We left our camp site on the Rincon Beach Parkway headed up the coast about 120 miles on Pacific Coast Highway 101. It is a beautiful drive, mostly along the coastline with the ocean on one side and the rolling hills on the other. The rolling hills are mostly covered in grapevines and/or pasture land. We planned the trip so we could stop for lunch at Andersons Pea Soup Restaurant and were not disappointed. We have eaten there before and the soup is always delicious. Along with everything else they serve.
Our destination was Pismo Dunes RV Park in Oceano, CA, which is very near Pismo Beach, CA and right in front of the huge Pismo Dunes. This is another Coast to Coast park ($10 a night for us) and we were on the top of a hill with the dunes right in front of us. A beautiful sight. There is access to the dunes from the park and we walked a short distance on the dunes one day before I gave up (walking on soft sand is HARD) but Ed walked to the top of the dunes and could see the Pacific Ocean. This Central Coast is one of our favorite regions in California. Corinne and Kristine used to live here so we have spent a fair amount of time in this area and were happy we could get back to visit it. It was strawberry harvest time while we were there and we gorged ourselves on the big, juicy berries we bought from stands all around the area. This is a very big agricultural area, growing all kinds of fruit and vegetables but there are miles and miles of strawberry fields. Very impressive.
We visited some of our favorite haunts and enjoyed walking the pier and beach at Pismo and eating lunch at Splash Café, where they make the best clam chowder I have ever had. You can drive on the beach there if you dare (just ask Kristine what happens when you don’t have 4 wheel drive on the beach) and we watched the sun set over the Pacific Ocean. That never gets old. We drove into San Luis Obispo, a scenic college town and then on into Morro Bay to view the Morro Rock and drive along the beach. We also ate at Firestone Grill in San Luis Obispo where they make the finest tri-tip sandwiches ever. We also visited the Elks Lodge in Oceana and stayed for taco night, and also had dinner with Jim K. And Debbie D., friends of Kristine and Corinne whom we had met when the girls used to live there. Sounds like we ate our way around the Central Coast, doesn’t it! Maybe that explains why my pants are starting to feel tight.
We tried to get repairs on some of the things that have broken down while we were there. Ended up buying a new toilet seat and a new faucet for the kitchen, and dropped the computer off to the Geek Squad at Best Best. The good news was the toilet seat and faucet fixed those problems, but the Geek Squad declared my computer dead, so we left that behind in the trash. It now joins its friends the HP printer and 25" TV in the big dumpster in the sky.
You know how you mean to take the reusable bags into the grocery store, but you always forget them either at home or in the car? Well, we discovered a good way to help you remember. San Luis Obispo County has passed a law that forbids any retail store from using plastic bags. You either get a paper bag (for 10 cents each) or you buy one of their reusable bags for $1.00 or more. At first I was taken aback by this, but quickly joined the band wagon and think this is a very good idea. Of course, it took us several times of Ed running back to the car to retrieve the bags before we finally caught on, but I feel good about saving the earth from all those hard-to-break-down plastic bags.
After a week in the Pismo area, we traveled another 40 miles up the steep grade to the Elks Lodge in Atascadero, CA. to stay for a few more days. They have 14 RV sites with full hookups and we were the only ones there for the first few days. We have experienced beautiful weather while in California but as soon as we got to Atascadero, it turned HOT. Highs in the 80s and 90. It was fine while we were in the Rv with the air conditioning on, but we did a lot of touring and visiting of wineries while we were there and the car air conditioning is not working and it was very HOT. We survived but it reminded me of when I was a kid and we would take family trips in the station wagon with no air conditioning. Not that much fun.
Paso Robles is a wonderful area to go wine tasting. There are probably a hundred wineries with tasting rooms and most do not charge anything or do not charge if you buy a bottle. Most of the wineries are small mom and pop operations and are very friendly and inviting. We bought at least one bottle at each one we visited and our wine cellar (cardboard box) is full and overflowing. We have visited the Napa area for wine tasting before and Paso Robles far exceeds what we experienced in Napa.
We are moving on, headed north and now east, but are sad to be leaving this beautiful part of our country. I can understand why people fall in love with California even though it is expensive to live here. But it sure is a long way from Michigan.