Friday, September 25, 2015

So You're Visiting SLO and You've Got Two Kids

Hey, tomorrow is Saturday, September 26th, and there's a lot going on this weekend! You chose a great time to visit!

Unfortunately, there are only 24 hours in a day and, if you're lucky, you will spend a good chunk of those hours sleeping. So you won't be able to do everything. But it'll still be wonderful.

Let's break it down into sections.


You're up. The kids are up. You need coffee and you've got lots of options.

Linnaea's Cafe  1110 Garden St., SLO

Great coffee, tasty treats, and a beautiful garden in the back.

Scout Coffee  1130 Garden St., SLO

Charming coffee shop straight out of Pinterest.

Kreuzberg Coffee  685 Higuera St., SLO

Stylish coffee place with lots of tasty food!

SLO Donut Company - SloDoCo  793F Foothill Blvd, SLO

Bacon covered maple bars!

There's also Blackhorse Coffee, Big Sky Cafe, Bliss Cafe, Bello Mundo, and Sally Loo's. They're all pretty great.

Maybe you want to get some delicious fresh fruit? Go to the Farmers Market on Saturday morning from 8 to 10:30am. It's full of strawberries and apples and everything else you could want from a farmers market without the circus of SLO's Thursday Night Farmers Market. It's in front of World Market on Madonna. That's where we are every Saturday morning.

After you get your coffee and breakfast, you might want to roam around downtown SLO. Take those kids to Eco Bambino on Monterey St. right next to the Mission Plaza. You'll love the toys and try to justify the prices. Then wander around Mission Plaza Saturday morning for Via dei Colori as artists color the ground with chalk art. Take your kids down to the creek and let them dip their toes in the water. Then pop back up on Higuera St. for Tom's Toys or go across the street for Rocket Fizz and load your kids up on sugar. Y'know. Cuz kids!

Don't take too long downtown because you'll want to go up Monterey St. to Ruby Rose and their annual flea market.


For lunch, get some chowder at Splash Cafe. Just do it. You know you want to. Just don't go to the one in Pismo. I mean, it's great and you'll get that flash of nostalgia, but it'll be so busy! Do yourself a favor and go to the Splash in Downtown SLO. Afterward, maybe hit up one of the many frozen yogurt places, Doc Burnstein's Ice Cream, or check out Batch for ice cream sandwiches.

Then, get over to Avila Valley Barn and check out some farm animals, eat some roasted corn on a hay ride, and maybe do some old fashioned apple pickin'! By now, you'll certainly want to go cool off so cross your fingers for parking in Avila Beach and dunk your feet in the ocean.

Other Great Stuff

There are lots of great places to hike, but it's gonna be warm so I'll keep the list short and relevant. For a quick view of downtown SLO without the struggle, go to Terrace Hill (5 minutes tops, park on Bishop). If you find yourself in the Morro Bay area, you have to check out Black Hill. If you're in Avila, drive up Cave Landing Road and check out the cave! If you're feeling more adventurous, I'd suggest the Elfin Forest (Los Osos), Los Osos Oaks State Reserve (Los Osos), Bluff Trail in Montana de Oro (Los Osos), Johnson Ranch (South of SLO), or the Hike to the "M" if you're real crazy (45 min. roundtrip).

For food, a few personal favorites are Brickhouse BBQ (Morro Bay), Sylvester's Burgers (AtascaderoLos Osos, or Oceano), Pluto's (SLO), Firestone BBQ (SLO), Woodstock's Pizza (SLO), High Street Deli (SLO), and Chop Street (Pismo).

Mmm. I'm hungry.

Ah! I almost forgot. Red Dirt Coffee House down in the Arroyo Grande/Grover Beach area has really good Kona coffee and on Saturdays does the best Hawaiian plate lunch I've had since Maui.

Also, best place to get a six pack of beer is definitely California Fresh in Pismo. ;)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Bishop Peak After the Rain

It rained steadily for hours on Friday night and even kept on for a few more hours throughout Saturday morning. After the rain, Erinn and I took advantage of the fresh air and hiked Bishop Peak. We started at the trail head on Patricia Dr. The air was so clear and clean it almost felt fake.

