- Pismo is somewhere around 2000 acres of pure silica,
though it used to be much larger. The state closed off
much of it on account of the "tree huggers" who were more
concerned with the vegetation attaching itself to the
soft ground than people using the land for anything "fun"
like camping or riding. It's a cool place to ride because
it's on the ocean, so camping is more fun and more
interesting. You'll be camping within a couple hundred
feet of the surf... Do you have a WaveRunner.. A Jetski?
Bring it too. You can do both during the same trip.
Though it's a relatively small area you can still have
MAJOR fun. Be sure to watch your speed on the beach; the
Ranger will give out speeding tickets to those who insist
upon showing off. The speed limit is 15 MPH on the beach.
Go as fast as you want inland though. The hills there are
more like mounds of sand compared to the monster
razorbacks and steep faces at Glamis.
- When you get to Pismo, take notice of the Treacherous
River Crossing sign as you pass the gate to go in. There
is a crossing, but sometimes its worse than others. At
high tide, water swells into a low level tide pool which
crosses the beach at mile marker 2; though I think there
is actually a river that feeds into the ocean there you
can't really see it. You have to cross this water.
Depending on the time of the year, the height of the tide
and when you get there you could have one of several
different circumstances. You may not notice anything at
all, there may be 6 to 12 inches of water or it may be
too high to cross; you may have to wait for low tide.
Waiting is not my best quality.
- A couple years ago I went to Pismo to do some testing
(read - riding) on my TRX250R. It's about a 200 mile ride
so I can easily load my TRX in my 4WD S-10 and go there
and do my testing and come home in a (long) day. I needed
to put some riding time on a fresh top end and do some
jetting because I was going to Glamis in about 10 days.
But when I got there the treacherous river crossing was
treacherous! I couldn't believe it. I had never seen it
that high and I've been going there since 1983. It was a
river 125 yards across and (depending on the waves) up to
4 feet deep. I had arrived at high tide and would have to
wait 3 - 4 hours for the tide to subside.
- Along with about 100 other people I watched the water
go in and out for quite some time. Many people were stuck
on the other side trying to get out as well. The waves
would get bigger and bigger until they got smaller and
smaller. About 8 to 10 waves separated the high from the
low - that meant the water was 1 1/2 feet or 3 to 4 feet.
I decided to go for it, at the right time. I couldn't
stand waiting. I had 4 wheel drive, and I needed to do
- Everything went well - until it didn't. I made it
about 3/4 of the way until an unexpected big wave decided
to come in. It got sucked into my air cleaner and stalled
my motor. So there I was 3/4 of the way across the river,
stopped/stalled. About 100 people shaking their heads,
watching. My TRX in the back and all my tools in the cab.
The timing of the waves started to work against me - they
were getting bigger. A guy across the river asked me if
he could tow me out - HE COULD! I just HAD TO DO some
testing! By the time he went back to his truck, got his
rope out and made it back to me the water was starting to
come in the cab. I started stacking things so they
wouldn't get wet. The waves were getting higher too. By
now they were crashing against the side of my truck and
their force was enough to move my truck by 10 to 15 feet
with the surge of the water. First inland, then out
toward the ocean - ugh.
- The guy attached the rope to the hook under the front
of the truck; he had to hold his breath and go under
water to get to it. The waves were breaking against my
side windows. The water level was now over the hood of my
truck. The driver compartment was getting full of water
real fast. By now I was almost waist deep in water; it
was up to the bottom of the dash. Fortunately he was able
to yank me right out. When I got to higher ground I
opened the driver door and - like in a movie - the water
rushed out. There must have been a hundred gallons of the
greenish, salty slime. It carried out most everything
that wasn't tied down. As I did that I got applause from
the onlookers. A couple of people came over to me to see
if I wanted to sell my truck real cheap. I didn't.
- I was screwed. I was 200 miles away from home, with a
dead/drowned 12 year old truck and no real way to be sure
I'd be able to get it or my quad home. I decided what I
needed was a ride on my TRX! I unloaded my bike, started
it up. Somehow I forgot about my problems. After cruising
around for a couple hours and burning all my gas my
attitude came back. I decided to see if my truck would
start. It wouldn't. I keep at it though - it seemed like
it wanted to. That truck never left me stranded; heck it
never even had a flat tire. I removed the air cleaner;
the motor was full up to the top with sea water -
- A couple more people came by to see if I wanted to
sell my truck real cheap - it wasn't funny and it was
becoming even less so. They seemed to get a kick out of
it. Persistence paid off; the truck finally started. One
cylinder at a time but all 6 of them got going. It
sounded like crap - but music to my ears just the same. I
just needed it to go 200 more miles. Tide was now low.
The trip home was uneventful. I put the pedal to the
metal and cruised at 80 MPH all the way. Sell my truck
cheap, yeah right...
- The next day I changed the motor oil which looked
like coffee, the differential fluid which looked like
root beer float; complete with foam, the transmission oil
which looked like a strawberry shake and the transfer
case oil which looked like the transmission oil. All my
tools which were not chromed, rusted by the time I opened
the toolbox. I needed some new tools anyway - I just
needed a reason to get them.
- I guess I got in a little too deep that time (pun).
Oh well live and learn. I wouldn't trade the experience
of that day for anything though. It is surely a day at
Pismo I'll never forget, all because I had to do a little