"What way do we turn? What street should I look for? I asked the Lady when we entered San Luis Obispo.
"Nothing looks familiar. It's like I've never been here before!" The Lady was genuinely bewildered. "And there's so many people!"
We figured it was 15 years since our last visit. It was busy with people, understandable with the warm weather, holiday weekend, and this was Valentine's Day morning.
We were able to find the historic downtown and found a near empty parking lot that didn't start charging until 1:00 pm. Things were looking up. It was a glorious morning and SLO is a very picturesque city.
I've always enjoyed the old mission.
We both felt like we were back in the 4th grade where the California Missions are mandated to be covered in history lessons.
I'm reminded that history has many layers and can be very painful. My sister-in-law is a Miwok. I know she has a very different view of recently sainted Father Serra and especially our more local John Sutter, more than understandable with the earth shattering effects European contact had on their population, lands, and culture.
We continued our walk downtown.
Many of our friends also attended Cal Poly, including Barking Spider. Since Cal Poly SLO has a large agriculture school, Barking calls it "Alfalfa Moo!" McLintocks is where he first dined on "Turkey Nuts", a story recounted and enjoyed several times, as in "over and over". The conversation always moves on to my story about how my uncle got me roped into cleaning a five gallon bucket full of "Rocky Mountain Oysters" for a family reunion he was hosting in Deadwood, South Dakota.
The Old Cigar Factory is now gone, replaced by another restaurant.
The Lady paid for her college years by waiting tables in restaurants. We were going back in time with memories and stories. She recounted her very short time as a cocktail waitress, complete with the sexy, slinky dress. A male patron was not a gentleman and received a full platter of drinks, on him, not on the table, fully appropriate to the occasion in the Lady's eyes. Management quickly decided serving guests meals remained the Lady's forte and she returned to tables, but she did receive a large tip from the fellow's wife who enjoyed the episode immensely and thanked the Lady "for having the guts to put the jerk in his place."
Knee deep in stories we continued wandering the downtown area.
Back in the truck, we drove to the corner of Mill and Toro. The house where the Lady lived with the football team is still there.
The Lady talked of all the long bike rides and runs she use to do. Bent on nostalgic recreations - well at least in the truck - we headed down to Avila Beach. That was a mistake. Shock with the growth and change, we made it out of the congestion without losing life or limb and headed to Morro Bay. The power plant always amazes me, in such a dominate central location.
We easily found a parking spot on the bay and walked. Otters floated in the bay.
Gulls posed for pictures.
We walked out to Morro Rock and around to the jetty protecting Morro Bay. The surf was rough.
Waves were breaking over the jetty, yet people still climbed out into harm's way.
Morro Rock itself is a marine preserve. I wondered if the gulls knew they were perched on an ancient volcanic plug?
The beach to the north of Morro Rock was crowded with happy people on a beautiful Sunday afternoon busy with all sorts of fun.
Returning to the truck, we stopped and snacked along the water's edge and watched the small Harbor Patrol boat speed out into the bay. It was soon followed by the U.S. Coast Guard. We figured someone had been washed off the jetty.
They soon returned with victims aboard, being treated on the stern of the ship.
San Luis Obispo County medic units were waiting at the dock and soon sirens filled the air as the victims were transported. We later discovered the high waves had capsized a small boat in the bay. Two adult males, one adult female, and her eight year old daughter were rescued from the water. The story can be found here - Boat Capsizes in Morro Bay.
"I rode my bike out to Cayucos," the Lady said as we idled in Morro Bay traffic. Cayucos would be our next stop.
"Well I never thought I'd ever run into you two here!" Our friend Slim towered over everyone else on the crowded Cayucos Pier. "In the middle of nowhere maybe," Slim went on, "but never here!"
Slim introduced us to his in-laws - the reason for his visit - and the usual quick greetings and stories commenced. It was nice to see Slim.
"Well, if you're at Montana de Oro you have to see the tide pools at Hazard Canyon," Slim easily fell into the role of tour guide. "You going back up highway 1? Take the Old Coast Road up from Big Sur. You come back out at that famous bridge."
"The Bixby Bridge?" I asked.
"The Bixby Bridge?" I asked.
"That's the one! All you need is good tires and I know you have good tires."
Cayucos was busy with people also. There were surfers in the water.
Although it was crowded and the area had changed, we did have a very nice day. We picked up a couple items at the small market in Cayucos and returned to camp. Our camp companion was there to greet us in the afternoon light.
We headed back out to the bluff for the sunset.
We passed the old Spooner Ranch House...............................
.........................and reached the bluffs just as the sun slipped into the water.
Everything was darn near perfect. A wonderful end to Valentine's Day.
It was wonderful to see so many others out to view this beautiful sunset. Proving there are good things and good people in the world.
We stayed out as the light dimmed. It was hard to pull away.
A woman twirled lighted hoops as we slowly walked back to camp.
We waited until the stars were out before we returned out to the bluffs. We again found ourselves alone. To add to the night, I thought I'd try some long exposures to smooth the surf. I hoped the moon was bright enough to help with the effect.
It was a Valentine's Day evening to remember.
Our adventure continues in Part Three -Please Click Here