While I'm sure countless Californian Trick-or-Treaters were bummed by the rain, I could not have been more thankful.

A view of Cerro San Luis from Bishop Peak

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Our First Three Months

Today, as I sit next to the window enjoying the first real rain of the season, I think about the last three months we've lived in San Luis and how wonderful it's been. Our first days were warm, but much cooler than Bakersfield. The following weeks were fun. Filled with hiking, driving, exploring, relaxing, and lots of other stuff. At the end of the first month, I sprained my ankle pretty severely. By the end of the second month, I could walk almost normally and we were both starting to work more consistently. And by the end of this third month, October, Erinn found a permanent job and I've been working as a sub.

Cerro Cabrillo - Just a few minutes before tumbling down the mountain

Hollister Peak in the back
Black Hill and Morro Rock behind Erinn
Cerro Cabrillo is where I twisted my ankle. We hiked to the top of the 911' peak with no problem. Just lots of pausing to catch my breath. It was the hike down that was difficult. I was winding my way down a pretty steep path when my feet slipped on some loose dirt and my right foot caught a rock, twisting it hard enough to make a pop. My ankle hurt too bad to walk, but we were still very close to the top, so there wasn't really any other option. We scooted down the hill on our butts and Erinn helped me limp the mile or so back to the car.

View from the top. Los Osos to your left. Morro Bay to your right.

Despite the injury, it's been a pretty busy few months. At the beginning of October, we got to visit San Diego for a friend's wedding. It was an amazing night watching these two wonderful people exchange vows on the waterfront with the San Diego skyline in the background surrounded by friends. They had a seriously beautiful wedding.

Recently, we've been enjoying our afternoons by reading on the beach. It's an entirely different experience to visit the beach when it's only a 15-minute drive. In the past, we'd have to drive a few hours to get here. Often, we'd be rushing ourselves to make our trip count. A couple days ago, we worked during the day, then took the short drive from San Luis to Morro Bay and listened to the waves while reading.

Today, I'm enjoying the cool, clean air of a rainy day on the coast. San Luis Obispo is such a beautiful place. We love exploring this wonderful area and all its natural beauty. If only it would rain more often!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

A Thumbs Up and a Thumbs Down

Recently, some family came to visit us here on this beautiful central coast. The plan was to check out the Vintage Camper Rally in Morro Bay and see if the Airport Day at the San Luis Obispo Airport had anything fun going on. In short, the Vintage Camper Rally was disappointing and the event at the airport ended up being a lot of fun.

First, the Vintage Camper Rally was supposed to be at Morro Strand State Beach, according to You can probably still see it written on their website here. So when we drove over there, excited to see some cool vintage RVs and trailers, and only found a sad little parking lot with a few definitely-not-vintage campers, we were pretty disappointed. We were able to find another website that said the Vintage Camper Rally was supposed to be at Morro Bay State Park, so we drove over to that campground, but were still disappointed. There were a few vintage campers, but nothing like what we were expecting, so we didn't even get out of the car. Instead, we drove back to SLO for the airport.

There were little Cessnas and big World War II planes. Helicopters and gliders. Stunt planes and commercial planes. It was very cool.

Our nephew and niece had come with us and totally loved it. They got to sit in the cockpit of lots of different planes. Once, we all got inside a big World War II transporter plane and got to see the cramped quarters of soldiers on their way to the battlefield.

We all had a lot of fun and I hope the airport will do it again sometime. After the airport, we got ribs at Mo's Smokehouse in downtown SLO for some tasty ribs, then drove to Cambria to see the scarecrows.

Frida Kahlo scarecrow
Scarecrow taking a leak
We ended the day at a small, quiet beach near the Museum of Natural History in Morro Bay State Park. It's a great place to watch the sunset.

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Nine Sisters of San Luis Obispo County

They are the most obvious things you'll see if you're roaming around San Luis Obispo county. Whether you're hanging around downtown San Luis Obispo or walking down the Embarcadero in Morro Bay, there's one of the Nine Sisters in the background.

