So last Friday (19/09/14) I set off from Benbow KOA with the intention of hitting Highway 1. It was a 40km run and would set me at the beginning of what was meant to be the most beautiful part of my trip so far. It was hot, very hot, and this would be the 6th day of running straight and my body was starting to feel it. I set off down Benbow Drive which is part of the old highway. It was deserted and the scenery was amazing as you followed the river south. I kept pushing south but I was very aware that my body was starting to give me the signs that a rest of needed.

After about 25km I jogged down a hill and across a bridge. There was a camp site on the right with a sign Soul Camp outside and a very distinctive sound of house music pumping hard from inside the forest. My first instinct was to push on and make Leggett, 10 km further south, but as I started it dawned on me that I might be missing something. I backtracked to the campsite and made my way in to enquire what was going on.

It transpired that Soul Camp was a yearly party set up by DJ’s and musicians from San Francisco. This one was a special 10 year anniversary. They had rented the whole campsite and would be having a 3 day party. Always keen for a party and not relishing the idea of dragging my sorry feet another 10km I decided to try and get involved. The cost was $40 which seemed reasonable for a 2 day party. A slight problem arose when I couldn’t get cash out on my card at the shop (not because I had run out of money but due to the kind of card). The man on the gate took pity on me, grabbed my wrist and slapped on a bracelet and ushered me into the camp.

The set up was awesome. There was a main stage, an after party area and a swimming pool for pool parties. Everyone was so accommodating and it didn’t take long for people to find out I was there. Lots of questions were asked, generosity offered and promises of good times to be had. I set up camp and bought a 6 pack of beer and settled into the vibe.

Conscious that I was going to have to run a marathon on Sunday, I devised a plan. Drink Friday night and Saturday day and then chill Saturday night. Sleep was pretty much out of the question as the music started at about 11am and finished at 7.30a the next morning.

The first night was awesome and with a Bud Light in hand I watched the DJs at work. At about 3am I called it a day and returned to my tent satisfied that I had spoken to cool people, listened to awesome music and drunk way too much beer for “an athlete”. The next morning I got up full of anticipation – today was going to be my first proper pool party, something my fellow revelers where perplexed about. At about mid-day the beers started flowing and I made my way to the pool. It wasn’t exactly like what you see in the movies but there were “maggies” (margaritas), bikinis and guys throwing American footballs over the pool – good enough for me. I had made friends with a Mexican lady the night before and she offered me a chocolate brownie – everything got a lot more mellow – I have no idea why!!!

After a quick lunch, thanks to my Mexican friends, the Bayonics took the stage by the pool. These guys were awesome. An assemble of Latin, rap, hip hop and soul, accompanied by a band. The party was really in full swing now and everyone was getting in the flow for the night ahead. There were some interesting smells wafting around and some very happy and energetic people around. It took a reserved Jamie to take myself to bed and call it a night. The road was calling and I knew there was chance it might be a hard one…

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