We finished out our holiday break with a long stay at a familiar campground. We’ve come to really love the area around Morro Bay, as it offers hiking, biking, kayaking, plus full amenities and great restaurants.
Along the way up the coast, we took a lunch stop at Gaviota State Park. It is closed between October and March, but makes a perfect lunch at the beach location. The campground looks fine and is just a tiny walk to a nice sandy beach. Only possible downside is again the proximity to the train tracks. We’ll tuck that one away for the future.
Our site in the state park campground is not one with hookups and this trip officially made some records in terms of longest stays while dry camping (7 nights) and longest overall time with no hookups at all (2 weeks). We did the usual sort of stuff, eating out, biking, hiking, and taking long romantic walks on the beach. We dined at our favorite cafe, walking distance from the campground, several times. We visited the wildlife museum and got some interesting birding information from the volunteers who give their time so generously to the public. Plus lots and lots of sunsets. We used the generator many times and even used the Barker twice. These two items have given us the ability to be essentially limitless in terms of resources. Propane we had to refill once and we ran the heater a lot, even over night. There’s a fine line somewhere on the temperature setting vs. Richard’s ability to sleep without waking up to the sound of the heater kicking in. In general, we ran it as low as I could tolerate and learned that “off” crosses that line for me in a nasty way.
On one of the five days of our stay, I ventured into San Luis Obispo on a mission. This trip has taught me one thing: I am inadequately prepared for cold weather. This extends to emotional preparedness, but more specifically, I need better clothes. That part I can fix and I went to see what was available in stores in an attempt to fix it quickly. In the third of three outdoor clothing stores visited, I was able to locate a nice Patagonia fleece pullover and another set of Smartwool long underwear in a heavier weight. Speaking of heavier weight, I will again bemoan the lack of availability of outdoor clothing in larger sizes. I have also ordered a Marmot jacket online that is basically a sleeping bag you can wear. This jacket screams, “I am not messing around here.” It should be waiting for me when we get home and I’m very excited. This foray into winter wear brought up many questions and much advice seeking on the topic of cleaning down things. We have much to learn.
Our last day of winter break brought steady rain starting at about 11 am. I made the decision to leave the awning up because I wanted to see how it fares now that we have the center pole. We spent the day inside, baking cornbread and watching as pooling water created pockets in the shape of huge inverted boobs. There does appear to be an upward limit to the size of the boobs though, as eventually enough water will collect that it creates an escape channel and most of the water tumbles off the side. Or a gust of wind will come and the awning will puff up, evacuating any remaining pools. This is fairly entertaining to monitor on a super lazy day. Weather said the winds were going at 15 mph and it held up. I did add two additional stability points using tarp clips and guy lines at the sides of the arc pole to keep it from blowing inward. It jiggled and flapped, but did not collapse.
Our final drive home was super wet and pretty windy. We seem to have the power to create rain when we travel from Morro Bay in the winter. We’ll keep that in mind for the next drought season and may have to sacrifice responsibility for environmental duty by taking additional trips down there. We saw lots of accidents along the highway and a couple of near misses. It was good to be home safe, and now we just have to do a ton of laundry. The offspring took excellent care of the house and the kitty. All is well with the world at the moment. Oh and guess what surprise was waiting for us! An absolutely stunning painting of Dory, by my Aunt Sandee. This is immediately one of our most cherished items and it has taken its place of honor as one of the few items hung in our bedroom. We are very lucky, and very grateful people.
During this trip, the Omnia emerged as a real star. It handled a variety of dinners, as well as treats and snacks, and cleaned up pretty easily every time. Using parchment paper, cut to shape, reduces cleanup for things that use the rack. And Richard swears that rubbing a bit of oil in the silicone liner helps for cornbread.
This was a great break and we would like to try desert camping in the winter again. Next time we’ll have better clothes and probably some kind of extra propane solution. It would really help if certain, self indulgent, political figures would not intentionally create chaos, damaging our national parks and bringing out the worst in the worst of us. That would be a nice Christmas present to us all. Happy New Year to everyone!
Total miles from Ventura: 146.0, 14.4 mpg, 3 hours 15 min. Site 110. No hookups. Water spigots in campground and at dump station. Fairly good LTE for both of us, campground wifi near the kiosk.