When we stopped in at the visitors center in Pismo Beach a few days ago, I asked the staffer to recommend a particularly scenic drive in the area, expecting a road that meandered along the coastal bluffs. Instead, she recommended See Canyon, a narrow road through an oak-studded, eucalyptus-lined canyon that eventually climbs a couple thousand feet for a 360 degree, mountain-top view.
A little research on Google retrieved photos and videos of the drive, a favorite route for hard-core bicycle riders. I learned that, at the end of See Canyon Road, a short stretch of narrow, dirt fire road continues to Prefumo Canyon Road, which then descends to a road we could follow to Morro Bay.
A repaired Jeep, perfect weather, a bit of wilderness on the way to a lovely coastal town… all the ingredients for a fun day trip.
See Canyon Road starts as a two-lane, paved road, but a large orange caution sign warns of 13 miles of narrow, winding, climbing road – and it doesn’t take long to materialize. We traveled most of the drive to the top of the canyon at 25 miles an hour, sunroof open, breathing in the scent of the eucalyptus. As the grade eased near the top of the canyon, the road turned to dirt, so I slowed even more… and spotted an animal standing in the sunshine on the road ahead. A coyote? A fox? Nope, a curious bobcat! Though it moved away as we slowly approached, it stopped several times to look over its shoulder at us. Of course, the camera was in my bag in the back seat!
Once he disappeared, we continued slowly on, connecting with paved Prefumo Canyon Road as the road broke out of the trees on the ridge top between the two canyons. I pulled over off the road, TURNED OFF THE JEEP (testing the gods of automotive good fortune, I know), and we climbed out to stretch our legs and take in the view. That’s when we saw the coyote, a healthy looking specimen only mildly curious about us. Not as exciting for us as the bobcat, but another plus for wild animal sightings.
Back in the Jeep, we looked at each other, held our breath, I turned the key… VAROOOM. Started right up.
2nd half of my outstanding meatloaf sandwich.
Does it get any better than this?
By the time we hit Morro Bay, we were ready for lunch. I hadn’t researched restaurants, so we chose the first café we found with a waterside location. What a score! