Monday, March 20, 2017

Morro Bay, California and Montano de Oro State Park

From Pismo Beach we head inland to Historic Old Edna and our first taste of local vineyards.

 A pleasant drive.  Actually , most of the drives through wine country are quite pleasant ----as long as you are okay with twisty, mountainous roads for some of the wineries and vineyards.

Our stop was at Sextant wines
These stops are quite enjoyable. First, you can ask questions about what grapes are used and from where(many of the wines are blends from different vineyards), the years, etc which lead to many other discussions. Second, we often meet other people who add other things to the conversation-often not related to wine at all.
We do not pretend to know a lot about wine, but we do indicate our likes and preferences.  The hosts are usually quite helpful and offer all kinds of information about their vineyard, grapes, and wines.
We had hoped to visit Edna Valley Vineyard wines near Sextant, but their tasting room was closed for renovation.  So, on up Route 101 to Santa Margarita and south to Santa Margarita Lake and their county park campground.
 You can see Lady Blue across the lake.  Definitely not crowded.
 Some nice hikes around the lake. Looking down at the marina.
 Just follow the dirt path.
From Santa Margarita Lake, we head back to Santa Margarita and then north to Route 41 and west to Morro Bay State Park, a very popular destination on the California coast.
Morro Rock at Morro Bay.
We had actually planned to stop here after Pismo Beach, but saw on the website that the campground was closed due to flooding and downed trees.  As luck would have it, the campground just opened up the day we arrived.  The campground is to our right in this picture.
The small marina at the park.
While we were here, there were a number of school groups out on the sand studying the marine life.  One group we talked to had traveled from Bakersfield. They saved money, took a week out of school, stayed near here at a camp, and spent the week on study excursions like this one.  Plenty of instructors too.
 The Bayside Cafe near the marina, campground, and museum.
Jan and I stopped here one afternoon for tri-tip and chicken tacos, followed by the most delicious boysenberry crisp.
Website for Bayside Cafe
Oh-- and a glass of a local Zinfandel-Romililly and a Pinot Noir.
 This is a different tab trailer done in wood finish.
We had heard of Morro Bay from other Lazy Daze owners at Quartzsite.  There is an annual get together here with the California group at this time (early March).  We did not expect to find a space because the campground was booked back when we were at Quartzsite.  However, because of the closing(for 3 weeks), there were a number of cancellations.  We were happy to have a site and a chance to touch base with a few other LD owners.  Wish we had more time to spend.
  Left from ancient times, there are a number of these morros close by.  The others are on dry land.
 A boardwalk stretches out into the bay.
 Jan is tiny next to a giant Eucalyptus tree. Some trees this size were part of the hundreds felled by the storm.
The aroma of the trees is quite strong in some places.
Just outside the driveway for the campground is this road with the Morro Bay State Park Museum of Natural History(we enjoyed) on the left, Morro rock ahead, and the town of Morro Bay ahead to the right. 
 From Morro Bay, it is a short winding drive up to Montana de Oro(Mountain of Gold) State Park.  The name refers to the many poppies that bloom in the spring. We found a very comfortable spot at the campground.
The old Spooner Ranch had a fantastic view of the ocean from the heights.   The 1892 ranch was recently renovated.

 Another view from the ranch porch.
 Could be a New England ranch?
Never saw one of these before.
A hand cranked cream separator.
 A very beautiful piece of furniture.
A sideboard? with a dry sink?
A small butter churn? on the top.
And another thing we never saw before. What looks like a tin canister fixed to the right side----is a flour dispenser.
 An old wood-fired stove. The question here is---do you know what all the doors are for?  warming ovens?  ashes? 
 Had a number of these and never considered them very old.
However, note the old 4 glass bottle milk carrier, coffee grinders,hand mixers, and churn.
We love this!  If we had a house with a place for this, we would own one.  A large, hand cranked
coffee grinder.
Right across from the ranch starts a cliff walk that goes on forever.
We started in sunshine, the fog rolled in, and the fog rolled out again.
A local lizard really blends in with great camouflage.
The poppies add bright color along the path.
You can actually watch the line of fog roll in.
A number of visitors on the top of a cliff.
Large waves coming in over the rocks.
You cannot jump from here Bruce!
Same kind of lizard, different color.
Jan and Bruce do Tourist Selfies.
Back towards the Ranch, a wedding on the beach.
We wondered how they knew the fog would go out again.
Jan and I walk back out to the beach at sunset.  This is where the wedding was held.  Note the people up on the far cliff for sunset.
Some people brought their folding chairs for the natural event.
We are catching up. More pictures from Paso Robles and Yosemite soon!

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