Posts Tagged ‘Pismo Beach’

It was an easy drive from Lake Nacimiento to Pismo Beach. And when we reached North Campground, we got our favorite spot. The place was relatively empty. We settled in and as I was talking to a friend, Dave came in and said that Paso Robles Ford hadn’t replaced the missing lug nut on the front tire, the one that Dave had asked them to replace about four times. Not dangerous – there are 7 other lug nuts, but another indication that somebody wasn’t paying attention. This has been a serious wake up call for us: you have to check everybody’s work. Dave sent them an email on Monday and has received no reply by Tuesday afternoon.

Other than that, it’s been quiet. The clouds were piling up when we woke up on Tuesday and it rained pretty good for a couple of hours. After lunch, it was clearing up when we went to do laundry and grocery shopping. Dave made an appointment with the Tire Guy in Ridgecrest (southwest of Death Valley) to put new extenders on the rear tires and he can’t take us till Tuesday, April 14, so we’ll have to figure out what to do during the next week. Our plans to visit wildflower sites are kaput; the wildflowers in the Southern California area are mostly finished. We’ll figure something out.

Wednesday was a nice day at Montana de Oro State Park. It’s just south of Morro Bay, nestled between the Pacific and some green mountain ranges. We decided to do an inland hike up the Islay Creek Road. The highlights were Islay Waterfall and an old barn. The real treat on the fairly flat hike was the wildflowers. There were lots of little poppies, Bindweed (I think), Indian Paintbrush, a few stalks of mustard and some other stuff we didn’t recognize. The waterfall was something heard but not seen. The tangle of greenery below was so thick we didn’t see any of the water we were hearing. We turned back after about 2 miles and never got to the barn. But it was a pleasant walk.

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We got back to the trailhead, ate lunch, drove the four or so miles to the end of the road, turned around and decided to walk up the South Dunes Trail a little. This path meanders along the foliage-covered sand dunes overlooking the ocean. So there were different flowers here: Sand Verbena, iceplants, fiddlenecks as well as lots of grasses. Beautiful! A day that was physically tiring, but left us in a peaceful mood.

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I had an article from the newspaper that talked about art-architecture built by students on the hills above Cal Poly. We found the area but there was no public parking anywhere around. Rather than try to get a parking permit, we headed home. But what a nice campus, surrounded by hills.

We felt lethargic on Thursday and the overcast sky gave us an excuse (like we need one) not to get out early. I’ve been rereading “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” by Robert Pirsig and have reconfirmed that it is one of the greatest books I have ever read. A road trip, mental illness and philosophical musings: what’s not to like? One of these days, I’ll reread some Herman Hesse. I was also interested in an article in The Atlantic Magazine titled “What ISIS really wants”. Apparently, they’ve conquered enough land to establish a caliphate and that allows them to re-establish religious laws and actions like beheading and enslaving certain types of people. Reasoning with them is not going to work; they are a different type of religious fanatic. Religious fanaticism never seems to go away.

After all these heavy thoughts, we went for a long walk along the Pismo Beach. Birds included sandpipers, curlews (I think), scoters (I think), a cormorant and an egret. There were lots of people on the beach, many school-aged kids. I guess this is spring break for the younger set.

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Oh, it’s good to be back on the road again! After a surprisingly easy drive down to Pismo Beach, we rolled into our reserved campsite.  After a walk on the beach to see sunset, we luxuriously dined on leftover enchiladas and canned corn. A road meal if ever I ate one.


Tuesday morning we put on our hiking boots to meet Susan and Fred Miller at Montana de Oro State Park. This is a lovely place where you can choose to labor up a mountain or hike along level coastal bluffs with many coves. We chose the bluffs. The fog cleared up and we appreciated the various shades of blue that the ocean provided. We saw lots of brown pelicans and some cormorants. After a while we found a spot to nibble on some oatmeal-chocolate chip-cherry cookies that Susan made that morning. The cookies were as wonderful as the scenery and the company. (Am I getting a little heavy here?) Fortified by sugar and chocolate, we ambled back to the cars, ready for lunch.

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I have discovered that Susan has a unique way of associating her hikes with the lunches that follow. I don’t know if that will work for us when we’re eating peanut butter on a sand dune in the middle of nowhere, but I’ll probably remember Celias Garden Café in Los Osos. It’s a pleasant little spot surrounded on two sides by a nursery. After good grilled cheese sandwiches for Susan and me and meatier stuff for the guys, we took a walk around the nursery where the Millers checked out what they might add to their garden for fall and winter. We made our farewells and they returned home to their remodeling crew while we returned home to find we had parked in the wrong site and had to move the Lazy Daze under a big tree. That immediately proved the worth of our new mobile solar panel. It gathered sunlight in the sun while we shivered in the shade (Not really, but it’s alliterative).  Whoever thunk up the idea of a movable power source was a smart cookie.

Tuesday began with a sybaritic breakfast and moved on to fine wine. We drove 40 miles north to Joe’s Other Café, a place with the best hash browns I’ve ever had. The omelet was darned good as well. It was noon by the time we visited Wild Horse Winery. (Thinking of you, Mike and Jan Bigelow, who introduced us to Wild Horse.) All the reds tasted good to us, so we bought some. Then it was on to our current favorite winery – Tobin James. Oh my gosh, their zins are so good. And Fat Boy is to die for (No, not Dave; a great big zin.) Thank you, Mary and Rick, for your gift certificate. We collected all our alcoholic booty and headed back to Pismo. It’s about 20 degrees cooler here than it is at Paso Robles and we sat on our butts after two exhausting days of fun.

I went for a walk along the beach before dinner and carefully watched the seabirds getting their dinner. The gulls would jab their beaks into the sand and sometimes come up with some little lump of I don’t know what. They would shake it a little and then drop it in the sand and peck at it, as if to test if it was really food. Usually, they would then pick it up and swallow it, shaking their heads the way humans do when they have to swallow a big pill. I saw one gull do the first test and then abandon his bit of whatever-it-was. Another gull immediately swooped in and swallowed it. Heaven knows what these birds actually end up eating.


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