Trip C (continued) January 25th to Feb 4th, 2012 9522 to 9796 trip miles
remember: <wow> = fill in your own superlative, we’ve run out : )
After our v-e-r-y l-o-n-g 200 mile detour around the rockslide on Route 1, we arrived in Morro Bay CA. All the way along the Pacific Coast, there are large and interesting rocks just offshore, eroded by the relentless ocean into all sorts of shapes; some are called haystack rocks. In the Morro Bay harbor is a nicely proportioned one that dwarf’s them all (at least any we’ve seen). Morro Rock is a volcanic plug that is 576 feet high, with a base of over 50 acres, which would be 1665 feet in diameter if it were round. It is therefore higher than the highest points in Florida (345), Delaware (447), District of Columbia (490), Louisiana (535), as well a lot of islands that I won’t list, and the countries of Bahamas (207), Vatican City (246), Qatar (33
, Bahrain (440), Monaco (52
, Singapore (53
, Denmark (561); amazingly, The Netherlands has a point 1,059 ft high. Also Morro Rock is 39% of the size of the world’s smallest country, Vatican City, and 11% of the size of the second smallest, Monaco. You don’t grasp the size of this rock until you see cars parked near the base of it (there’s a man-made (?) causeway to it), and it is beautiful up close as well as in the distance.
We stayed across the street from the beach (and The Rock) at the Morro Dunes RV Park for a week, plenty of time to “recharge our batteries”. Pretty nice park (and town), and we met up with Loren and Fran Phillips, fellow Roadtrekers from Ohio, who spend a couple of months here each year. They took us out several days, and were great and gracious tour guides of the area. They took us on some scenic roads, that we probably wouldn’t have found; thanks, we would have missed the beautiful views! They have a 94D190V, and have kept it in marvelous shape. It certainly doesn’t look like it has over 200,000 miles on it, and I doubt ours will be so pretty even before that age. Also met Pat and Barbara Young from Reno with a 98?D190P, and as is normal at campgrounds, many other nice folks.
We visited San Luis Obispo, Avila Beach/San Luis Harbor, Los Osos, and Montana De Oro; all beautiful <wow> country. Also stopped at the Madonna Inn which was a bit much for us, but some will like it’s opulence. The weather was just great the whole time we were here, the only minor problem being a lot of wind sometimes. A high school classmate of Marti’s that lives in nearby Arroyo Grande, Cathy, and her husband Mohan, visited us one day, and it was nice to see them and have a reunion. They brought us round two of our snail-mail (round one was at Christmas in Medford, Oregon) so we had plenty of reading material. : ( They also brought a package with some needed items which were sent from home by our wonderful helpers (Maggie and Julie) who look after our house, mail, and needed “care” packages; thanks! And we took care of some maintenance on the Chevy and on us. But mostly, we took lots of time to just rest, relax, and enjoy the sunsets.
After Morro Bay, we headed north up Route 1 to see “the missing 68 miles”. First stop was the gianormous Hearst Castle in San Simeon. With a wonderful, scenic, five mile driveway, 69,000 square feet and 115 rooms (just in the main castle, not the guest houses, etc.), and over 250,000 acres (around 400 square miles), we’ll have to admit that it is just a TAD larger than the Tillinger Castle. The Mediterranean architecture, motif, and art weren’t quite our thing, but it sure shows what cubic money can do. Marti described it as Disneyland on a hill. The hilly setting is just spectacular though, and I wouldn’t mind having a small, modest house there.
Next up was an Elephant Seal (I suppose Winnie-the-Pooh would call them Hefalump Seals) beach and viewing area, about 5 miles north of the castle. It doesn’t seem to be marked at the actual entrance other than a sign that says “Vista Point” (there are lots of these), but I think there were signs down the highway flagging it as an Elephant Seal viewing area. This one got us up close, and just overhead hundreds of these enormous creatures, who were in their birthing, nursing, and breeding season (yes, one right after the other). They’re a bit klutzy, and not particularly handsome (especially the males), but they sure are majestic. There are actually a whole string of beaches with Elephant Seals both north and south of this, but this one has the nice boardwalk to view from. We next passed the Piedras Blancas lighthouse, but it was closed for the day. Eventually we came upon the Plaskett Creek National Forest Service Campground, and found a beautiful spot there for the night. Our entertainment for the evening was watching someone with a behemoth motorhome (which was also towing a trailer; what, not enough room in that thing?), trying to get into one of the campsites (“just a van, ma’am” looks pretty good at these times),
The next day, we headed north again, and came through several construction areas, and finally came across the large/long one that had made us take the two-hundred-mile-detour a week before. Rather than just turn around at this point, we continued on up to Big Sur, which we hadn’t seen much of before, because of Marti’s illness back then. Along the way, we stopped at the small Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, and it is another little gem, with a tiny but tall waterfall dropping to a tiny beach. We learned that there used to be no beach there until ’83, so it dropped right to the ocean before that. There was a massive rockslide just north of the falls, that not only helped create the beach, but also caused Route 1 to be closed for a year!
We stopped at the Andrew Molera State Park, and took a fairly easy 1 mile hike (each way) to the beach and cliffs. We saw a Blue Heron along the way, and then some surfers at the beach; not something I want to try (you should probably be able to swim well, eh?). We drove about 5-6 miles south, and took a one lane bumpy road (with pullouts) to the beach again. This road is about a half-mile south of the Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park Station, which in turn is about a half-mile south of the actual park entrance. (The Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park should not be confused with the Julia Pfeiffer Burns one, further south.) The road was not marked that we could see, except there is a large rectangular yellow sign that says “Narrow Road, No RV’s” (“just a van, ma’am”); it’s well worth driving down, even fording the small stream across it. At the end of the road, a very short hike gets you to a beach with some big rocks <wow>. Not nearly as big as Morro Rock, BUT a couple of these have holes through them, and the waves coming through are spectacular <wow>. I (but not “smart” Marti) climbed to the top of one of them, and was rewarded with more marvelous views. (On the other hand, it has been a long time since I did any rock climbing, not that I’ve done much of it anyway, and I was hurting for the next few days, after using muscles that had atrophied; Marti was quick to point out that I should have stretched first.) I got back down in time to get some photos of the sunset through one of the holes. I’m guessing here, but I think that in December or January, when the sun sets further south, the view might be lined up even better through the hole, sort of like Stonehenge: it was blocked a little by part of the rock behind the hole. After that, we retired to a campsite at the Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park.
In the morning, we took a moderately difficult 2 mile hike to the Pfeiffer Falls (would love to see the falls after a heavy rain), and then on to “Valley View”, where you can see miles and miles of the Big Sur valley; both well worth it. The trail is rough (lots of rocks poking up), and a bit steep, but easy for us “now seasoned hikers”. Then we had a leisurely drive back down the coast to Morro Bay, took care of various mundane chores, drove around a bit, and enjoyed some more chowder (did I mention that we like that?). We stayed another night at the Dunes, and in morning we were off to Cathy and Mohan’s lovely home in Arroyo Grande (what a view!) for a couple of days.
Marti sez: “Go Giants!”
Dick, Marti, & Glen RT09/10C190P “no more deadlines”
Allegany NY (currently in Arroyo Grande CA)