Tag Archives: Central Coast

The Pacific Coast Highway: Santa Cruz to San Luis Obispo

Last weekend Pam and I met some family members in Oakland for an Athletics game on Saturday night. After the game we went to Vallejo. On the return trip on Sunday we drove the Pacific Coast Highway from Santa Cruz to San Luis Obispo. It was a grey day. The drive was much different from my last trip down Highway 1.

The Pacific Coast Highway in Central California.

The Pacific Coast Highway in Central California.

Miles and miles of curvy roads and beautiful sights.

Miles and miles of curvy roads and beautiful sights.

A bridge on the Pacific Coast Highway.

A bridge on the Pacific Coast Highway.

Sunlight sneaking through the clouds and hitting the Pacific Ocean.

Sunlight sneaking through the clouds and hitting the Pacific Ocean.

We stopped in San Simeon to see elephant seals. They are such strange and fascinating creatures. The large males were not around, but the females and juveniles were plentiful.

Elephant seals sparring.

Elephant seals sparring.

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An elephant seal scratches an itch.

An elephant seal scratches an itch.

Elephant seal negotiations.

Elephant seal negotiations.

Negotiations have broken down.

Negotiations have broken down.

After the seals I got a picture of Hearst Castle and the San Simeon Pier.

Far off Hearst Castle sits by overcast skies.

Far off Hearst Castle sits by overcast skies.

The San Simeon Pier gets a little sunlight.

The San Simeon Pier gets a little sunlight.

It’s a beautiful highway to have so close by. I’m sure we’ll be back to Big Sur for more exploring.

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The Cambria Christmas Market

Pam and I went to the Cambria Chirstmas Market on Saturday. The event features a large number of lights and decorations, with arts, food, and drinks. We had glühwein, bread pudding, and buttered rum. We heard Loren Radis play Christmas songs (we heard him play in both 2013 and 2014).

A walkway at the Christmas Market.

A walkway at the Christmas Market.

Photos at the 2013 and 2014 Cambria Christmas Market.

Photos at the 2013 and 2014 Cambria Christmas Market.

A photo with the Grinch.

A photo with the Grinch.

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The Arroyo Grande Harvest Festival: 2014

A few weeks ago I saw a notice for the Arroyo Grande Harvest Festival. One of the events being promoted happened to be a dachshund race. I put the event in my calendar.

And so today I took a break from house projects to go wander around the festival. It was a beautiful, sunny Saturday. After seeing booths for artists, authors, organizations, and various vendors I crossed the Arroyo Grande pedestrian suspension bridge to find the racing dogs.

Panorama of a crowd at the festival.

On my way I stopped to watch derby car races. It was the 2014 Big Ditch Derby (it was held in Arroyo Grande . . .). I camped out at the finish line and got some fun pictures of the competitors.

A derby car racetrack.

Big Ditch Derby 2014 b

Big Ditch Derby 2014 c

Big Ditch Derby 2014 d

Big Ditch Derby 2014 f

Big Ditch Derby 2014 e

Big Ditch Derby 2014 g

After derby cars I moved on to dachshunds. Actually, there were three classes: 1). Dachshunds 1 to 7 years old, 2). Dachshunds older than 7 years old, 3). Wanna be dogs (small dogs other than dachshunds).

Racing dachshunds.

It was high entertainment. The dogs were having a great time being the center of attention. Some of them abandoned the race to play. Despite many distractions, most of the dogs channeled their energy into running good races.

Paws of Thunder 1

Paws of Thunder 2

Paws of Thunder 4

I enjoyed the dachshund races more than the Wanna Be class. The champion of that class, however, was fun to watch. She had very floppy ears that looked like wings when she ran.

The Wanna Be final race.

The Wanna Be final race.

The Wanna Be class champion.

The Wanna Be class champion, with ears flying en route to victory.

The dachshund champion of one of the classes was Indy Indiana. I enjoyed watching him, since he was a bundle of energy on the track and then dialed it back to a happy, chill puppy afterwards.

A champion dachshund poses for the adoring public.

Indy Indiana the champion dachshund poses with his winnings for the adoring public.

When the races ended I walked back to the vendors and purchased a tri-tip sandwich and some kettle corn. It was a delightful afternoon interlude. I’m planning to be at the festival again next year.

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Pelicans on the Pismo Pier

Yesterday Pam and I heard rumors of whales being seen near Pismo Beach. We decided to spend part of the evening on Pismo Pier, talking and watching the water. As we walked toward the end of the pier we saw a pelican. I like many things about the Central Coast, and one of those things happens to be pelicans. Pelicans are a delight to watch. They are big, ponderous birds. They fly with grace, yet they land on water with a crash of reckless abandon. And it appears they like some socialization too.

A pelican on the Pismo Pier.

A pelican on the Pismo Pier.

We stopped to photograph the bird.

A Pam and a pelican on the Pismo Pier.

A Pam and a pelican on the Pismo Pier.

A pelican photo shoot.

A pelican photo shoot.

The pelican seemed to thrive on the attention. Sometimes iPhones can look like fish, at least to pelicans. The stately bird tried to eat Pam’s phone. He seemed apologetic afterwards. In the end it was no harm no foul.

When you get up close you notice pelicans have different hairstyles. This one has a faux hawk.

When you get up close you notice pelicans have different hairstyles. This one has a faux hawk.

One last shot, looking back toward the beach.

One last shot, looking back toward the beach.

When Pam and I claimed a bench on the pier and sat down, we were soon joined by birds. First the seagulls came to investigate. Soon after we were joined by one and then two pelicans. They sat on the rail, listening to our conversation, looking inquisitively at us from time to time, grooming their feathers, and enjoying the sunset.

The sun sets as a pelican watches.

The sun sets as a pelican watches.

We saw no whales, but it was still a lovely evening.

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Visitors on the Central Coast

Last weekend I had visitors from the East Coast. My brother and sister-in-law made the trek west. While I was stuck at work Jon and Karrie explored beaches, hiking trails, wineries, and San Luis Obispo. When I got off work we checked out the Downtown Farmer’s Market on Thursday, grilled salmon on Friday,  hiked at Montana de Oro on Saturday. and went to GraceSLO on Sunday. It was great to catch up and show off the Central Coast (and Pam).

A shot from Montana de Oro, with Morro Rock in the distance.

A shot from Montana de Oro, with Morro Rock in the distance.

Surveying the tidal pools, searching for crabs, sea stars, sea urchins, sea anemones, and other cool things.

Surveying the tidal pools, searching for crabs, sea stars, sea urchins, sea anemones, and other cool things.

A friendly crustacean.

A friendly crustacean.

The time flew by. All too soon we were back at the airport saying goodbyes.

A final photo at the airport (photo credit to Pam).

A final photo at the airport (photo credit to Pam).

Good times.

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