August 10: San Luis Obispo County
A Typical Day  (Layover Day)

Our log entries for this adventure have spoken primarily of movement and the impressions gathered as a result of that movement. Little information has been offered regarding the mechanics of the journey.

For starters, just what exactly is a Melmobile? When last this walk was done, in 1996, the Ford Motor Company gave Coastwalk the use of a van. This time around we were on our own. There are 10 of us; we occasionally have a few day or section hikers, and Mel Savage is our driver. Thus, we determined that we needed a 15 passenger van. This could carry all of us plus haul our existing gear trailer, a Wells Cargo enclosed model. The Suntrek touring company routinely sells off its used van stock, and Richard Nichols and Linda Hanes looked over those available and chose ours. It is a 1997 Dodge Ram 3500 that has proven adequate to the task. We have had two major mechanical situations come up: the differential seal and plug were replaced and the front brakes redone. Other than these two items, it has been reliable. As has Mel, as a safe and courteous driver.

There are a lot of tasks and responsibilities associated with getting 10 people, 1200 miles on a fixed schedule. Diana Savage is overall on-site coordinator. Her responsibility is to make sure that we all get where we should be, at the right time. She does an admirable job.

Before we started Max Stein drew up a task list. From his past experience on many Coastwalks, he had a good idea of the sorts of tasks that needed to be done during the day. The 10 jobs on the list are rotated weekly.

So here is a typical day:

In the morning our work revolves around meeting either a 7:30 or so departure time if we must be transported to the day?s starting point, or 8:00 if we are merely walking out of camp. The breakfast prep person starts that work at 6:00. Burners are lit; the coffee pot and tea pot are started, and water for dish washing is also started. The plastic bin that holds most breakfast supplies is hauled out of the wagon. At the same time lunch prep is begun: we each make up our own lunches from supplies on the trailer. The lunch bin is hauled out. There are gorp, fruit, cookies, sandwich makings, leftovers, etc. to choose from. The 100 qt. ice chest is hauled out of the wagon to be opened. As they eagerly await the coffee, the rest of the walkers are either eating breakfast, making up their lunch or breaking down their camping gear.

In theory camp is completely broken down, lunch fixings put away and all the breakfast stuff cleaned up and in the trailer at the approximate same appointed time. This is generally 40 minutes before scheduled departure time. Max then climbs up onto the van?s roof rack and, in his role of permanent equipment handler, stows away our large duffle bags so they will not fly off as we travel along or get wet if it is foggy.

Once at the day?s starting point, we meet our day leader if we have one. This is a local person with knowledge of the trail we will be using. On some days, we have none, so one of our group leads, either from personal knowledge from perhaps having done a Coastwalk here before, or because we are in his home county. Sometimes we just head south with Richard and Bob?s book in hand and a prayer in our hearts.

Now, after a couple of months, comes the fun part. We walk. If we are using walking sticks, we retrieve them from under the van's second seat. We?ve reached the point where no one has problems with blisters or weary feet or shin splints, etc. That seemingly is now behind us. When walking, our moving average is about 2.8 miles per hour. Under Diana?s watchful eye, every hour or so we take a short rest, 5 minutes at most, and mid- morning and afternoon a longer snack break of 10 minutes or so. Lunch is a 45 minute stop at some picturesque spot. If we?re road walking this is a time when we try to get off the road. Now that we are down in the southern part of the state, shade is also desired.

While walking, the group stays between the day leader and the assigned ?sweep?, the last person in line. Leader and sweep have a radio for communication with each other. When road walking, we try to stay in a compact group and wear orange-safety vests for high visibility. On trails we tend to spread out so each person is able to walk at his own pace. When on a trail, each time we come to a ?Y?, the last person stays at this junction to pass on to the next person which direction to go until the sweep appears.

Our average walk is about 12 miles a day. If we have walked mostly on the highway, that means that by 1:30 or 2 in the afternoon we are done and ready to be transported to our new camp. If we are off-road and have to search out the trail, our time lengthens considerably. A few times we have ended at 5 or 6 PM. Our end point is predetermined, so Mel in the morning knows where to meet us and at what approximate time. Sometimes we go for a shorter distance, which is nice, and sometimes we are forced to go a greater distance. Our longest day so far was 17.5 miles. All of it was road walking, which is both physically and emotionally tiring. And we?ve had our share of 14, 15 and 16 mile days.

