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It's Summer - We're on the Beach!

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We made it to the beach - The Pacific Ocean. And in less than a minute I had my feet in the water. But not without heeding a quick warning from Randy: "Watch out for the poison oak." Meaning on the trail down, not on the beach itself.

Feet in the Pacific

Poison Oak does grow everywhere along this coast. I made the fatal mistake of walking alone through some grasses over a narrow trail when we were here eleven years ago and we both suffered the consequences for five full weeks. So I'm determined not to let it happen again. We've studied pictures of the plant (more confusing because it comes in various different forms) and have been choosing our hikes carefully. Wide, well-used trails and, of course, walking the beaches themselves are the safest options.

Beach Camping

To our delight, we found there are a few places with camping (for a fee) right on the beach.

The last couple of weeks have been packed full. They started with a very brave act: Randy drove through Los Angeles traffic to visit old friends there. From there, we started our drive north, following the famed route 1, The Coast Highway.

We've taken a few detours to return inland, to find more peaceful (and more affordable) camping up above the clouds that seem to hang along the coast. From the locals we learned this is usual this time of year. They call it "June Gloom." Often just a few miles inland and a thousand feet in altitude will return you to sunshine. We timed our inland trips for the weekend when campgrounds on the coast are busy and finding a campsite there is more difficult.

camped above the clouds

Camped above the "June Gloom"


One trip inland took us through the Danish village of Solvang - what a delight!

Coastal highlights included throwing our kayak in at Morro Bay where we paddled around the sea otters and harbor seals, and crossed the bay to a secluded beach only accessible by water. We were pretty excited to give our infltatable kayak its first-ever taste of salty water.

Sea Eagle kayak

Sea Eagle kayak

That's Morro Rock in the background.

Santa Barbara beach

The Santa Barbara beach, with neat rows of palm trees and manicured grass boulevards, was beautiful but we much prefer the quieter, more natural beaches.

Secluded beach

Luckily, there are still some beaches with free day-use access. In fact, more than I had expected on this popular coast.

Rugged California coastline

Heading north, the coastline becomes more rugged and we moved slowly, with many stops to enjoy the amazing views.

Rugged California coastline

harbour seals

These seals, playing on the rocks, seemed oblivious to us and our cameras.

I feel so blessed - to be traveling and writing about it. After all, how many people get to set up their "office" outside on a picnic table? This ingenious laptop-shade (towel over a lawn chair) was Randy's idea - making it possible for me to see my computer screen outdoors.

my office

Looking forward to the next leg of our journey - the amazing Big Sur coastline.

Days On The Road At Time Of Writing: 115
Camping Costs To Date: $125.00

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