Sunday, August 2, 2015

Out and About: Coastal Coolness

Pines by the Sea
July 26, 2015

Last Sunday we spent the afternoon at the beach. It was forecasted to be another scorcher of a day so we decided to beat the heat by chillin' at the coast.

While I made a lunch The Man readied his motorcycle. The KLR doesn't really like packing a passenger so The Man needs to sweet talk the bike and adjust a few doohickeys here and there. (I'm just stiffening up the shocks, not a big deal, he reassures the bike.)

First stop, Jack Creek Farms, off of Hwy 46 West.


The small store was stocked with yummy Made in SLO products, and cool refreshments but we made our way back outdoors to check out their goats. Last September we read that a mountain lion had killed three goats and four geese. What a sad day that must have been. We fed the remaining three goats newly fallen apples we picked off the ground.

The heat of the day gave me prickly sensations on my back. Very prickly. Then lower than my back. Um, biting. The Man and I made our way to a nearby (clean!) Porta-Potty. Sure enough, ants in my pants. Time to move on.

Next we took a scenic back road called Santa Rosa Creek Road. Last month we traveled this same road in the opposite direction and met author and adventure travel writer, Linda Ballou. We were enjoying the vista view and our Tootsie Pop and she pulled off the road to join us for a lollipop break.

This is what she wrote about her trip: If a drive along a shady creek and farms festooned in bright blooms appeals, you would enjoy a Sunday drive up Santa Rosa Creek Road out of Cambria. It gets a bit daunting as it rises to meet Highway 46 back to SLO, but it is well worth the butterflies to get to the vistas.


I gotta say going down from the vista is equally daunting thrilling. After several miles of hairpin (switchback) turns on rough road we ended up in Cambria. Driving slowly through the crowded downtown, we made a U-turn to take a closer look at a vehicle we had just passed.

It was a MAN, an off-road camper . . . an expedition vehicle . . . an RV on steroids for a traveling family of four from Switzerland. At least that's the little I gathered from their website, which is written in German. And, get this, before they pulled away they raised the back end of their vehicle. Yes, the camper got even taller than the picture I took.

MAN and The Man

We left downtown Cambria and traveled north along Moonstone Beach Drive. We stopped at Leffingwell Landing, a day-use park, part of Hearst San Simeon State Park. We found a picnic table out of the wind. The breezy marine air was chilly enough to encourage us to keep our motorcycle jackets on. After lunch we made our way down to the small beach.

There were only a handful of people on the beach and they were all busy searching in the sand. A woman visiting from New Mexico showed us her small baggie of polished pebbles and pointed out the tiny moonstones she had found.

The Man and I found a spot out of the wind and started our own treasure hunt. The small rocks sparkled in the sun, smooth and beautiful, worn down to a shiny gleam. We sat on the warm "sand" and selected a few handfuls of our own polished pebbles to take home.

Later,  I googled "moonstone" and found out they are a true gemstone. I don't think we found any real moonstones, just pretty white rocks and quartz chips.

The next time a heat wave is in our forecast we'll be heading back to the coast to find shimmery moonstones. It's only a 35-minute drive to the coast, though it takes much longer with a motorcycle that follows the road-less-traveled.