Why are we in Morro Bay?

Trip Start Oct 20, 2006
Trip End Nov 05, 2006

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Flag of United States  , California
Monday, October 30, 2006

After a few minutes of driving around town lost,  we decide that we could live here. Never saw the TV series, but this is a beautiful town. We are trying to find a "high spot" for to photograph the mission steeples. Kary who did not inherit my sense of no direction takes a right and another right and we are headed up a hill side. The steeples are below us. We're driving to the top, but the houses prohibit the view. Heading down the hillside, we try to get a photo, but the trees foliage stops us. Darn. 
On to the Santa Barbara Mission. One mistake we discover is trying to see a Mission on a Sunday. One suprise is the number of limos that were dropping off members of the congregation. Maybe it's because we are country born and raised, and the small churches in our neck-of-the-woods  have always  attended by the farmers and "local folk" driving their cars and trucks.   I was so itching to take photos of these church goers arriving in long stretch limos cause no one back home would believe this. But Kary was giving me the "no way mom - don't even think about it" look.
This is one of those picture perfect missions with its twin bell towers. Admission here is $4.   The interior colors are beautiful. 
You can photograph the twin bell towers from above. Just go to the courthouse - which is another architectural gem. This huge white washed/red tiled roofed spanish styled buidling takes up the whole block. We found a free parking space (gotta love this town) behind the Courthouse. Then strolled thru the gardens to the front of the building. A huge stone arched walkway is the entrance. Inside, you feel as though you are entering a private mansion. The walls are white stucco, the floor is laid stone. The carved-door entrance to the courthouse is framed in cut stone pillars. Inside is a small counter to get  your self-guided tour ticket. The Mural room is a must-see. It's hard to believe that a trial would be held in this room, since anyone would be distracted just looking at the painted walls. We walked the two different and unique staircases. Took photos of the missions the twin bell towers from the wrap around clock tower"lookout," and kept reminding ourselves that this is a courthouse not a museum.
Grabbed a fast lunch and then onto Mission San Luis Obispo.
One would think tourists would give pause when approaching  the large sign mounted near the entryway "Earthquake warning! This is an unenforced masonary building. You may not be safe inside or near ureinforced masonary buildings during an earthquake."  Well, luck be with two ladies tonight.
Being the third Mission in two days, I am missioned out,. We're glancing but not really looking.  Kary seems to be thinking the same thing - let's make this quick and get out of here. However, they have some really crafty products in the gift shop, so we shop. Kary's found an artsy natavity scene that she can fit in her suitcase, I find a Christmas tree ornament. Time to leave this cute little town and head north to Morro Bay, where we're going to see this famous rock and overnight.
First thoughts are why did I say we wanted to stay at Morro Bay? Ok, not to offend any one, cause I am a rock lover, but it's just this big rock out in the water. Cars can drive up to it. We check in at the Days Inn Morro Bay (yes we did find out why "budget hotels are called budget" by staying here). Decided to get out of the room as fast as possible and see some of the sights in Morro Bay. This encompassed walking the shoreline and stopping in all the little shops to kill time. Kary discovered a jellybean shop and splurged here for souvineers. Varieties that I never knew existed. Since it wasn't even time for dinner yet, and there wasn't a whole lot to do, unless you're a surfer , I mentioned that we have to find something to occupy our time this evening. We're not bar hoppers, so we started looking for some type of game to buy, cards, dominos, anything. The "anything" that turned into the "only thing" was a childs Crazy 8's game.  
At the end of the store area is a small park where the best photos of Morro rock are said to be taken, so we walked down prior to sunset to check it out. Unfortunately, this wasn't the best sunset, so back to the hotel and then to find a restaurant.
We decided on Mexican, and were told the best was a small restaurant over the highway and down the road heading north. The food was fantastic the service quick, but I can't remember the name. They advertise as the restaurant with a water view, BUT the only view you get of the water is when you pull into the parking lot. The bay is across the street. Still, the food makes up for no-view, and the pricing was fantastic.
Back to the room with the noisy heater. And to endless hands of the childs version of Crazy Eights. This $4.50 version consisted of elephants, aligators, monkeys and other animals on the faces of the cards from one to eight. Yep, no Joker.
We're calling it an early night since we will be up early for our drive to Hearst Castle.      

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Marc Slavin on

Santa Barbara would be an absolute dream of a town to live in. Right in the Mission canyon area too or Montecito. I love traveling there, there is just so much to do and all their festivals are always so much fun. Fiestas, Summer Solstice, etc. I'm really excited for my upcoming trip actually! Spending a week right on the beach! Your pictures of the mission are quite stunning, the rose garden across the street is a perfect place for a picnic or a good book on a sunny day! We always stay at the Sandman Inn (www.thesandmaninn.com). Really affordable and in a superb location, it's perfect.

Joe on

Santa Barbara is a one of those towns that once you visit you fall in love and it's a continuous venture to come again and again. I have been going there for years and each time is just as good as the previous. Of course the mission is a staple in any tourists attractions schedule. So grand and beautiful, you have to visit! I'm actually planning a trip to Santa Barbara and I am so excited- planning on staying at the South Coast Inn (www.santa-barbara-hotel.com). So elegant and the perfect place to catch up on some much needed R&R!

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