfect camping spot to driveway mooch, and a state park for camping on the bluffs above the ocean (as long as you reserve six months in advance). Now that we've driven the 1,800+ miles, maybe it will be easier to do again. Logistically speaking, the Nissan Pathfinder and the Airstream Basecamp performed like champs, and speaking of champs, Sandy took to driving the trailer like a trooper. 

Like all good trips, there is the joy of taking off and also the joy of arriving back home. We'll get back home in time to enjoy our asparagus season and spring garden planting. The world is a rich and varied treasure trove of beauty and wonder. Carlsbad, California, and the Pacific Ocean, in the spring, morning light burning through the faint ocean misting fog, this has been a special trip and a special time. I can truthfully say this trip has not only been a vacation experience; it has been a spiritual experience, recreation in the deepest sense of the word.

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2 comments:

  1. I wish I could travel the way I see on YouTube!

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    Replies
    1. YouTube shows a lot--sometimes an "enhanced perspective" and sometimes not. I wish you the best of luck in your travels. :)

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