About halfway between the Los Angeles area and the San Francisco Bay area lies San Luis Obispo. Apart from being a great town, it’s also very close to Pismo Beach, Avila Beach, and Morro Bay. We found a great county park to camp in just a few miles from town. El Chorro Park is a bit older and mostly designed for much smaller RVs, but we found a site that suited us perfectly for our stay. It was nice being in a natural setting again after our last two cramped commercial RV parks. We built two campfires during our stay, which were quite a bit easier to get burning after learning some new campfire tricks from Canadians we met in Quartzsite back in January.
We decided to keep things relatively low key during our stay, enjoying the peace and quiet rather than packing the days with sight-seeing. The campground and the adjoining county park were large enough that we could take Opie for very long walks, and the gigantic fenced dog park (an easy walk from the campground) was great for Max to relax in.
The campground also has a single hiking trail which is about a three-mile loop and a pretty steep climb. We took Opie on the trail twice in an attempt to tire him out, but even adding some ball playing at the dog park before and after the hike, he still wanted more. That dog has some endurance!
On our way back from our hike the trail took us right past a herd of cows. Being “city folk” and not quite sure what to expect (especially since Opie was with us), we tried to give them as wide a berth as possible. The largest of the bunch kept its eyes on us the entire time, looking pretty intimidating. Maybe it knew what we had for dinner the night before (hint: it wasn’t chicken).
We had heard that San Luis Obispo features a weekly farmer’s market and street festival on Thursday evenings at 6pm, so we of course went to check it out. The city closes off a few blocks for the event, and there were dozens of restaurants with tents set up selling everything from BBQ to cinnamon rolls. There were almost as many market stands selling fresh fruit and vegetables, but the offerings were dominated by strawberries:
Kathie did the shopping and says the strawberries were among the best she’s ever had. Since we were in town for a week-and-a-half, I knew we’d be going back the next week for more! There wasn’t a wide selection of other fruits and vegetables, but everything we did buy was excellent.
We managed to get out of SLO (as the locals like to call San Luis Obispo) a couple times. Once we visited Avila Beach, which had some nice shops and restaurants (see photo at the top of this page). We had lunch at Custom House, a nice restaurant that allowed Opie out on the patio with us—they even brought him a dog bowl with fresh water.
There was also a dog beach nearby where Opie could get his feet wet while we walked along the shore watching the fog roll in, eventually obscuring the entire town. We were surprised to see quite a few large motorhomes parked along the side of the road, many with people relaxing in their lounge chairs under their awnings. Apparently RV parking is allowed, and there are even some overnight RV spots you can pay to park in right along the beach road.
We also took a day to visit nearby Morro Bay. A defining feature of the area is Morro Rock, a volcanic plug. Wikipedia will tell you that it is “composed of dacite, a felsic extrusive rock, intermediate in composition between andesite and rhyolite, and is a member of the igneous family.” We’ll tell you that it’s BIG, and looks out of place all alone on the beach. The beach is supposed to be a great place for surfing, and we saw quite a few surfers catching some waves during our visit. We had an excellent lunch at a nearby seafood restaurant, satisfying Kathie’s urge (we don’t eat seafood often).
We really enjoyed our stay at SLO, and it’s someplace we’ll probably visit again to do more exploration of the nearby areas.