Saturday, January 18, 2014


Getting the urge for some travel, we used our 43rd anniversary as an excuse for a short getaway to California's Central Coast.  We found a nice B&B in Cambria called Her Castle which boasted that we could skip lunch after it's "full breakfast".  A true statement, which fails to mention that coffee and scones are brought to your room prior to the full sit down breakfast in the dining room.  A great choice in this small coastal town on Hwy 1.

Our only disappointment was the drought which has hit this area hard.  Normally the hills are an emerald green, inviting one to walk through the grass, but not a green blade of grass was to be found.  With the hillsides an  ugly shade of gray we were saved by the beautiful ocean views on a couple of short hikes we took.

We took the short drive down to Morro Bay and paid a visit to Montana de Oro State Park, which for a California State Park is unusual because there is no entrance fee.  Very unlike the State of California to overlook the possibility of getting more money out of it's citizens.  We were intending on hiking the bluff trail but much of it was closed because trial was being transformed into a 4 mile road to meet access standards for the handicapped.  Not that I'm complaining, but it is a hiking trail.  But with clear skies and temperatures in the 80's we did manage to walk along the bluffs for a short distance, taking in the great coastal views.


Next we drove north on Highway 1 to Piedras Blancas and paid a visit to the Elephant Seals who just happen to like spending time on the beach.  The seals spend eight to ten months a year in the open ocean, diving up to 5000 feet deep for periods of 15 minutes to two hours.  Migrating thousands of miles, twice a year to its land based rookery for birthing, breeding, molting and rest.  The Piedras Blancas rookery is home to about 17,000 animals.  This is time of the year is when the pups are born and they we plentiful.     It is amazing that more pups aren't crushed by huge male seals, but the females are very protective of the pups.

Day two found us taking another short hike to the Harmony Headlands, another state park which much to our surprise is free.  A 1.5 mile trail leads from the highway to the rocky shore, which is the only reason to go here.  Most of the area leading to the ocean was burned in a controlled burn a couple of months ago and the hillsides are black with ash.  With the drought conditions there is no new growth and the landscape looks pretty desolate.

For a change of scenery we walked the beach at San Simeon, a beautiful near empty beach.

Besides the ample breakfast at the B&B we had some great dinners on each of our three nights out.  We tried a different restaurant each night opting for The Sows Ear in Cambria as our first choice.  We both ordered heart attack on a plant in the form of chicken fried steak.  It was really good and we were about to finish without any ill effects to our health, near as we could tell. 

After surviving our first night out we drove to Morro Bay and the The Seafood Gallery Grill for our second dinner where Cathie had her once a year lobster tails and I had some really great scallops.  A great seafood restaurant on the bay.   Our last night, on our anniversary, we drove over the hills to Paso Robles where we found the best meal or our trip at Robert's.  In San Diego we have Restaurant Week but in San Luis Obispo County they have Restaurant Month.  We had a fabulous fixed price three course dinner of Braised Pork Belly,  Salad, Beef Stroganoff Braise Short Ribs, and for dessert Chocolate Souffle Cake.  What a great meal to help us celebrate our 43 years of wedded bliss.  Well, at least that's the way I remember them.

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