As I was driving through San Louis Obispo I called my best friend Jason to see if he last minute wanted to jump in the car to go to Big Sur for the weekend. Since the HWY 1 was still closed I needed to take Ferguson Road to get to the campsite which all I knew was it had limited cell service and limited sunlight until I got in as it was getting later in the day. The plan was to drive there on my own with a pin on my phone as a destination spot and meet some friends that were already there. Seemed legit to me. While on the phone, after a little heckling from him of “are you even going to make it there?” He got off the phone and wished me luck. Ten minutes later I got a call to turn around and pick him up (he didn’t think I could make it on my own apparently and he’s a sucker for a camping trip) So I turned around and swooped him up!
We got in and set up just in time for the sunset. We had a great night BBQing, s’more-ing and hanging by the fire with the other three people we met there.
The next day we all loaded up in the back of the truck to grab some extra things from the general store down the street. All the girls sat in the back of the truck as we took a quick detour up a dirt road and found some epic views and super secluded campsites.
On the way down to the store, we saw a parked RV with a sign that said “Trading, Seeds, Stones, and Things” we drove past and saw a young hippie lookin’ dude standing there and decided to back up and see what he was selling. He lived in his small RV with his girlfriend and dog and they bartered Big Sur Jade that they had found, Arrowheads, there were all kinds of cool little rocks and trinkets. After a lot of “ooh-ing and ahh-ing,” we drove down to see the beach.
Before we got to the store we made one last stop at Treebones Resort, which is a Yurt Resort.
We sat down and cracked open a beer on a gorgeous patio, with chairs made of wine barrels, overlooking all of Big Sur.
We decided to sneak around the property and check out the yurts and this tree house room we noticed while sitting on the patio (which is also a room at this resort that you can rent out).
Last stop before the store was a cute swing we noticed while we were on the patio.
We gathered snacks, music, beer, wine, surfboards, wet suits, the dogs and headed to Sand Dollar Beach, where the weather was amazing – about 85 degrees. The beach there reminded me of being somewhere else in the world, maybe Australia, even though I haven’t been to a beach in Australia.
Ok, I know.. you are sitting there thinking,”cool story bro, but tell us the juicy part.”
PATIENCE! The juice has arrived.
On our last day a wildfire broke out and we were trapped within the main road of Big Sur which was just a few miles since the other side of the road was also closed. No one was panicking about the fire, so we decided to spend the time waiting to get breakfast. We had the most classic diner lady serving us – big bleached hair, terrible eyeliner, and an even worse attitude. We hear the fire is getting under control so we line back up with our car and within 45 minutes we were on our way home, caravanning with about 100 other cars down the windy, narrow mountain road.
I happened to have asked Jason to drive that day since I was on my way to San Francisco from Big Sur but also had to backtrack a few hours to get him back to SLO. Within 20 minutes I noticed the car battery light turned on. I figured we could check it at the bottom as that’s been on before and it hasn’t been a huge deal. Shortly after though, my AC light starts flashing, which is a little more suspicious as I have never seen happen. The fun didn’t stop there, then the passenger airbag light turns on and I look over at Jason like Um…. yeah is that going to pop open? In my face? Right now? The car already thought it had popped open? And then the whole center counsel goes out-no radio, no air/heat – nothing. Then the power steering goes. WHAT THE F*CK IS HAPPENING,. and why haven’t we stopped the car yet?? Jason, being a dude, keeps trying to make it work, but seconds later I hear “Oh shit! The Breaks!”…Never something I want to hear again! We had about 2 seconds to panic before something needed to be done. It happened on a very windy (p.s. I’m not trying to spell windy like “the wind was blowing” It was wh(long “I”)ndy), it was a one car lane road, if you’ve driven this, you know one side is the mountain, and the other is straight cliff. Our options were crash into the side of the mountain or go down the side of it. We went for the side of the mountain, pulled the emergency brake, and was able to stop the car with a line of cars caravanning behinds us. The emergency parking brake is ultimately what saved us from real potential harm. It all could have gone so much worse than it did at that moment. Can you imagine if I was driving alone?? Once we were stopped, since the other cars couldn’t tell anything was wrong, and we were still in wtf just happened shock mode, they all just drove around us.
We were about an hour away from any cell phone service and nowhere near a gas station or restaurants. After about 15 minutes we saw one car drive by and I waved my arms in the middle of the road to get it to stop. We kindly asked them to get our info and call AAA once they got service down the road, which they happily agreed to do and kindly gave us waters and offered snacks as they pulled away. So…..now we wait…..
A second truck pulled over shortly after the first one left. One that I recognized because they were camping one campsite above ours. They were trying to jump our car so that we could move it down the road to a safer area; a one-lane road on a blind curve isn’t the best place for a parked car, apparently. I really didn’t want Jason to drive it but they seemed to think it was a fine idea so we went with it. Before he did that, they noticed my belt was broken/off and needed a certain wrench to get it completely off (bc apparently it needed to be off, I don’t know I sat in the car scared and no clue what was going on, sorry Jason lol) . I kid you not, on the drive down before any of this happened, Jason noticed this exact wrench that we needed just laying in the street. He literally even said, “Hey look a (specific name – I can’t remember the name) wrench..” and I just looked over and said… no… (as if saying no, we are not going back to get that stupid wrench). These people happen to have had one, but if they didn’t, it’s crazy to think that in the middle of nowhere we would have been able to fix what we needed to. Just would have had to run up the road a mile or three…
Some time had passed and we were either waiting for this tow truck that hopefully was coming or….. I ended up asking the couple if they would drive us to get service so we could call AAA and drive back up to the car with the tow truck, they happily agreed. When we got to an intersection where we had service, We found out that AAA was already on the way, YES! Hopefully, we wouldn’t have to wait too long. We got to know the couple a bit on the drive down. Right when Jason got in the car he said, “You know who they remind me of right?”…right away I say Dan and Denise, and I start to freakin cry a bit to myself! Because, to me at least, it was obviously Ryan(A best friend of both Jason and mine who passed away when we were 19) looking out for us that day sending us sweet people he knew we could feel comfortable with. Greg and Libby were their real names. Greg actually looked like Dan. It was so strange. I wish we would have taken a photo with them. Everything worked out perfectly. When we got to the service spot, the tow truck was there within a few minutes so Greg and Libby didn’t have to wait for us or feel bad about dropping us off in the middle of nowhere in the heat.
(This was a “safe” place to “Park” my car after almost literally driving off the cliff,..)
We got it towed to my good friend Jake’s work in Atascadero, $300 for the tow, and a total of $360 at Jake’s work; $660 for a car that is worth 2k all because of a Squirrel that I didn’t even see that I hit. Neither Jason or I saw one run in front of the car. But the proof is there that one was there..The little bastard got lodged between my belt dislocating it killing my car, almost killing us!
(Yes, it’s head was under the hood and yes, Jake pulled it out with his bare hand haha!)