El Capitan Campground, CA

(written offline in my tent) This marked my first full week on the road. Before leaving Lompoc this morning, I had to stock up on supplies. There were no towns for about 50 miles, and my intention was to camp sooner than that. So I needed lunch, dinner, and breakfast for the next day. Also, there were 3 big climbs for the day, so I couldn’t dally long. In anticipation of all this, I got up at 5:03 am. The ground having a hard bump right where my hip went may have had something to do with it. My camp by the side of the road was far more comfortable.

I remember stopping in Lompoc on a bike tour with Stewart Lee 31 years ago, but as I recall, the ground was more comfortable, and the site was free.

campfire
It was too dark to start packing up, so I decided to light the campfire. Just a few sticks; I knew I would have to douse it in an hour or two.
von's in lompoc
Lompoc is big enough to have a Von’s (Safeway). I got bananas there, AAA batteries, and two apple fritters.

I stopped at Subway on the way out. My favorite sandwich is the BMT. The $6 foot-long special for Thursday was BMT. It was a sign. I got one, which would be both my lunch and dinner.  I got out of town at 10:00 am on the nose.

cattle
A common sight on this trip so far. So common, I didn’t think to take a picture. Like the strawberry or lettuce fields, or vineyards. Apologies to non-Californians for overlooking things I consider mundane.
climb out of lompoc
There were 3 steep-looking climbs between Lompoc and the coast on the elevation profile. I had trouble tracking which climb I was on, as they didn’t seem that steep. At this point, I thought my climbing was over, and that it wasn’t so bad. I was wrong.
summit after lompoc
It was a grind getting to this, the true summit, which I reached just a little before noon. Due to the cooler morning, and a nice tailwind, I did not need to use the granny at all, nor rest on hills. The descent from here, including a segment on Highway 101, was fast, but not treacherous like Cuesta Grade.
rest stop
There was a nice rest stop partway down the hill. “Craig,” a person I met there, took this picture. I gave him a card, but unfortunately, didn’t think to take his picture. He was going camping, himself. The rest stop was pleasant and breezy. I had half my BMT there, and a banana.
Mike and Janice
I also met Mike and Janice there, Mike had ridden the Pacific Coast Route 2 years ago. We exchanged cards. They run an organic foods business called Pure Real Food
El Capitan sign
Gaviota State beach seemed too close, and even at Refugio, I felt I had a little more energy. So I went to El Capitan, 8 miles before Goleta.

El Capitan was a lovely park, and only $10 for a spot in the hiker/biker group area. The campsite turned out to be a 1.5 mile backtrack along the frontage of the railroad tracks – the most remote part of the park, it seemed. At least I could wave to the passing Amtrak trains as they went by. There was a store in the park, but it seemed to be closed for the season.

I had the entire group area to myself – too bad, because one of the main reasons to camp is to meet other travelers. It was cool and breezy, making tent setup a little more difficult than usual.

There was a bathroom 200 steps away from my tent, which had individual unisex bathrooms and showers. It was 25 cents for the shower. I could have probably made it on one coin, but waited until the water was no longer freezing cold to jump in. It was cool and refreshing, then warm by the end of the first quarter. I had already washed the shampoo out of my hair by then, but used more shampoo to wash all over, then dropped another quarter for a rinse off and luxury soak. Felt wonderful to be clean. This was the first shower since Linda’s house.

HPIM3804s.jpg
This was my dinner, the second half of my BMT. I ordered it on 9-grain, and omitted tomatoes, pickles, onions, and the oil-and-vinegar that I would usually put on it. The idea was not to have a sandwich that would get soggy when kept for a while. I also had one of the apple fritters for dessert.

The wind got much stronger at dusk. The tent started to move, even though I had all the doors open, and all my gear was weighing it down. My body was enough to keep the tent in place, but overnight, I could feel the tent being tipped slightly by wind gusts.

Miles: 32 (estimate)

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