We LIKE this place!
Trip Start Dec 29, 2011
37Trip End Ongoing
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We left this morning around ten thirty and after a slight detour due to a slight navigational error we were on the road. (Totally not the navigator's fault - the entry to the highway we needed was in an inconvenient spot, right under the entrance to the OTHER highway we ended up on and not accessible from the entrance we used.)
It was a fairly short drive from Monterey to Salinas on a good road with not much traffic. In Salinas we hooked up with the 101 and were on there for almost all the rest of the trip.
Salinas was a big sprawling farming community, population about 150,000. It is well-known for its rodeo (not by us) and as the birthplace of John Steinbeck
Being somewhere near Salinas, wouldn't have been complete without Willie Nelson wailing out his version of Bobby McGee so Roy made sure that tape (yes, we actually have a tape deck!) was playing as we went through. Hope you "young" readers get the reference...
Highway 101 was a double lane divided highway all the way so the driving was pretty easy for Roy and not too tense for me:)
The flat-as-a-pancake row-crop fields soon became interspersed with vineyards and eventually all we could see was vineyards for miles around
We passed through a number of nondescript towns; the only one I recognized was Soledad and I have no idea why. We stopped for lunch at a rest stop on the side of the highway that had a bunch of posters/signs with info about the area, its history, the missions, the agriculture. (It used to be wheat farming until they discovered row crops had quicker turnover and provided a better return.) The stop was brief and we were soon back on the road. Our next stop was for gas and propane in Atascadero at our turn off to Morro Bay. The road to Morro Bay was a little narrow and windy with a fair bit of traffic and no pullouts but fortunately, it was only a short distance. The RV park was easy to find and we were checked in and settled in no time.
As we were setting up, I kept hearing this sound, like barking dogs. It took me a minute to figure out it was actually barking seals and sea lions. That's how close we are to the sea - could hardly wait to get across the street to see it.
The RV Park is lovely
Morro Rock is the northern most visible member of the Nine Sisters, a string of ancient volcanic cones stretching from here in Morro Bay south to San Louis Obispo.The rock is 576 feet high and sometimes referred to as the Gilbraltar of the Pacific.The rock was quarried for years but in 1968 it was declared a State Historical Landmark. It is now a refuge for endangered Peregrine falcons and climbing on it is illegal. It was first sighted in 1542 by a Spainish explorer Juan Cabrillo who named it El Morro, which means crown-shaped hill. That's exactly what it is and that is what we look out on from our rear window.
It was only 3:30 by the time we were settled in so we decided a bike ride would be a good way to fill the time. We cycled for an hour or so on a really great bike trail that ran north, parallel to Hwy 1 then through a park and a beautiful wetland and finally on a boardwalk that went out to the beach
On our trip into town we discovered another bike trail that goes from downtown all the way out to Morro Rock. We drove out there in the car; the place was full of cars and people going or coming back from surfing or stand-up paddle boarding. The road is blocked off at that point to cars but it looks like you can walk or bike out to the outer part of the rock. On the way back we stopped at the Visitor's Info place and discovered there are two golf courses nearby. The visitor info guy tells us Morro Bay Golf Course is the poor man's Pebble...seem to be a few poor man's Pebbles...guess there are more of us poor...Also figured there's enough stuff to do to keep us busy for a week if we like!
Tomorrow it is supposed to rain so I think we are heading up the coast on Hwy 1 to Hearst Castle.