So, we’ve been raving about Big Sur a bit. But here is the down side: rock slides. I’m sure you’ve heard plenty about them. The slide between Mud Creek and Salmon Creek Station is expected to close that portion of Highway 1 through 2018. That means no through-routes of Highway 1. For trailers and other large rigs, that means Highway 1 is an in-out trip starting in Northern California. But we have a truck camper and are taking the Nacimiento-Fergusson Road.⠀
When we wake up in the morning, the sun is already high in the sky. We secure all our belongings and jump into the truck. Today is a big day.
The Nacimiento-Fergusson Road
The Nacimiento-Fergusson Road is not quite as rough as we had anticipated. Between the steep, exposed cliffs, hairpin turns, and occasional single lane sections, I understand why this isn’t a road for trailers and RVs. Yet, the breathtaking vistas and lush hillsides easily explain why this route is overrun by cyclists. It is a route on which to take your time, both for safety and enjoyment.
Offroading With Cliffs
There is, however, a portion that isn’t for the faint of heart. We want to scope our a campground five miles off of the Nacimiento-Fergusson Road. It’s unbelievably scenic and only accessible by a single lane dirt road. That wouldn’t even be that big of a deal if not for the shear cliffs and sharp turns. The hope is the only encounter oncoming traffic at the rare pull outs. Which, for the most part, we do. And then there is the one time Cowboy thinks we had a pull out and I scream. You see, Cowboy only can see the level ground in front of him, not the massive drainage ditch which transforms the section of road that our front tires rolled off of into a bridge. The man in the oncoming jeep jumps out and asks if we were ok. Another man in a nearby campsite eagerly offers to pull us out with his winch. Cowboy simply shifts into 4-wheel drive and backs out. Everyone agrees that we had an awesome rig and Cowboy and I agree that, given we were only one mile down the road, maybe this was not the time to attempt to scope out this particular campground.
Once we cross the Santa Lucia Mountain Range, it is all down hill until the Nacimiento-Fergusson Road levels out and you find yourself in Ft. Hunter-Liggett, an army combat support training center complete with a retired tank parked at the side of the road.
At this point, we finally start having some choices in routes. To continue our journy south, we just happen to route through Paso Robles wine country on Highway 46. After all, it is the logical route to complete our landslide detour and return to Highway 1. At random, we pull off at Dark Star Winery for what turns into a barrel tasting.
San Simeon Beach State Park Campground
By the time the sun sets, we have reached San Simeon Beach State Park Campground. While driving through Paso Robles, we had reprovisioned and picked up a couple of porterhouse steaks that just happened to be on sale at the super market. As dusk approaches, I cook up the steaks, zucchini, and potatoes and we relax for our first meal since breakfast.