Wednesday, February 26, 2014


since so many people had told us about Avila Beach, just south of San Luis Obispo, we backtracked to it come Saturday morning. It wasn't far - about 10 miles - if that. 

We kinda knew that we were in trouble when we got there around 8:30 am and it was already busy. Our thought that it was a little more quiet then say - Pismo Beach - probably wasn't quite right.

We did find a nice little corner on a street to park however, and so headed off to the beach. First stop, this little marine park.

Then to the beach. It is large and it does look quiet here but by the time we left a few hours later it was pretty packed. 

We stayed until just before lunch and then hung out at the van for a bit - surprisingly we had gotten a wifi signal and so with lunch I was also able to do a post.

Then back on the 101 and then the 1 - destination - Morro Bay.

Morro Bay …… another California coast gem. We arrived in the early afternoon and didn't leave until about the same time the next day. It was fairly easy to find our way to the shore and scored a nice street parking spot not far from there. No signs about time limit and no parking fee.

Morro Bays famous rock. Here we are down at the shore walking along the main strip in and among the shops and restaurants. 

Morro Bay is a seaside - fishing - community. It reminded us a lot of Cowichan Bay back home on Vancouver Island - just on a larger scale.

I'm a sucker for Shell Shops - ever since I was a kid visiting in Florida looking over all the large shiny shells one rarely finds on the beach. 

I even go in for all the tacky things they make with the shells, but alas, I never actually buy anything. There is just something about finding your own shells on the beach - even if they aren't big and perfect.

From the lower dock area we walked up into the downtown - grabbed this elevated view from the top of the stairs.

Imagine our luck to find a street market going on once we got there! 

Mmmmmmm - best milk ever from Rosa Brothers Milk Company - orange, chocolate, strawberry and root beer.

Then back to the van for a little while - yup - we even spent the night here.

Later in the afternoon we went for another long walk along the docks - with Rufus this time. Along the way we ran into Ruth with her dog (can't remember his name now! sheesh!) - she was headed back down to Garritt and their boat. We visited with them for a while and even got a tour - Cassia was pretty impressed. Nice to meet you Ruth and Garritt - see you in Mexico next winter!

Once Rufus was returned to the van we headed out for dinner. It has been a while since we have gone out for dinner - we've been using our 'out to eat' fund for craft beer. BUT - we decided to splurge on some seafood since we were where it was the freshest.

We had read an article about Mark Tognazzini and his restaurant - Tognazzini's Dockside. We wondered if that was the best place for seafood - or where? Morro Bay is filled with seafood restaurants. Where to go? While we were in the van a Harbour Patrol truck pulled up at the neighbouring house - so Derek went and asked. Yup - Tognazzini's is the place to go.

Since we had a 45 minute wait - it is very popular - we decided to walk around. We headed over to the Tognazzini Fish Market. While there we recognized Mark from the article and struck up a conversation with him. Since Mark has been up to the Yukon and Alaska we had a lot of travel conversation, among other things. Super nice guy! Thanks again Mark!

Our dinner was definitely worth the wait! Here's my very yummy chowder in a bread bowl. Perfect for a cool evening.

Derek's fish and chips - excellent batter - nice and light with equally crispy fries.

Oh! And here's Brandon - our very friendly server! Our dinner was a great experience because of the fresh seafood and nice conversations with Mark and the Dockside staff. Thanks again everyone!

We woke to a very foggy morning. That wasn't going to stop us though and we walked to the Morro Rock. You can drive but there is a nice walkway as well.

There is also a nice large beach out there - many surfers this morning.

Prior to our walk we had moved the van down by the restaurant - along the docks. Upon our return we went back to the fish market because Derek wanted to take the opportunity to get some oysters.

Here's Cassia playing with two of Mark's dogs - Dakota and Korea.

Derek shucking his oysters. Since he had twelve I decided to finally try an oyster. Not really my thing - it wasn't bad - just not something I need to eat. Eleven oysters - quite the breakfast for Derek though.

With that our time in Morro Bay was done. A nice place but we decided with all the fog we would continue up the coast. And look what we found not that far away! Sun and blue sky.

Not far up the road we found an area with numerous pullouts and access to trails and the beach. That is where we spent the day - we really needed a rest day.

Those pics up next!

Just to get you up to date - we are now north of San Francisco in Stinton Beach and today is Wednesday. It is pouring rain! Sheesh.

Although we had planned to visit downtown San Fran, last night in Half Moon Bay we decided not to. My research showed that parking is very difficult in San Francisco and we didn't want to park in an expensive RV park and take transit. And with all this rain it wouldn't have been much of a visit anyway.

