For only the second time since shutdown, I traveled out of town, this time for three nights in Pismo Beach. Kate and I both got covid tests ahead of time so we felt comfortable driving down together and sharing a hotel room. I especially liked tide-pooling, outdoor dining, and watching the pelicans. It was foggy every morning and evening, so we saw no sunsets. But we found sun every day a mile of so inland.
Sunday (9/20/20) – Scenic Drive to Pismo Beach
I picked up Kate at 8:00 and we drove about four hours to San Luis Obispo County. We had a picnic lunch in Morro Bay, took a short stroll in Los Osos, then visited Spooner’s Cove in Montaña del Oro State Park. Shortly after we left the beach, I realized that my phone was missing and figured it fell out of my pocket when we sat to put on shoes. We drove back and after a few frantic minutes of searching, I found it partially covered with sand. Whew!
We checked into our Pismo Beach hotel, wiped down the room with Lysol wipes, and plugged in an air purifier. Our room overlooked a foggy cliff filled with pelicans. We got take out from Mo’s BBQ, the chicken was dry and the corn muffin tasteless.
Monday (9/21/20) – San Luis Obispo and beaches
We ate a boring take-out breakfast at the hotel, then drove into warm, sunny San Luis Obispo. We explored downtown, took a pleasant walk along SLO Creek, and enjoyed a delicious lunch at Novo – we split lettuce wraps, brussels sprouts, and vanilla bean crème brûlée. Yum.
Back on the coast, I took a short nap on foggy Morro Strand State Beach, sleepy after drinking an Arrogant Bastard Ale at lunch. We then strolled the beach collecting sand dollars and watching the shorebirds.
It was sunny by the time we reached Avila Beach, in the late afternoon. We got ice creams and took another beach stroll. Then we headed Ada’s Fish House in Pismo Beach for dinner where the parking lot had been converted into a dining room for socially distanced dining. We split another tasty meal – crab cakes, salmon with broccolini, and sweet potatoes fries.
Tuesday (9/22/20) – Montaña de Oro State Park
Seeking tidepools, we parked at Sandpit Beach and walked to Hazard Canyon Reef. In hindsight, we could have found a more direct route, but this way we were able to collect clam shells. The reef has fascinating sedimentary rock formations, spoiled here and there by black spots from an oil spill. We drove further into the park and took a walk along the Bluff Trail just as the sun was finally coming out – beautiful views of the coastline!
We headed back to SLO for a late lunch/early dinner at Novo – BLTA and a mixed salad with salmon. The desserts weren’t as good as the crème brûlée. Back at our hotel, I photographed pelicans while Kate went in search of water dogs (a.k.a. water shoes) to replace the ones left on the roof of the car. (She did not find any and went barefoot for our last beach exploration).
Wednesday (9/23/20) – Margo Dodd Park
We visited one last beach before heading home. It was more rock outcropping than beach and required a bit of scrambling. I enjoyed the sea caves. The sun came out while we were there, and based on the forecast it might have remained clear all day. But alas, we were headed home. We stopped for a picnic lunch in King City, and afterwards listened to the Spotify playlist I will eventually play at a dance party to celebrate the end of the pandemic (instead of the special birthday party that would have taken place six months ago).