Day 12 Drive: Cambria, CA to Oakhurst, CA

Okay, we’ve had an interesting day, and we’re blaming it on Linda. When we last spoke to her, she said she had no plans, and hoped our day would be more exciting. 

Our original plan was to drive a short distance up the coastal highway and spend a night in San Simeon, near Hearst Castle. This came about because we booked that hotel first, and then looked for something en route for the preceding nights. What we did not realize was that our hotel in Cambria was just five minutes from the hotel in San Simeon. What I like to call the ‘next Best’ Western. So we checked out of one, and arrived at the other while people were still checking out there.

Our first notion was to kill time visiting Hearst Castle and the Sea Lion rocks and then have lunch, and then maybe we could check in for a lazy afternoon. Arrived at Hearst Castle at 1000 and the next available tour was 1230. Our second notion was to buy a ticket and go look for the Sea Lions, then come back, etc. etc. But Hearst Castle was starting to rub me the wrong way, and they wanted $24 each for a tour. We went back to the car to look at alternatives. Eventually, we worked it all out that we could cancel our reservation at San Simeon and arrive a day early at Oakhurst. NOTE: this is what the map shows anyway, somehow I left San Simeon out. By the way, the last minute cancellation was well short of the required notice, but the front desk guy was very considerate. Pam at Oakhurst also helped us out – we guess she gave someone else a complimentary upgrade so that we could have our room a day early. Thanks to you both.

Could have (and should have) bought gas as we passed back through Cambria on the way to pick up the right highway. Next thing we know, we’re at the outskirts of Paso Robles and the sign says no services for fifty miles. Dove off the freeway, but all the gas stations were on the other side of the road. Tried to go around the block, picked a dead end. Made our way back to the intersection by retracing our steps, and as we pulled into the 76 station, we heard a loud bang. At first I thought something big had fallen down in the cargo area, but when I got out to look, I detected a loud hiss from our right rear tire. By the time I had gassed up, it was utterly flat. Rolled to a quiet part of the parking lot and removed it – large ragged hole in middle of tread. Broken bottle?  Thank you Honda for putting the spare on the back door, not under all our luggage.

Yikes! Is that even repairable?

Now to find a Michelin dealer. Tried the local Honda dealer, but they moved without telling Dingbat. Accidentally found Don’s Discount Tire nearby, and Don himself confirmed that this kind of damage is not repairable. He didn’t have the tire we needed in stock, so he couldn’t help us, but he knew who could. Ended up at Big Brand Tires. They were medium busy, but they had the right tire (our Michelin Harmonies are only two weeks old!) and got us into a service bay in under an hour. 

While we were waiting, I called Kal-Tire at home, and Dan assured me that we have full road-hazard warranty. Don’t bring the whole tire back, he said, just take some pictures. Check.

Got back on the highway, and had just one more weirdness. Ever since I entered California, I have noticed that in contrast to most other states, everyone here exceeds the speed limit all the time. My usual policy is to rigorously respect speed limits in the USA, but I finally decided I would do about 59mph in the 55mph zones rather than be a hazard to everyone else. This worked fine at first, but today I found myself being followed by a Highway Patrol car. I just carried on, watching for him to flip his lights on, but after closing up enough to scope us out, he dropped back for a while, then passed us like everybody else. After that, things began to improve again.

We scanned Dingbat for Fast Food along our route, and acting on advice from Dale, picked an ‘In & Out Burger’ up ahead. Lunch was late, but the burger made up for the lame one at McDonalds the other day; it actually tasted like meat and cheese.  Feeling tired after showing us all around Paso Robles, Dingbat knocked off early, claiming to have found our hotel five miles before we reached the town it’s in. Thanks, DB, and thanks Linda, for an exciting day! Now wish us boredom, please.

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