Camping: Half Moon Bay State Beach

Hey peeps, look, it’s an overnight ride report!! Granted, my total mileage for the excursion was a whopping 35 miles, but it’s still my first overnight trip on a motorcycle since May 2009 (coincidentally, that last trip was also my last motocamping trip).

The ride over to Half Moon Bay was uneventful other than some ~20mph winds that occasionally made the front end wobble a bit.  I stopped for a picture at the Lemos Farms horse — it’s always painted up for whatever the next holiday is.  Apparently no holidays in June means a Little League theme.   New Back Doc lives in Half Moon Bay and his son plays Little League; I should ask if the horse is on the team.

One of my favorite things about Half Moon Bay State Beach is the horseback trail that goes past the campground.  Last time April and I camped here, our tents were right next to the horse trail, which was cool.  This time we were on the ocean side of the campground, so this was my only horse sighting of the trip.

While parked here, I also took a picture for Ralph of someone’s car sticker: Calvin wearing a Sharks jersey, peeing on a Red Wings logo.  You’re welcome, Ralph! I didn’t think everyone needed to see proof of the high caliber of people that camp at HMB, though, so the rest of you will just have to use your imaginations.

Our campsite was #17, one of the oceanfront sites.  Our original plan was to set up camp on the bluff overlooking the Pacific, but did I mention that it was really windy?  We wussed out and set up the tents in the small pockets of wind shelter instead.

The Ninjette looks even tinier than usual when parked in an RV space!

The tent you see here is one of maybe 3 other tent campers on Friday night; everyone else was in RVs.  We hardly saw any other actual humans the whole time we camped this time; we were definitely the only people we saw that had a fire going in the evening. I guess everyone hunkered down against the wind inside their RVs and never emerged from the cocoon.

I set up my tent behind the big bush, next to the Ninjette.  One of my goals for the trip was to get photos of the tent and bike together (something that’s surprisingly difficult at a lot of campgrounds; the parking slabs are usually not right next to the flat tent spots).

Victory! I really like this photo.

The unintended consequence to setting up my tent near the bush was pissing off a group of these little birds that clearly live in it.  They sat on the bush and stared at me with their cold steely eyes.  April tells me that, in the morning when she woke up, the birds were sitting on my tent.  Plotting; staring.

We may have been dumb enough to camp on the beach in early June, but we were smart enough to want to eat somewhere warm.  Tres Amigos taqueria is only about 3/4 mile from the campground, up on Highway 1, so we walked up there for some thoroughly adquate burritos and beer.

Andreotti’s produce stand is along the walk; their stuff looked really good.  Our plan was to swing back on our way home on Saturday morning but, unfortunately, they were closed then.  The family farm has been around since 1926 and they pick produce daily to display in the historic barn.

Andreotti’s also has a llama on the farm that posed for some photos for us.

April says, wtf, a llama?

After dinner, we did some walking around down at the beach (“This sand is really cold!”, said April) and got our fire going.

We used the firestarters Peter and I had made last weekend by filling cardboard egg cartons with sawdust and then melting a candle over the whole thing.  I’ll do a short writeup of those with pics later, because these firestarters were awesome.

After getting the fire started, it was time for…photography! Doesn’t everyone bring softbox flashes while camping?  The Ninjette totally got the supermodel treatment.

Here’s one of April’s photos:

She also got this very cool one that looks like an ad for the tent.  I didn’t plan on buying a jacket that’s exactly the same crazy color as April’s tent, but it worked out for this photo! 🙂

I had some fun with photography as well — I call this shot “disembodied glowing April”.

I slept pretty well, despite the wind (thank you, bird bush!).  I brought my new sleeping pad, an Exped 9 Downmat, and used it instead of my previous LuxuryLite cot + Thermarest combination.  I love the cot, but it requires putting tension on the poles that I just can’t do with my back injury.  I’d heard good things about the Exped, including a review from a solider injured in Iraq….if it’s comfortable enough for someone whose back injury involved shrapnel, it was probably going to be comfortable enough for me.

And it was! I’m pleased to report that the Exped 9 alone was just as comfortable as the cot + Thermarest combination.  This will save me a ton of space and effort in the future. 🙂

Plus the built in pump is pretty cool (it took me almost exactly 70 pumps to fully inflate it).  If you don’t mind giving CPR to your sleeping mat, so far, I highly recommend the Exped 9!

We roughed it in the morning again at Sam’s Coffee Shop.  I love family owned diners.  Nothing feels like a motorcycle trip to me than a good diner. 🙂

And that was pretty much our trip.  So far my back is holding up well.  I had some pain on Friday night when going to bed (I think mostly due to sitting in the chairs around the fire for a couple of hours), but otherwise I’ve been pretty OK! I’m going to do my usual elliptical workout today and I see New Back Doc again tomorrow morning…unless something goes really wrong, it looks like I can add short motocamping trips back into my life this summer!  🙂  🙂 🙂

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