This was the second week of our RV trip to Alaska via the Pacific Coast Highway. It went by really fast as Morro Bay, CA was an excellent spot to be stationed for a week. The only downside was that it was VERY windy the entire time we were there. It was only in the high 50’s / very low 60’s most of the week, so the combination of the wind and cold was annoying. We made the best of it though and really enjoyed our time in the Morro Bay area.
Morro Bay, CA is a small beach town of about 11,000 people, located about half between LA and San Francisco. It was nice not having any traffic, but still having a lot to do in their little downtown area. It’s also only a few miles to San Luis Obispo, which is a bigger town of about 50,000. Since Cal Poly is also based here, there is a large transient population too. It was my first time in San Luis Obispo, but I now understand why everyone always talks so highly of it.
Drive From Long Beach, CA to Morro Bay, CA (Saturday)
We traveled 188 miles from our stop last week, Golden Shore RV Resort in Long Beach, to our destination this week. We used a combination of I-710, I-405, US-101, and US-1 to get to Morro Dunes RV Resort in Morro Bay, CA. As expected, the drive through LA was very stressful. There was traffic most of the way, which turned into stop and go traffic for a bit. Once we got out of the reaches of LA, US-101 took us most of the way via a 4 lane divided highway.
To this point, we’ve traveled a total of 311 miles with about 3,400 miles remaining until we hit Anchorage, AK.
We arrived at our campground at around 4pm, which left some time to head to the beach. Morro Dunes RV Park is located pretty much directly on the beach, so it was only a 1-2 minute walk from our site to the water. We took the dog with us, so he could stretch his legs and chase the ball a bit after being cooped up in the RV for several hours.
After the beach, we showered up and headed out to dinner in downtown Morro Bay. We used the help of Yelp.com to find a good spot to eat and settled on The Gallery Seafood Grill and Bar. I love it when a 4.5 star rating on Yelp translates into an equally good meal at the restaurant. I ended up getting their ahi tuna appetizer and a seafood salad for my main course. Both were totally amazing. On top of that the service was awesome and we had an amazing view of the sunset to cap things off.
Lunch in Morro Bay and Morro Bay State Park (Sunday)
We had breakfast Sunday morning in the RV and caught up on a little work before heading out to lunch in downtown Morro Bay. We ended up going to a stand right on the water where I ordered a grilled halibut wrap – it was quite good. After that we walked around the entire town looking in shop windows and taking pictures. The town isn’t that big, so it sounds way more impressive than it actually was. After that, we hopped back in the car and headed down to Morro Bay State Park. We spent the time in the park walking the beach, taking pictures, and watching the kite surfers enjoying the windy day.
Morro Bay Beach and a Mexican Dinner (Monday)
Monday was mostly a day dedicated to work. With the exception of about an hour spent shivering at the beach (throwing the ball around for the dog), we were stuck inside on the computer. As dinner time approached, we decided to try a Mexican restaurant that was highly recommend by some locals. Since it had 4 stars on Yelp, we decided to give it a shot. It was another great meal in Morro Bay. I went with a veggie burrito, which is pretty simple. However, their chili verde sauce really made the meal. Yum yum yum.
Frankie & Lola’s, More Beach Time, Errands, and Windows on the Water (Tuesday)
We started Tuesday morning off with breakfast at Frankie & Lola’s in downtown Morro Bay. It was rated 4.5 stars on Yelp, so we figured we would give it a shot. Yelp came though again as it was a wonderful meal.
After breakfast we had to run out and do some errands related to the sale of our houses in Costa Rica. We had some other plans for the day, but it kind of worked out since it was one of the coldest days of the week. Once we got back, we headed to the beach, but didn’t last that long since it was so cold and windy.
For dinner we headed to another restaurant in downtown Morro Bay called Windows on the Water. As the name suggests, they are directly on the water with an amazing view. Their “world famous” $0.75 oyster Tuesdays is what drew us in. They offer oysters on the half shell, fried oysters, and oyster shooters all for just $0.75 each. We had about 30 oysters between my wife and I, along with a small brick-oven pizza. I love oysters, so it made my day.
Drive To Big Sur (Wednesday)
Wednesday turned out to be the highlight of the week. If you’ve never driven the Pacific Coast Highway through Big Sur, then do yourself a favor and add it to your “bucket list”. The drive from Morro Bay up to where US-1 is closed (because of a mudslide about 10 miles north of Big Sur) was just over 100 miles. It took us about 8 hours to make the trip up and back along with stops for gas, food, hiking, and pictures. The coast line is very rugged and the landscape is very green. If you showed me some pictures of the area, I would swear it was Hawaii. It was seriously an amazing day and special enough that I’m going to write another post just about this later this week.
Bike To Breakfast, San Luis Obispo, Farmers market (Thursday)
Thursday morning we biked to downtown Morro Bay for another great meal at Frankie & Lola’s Front Street Cafe. The bike ride was a bit challenging since it’s very hilly in the area, but I made it nonetheless. After breakfast we biked back and then got some work done before it was time to head into San Luis Obispo around 4pm.
The main reason we were heading into San Luis Obispo was for their weekly farmers market, which runs from 6pm until 9pm. Leaving at 4pm gave us enough time to tour the town before the market. It turns out that San Luis Obispo is a really amazing place. It’s a happening place with lots of shops, restaurants, and outdoor seating areas. There is a river that runs through the middle of the city, that they’ve made into a park. There are several places to eat along the water too. It’s really neat.
San Luis Obispo Farmers’ Market
San Luis Obispo runs a Farmers’ Market every Thursday from 6pm – 9pm, with the exception of Thanksgiving day (or if it’s raining). I read a lot of reviews about this Farmers’ Market and several people said they alter their schedules just to make sure they can attend. I thought some of the reviews were just blown out of proportion hype, but they aren’t. This is by far and away the best Farmers’ Market I’ve ever been to. It had more of a carnival feeling than a Farmers’ Market feel. They close the main street in their downtown for 6-8 blocks and 100+ vendors setup on both sides of the street. There are all kinds of vendors at the Market including local farmers, moon bounces for the kids, funnel cake stands, BBQ stands, and much much more. We purchased enough organic produce to last us for at least a week, but we also ate so much food while we were at the market that I felt sick for 36 hours afterwards. My food intake for the night included BBQ Chicken, BBQ pork ribs, BBQ baked beans, a free-range beef hotdog, and a funnel cake. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
Hearst Castle (Friday)
On Friday we headed up to the Hearst Castle for a tour, that in a nutshell, is remarkable. The castle was built in the early – mid 1900’s by William Randolph Hearst. It was later gifted to the State of California by the Hearst Corporation in 1957. This has to be one of, if not the most impressive residence in all of the United States. The square footage of the buildings on the property exceed 90,000 square feet. The pool looks like something you would find at the Atlantis in the Bahamas. It’s simply amazing. If you are ever in LA or San Francisco, it would totally be worth the drive just to see this place. I’m posting a few pictures below, but they just won’t do any justice.