They are the nine volcanic plugs that stretch from Morro Bay to San Luis Obispo, but to be honest, that is a terribly boring way to describe them. Instead, I'd say they are the nine beautiful peaks that make a direct line from Morro Rock to San Luis Obispo. If you've spent any time in this beautiful county, you've seen them. They are Morro Rock, Black Hill, Cerro Cabrillo, Hollister Peak, Cerro Romauldo, Chumash Peak, Bishop Peak, Cerro San Luis, and Islay Hill.

If you're spending time in San Luis Obispo, you are viewing the twin peaks of Cerro San Luis, with the big M on it, and Bishop Peak, the tallest of the nine. In Morro bay, you're probably staring at the rugged Morro Rock with Black Hill, Cerro Cabrillo, and Hollister Peak to your back.

Morro Rock
Morro Bay's iconic rock is certainly the most famous in my mind. The bare stone stands so prominently in the bay it is impossible to miss its beauty and grandeur. When Erinn and I traveled to the Pacific Northwest last year, we saw another awe-inspiring rock on Cannon Beach, but I couldn't help but compare it to Morro Rock. While Haystack Rock on Cannon Beach is impressive, its 235-foot height just can't compete with Morro Rock's 581 feet.

A few years ago, Erinn took me to Black Hill for my first Nine Sisters hike. It is located directly behind the Morro Bay Golf Course, just a few minutes from downtown Morro Bay. It is seriously easy to get to and seriously worth your time. I'm a fan of hikes with a view and the top of Black Hill is an amazing sight to see. I remember wondering why I hadn't hiked to the top of Black Hill before. Why this amazing view, just around the corner from the Embarcadero, had gone overlooked by me. Now it's one of my favorite places to visit in Morro Bay. I've taken so many pictures from the top of Black Hill and they're all beautiful, but none of them compare to actually being there, so do yourself a favor and drive over to the golf course and climb that hill. You'll love it.

Panoramic from the top of Black Hill
Click on that map. It'll take you exactly where you need to go. Or check out It's great.

Since then, it has been my mission to hike all of the Nine Sisters that I can and recently Erinn and I have been making some progress. However, some of the peaks are definitely off-limits. First, Morro Rock is an Historical Landmark, so climbing is not allowed. Also, Hollister Peak and Chumash Peak seem to be mostly on private land, so we'll probably have to wait on those. Thanks to donations and public acquisitions, all of the other peaks are accessible to the public. So far, Erinn and I have hiked Black Hill (665 ft.), Islay Hill (777 ft.), Cerro Cabrillo (911 ft.), Cerro San Luis (1,292 ft.), and Bishop Peak (1,559 ft.), which just leaves Cerro Romauldo (1,306 ft.).

Honestly, I just can't get enough of the hiking in San Luis Obispo. It is probably my second favorite thing about living here, right behind the weather. (Today's high in Bakersfield - 101. Today's high in SLO - 80) Every chance I get, I'll be trekking down some new path.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Hiking Islay Hill

We've been wandering around San Luis Obispo, taking in all the beautiful scenery and recently hiked up Islay Hill. It's one of the Nine Sisters, a chain of volcanic plugs starting with Morro Rock and ending with Islay Hill. It's in southeast San Luis Obispo near the airport and if you hike to the top of it, you get amazing views of the city.

The two furthest peaks are Bishop Peak and Cerro San Luis

From left to right: South Hills, Cerro San Luis, and Bishop Peak

Monday, August 18, 2014

We Moved to San Luis Obispo

It happened!

I mean, there's no reason it couldn't have happened. No miracles occurred here. We just moved from one town to another. But the truth is that it felt like we would never get out of Bakersfield. 

We've been dreaming about it for years. Only about the last year or so it started getting really serious. We talked about where we would want to really live, not just visit. Where could we start a new life? Thanks to our love of travel, we'd been up and down the west coast, from San Diego to Seattle and we knew there were some beautiful places out there we could end up. 

But eventually, we settled on San Luis Obispo. It's a beautiful town and I couldn't be happier with our decision. We love the mountains, the beach, the weather, and the community you find in San Luis Obispo. It's truly amazing and I can't wait to see what the next few years will have in store for us.