Saturday, May 13, 2006

A day at the beach

We are parked adjacent to the beach, along the Rincon Parkway (map).  We've passed this spot a number of times, noting the row of RV's parked along the beach, and promised ourselves that we would give it a try someday.  Our schedule yesterday made this a perfect stopping point.

The Rincon Parkway here is also the alignment for CA-1, the Pacific Coast Highway.  This section has largely been bypassed by the Ventura Freeway, US-101 just a few dozen yards away.  Before the freeway was built, US-101 followed this same alignment, and the pavement is very wide here.  After the traffic shifted to the new freeway, Ventura County re-striped the roadway for one travel lane in each direction, with a nice bicycle lane on either side, and then marked off the remainder of the pavement on the ocean side for RV parking.  The spaces are about 40' long, so Odyssey just fits (though parallel-parking was a bit tricky).  Parking is $21 per day, with a five day limit.  The county calls them "metered" spaces, but it's a fixed daily rate, and one places payment in an envelope deposited in an iron ranger, just as at a park.

Even though we are nose-to-tail with rigs on either end of us, and the 100+ spaces here are mostly full, we have nothing on either side of us, so the experience is very pleasant.  On our curb side is the ocean, about ten feet below us down a rip-rap embankment.  On our street side is the PCH, which is virtually untraveled here, and adjacent to that are the train tracks, which carry Amtrak's Pacific Surfliners and Coast Starlight, as well as some UP freight.  The only sounds we heard at night were the constant roar of the surf and the occasional passing of a train, both sounds that we find very pleasant (though I know that not everyone shares this view).  The 101 freeway is far enough away that we did not hear the traffic over the surf.

Yesterday's drive down highway 1 was quite pleasant and scenic, even though the marine-layer fog never really burned off.  It was fairly slow going as we picked our way through the very twisty sections at the southernmost end of Monterey County.  Single vehicles over 40' in length are not permitted here, for good reason, and even with Odyssey's short wheelbase, we found ourselves off-tracking over the center and fog lines on a good number of turns.  Other than having to turn out frequently to allow following traffic to pass, we had no problems, though.  I remember coming up this stretch of road a couple dozen years ago on an MCI-7, which, at 40' long and 96" wide is about Odyssey's size, but with a much longer wheelbase.  That coach was a stick-shift, though, and the driver was working hard the whole trip.

Today we will turn inland at Ventura, and leave the Pacific behind.

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