Our campsite! Spacious and by the creek.
Apparently I suck at camping. Not only did I forget to bring all sorts of things we'd planned on packing (chairs, bottle opener, pillows, butane, spoons) but doing anything with me is a sort of comedy of errors (comedy only because the boyfriend can't help but laugh... a lesser person would have been frustrated beyond belief). If my life were a sitcom I'd be that awkward clumsy character everybody laughs at. Believe me, this gets good.
First, when we got on the road from my hometown I figured we should fill up on gas so we wouldn't have to in Big Sur, because I'd heard it's the most expensive gas in the country (by the way, holy hell). What I forgot was Big Sur was several hours away and my tank is only 8 gallons and we were taking the super scenic Route 1 through some really amazing small towns, farmland and rolling-hills-meets-ocean. Beautiful. But when we realized I was getting too low on gas for comfort we were on that windy coastal road we were doomed to buying the most expensive gas in the country- if we made it.
Then, right when we thought we were supposed to be arriving in Big Sur we saw a giant "Welcome to Big Sur" sign. Relief! But after that there was nothing for miles. Every so often there'd be a campsite, but we didn't recognize the names (couldn't remember the exact name of the campsite and the phones had no service… knew it started with a P though!). After about another 45 minutes of driving we started to get worried. I was still low on gas and had no idea if we'd passed the campsite. Our only option was to keep going till we found the site or a gas station. After a while we decided to stop at the next general store and luckily they had a map of the campgrounds and knew ours by name. "Oh, Pfeiffer is down in Big Sur." OK. Turns out we still had another half hour of driving to get there. The girls in the store also said there were three gas stations in Big Sur, but none until then.
We made it to our campground with maybe half a gallon of gas left. We got a great spot: right next to the river and not too close to the bathrooms and trash containers. We set up our tent and sat down to eat our snack and have the two beers I'd nabbed from my mom's fridge (she wouldn't drink them). But neither of us had packed a bottle opener, something I didn't think about until the beers were in our hands. The boyfriend tried opening the first beer on the picnic table, but the table crumbled. He finally got them open on the cooler but lost about half to foam… Oops.
After finishing the beers we walked down the road to find firewood and butane. The guy at the check in booth was one of the least helpful people and it was clear he'd been having a rough day. He sold us firewood and told us where to go for the store. There was a restaurant and ice cream shop before the store so I went in to ask. The girl at the counter didn't know what butane was… I said, "Like propane, but a different chemical." She pointed me to the store. The store only had propane so we were going to be lantern-less for the night. But they did have beer and a bottle opener, so we bought some (at a serious markup) to have with our soup.
Getting back to the campsite we were pretty tired and decided to take a nap. We woke up just as the sun was setting, the boyfriend started the fire, and I got out the pans. I bought soup thinking it'd be an easy camp dinner, but I forgot if the cans had pull-tops, and of course I did not bring a can opener. After verifying I'd bought pull-top cans I confessed my near mistake with the boyfriend who laughed but was relieved. I popped open the first one, put it on the fire, and went for the second can. And pulled the tab right off. Still no can opener. My poor boyfriend, who had just gotten done saying he was glad there were two cans and we didn't have to share, just shook his head at me (smiling, because of course this would happen). A combination of force, the bottle opener and a multi-tool I had in my car finally got the can open, but it took far more frustration and work than it should have. Things were happier and easier when the soup was on, the beers were open, and the tripod was set up for starry photos. We ate, took photos, had our beers and watched the fire and the stars.
The tent we bought was super comfortable and fit us, the dog and the things we wanted close to us perfectly. We got in and fell fast asleep. Sometime in the middle of the night I woke up having to pee. I got the flashlight and fumbled around for my shoes. I put my palm down on something hard and all of a sudden my car alarm was going off. In the middle of the night. In a campground. In the forest. It was only on for a few seconds but that was enough. I heard, "Come on, babe" from the boyfriend; I can't even imagine what he was thinking. I murmured, "God I'm such an asshole," and scurried to the bathroom hoping no one would come after me with a pitchfork. In the morning we realized probably no one except our immediate neighbor knew who it was, but they for sure knew. We packed up quickly and were out before the people in the next site got up the courage to confront me.
Moral of the story, next time hopefully I'll be better prepared for camping (though in my defense this was a two person trip and we were equally responsible for the forgetting of the things) and hopefully will not break the soup or wake up everyone within a two mile radius with my car alarm.