If our tents were dry in the morning, we take a 15 minute breather once in camp before we unload our gear, put up our individual tents and set up our kitchen area. If we had to put away tents wet with dew, the 15 minute rule is not in effect. About 5 PM it is time for the dinner prep and cleanup persons to begin their tasks. Wash basins are set out for washing dishes after dinner. Water is heated for dishwashing, tea and coffee; ice chests are removed from the wagon, and beverages are made available. Occasionally we have been fortunate to have showers in our campground, and people race to the showers to remove the day?s dust and poison oak oil.

So far we have been blessed by having volunteers come to us with wonderful fully prepared dinners of gourmet quality. On the rare occasion when that does not take place, we cook from our larder and left overs or, rarely, go to town for a restaurant meal. Dinner plates and pots and pans are then cleaned up. The last communal chore is to make sure all the edible items are put back inside the trailer, and the trailer closed up so that our four legged nocturnal friends do not have a feast once we are asleep.

Some evenings after dinner, we visit with our friends who brought food for us. Some evenings I read aloud to the group from J. Smeaton Chase, or Janette reads what she has written for her local newspaper. Sometimes, others of us have a poem, or bit of prose to share. Then early to bed, to sleep.

Ah! Sleep. As we rose with the sun, so do we also set with it. Thus we can meet the challenges of the next day with renewed energy. After all, our median age IS 62. (Jon Breyfogle; photos, Linda Hanes)

Left, Breakfast and lunch makings pour out of these containers; Right, J demonstrates some of the unforeseen hazzards of highway walking.  Above, finding the trail can be a challenge.

