Judith Lautner (judith) wrote,
Judith Lautner

Hike - final

There was one saving grace: I knew I was on the right road. Bad
enough to be worried about gas, bad enough to be worried that the
car's bottom might fall off or the exhaust pipe get clogged. At least I
was on the right road. If I could just hold out, one mile at a time, I'd be

Then I came to a fork.

There was a sign there. It was no help. The sign pointed to Lopez
Lake in one direction (from which I had come) and to "Hi Mountain
Campground" on another. There were no signs to the third leg. At first
I headed down the unnamed road a little way. Then I thought, what if
this is the wrong road. I pulled out all of my maps. I could find nothing
about these roads on any of them. I decided to hit the campground.
Maybe someone there would know something.

I headed uphill, found the campground. Maybe there'd be a map
there! Posted! well, no, there wasn't. There were a few trucks, some
tents, in the campground spaces. Such a remote campground, a very
basic one, just an outhouse and some spaces, so it's surprising
anyone knows it's here, much less actually camps here. I decide to
ask someone which is the right road to Pozo.

It was very quiet there. I had the eery feeling that there was actually
nobody there, that everyone had disappeared into the mist years ago.
But then I found someone. an old man, sitting at a picnic table in his
shorts, listening to music. I asked if he knew which was the right road
to Pozo.

I got the distinct impression that he had maybe been born there, had
never left. He said he'd "never been to Pozo. Don't know what's
there." He said he'd driven to the end of the road up the hill, saw the
sign, turned around, came back. I got the impression he had no idea
where he had come from himself. He told me, though, that if I
continued on the road I had taken to the camp, I would climb up to a
place where there would be two roads, one closed. The unclosed one
would have a sign to "Paws Road". That's what he said, though I can't
vouch for the spelling". He said it said three miles, and Pozo is about
three miles, so that was it.

I said thank you, headed out of the campground, got on the road. Just
as rutty, gully-ridden, rocky, and very narrow. I drove on up to a place
where there were two or three roads. None were closed and there
were no signs. On the way up to that point, I passed another truck. I
could have asked that guy where's the road to Pozo, but no, I thought
I knew.

After driving way too many miles in the wrong direction I turned
around again, jerkily sailed past the campground (faster going down,
poor Hildy), got back to that fine fork in the road, and took the other

After much more downhill bumping and flying I came to a small group
of persons on the side of the road, wearing earmuffs. I had no idea
what the hell they were doing there, with earmuffs. Paul knew, said
"hunting". yes, of course. I asked them, "does this road go to Pozo?"
and they said yes, it does. And so it did. Not without one more dip
through a wet stream, however, one I took as fast as I could, and
heaven knows how many rocks. I finally landed in Pozo, on Pozo
Road (maybe that's what the old man meant, "Pozo", not "Paws").
Right next to the saloon.

Which was closed. No lunch, nobody to ask about gas. I was seriously
worried about gas by then, but still thought the auto club could at least
find me,or maybe Paul.

Gritting my teeth, I headed for Santa Margarita. I don't know how far
santa Margarita is from Pozo, but it's a fer piece when you're worried
about gas. I tore down that road, not noticing, as I have before, the
beauty of the wilderness here. I finally hit the intersection with the
main drag of Santa Margarita. I was very relieved.

But there is no gas in Santa Margarita. My choice was to go toward
Atascadero, north, or to San Luis Obispo, south. Chose SLO, eight
miles. Come on Hildy, you can make it. You can get over Cuesta
Grade, all the way down, you can do it.

And she did. Dear little Hildy, who now thinks she's a mountain goat,
pulled into the first Chevron station in SLO. I did not care what the
price of gas was. I paid with good will, filled her up with 10.8 gallons. I
don't know how large my tank is, I have been guessing twelve gallons.
If so, well, heck, I coulda gone further, coulda made it to Los Osos...

But maybe it's only eleven.

From there, of course, all was well, all was right with the world,
everything was again beautiful. I stopped at Quizno's for a sandwich,
starving starving - for I did forget to bring a snack. And came home,
where I am now. Relieved. I'm not taking that road again, not in Hilda.
And she may even get to go to another car wash, because she's been
so wonderful. I am thinking maybe Honda, which makes motorcycles,
used some of that knowledge when it made cars. There is no reason
a Civic should have made that trip at all.

Signing off.

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