Morro Bay

After being in Pismo Beach, which was rather disappointing, we went to Morro Bay and had a great time there.  This first photo is Morro Rock, 578 feet high, from the top of Black Hill, 661 feet high.  We all know that Morro Rock is at the mouth of the Morro Bay harbor and is one big rock sticking out of the water at the shoreline.  It is actually one of a set of volcanic peaks that remain after erosion has done its thing in this area.  The peaks go all the way to San Luis Obispo and you can see several of them as you drive from SLO to Morro Bay down route 1.  Black Hill is in Morro Bay State Park, where we camped.  It was as nice a state park campground as we have seen.  It had the benefit of electric and water hookups.  You can see that the campsites were built by the CCC with stone picnic table legs and fireplace.  Many of them need repair but they were really nice to see.  We were along State Park Road which led right into downtown Morro Bay.  We didn't realize that we had picked a time to camp when the Tour of California was happening, and the last day we were there was the day that the Tour went from Pismo Beach to Morro Bay and the route went right up State Park Road to Morro Bay.  We have seen the Tour several times when it went through Santa Rosa so we decided to see it again.  We took our camping chairs to the roadside and sat waiting for the Tour to reach us.  They have a really good app that shows you where they are real time and allowed us to know when they were getting close.  It's fun to watch but it's mostly a lot of time waiting, and then swoosh -- they go by -- and that's it.  We did follow the drama of a breakaway of a few riders from the peloton, the main pack of riders, and how they managed to stay ahead for most of the race.  Just before they got to us, there was one lone rider out by himself but the work was just too much, and he got collected back into the peloton.  Bikers get a lot of help from each other with the drafting effects of being near another rider who helps pull you along.  Aren't physics great?

The Morro Bay State Park is basically a marina, golf course, and a few hiking trails, like the one to the top of Black Hill.  There was a nice Museum of Natural History which was fun to visit.  But we discovered several other places to go while we were there.  Just south of the state park is the town of Los Osos and on its northern side is El Moro Elfin Forest.  It is a small wilderness area preservation with a circular boardwalk through the elfin forest.  The trees were no more than about 10 feet tall with most of the vegetation more like 3 feet tall.

The forest had a nice display of wildflowers.  The trail was peaceful while very close to civilization.  We could see Morro Rock from the trail, and when we got to the other side, we could also see it across the mud flats of low tide.  The Rock of Morro was visible everywhere.

We also discovered Montana de Oro State Park which is a few miles south of Morro Bay.  It is a large area with some beaches, tide pools, and forests.  We got tide tables at the Natural History Museum and saw when the next low tide was and decided to go over there to see if we could find some tide pools to walk through.  As it turns out, there are some but we didn't know where to go to see them.  We walked along several beaches but didn't really see any interesting tide pools to visit.  There is a visitor center which is the house of the rancher, Spooner, who used to live there.  They had interesting displays of the furniture, tools, photos, and household goods of the time when the ranch was there.  Then after lunch, we went on the Bluff Trail and discovered the most popular feature, and best tide pool, Coralline Cove.  But we were too tired at that point to go down the trail to the coast and it was well past low tide.  We will definitely go back next trip and be sure we get to the Cove in plenty of time.

Morro Bay was a more relaxed town than Pismo Beach was, much more to our liking.  We went into town and found a restaurant with a bar that had the Hockey playoff game on, so we ate dinner and then watched a game.  Actually, we did this three times, in Carpenteria, Pismo Beach, and Morro Bay, so it became a great evening thing for us to do.  The timing was great because we could see the games and because they were timed to start at 5 pm so we could have a drink before dinner or one after dinner depending on how it all turned out.