Address a question to the walkers

Check the walkers' schedule
»June 01 - Del Norte: Getting Ready
»June 02 - Del Norte: Planning the Hike is a Big Deal
»June 03 - Del Norte: We're Off
»June 04 - Del Norte: Reached Crescent City with no blisters yet!
»June 05 - Del Norte: From Crescent City to Damnation Trail Trailhead: 12 miles
»June 06 - Del Norte: On! to the Mouth of the Klamath River
»June 07 - Humboldt Northern: Leaving Del Norte on the Way South
»June 08 - Humboldt Northern: Gold Bluff Beach to Redwood Visitor's Center. 11.5 miles
»June 09 - Humboldt Northern: Redwood Visitor?s Center to Patrick?s Point
»June 10 - Humboldt Northern: Patrick?s Point to ClamBeach. 13.3 miles
»June 11 - Humboldt Northern: Clam Beach to Manila Community Center
»June 12 - Humboldt Northern: Manila to North Spit. 6 miles (12.8 incl. boat)
»June 13 - Humboldt Northern: South Spit of Humboldt Harbor to Table Bluff Beach. 5.2 miles
»June 14 - Humboldt Northern: Table Bluff Beach to Guthrie Creek Trailhead. 13.3 miles
»June 15 - Humboldt Southern: Guthrie Creek Trailhead to Devil?s Gate. 10.8 miles
»June 16 - Humboldt Southern: Devil?s Gate to the mouth of the Mattole
»June 17 - Humboldt Southern: A. W. Way County Park, layover day
»June 18 - Humboldt Southern: Mouth of the Mattole to Spanish Creek
»June 19 - Humboldt Southern: Spanish Creek to Shipman Creek
»June 20 - Humboldt Southern: Shipman Creek to Shelter Cove/Hidden Valley Trailhead
»June 21 - Mendocino: Chemise Mountain to Orchard Camp
»June 22 - Mendocino: Orchard Camp to Little Jackass Creek
»June 23 - Mendocino: Little Jackass Creek to 3 miles past Usal
»June 24 - Mendocino: 3 miles south of Usal to Westport Union Landing State Beach
»June 25 - Mendocino: Westport Union Landing State Beach to MacKerricher State Park
»June 26 - Mendocino: Layover Day in Fort Brgg
»June 27 - Mendocino: MacKerricher State Park to Point Cabrillo Lighthouse
»June 28 - Mendocino: Pt. Cabrillo Lighthouse to Buckhorn Cove
»June 29 - Mendocino: Mendocino County: near Buckhorn Cove (MP 46.3) to Elk
»June 30 - Mendocino: Elk to Stoneboro Road
»July 01 - Mendocino: Mendocino County. Stoneboro Road to Schooner Gulch
»July 02 - Mendocino: Mendocino County. Schooner Gulch to the Sonoma County line
»July 03 - Mendocino: Layover day at Sea Ranch
»July 04 - Sonoma: Meet the Hikers : Linda and Diana (and we-couldn't-do- it-without-you Mel)
»July 04 - Sonoma: Gualala Visitor?s Center to Stewart?s Point
»July 05 - Sonoma: Stewart?s Point to Salt Point State Park
»July 06 - Sonoma: Salt Point State Park to Fort Ross State Park
»July 07 - Sonoma: Reef Camp at Fort Ross to the Jenner River
»July 08 - Sonoma: Russian River to Campbell Cove on Bodega Head
»July 09 - Marin: West end Doran Beach Road to Lawson?s Landing
»July 10 - Marin: Dillon Beach to Tomales Bay State Park (Heart?s Desire Beach).
»July 11 - Marin: Meet the Hikers: Jon and J
»July 11 - Marin: Olema Layover Day
»July 11 - Marin: Laundry, Reading and Writing
»July 12 - Marin: Tomales Bay State Park, to the American Youth Hostel near Limantour Beach
»July 13 - Marin: Youth Hostel at Limantour to Palo Marin trailhead.
»July 14 - Marin: Marin County. Palo Marin trailhead to Pan Toll.
»July 15 - Marin: Pan Toll to Rodeo Lagoon
»July 16 - San Francisco: Rodeo Lagoon to the South End of the Golden Gate Bridge
»July 17 - San Francisco: Layover Day in San Francisco
»July 18 - San Francisco: South End of the Golden Gate Bridge to Fort Funston.
»July 19 - San Mateo: A Day with the Hikers
»July 19 - San Mateo: Fort Funston to Rockaway Beach
»July 20 - San Mateo: Rockaway Beach to Francis State Beach
»July 21 - San Mateo: Francis State Beach to the San Gregorio Country Store
»July 22 - San Mateo: San Gregorio Store to Pigeon Point Lighthouse
»July 23 - San Mateo: Pigeon Point Lighthouse to Waddell Creek.
»July 24 - Santa Cruz: Waddell Creek to Laguna Creek
»July 25 - Santa Cruz: Laguna Creek (Wilder Ranch State Park) to Downtown Santa Cruz
»July 26 - Santa Cruz: Layover Day, Santa Cruz Hostel
»July 27 - Santa Cruz: Downtown Santa Cruz to Manresa State Beach
»July 28 - Monterey Northern: Manresa to Moss Landing
»July 29 - Monterey Northern: Moss Landing to Marina State Beach.
»July 30 - Monterey Northern: Marina State Beach to Asilomar
»July 31 - Monterey Northern: Asilomar to Point Lobos
»August 01 - Monterey Northern: Point Lobos to Bixby Bridge. 11.5 miles
»August 02 - Monterey Northern: Layover day at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
