We spent three nights camping along the Pacific Coast Highway before arriving in San Francisco. As we settle back into New York, and recall stories from the road, we'll be adding to this series of vignettes. Each night out there exposed us to new people and new environs and left us inspired to share them with you. Sometimes the tales have to do with food, sometimes they don't. Either way, expect one every Tuesday until we get to San Francisco. Here's Part I if you missed it last week.
“Hi there,” she said. Her voice caught me off guard and I quickly turned my attention from the fire.
“My grandson and his wife just left and we have some extra food. Would you like a burrito and some hot chocolate?”
I could see her camper over her shoulder. The door was open and soft yellow light spilled into the otherwise black night.
“Wow. That would be really great. Thank you so much. I’m Craig," I said, extending a hand.
“Carolyn. I’ll bring it over for you. Are you alone?”
She turned on her heels and likely left a cloud of dust in doing so, but the night sky and pale orange glow of the fire did nothing to prove it. I turned back to the fire unable to get lost in the depth of its flames. I had become too distracted by the kindness of Carolyn’s gesture and the fact that the situation was one that could never happen back home.
Two campsites away I could just barely see the outline of Leroy’s fire and wondered what he was up to.
“It’s nothing special,” Carolyn said, walking towards me again – this time with a paper plate in one hand and a Styrofoam cup in the other.
“Oh I disagree. Something tells me it will be a fantastic meal. Thank you again. That’s really kind.”
“My pleasure. I guess we’ll be seeing you in the morning.”
With that I took what Carolyn brought over and felt the weight of two burritos in one hand and the warmth of hot chocolate in the other. I stood facing her camper in a daze for a minute as she walked back toward her camper, not entirely convinced I wasn’t dreaming, before retreating to the picnic table to thoroughly enjoy my dinner.