The best campground shots are the ones with another Alto in them.
Yessirree. That’s what I’m talking bout. That was about the most perfect week ever. I am very lucky to work for a school district that takes off the entire week for Thanksgiving. We really lived this one up and spent it in one of our all time favorite places. In addition, we got our daughter an early xmas present by putting her up in a hotel room right downtown. I didn’t realize how ideally located it was until I dropped her off, but wow, she had a damn good week too.
Linda with dogs (x4)
We kicked off the festivities by joining up with our dog pack friend. Linda-with-dogs had the whole team with her, so going anywhere was always guaranteed to be exciting. Two of her pack are still puppies really, with lots of energy. But I got to sometimes be in charge of the small one and the mellow one. And from afar I got to watch Linda wrangle the youngins while trying to remain on the ground. Those are some lucky ass dogs right there.
Facie with a morro in the background.
One of my favorite activities of the week was heading out to Edna Valley Vineyards for a reserved wine tasting. They are located outside San Luis Obispo in a gorgeous valley, surrounded by endless rows of grape vines and tucked in among amber hills, all showing off their best fall colors. Add to that a flight of Edna’s best vintages, and you’ve got yourself a perfect afternoon. Richard rode out to meet us there and I snuck in a paddle for a couple hours beforehand. One of the excellent things about Richard is that he does not drink, so he’s always on board to be the designated driver. This is super handy. We topped off the day by heading into nearby Los Osos to grab dinner at La Palapa.
You can’t beat Morro Bay for sunset shots
The next day we chilled and walked around Morro Rock while Richard rode out to Cayucos and back. We met up downtown and had dinner at another favorite: House of Juju. I enjoyed a good IPA, a premium sunset, and Juju roasted potatoes with three dipping sauces. We walked it all off with a stroll to ice cream and a near encounter with our daughter.
Human. I require admittance. Let’s see some hustle.
While we were out selfishly living the good life, we faced a dilemma at home. Back six years ago when we left for the summer to go pick up Dory1, our daughter held down the fort, but accidentally adopted a stray cat. Since then, Kitty (“Sketch”) has become part of the family, but really she just agrees to let us feed her and let her in and out, according to her whims. She’ll be polite about allowing you time to get to the glass door when she’s sitting either inside, or outside of it. But really, it’s obvious to everyone that we are there to serve her needs and not ask questions about where she goes. This was the first time in six years there was not going to be anyone at home though, so we weren’t quite sure what to do. Luckily, we have awesome neighbors, who agreed to look out for her and try to accommodate her lack of schedule. By the second day, we all realized this was not going to work. She wasn’t showing herself to them, nor was she coming inside to eat. So they agreed to try putting the food outside during the day, only to discover that we were now feeding an entirely extra cat! This piqued our neighbors’ curiosity. And these are neighbors who own a wildlife camera. After some strategic suveillance sessions, we were relieved to learn that Kitty was in fact eating. We were somewhat less thrilled to see that we were also feeding Imposter Cat as well as numerous raccoons and skunks. But at least Kitty was ok. And she later agreed to come inside and sleep all day on our various beds. Obviously, we now absolutely require a wildlife camera.
Back in our wonderland of irresponsible pet ownership, we took a trip over to the Monarch Butterfly Grove at Pismo Beach. You will be happy to know that the butterfly count is way up from recent years. If you follow the state park link, you can watch an informational video that is quite good and captures the clusters much better than I could. I’m looking forward to planting milkweed at our house and maybe we can attract some Monarchs one day. They were quite present in the campground and I even spotted some while out boating on the bay.
Hey! That’s a morro!
We got in a hike up to Black Hill, which is one of the “nine sisters,” which are also morros, which are essentially volcanic caps. This trail starts right in the campground and ends with a spectacular view of the entire bay. I highly recommend that one. If you don’t feel like hiking it, you can drive most of the way up and catch a nice sunset view too.
Big dropoffs + groceries = ouch
The only two non wonderful things that happened all week were: 1) I twisted my ankle really dramatically when returning from grocery shopping, and 2) accidentally poured myself a nice generous shot of canola oil for my margarita. In both cases, my mind was elsewhere rather than paying attention to what I was doing, but the ill effects of the canola shot were immediately rectifiable. The ankle wasn’t too badly twisted, but my pride was hurt, as it was quite a spectacle, with groceries flying everywhere.
Dinner view. I mean. Come on.
Thanksgiving dinner itself was so great, we might never go back to cooking again. We splurged and met family in town at Windows on the Water, where the quality of the food is equally matched by the view from their deck. We had an excellent Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner meal, while our daughter indulged in the Prime Rib. It was just fabulous.
Another sunset shot. But with bird.
All in all, this was a hard week to come back from. We spent the most time we ever have in the same site with no hookups (8 nights total), thanks to all of our tricks. For waste tank management, we used campground bathrooms, except at night, and the black tank easily lasted the whole week. We brought our Barker portable waste tank to manage grey water, and that worked well. I used that twice to fully dump the grey tank so that we could live it up and shower and wash dishes as we normally do. It helped that our site was pretty close to the dump. For power, the sun is just too low in the sky in November for the solar panels to keep things topped up, even in full sun, and even with the new huge 400w panels on Dory2. We used the generator a couple of times for a couple of hours and bumped those batteries right back up to full though. That is one thing that is far superior about lithium batteries over lead acid: the charge time is so much faster because the inverter/converter does not have to worry about boiling the battery. It can dump in a whole bunch of amps and get into float mode quickly. With the lead acid batteries, once you hit 80% capacity, the converter slows everything down and it can take ages to get from 80 to 100. As for food, I shopped once during the week and we enjoyed a nice balance of Blue Apron recreations, pan dinners, and eating out. Richard, of course, used his bike tons, I used my boat a couple times, and we even had room for a twenty three year old, with baggage.
And an otter to bring it on home
It was such a great week, none of us wanted it to end. Except Kitty. She has been extremely cuddly since our return. Mr. Racoon, on the other hand, does not approve of the relocation of the endless food bowl. He’s leaving us a bad Yelp review right now.
This place has really gone downhill since the recent change in management. It’s like they’re not even trying. I’d give it zero stars if I could.
Total miles: 233.6, 18.1 mpg, 5 hours 9 min. Site 115 no hookups. Close to bathroom and dump. No neighbors on starboard side and neighbors nicely distanced on port side. Great LTE for both. Full sun, but you know, winter. Would choose this site again.