Posted by: GeekHiker | June 8, 2011

Rainy Weekend On The Central Coast

I hate San Luis Obispo.

No, really, I do.

Mainly because I don’t live there.  And because it’s not an easy place to get in to: the job market isn’t great, the housing is expensive, the dating market (mostly made up of young 20-somethings from nearby CalPoly) isn’t exactly conducive to someone in their… can I still get away with mid-thirties?

So, yeah, call it jealousy, envy, or whatever word you like out of your thesaurus.  Bah.  Humbug.

So, while I seethe in rage (okay, not really) at the fact that I haven’t met the perfect girl to run away with to SLO and obtain the perfect job and the nice little house in town, I’ll share a few pictures from the weekend: three days of camping, slightly interrupted by a rather unusual June storm.

I mean, seriously, folks, it just wasn’t right.  I’m a California native, and I’m here to tell ya: it doesn’t rain in June in California.  We’re not supposed to see rain again until November, excepting summer thunderstorms in the Sierras.  Weirdness.  So, when I booked a campsite a few weeks ago expecting either sunny days or, at worst, summer fog, I had to plan my gear a little different when packing.

Oh, well, I made the best of it.  I mean, really, there’s nothing wrong with waking up to rain pouring down outside the tent.  I just hung out inside reading a book until 10 and, when I did finally get up, found that the campground was nearly empty.  Even the RV’rs had left.


* * *

If you ever get to SLO, be sure to go on a Thursday so that you can go to the Farmers’ Market.  Six blocks long, with some of the best and most colorful veggies I’ve ever seen, plus: BBQ.

Central Coast 01
The Farmers’ Market. Note the BBQ smoke…

Central Coast 02
One of the BBQ trailers. Awesome tri-tip!

Central Coast 03
Why I will never manage to be a vegetarian…

After dinner, I returned to camp at Montana de Oro State Park, and tried out the new camera photographing the night sky…

Central Coast 04
Not bad for a first effort…

The next morning, I spent some time along the Bluff Trail in Montana de Oro…

Central Coast Pano 01
Along the Bluff Trail. The park is made up of uplifted marine terraces, six or seven of them total to the tops of the peaks.

…before heading off on the Point Buchon Trail.  This trail, which only opened four years ago, heads south of Montana de Oro onto PG&E land, eventually ending with a view of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant.  Added bonus: it’s not every trail that has warnings about what to do if “sirens are heard” and advises you to stay on the trail at the risk of “deadly force” being used…

Central Coast 05
Hikers along the Point Buchon Trail

Central Coast 06
View of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant

At dinner that night in the campground, I managed to get a shot of one of the two baby bobcats that had been hanging around.

Central Coast 07
Striking a pose! How regal!

These shots were taken after sunset, just as the last light was disappearing from the canyon. Grainy due to the high ISO but, given my newness with the camera, not too bad.

Central Coast 08
Learning to stalk…

I never saw Mama… but I did hear her roar at one point.  I wasn’t afraid (I wasn’t near the youngsters or a threat), but it is a sound that definitely gets your attention…

After the rains rolled in overnight, I spent time reading in the tent, showering at Morro Bay State Park, going to the Museum of Natural History at Morro Bay, having coffee in San Luis Obispo, and finally having dinner with the Parentage, who were staying in town.  It was a good and relaxing day… but not exactly conducive to much photography.

Central Coast 10
The outside of the Natural History Museum

The last night I again went asleep to the sound of the rain… and the raccoons going through the nearby dumpster, slamming down the lid for 90 minutes.  I also know they went through my firepit, as evidenced by the tell-tale pawprint from the guilty party the next morning:

Central Coast 11
Caught soot-pawed!

Finally, I did a quick hike to the top of Hazard Peak, and was rewarded with views of beautiful Morro Bay.

Central Coast 09
View of Morro Bay, Morro Rock, and the town from Hazard Peak

You see now why I wanted to stay?



  1. Wow. I want to go THERE. Why don’t we all live there?

    It looks and sounds like a great trip, and I’m glad you went! 🙂 Brave man, roughing the rain. I love the pictures, your new camera is pretty dang cool! Love the night sky pictures. There’s so much light pollution it’s hard to see stars anymore, so I’m glad you did and shared.

  2. i am a vegetarian… but i still say “Damn! That’s a trailer!”

    gorgeous pictures!

    and now i want… dare i say need… to get out of l.a. more than ever!

  3. I love the central coast!!! I’ve seen job postings from CalPoly at least three times in the past few years, and they advertised the same position that’s like made for me (I guess folks that took the job didn’t last long). Sadly due to my special circumstances, I wasn’t able to move, otherwise I’d have applied in a heartbeat. I say if you really want to move there, start looking! Get a recruiter, upload your resume, ask friends/acquaintances, go to networking events in that area (or use those social networking sites like LinkedIn)… You never know if you don’t even look. Plus, you are in the perfect position to telecommute. My uncle works in IT too and he recently landed a plum job that not only pays well, but also allows him to “work from home” 3 days a week. Man, I wish I worked in IT! 🙂

    Love the starry starry sky! The bobcats are so cute. I swear the 2nd one was checking you out! It has that furtive look, like “Who are YOU?!”

  4. I am hungry for BBQ now. Looks like a nice camping trip and wildlife sightings are always a bonus.

  5. as if i don’t already love the west coast (though ron russo will never move from nyc) now you make me love it more. just beautiful. and that bobcat is so cute. about all i see around here is stray cats.

  6. That starry night… wow.

  7. The Central Coast of California is one of the best places in the world. I can 100% understand why Hearst built his castle there. I’m totally with you on SLO – love it and hate it for many of the reasons you do (sans the girlfriend one :))

    I didn’t really realize there was such nice camping right there. I may need to check in with you on that, as I’m trying to induct Mr. W into the world of camping. Sooner than later.

  8. Great shots and it sounds like, despite the weather, it was a really nice trip. I’ve spent many a weekend in the southern Utah desert building levees out of dirt to keep my tent dry. Last Feb, what was to be a slightly chilly weekend in the Zion backcountry ended with icicles forming inside (yes, INSIDE) the tent. It all makes for a good story.

    Looks like the new toy is working out well!

  9. Wow, great pictures. I can’t believe that cat picture.

    Sounds like it was a good trip, besides the rain.

  10. Beautiful shots of the sky and coast and all I can think is “kittteeeeeee!”


  11. Miss McCracken – LOL, the rain wasn’t too bad. The pictures are okay; more the fault of the photographer than the equipment that they aren’t great!

    Piper – Well, I hope you can at some point! SLO is a mere two or three hours up the coast…

    SkyBlueStateOfMind – Maybe someday (c’mon lotto!) I’ll live up there. I’m pretty sure the bobcat was thinking “what are you”, but I was definitely keeping my distance, particularly after hearing the noise its mother was making!

    Derek – Is it ever NOT time for BBQ? 😉

    BlakSpring – Never? Surely you can talk him into it…

    Gany – Thanks. Never tried that kind of shot before, so I was surprised that it turned out so well.

    MelHeth – Maybe you should start him out up at Morro Bay Campground. They have showers up there. 😉

    HunnerWoof – Never quite had icicles. Best I can do is small ice at the tent pole joints one morning on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon…

    ElanaMusic – Heh, I kinda think it was a good trip because of the rain. 😀

    AbsurdBeats – I dare you to say that to the kitten’s mother!

  12. Beautiful. I love Pittsburgh, but seeing stuff like this makes me jealous. Glad you had fun!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: