Max and I had a Father / Son weekend last weekend. We ate lots of fast food and looked at lots of sporting goods stores. We ended the weekend with a few hours at Pismo Beach riding ATVs in the dunes.
We rented ATVs from Arnie’s ATV. The ladies at the front desk were helpful and knowledgeable. They processed us quickly and had good suggestions. In Pismo, the ATV rental shops all keep their ATVs about 1 mile down the beach from the ramp where you enter the beach.
The instructions at the kiosk were to drive onto the beach and turn left right before the water. There were signs all over the beach that said ‘No Stopping’ and there were about half a dozen vehicles stopped on the beach between these signs. I proceeded to slowly drive next to them towards the water. Within about 15 seconds my Honda Civic got stuck in the sand. I got out of the car and walked back to the CA parks kiosk to get the phone number of a tow truck. The lady who took my money at the kiosk was completely unhelpful. She didn’t have any phone numbers for the 1 tow company that was licensed to work the beach.
Very frustrated at the low level of competence of this state worker, I walked back to the rental company. They had the number for the two company, but told me that there were probably people on the beach who would be able to tow. She said to wait by the car for 10 minutes before calling the tow company. She also would arrange for a truck to drive us out to the ATVs, once our car was towed.
As I walked back to the beach, I could see that there were 6-8 other vehicles stuck in the sand, some being actively towed. There were sedan, mini-vans, SUVs, 4x4s and RVs all stuck or being towed. By the time I got to my car, and guy in a 4×4 was waiting to pull me out. He and Max had been talking. In less than a minute, he had hooked up, pulled us around and un-hooked and was talking to the owner of another stuck vehicle. I gave him a good tip, and I later learned that he (and all but the 1 authorized company) was prohibited from charging for tows. But if he was making $10-$20 gratuities for a 1 minute tow (well worth it), that was some serious beer money for a few hours of work.
Once we got onto the ATVs, we had a great time.