»August 03 - Monterey Northern: Bixby Bridge to Andrew Molera State Park.
»August 04 - Monterey Southern: Andrew Molera State Park to Partington Cove.
»August 05 - Monterey Southern: Partington Cove to Mile Post 23.6
»August 06 - Monterey Southern: Mile Post 23.6 to Gorda
»August 07 - Monterey Southern: Gorda to Salmon Creek via the Cruikshank and Buckeye Trails
»August 08 - San Luis Obispo Northern: Salmon Creek to Ragged Point Inn
»August 09 - San Luis Obispo Northern: Ragged Point to Vista Point 4, just south of Point Piedras Blancas
»August 10 - San Luis Obispo Northern: A Typical Day
»August 10 - San Luis Obispo Northern: A Coastwalk Perspective on the Hearst Ranch
»August 11 - San Luis Obispo Northern: Vista Point 4 to Shamel County Park
»August 12 - San Luis Obispo Northern: Shamel County Park to Villa Creek
»August 13 - San Luis Obispo Northern: Villa Creek to Morro Bay
»August 14 - San Luis Obispo Northern: Morro Bay to Moñtana de Oro.
»August 15 - San Luis Obispo Southern: Layover day or Foothill Road to Avila Beach
»August 16 - San Luis Obispo Southern: Avila Beach to Pismo Beach State Park
»August 17 - San Luis Obispo Southern: Pismo Beach to Guadalupe Beach
»August 18 - Santa Barbara Western: Guadalupe Dunes to mile post 2.82 on Brown Road
»August 19 - Santa Barbara Western: Brown Road to Lompoc-Casmalia Road/San Antonio Road junction
»August 20 - Santa Barbara Western: Intersection of Lompoc-Casmalia Road to Floradale and Ocean Avenues
»August 20 - Santa Barbara Western: Intersection of Lompoc-Casmalia Road to Floradale and Ocean Avenues
»August 21 - Santa Barbara Western: Floridale and Ocean Avenue Intersection to Mile Post 7.00 on Highway 1
»August 22 - Santa Barbara Eastern: Mile Post 7.00 on Highway One to Gaviota State Beach.
»August 23 - Santa Barbara Eastern: A Santa Barbara Layover Day
»August 24 - Santa Barbara Eastern: Gaviota State Park to El Capitan Beach State Park
»August 25 - Santa Barbara Eastern: El Capitan Beach State Park to the Goleta Pier
»August 26 - Santa Barbara Eastern: Goleta Pier to East Beach.
»August 27 - Santa Barbara Eastern: East Beach to Punta Gorda (Oil Island)
»August 28 - Ventura: Punta Gorda (Oil Island) to the Ventura Pier.
»August 29 - Ventura: Ventura Pier to Port Hueneme Pier
»August 30 - Ventura: Pier at Port Hueneme to Thornhill Broome State Park
»August 31 - Ventura: Layover day in McGrath State Park
»September 01 - Los Angeles Western: Thornhill Broome State Park to El Matador State Beach.
»September 02 - Los Angeles Western: El Matador State Beach to Dan Blocker State Beach
»September 03 - Los Angeles Western: Dan Blocker State Beach to Las Tunas County Beach
»September 04 - Los Angeles Southern: Las Tunas County Beach to the Venice Pier.
»September 05 - Los Angeles Southern: Venice Pier to King Harbor, Redondo Beach
»September 06 - Los Angeles Southern: Layover day at the Los Angeles South Bay Hostel
»September 07 - Los Angeles Southern: King Harbor Redondo Beach to Point Vicente
»September 08 - Los Angeles Southern: Point Vicente Lighthouse to Korean Friendship Bell at Point Fermin.
»September 09 - Los Angeles Southern: Korean Friendship Bell to 54th Place and Ocean in Long Beach
»September 10 - Orange: Day 100: 54th Place and Ocean to Magnolia and PCH
»September 11 - Orange: Intersection of Magnolia and PCH to Crystal Cove Park Historical District
»September 11 - Orange: Meet the Hikers: Ginny, Janette, Jean & Max
»September 12 - Orange: Crystal Cove Historical District to ?The Pilgrim? at Dana Point Harbor
»September 13 - Orange: Doheny State Beach to San Clemente State Park
»September 14 - Orange: Layover Day at San Clemente State Beach
»September 15 - San Diego Northern: Meet the Hikers: Steve and Hélène
»September 15 - San Diego Northern: San Clemente State Beach to Las Pulgas Road
»September 16 - San Diego Northern: Oceanside Harbor to Carlsbad State Beach
»September 17 - San Diego Northern: Carlsbad State Beach to San Elijo State Beach
»September 18 - San Diego Southern: San Elijo State Beach to La Jolla Shores Beach
»September 19 - San Diego Southern: La Jolla Shores Beach to Ocean Beach Pier
»September 20 - San Diego Southern: Ocean Beach Pier to Broadway and Harbor
»September 21 - San Diego Southern: Coronado Ferry Landing to YMCA Camp at Imperial Beach
»September 22 - San Diego Southern: YMCA Camp at Imperial Beach to the Border
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