Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Super Camper goes to the Stone Brewery

On a warm sunny Saturday we impulsively loaded the camper with a change of clothes, a surfboard and wetsuit each, and not much else for a mission we'd been meaning to take for a while; a first visit to our favorite San Diego brewery, the Stone Brewing Co.

With such favorites as the Ruination IPA, the Levitation Ale, and the headlining Arrogant Bastard Ale, (and not one brew falling into the Lager category), we certainly appreciate the Stone options. The past few times Ryan cracked open a 22oz. Stone brew he once again reminded me that we really needed to take a trip to check them out. Facing a rare weekend without anything else going on (including surf), the time had come.

Ryan admired the hops growing along the path from the parking lot to the brewery.

Once inside, we grabbed a table and ordered from the long list of interesting beer options.

I chose a Stone variety that i'd never seen in a store, the Stone Cali - Belgique IPA
It turned out to be an excellent choice! I can't wait to see some in the stores so I can take home a few 22s.

We then took a tour of the brewery and stood patiently while the tour guide explained to other tourists about the key ingredients of beer.

We were impressed with the massive walk-in fridge which stored kegs and cases of Stone and other beers.

And since this is the Super Camper blog, here's a photo of the camper at Dixon Lake.

It was refreshing to realize that you can still show up to a campground on a Saturday afternoon without a reservation and get a spot. It might have been the last one, but at least we got it!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Reconnaissance Mission to Mexico

It has been far too long since the super camper has been out of the driveway and on any sort of adventure. Poor thing! Lately, we've been flying down to Nicaragua every time Ryan decides to sneak away from work. But, we do have some plans in the works. Hopefully in March/April '09, we will finally begin the journey the camper was made for, and drive to Nicaragua.

In the meantime, Ryan had a week off and decided to take the boys to Mainland Mexico for a little reconnaissance mission. He rented a 4x4 Jeep with which to explore and imagine where he would take the camper.

We thought the camper would really stand out and be very noticeable, but Ryan found some strangely similar looking vehicles and figured maybe the camper would fit right in.

Hopefully next time we'll actually be in the super camper!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

The Super Camper goes North for the Big Swell

Sunset at home, the night before departure.

Months prior, Ryan had decided to take off the first week of December for a trip to Baja. It had almost been a year since our pre-Christmas accident on the way to the wall that nearly totaled our truck and our dreams. We lost motivation for a while. After 6 months, the camper was finally back in one piece and the truck was repaired. Still, our motivation was lacking. We took a month off in August and left the camper at home for a trip to Bali and the Maldives. Check out my other blog for that story and photos: http://hollybecksurfs.blogspot.com/2007/09/mutual-understanding-in-indian-ocean.html

I was traveling most of September, October, and November, so that first week of December was our first chance to pack up the camper and actually take it camping since the accident. Our plan was to head back down to Baja, possibly hitting up the Seven Sisters, especially after seeing the solid swell forecast to hit mid-week. It seemed the perfect plan, except for all the recent sketchy reports coming out of Baja. We never assumed Baja to be perfectly safe. Still, the increase in reports and severity of car-jackings was enough to have us doubting our plan. Up until the day before our scheduled departure, we still hadn't decided whether we would head South over the border, or North to much safer but less exciting destinations. The night before, Ryan checked the surf and weather forecast one more time and seeing a likelihood of South wind and rain included with the big swell, we decided to skip the 14 hour drive and potential dangers and camp a little closer to home instead.

Plaskett Creek

Wine, cheese, crackers, and a sunset.

With a few days before the swell hit, we started by driving North, all the way up to Big Sur to camp at Plaskett Creek. Arriving just before sunset, we were incredibly disappointed to see that probably due to all the wildfires in California recently, campfires were prohibited. A sign insisted that even a gas stove must be approved by the camp host before use. This wasn't lawless Baja at all. Ryan was outraged that we couldn't sit around a campfire, so we only spent one night and began driving back South.

Cold morning with hot coffee

We could have surfed, but it was cold and we were content to just check it from the cliff.

Checking Carp. Still not in the mood to paddle out, even though the sun was finally warming things up.

Next stop, Jalama! Where campfires are allowed!

Even though it was a much shorter drive than it would have been if we had gone to Baja, I was still happy to get out and stretch my legs.

With the swell scheduled to start picking up the next morning, we went to sleep excited. A short night later, we awoke to a howling wind and a clear increase in surf. The coffee was made quickly as we packed up, and continued driving South to El Cap.
As expected, the waves were pumping. Unfortunately, we were so busy surfing and catching up with old friends that the photo taking slowed down considerably.
Campfire at El Cap.

After checking every option in Santa Barbara and Ventura either ourselves or via phone reports from friends, we ended up spending the big day at Rincon, then headed back to El Cap for another night. Fortunately, there were more friends around to share stories around the campfire.

One of the greatest things about surfing is the variety of surfers that become friends. This is Jim.

This is Jim's camper.

Me, enjoying the shower feature after a session at El Cap.

We were happy about surfing different spots, but started wondering if it might be pretty good at home too. We made some calls and decided to pull anchor and set sail for more familiar waters. It turned out to be a good call.

Home sweet home.