Camping At Big Sur - A Story - Chapter One…

BigSur-CharlesManson-PacificCoastHighway 1 I haven’t been up the Pacific Coast Highway in years, 1968 was the last time I had laid eyes on this scenic wonder.

That time, it was in a VW Bug and a tent, this time its an SUV and an Airstream, but I’m older and “roughing it” is only a fond memory and not a very realistic option now.

The surf and the cliffs are the same, the wild flowers and the tall grasses flow back and forth with the breeze just as they did way back then.

This trip is to be my swan song before I’m too old to appreciate it. And as I pulled into one of the many campsites along the coast, I spied a man already encamped with only a tarpaulin tent and a dilapidated VW camper van, a healthy fire burning in a pit nearby.

BigSur-CharlesManson-PacificCoastHighway 2
“Well, hello there”, said the man perched on a log next to the fire.

“Hello”, I said.

“You just pulled in?” he said.

“Yeah; you been here long?” I asked, wondering if my arrival would disrupt the serene campsite he had made for himself.

“Been camping for a view days, yeah.” this man said, bending down as he carved lines in the sand with a stick.

“Where you headed?” he asked, not looking up.

“No where, really, just doing the Coast Highway tour” I offered.

“Yep, me too”, he responded, a hint of nostalgia in his voice.

“You made this trip before?” I enquired.

“Long time ago; in the late 60s” he spoke as he pulled up a log for me.

“Thanks but I’d better get the RV settled first. Will you be around tomorrow?”
offering a polite refusal for this evening.

“Yeah, I ain’t goin’ no where fast.” he said.

“Okay then, I’ll see you tomorrow.” I said.

“Okay, have a good night.” he offered.

“Thanks, I’m sure I will. Nothing like falling asleep to ocean waves breaking on shore, huh?” I confessed.

“You’re right there. Nothing like it.” he replied, not one for small talk, obviously.

As I got back into my Jeep and manoeuvred the Airstream into position, the old man I had just met kicked sand into his fire and retired into the tent for the night.

I thought having the company of one wouldn’t be bad at all. He seemed like a harmless fellow and we were on the same quest, it would probably be a good thing.

As the waves lapped over the sand below us, the last of the BigSur-CharlesManson-PacificCoastHighway 3 sunset dipped below the horizon, another perfect California day come to an end.





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L to R: Charles Manson - Charles "Tex" Watson - Bobby Beausoleil - Bruce Davis - Susan Atkins - Patricia Krenwinkel - Leslie van Houten