This will be a short report because I?m tired. There are only so many ways one can describe walking down a road, and I?ve about exhausted all the ways I know. We had to walk many miles on secondary roads and Highway 1, because we could not walk on the air force base.
2.82 miles after we started walking Brown Road, we hit Highway 1. Then, with lettuce, broccoli and asparagus on either side of the road, we continued on to Black Road. Along the way lettuce was being picked in a field and a fine large head was given to us as we passed by. At the Highway 1/Black Road intersection, we stopped to buy fruit at a little roadside stand.
Black Road presented us some elevation changes. After achieving the first ridge line and the main railroad line from LA to the Bay Area, we descended with the railroad to Casmalia in an area where the hills were dotted with grasshopper imitating oil pumps. Then we had to rise out of Casmalia on a long ascent and drop again to our destination. Along the way, we were constantly informed that we were on the air force base, and occasionally a little sign was appended to this warning: ?This area is patrolled by military working dog teams.? We stayed on the road.
A word about Vandenberg Air Force Base. We had previously been denied any access to the base, even though Coastwalk?s 1996 ?Whole Hike? walked along Vandenberg?s coastline. Then Major Stacee Bako, a base spokeswoman, read of our trip and our Vandenberg denial in the newspaper, called our office and tried her best to gain us the access that we had been previously denied. She was not successful, but we tip our Coastwalk visors to her. We do not tip that same visor to the Vandenberg legal department who felt our trip might ?set a precedent?, or present liability issues. (Jon Breyfogle; photos by Linda Hanes)
Left: Resting along a dreary road. Right: lettuce pickers.