We are sitting at a beach side park getting wifi from a nearby coffee shop. We'll spend some time here to see if the rain lifts a bit. This part of the #1 highway is VERY VERY narrow and windy - forget about the drive from Cambria to Big Sur - that was a breeze compared to this. Not really a day to be doing that kind of driving.


If you are looking for more of Rantin' n Raven we are not hard to find out there in the social media world. We are on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest. See you there!

Monday, February 24, 2014


Looking back now - no wonder we needed to take a rest today - WoW! I'm just getting tired going back over the last few days…….

Saturday morning we hopped over to Lompoc following the 246 west. 

The day turned out much different than we expected - here take a look.

The ride over to Lompoc - obviously an agricultural area.

Vineyards and wineries. Lompoc has many wine tasting rooms - although we didn't visit any - located in the Wine Ghetto.

Lompoc isn't large but it is the main hub in the area with all of the services. Our first stop was Home Depot because it was the first thing we came to and we wanted to check on a few things on the internet. After breakfast we decide that not only did we need the internet - we were sinking fast with blog posts - but we needed to be able to plug in. We were in luck with the South Side Coffee Co. They offer free wifi plus electricity.

As we walked from the van to the coffee shop we passed many murals. Sadly, I didn't take more pictures of them. But here are a few.

Since I got two blog posts up we were at the coffee shop for quite a while - about 2 hours! In the end we didn't spend anymore time in the Historic District of Lompoc but I definitely think it would be worthwhile to spend the day. 

With all this city touring from the previous day we had something else on our minds….

Sand dunes! And you thought we had gotten that out of our systems with the White Sands - right?! Nope - as I said - the Wood Clan detours and stops - for sand dunes.

Today - the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes

Hmmmm - looks familiar - right?! Only a little browner. The road in is VERY narrow - actually RVs are not allowed nor are dogs. Some how I missed that in my research. What are we to do now?

We continued in. Once parked we tied Rufus outside and were about to have lunch. Until the Ranger showed up. Really - no dogs. As in - no dogs anywhere - not even in your vehicle. Good to know - right?

It was VERY cold and VERY windy out there at the dunes. After lunch Cassia and I ran out and took a few pictures.

Then we left. Back to Guadalupe. Back on to the #1 north. We had planned to spend the whole day at the dunes and find somewhere close to overnight. On to plan B - keep driving.

Since everything is so close in this area it wasn't long before we were back at the beach. This time a warm and less windy beach. Funny how different it was from the dunes to here at the Pismo Beach.

We did come through Oceano and Grover Beach but really didn't see an opportunity to get to the beach until Pismo Beach.

Although it was really congested driving through  - our driver almost didn't stop. Thankfully, at the last minute we found a place to park on the street and so decided to go take a quick look.

It was very busy but since it is such a large beach there was room for everyone. Obviously everyone was taking advantage of the nice weather.

Rufus even found a friend.

Since we had already had a full day we didn't arrive to Pismo beach until the late afternoon. All too soon the day was winding down - and we needed a place to sleep. We didn't think that Pismo Beach would be open to urban boondocking.

So we found the van back and continued on. Next stop - San Luis Obispo. A large enough city - we figured we could get lost there - at least they had a Home Depot - somewhere. We had moved so much faster than planned for the day I had yet to finish my research!

Watching the sunset on our way.

Thankfully, San Luis Obispo was only 15 minutes from the beach so we arrived well before it was dark. The problem was that I had no idea where we should go. We ended up right downtown. We knew that there were a few craft breweries - maybe they were downtown was our thinking. As we were driving around I picked up a wifi signal from Barnes & Noble. Derek pulled over and I did some quick research. In the end we decided to head to Tap It because - first - someone had told Derek about it and second - you guessed it - they were out of town.

Another industrial section brewery and another place to spend the night.

Good thing too - San Luis Obispo may be the happiest city in America - it sure isn't the happiest city to have RVs visit. Every street into the city had a sign alerting travellers that RVs could not park overnight on any streets city wide.

Tap It Brewing Co.

A pretty lively atmosphere.

And music! Sadly, we didn't quite realize that they closed at 8:00 pm (on a Friday night!!) and only arrived at around 7:00 pm.

But we had a fun hour with some good beer and good tunes. Cassia fit right in! 

In the end we were glad it made for an early evening - we were done with the day.

Warm days but cool nights - brrrr………..

That makes for the second blog of the night - I'm catching up. Today is Sunday and we are sitting here in Cambria about to take on the curvy portion of the #1 over the next few days. We are so ahead of schedule and moving so fast it isn't funny. But here's the thing - rain - and lots of it is coming on Wednesday. We have a clear two days to get to Big Sur and beyond or wait maybe more than a week until it clears. Plus, it really is a little too busy down here for the Wood Clan…..


If you are looking for more of Rantin' n Raven we are not hard to find out there in the social media world. We are on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest. See you there!

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