Friday, April 09, 2010

Central Coast, April 2010

After a very long hiatus, we finally got to do a week of camping over spring break in the hills northeast of San Luis Obispo. The rain this year has been a little above average, so the creeks and waterfalls were flowing. (Remember to click on the pictures to enlarge and then click "back".)

This is "Big Falls," which involved a fairly adventurous drive with 13 deep stream crossings. The road often follows the creek bed; I was glad to have a relatively high clearance four-wheel drive SUV.

We stayed at a KOA near Lake Santa Margarita -- it was considerably more rural, rustic, and quiet than the typical KOA:

Unless you like hiking or mountain biking, there is not much to do in the mountains of eastern San Luis Obispo County:

We headed out Highway 58 to Shell Creek Road, a notorious hotspot for springtime flowers:

The road goes on for many miles through cattle country:

On another day, we went all the way east to the Carrizo Plain, on the edge of the San Andreas fault. There were carpets of phacelia:

The Carrizo was very wild and primeval -- it's what the San Joaquin Valley used to look like, before it was settled. Here's what phacelia looks like from 6 inches away:

Everywhere we went, the wildflowers put on a fine show. These are baby blue eyes:

I'm pretty sure these are "tidy tips":

These are shooting stars, which we have seen in the Sierra but never in the Coast Ranges:

The lupine deserve a category of their own -- there were carpets of them everywhere, smelling like Wal-Mart-brand laundry detergent. Some were bush lupine; others were growing on the ground:

I don't know what this is -- perhaps fireweed. We ran into it in the chaparral and sagebrush on a breezy hilltop, just after a rain shower:

The poppies weren't as overwhelming as we've seen them in other years, but they were still great:

On a stormy afternoon, we took our bikes to Montana de Oro State Park:

The waves were huge, about 15 feet, and they were smashing into the rocks:

Perhaps because it was spring, we saw a lot of wildlife -- flocks of noisy wild turkey, deer, skunk, a bobcat (we think), and a couple of foxes, who are not good about sitting still for the camera:

Toward the end of the week, we went mountain biking in the hills above Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. The singletrack was a little too rugged for us:

Throughout the area, the landscape is typically Californian -- grassy hills, dotted with old oak trees:

This last picture might be worth clicking on:


living.boondockingmexico said...

Dan, you know we are without rv at this time although we are in the shopping mode. Your pics of Central coast only accelerate the process.

I spent many weekends in Cambria, SLO and Morro Rock when I was in my late teens. Too much fun and this time of year and of course the winter months, were always the best.

Thanks for sharing, I have very fond memories.

Ky-Dan said...

Great photos and narration.
It truly makes me ache to go there.
It's a bit of a drive from Kentucky
but maybe will make it one day.

Not too sure about a KOA that has
13 stream crossings to get there!!

Thanks for sharing your great trip with us!

Big Matt said...

Beautiful photography of the area Dan, further exploration of California has always been on my list of things to do eventually with the old Redneck Express.

I look forward to making my way backwards through your blog :).