Big Sur > Frisco: Sleeping with the Bugs

My hands are open to give, my heart is open to receive. I trust the universe will give me exactly what I need. 

I've always been fascinating by bugs---so much that I'd even go so far to say I'm enamored by them. Well here's my chance to prove it: I'm sleeping with them tonight. Let me back up...


This morning I woke up, belly engorged with bread, cheese & wine, comfortably snuggled up on my memory foam mattress, sitting atop a cliff with an ocean view. I climbed down from my tent fortress, leisurely ate my breakfast of 5 figs and a chocolate protein shake, brushed my teeth, packed up camp & hit the road excited to find out what the day would bring. Blaring classical music as I drove along the winding, scenic road that is Hwy 1, a particular pullout area caught my eye and I felt an overwhelming urge to pull over and do yoga on the side of the cliff. So I did. I left the classical tunes on to accompany my steady breathing and the rhythmic crash of the waves. Boom. Instant meditation. I got back in my Jeep completely revitalized and with that warm, fuzzy feeling you get when you're absolutely content. Next stop: Santa Cruz.

 A beach in Monterey where I stopped to eat lunch on my way to Santa Cruz.

A beach in Monterey where I stopped to eat lunch on my way to Santa Cruz.


I'd never been to Santa Cruz before, but I do skate around on one of their cruisers, and I imagined the place to be a bit like Venice Beach with hipsters and buskers and bums. I drove into town and straight to the boardwalk pretty impressed with its cosmetic vibe---unfortunately that's all it was for me, a cool place to look at. After interacting with a few lame locals and even considering paying $112 for a night at an overpriced crack shack, I filled up my tank, chucked up the deuces and headed for San Jose. I came, I saw, I left. 


The ride into San Jose was mostly downhill, lined with redwoods, super curvy (which I love), and a little traffic congested being it was rush hour. So I lit a roach I found in my center console and with a flick of the bean I was in San Jose. Best thing about Starbucks is that they're on every block and I don't even have to go inside to use their WiFi, which I adore because I hate the smell of addiction. I caught up with my people and got back on the road to San Francisco---my next campsite. I got in at dusk and the first site I'd mapped was in a historical park, eerily empty for being in a huge city, $125 a night, reservation only, and felt like somewhere rich people go to get murdered. Pass. Crossed the Golden Gate to my Plan B, and through the Robin Williams Tunnel I held my breath and made the same wish as I always do: "My hands are open to give, my heart is open to receive. I trust the universe will give me exactly what I need." Well... The Dude works in mysterious ways. When I got to the site, there was no car access, it was pitch black, nobody in sight. A car pulled up beside me---the park ranger. "Got a permit?" "Nope. Just spontaneously camping." "Go ahead and park up here. You gotta walk down with your tent. Camping's free here." Hmmm... Okay, that's different. Also I don't have a tent. I have a memory foam fortress on top of my Jeep. Not tonight I don't. I sat in my car in the dark for about 15 minutes trying to figure out what I could MacGyver into a tent. The longer I sat in my car the scarier the situation got. There was no one in sight, I'm alone, it's 10:30pm now, my car is parked next to this huge wall of shrubbery that I was 100% sure someone was watching me through. That's when my heart started racing. I began weighing the pro's & con's. I desperately wished someone else would pull up to camp so we could form a zombie-killing team and brave the walk in the darkness together. Five minutes later after I'd stashed all my valuables, a car pulled up and parked in front of me. The Dude abides. Me: "Hey! You guys camping here?" Them: "Yup." Me: "Can I walk down with you? I haven't been down to set up yet and I'm super sketched out." They walk closer... The guy says in a very relaxed, almost homicidal tone, "Yes. Please. Let me help you..." Slight panic sets in. Isn't the zodiac killer still on the loose? The couple stepped into the light of my headlamp and a sudden wash of relief swept over me. This is my team. They let me borrow their lantern and helped me carry my makeshift tent supplies down the hill. I found a perfect spot near a tree that looked as if someone had spent hours building a nest of soft hay. How this spot was not already taken blew my mind. It was the only spot feasible for my setup AND if was free. The Dude had heard my wish in the tunnel. I knew he wouldn't let me get murdered in the hills of San Francisco. I'm sleeping with my machete just in case. Now let's see if I can make it through the night without acquiring a colony of ticks on my scalp. 

Chelsea HeilComment