That was the first thing that I heard in the morning. It took me a second to understand that I wasn’t dreaming, it was cold and I guessed that it was early morning. I had to start think fast because I already guested that it was a voice of a police officer and I camped at one of the turnouts of the Big Sur.
“I wouldn’t sleep here if I had a choice”
This honest answer is the first thing that came to my mind. After being a pathological liar in my childhood I learned that saying the truth is actually the easiest, you just don’t need to remember so much. But then I came to another realization – truth can be something very personal and not the same for everybody. In this case I didn’t mean lie to a cop, sleeping in a motel or campgrounds wasn’t an option for me, I hated it and it was a waste of money.
When I put my pants on and got out of the tent I continued to explain why I decided to camp here. How I was tired from the gusts and didn’t want to put my self in a danger and also my backlight stopped working, so it wasn’t safe to drive in the dark. About how much I was angry about the fact that I couldn’t find a place to sleep in the forest because all the fences with signs “KEEP OUT! PRIVATE PROPERTY!” I decided to keep for myself, even if I still couldn’t understand how is that possible.
So the conversation with the cop shifted from the issue of me sleeping on the side of the road to talking about what can be wrong with my lights. That was much more convenient for me and soon he left me alone to enjoy the tranquility of the morning on the shore of the Pacific Ocean. I packed my tent to avoid another conversation with nice but annoying representatives of stupid laws and quietly ate breakfast and had a cup of coffee. I wasn’t in a hurry, the goal for today was to get to the Sequoia forest and find a nice place to camp and avoid the last night situation.
The morning night through the Big Sur was much nicer then the evening one, I didn’t have a strong cross winds and the angle of light allowed me to see much better the beauty of the rocks cutting into the ocean right beneath me. And before I left the 101 I had another pleasant surprise – a colony of elephant seals was chilling near San Simeon.
It was fun to watch these fat clumsy animals paled on each other on the tiny beach trying to get some sun and warm up. It wasn’t very hot near the ocean, but as soon as I started to go east towards the Sequoia forest the heat reminded me that I’m in Southern California.
The rest of the day I was driving through the mountains, the valley with its endless orchards and then mountains again entering the forest. When I stopped to buy a new light bulb for the backlight I realized how many Mexicans in the area, because the entire store spoke Spanish, customers and staff. Apparently Americans here don’t really fix their cars by themselves and also cannot pick the fruits they grow. It’s very sad for this nation I thought.
The next 24 hours I spent in the nature – camping on a beautiful mountain, swimming in the river, walking near giant sequoia trees and having a beautiful ride going up and down the mountains. And on Friday I arrived to my weekend stop in Visalia with Barry, Jeremy’s cousin (my host from San Francisco) and it was wonderful and relaxing hospitality in his house 20 minutes away from the city, surrounded by almond trees. He even took me to Shabbat services in the local tiny but very warm reform synagogue. The rest of the time we had nice conversations or I just read by the pool. I needed a lot of energy for the next few days because I scheduled for myself motorcycle maintenance, for the first time in my life I had to change tires and I heard it’s not easy.