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High Surf at Carpinteria

The big waves of yesterday got bigger. We woke today to find the parking area wet between our row and the "front" row of campsites that border the beach. Around 5 a.m. a giant wave came all the way up the beach and splashed into some of the campsites. No damage at all, but it got everyone's attention. The state police beach patrol came by to tell us they were expecting more high surf when high tide arrived at 11:50 a.m. By noon, everyone had moved out of the front row to higher and drier ground.

carpinteria big waves.jpg

The incredible waves made the beach uninhabitable later in the morning, but we did get in a little time earlier to play and marvel at the pounding, churning water. Emma tried her best to hold them back but the waves wouldn't listen.

carpinteria emma waves.jpg

We met up with a fellow named Manuel who was camping for Christmas with his two teenage boys. Manuel has been coming to Carpinteria for over thirty years, and even he was impressed by the surge of water. So we all stood as close as possible to the high water mark to chat and act brave, and then got chased back repeatedly as random waves completely covered the beach.

Manual was fascinated to hear about life in Vermont, how cold it is back home right now (15 degrees F), how early the snow arrives, how much land we used to own (11.6 acres -- in his area it would cost millions for a parcel that large), etc. We agreed that standing in shorts and t-shirts on the beach was an ideal way to spend Christmas. Santa can come in on a surfboard this year.

I want to meet with some folks in the Los Angeles area before Christmas, so we headed out around noon with the intention of reaching a state park in Huntington Beach. On the way we stopped at the Channel Islands National Park visitor center, and then of course we got mired in traffic as we got closer to L.A. Finally, after parking on I-405 for half an hour, we bailed out and got mired in even more traffic on city streets. Two hours later, we gave up completely, having managed to cover only 10 miles since we entered the traffic.

L.A. is not a friendly place for RVs. We knew it would be bad, but not THIS bad. Our timing couldn't be worse: rush hour the week before Christmas. We couldn't even park and rest because every parking lot was full of shoppers. We tried I-405 again but it was still jammed. That's when I said, "If we could just find a place to park, I'd quit this and try again tomorrow." And suddenly ... a Wal-Mart appeared.

We took it as a sign. So here we are. It's not glamorous but it beats the alternative. We talked to the security guard (we asked if overnight parking was OK, and he said "I get off at midnight and I'm not calling the tow truck,"), walked around the corner for Mexican food, picked up a few items at the Wal-Mart, and settled in. Tomorrow is another chance at L.A. traffic.


Chicken soup anyone? --so sorry 'bout your cold. Hope you feel better soon. If Eleanor & Emma were traveling in Vermont, they'd be slipping on the icy roads! -Just something to cheer you up.

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