California, 8th November, sunset at Montana de Oro and camping problems
We went back to the cliffs at Montana de Oro for the setting sun. A fog bank still hung over the horizon and I was not optimistic, but then I was surprised by one of the most spectacular sunsets I have seen in years. In the following sequence of pictures you can see how the light changed.
We had left the car in a car park at the far end of the cliffs so got back to the campsite in the dark. On going to our reserved space we saw that there were two cars in it and a tent had been put up. The owners were nowhere in sight. A visit to the warden was not fruitful, he said these things happen and to find ourselves another place. We had already scouted to see if there were any vacancies and it looked full to bursting, so he said just to squeeze ourselves in anywhere. We found a space not far from the bins where we could just back in between two trees. Having eaten we went back to our reserved space to find a group of college kids from Santa Barbara who said that there was no reserved slip on the site when they came. They were very apologetic and offered us food and wine but we decided to head back to the car. Fortunately, because there was a ranger in front of it writing us a 'citation' for illegal parking. We explained our predicament and he kindly tore it up. I think that the warden had gone round the site after our early visit and removed all the slips, thinking that they applied to the night before, taking ours with it.
We were rewarded for our impromptu parking by a group of racoons who are living in a tree behind the site fence and were conducting nocturnal raids on the bins. They were great creatures and fun to watch, although it was nearly pitch black and too dark to photograph them. I could have used a flash but didn't want to frighten them away. In retrospect I don't think they would have been fazed.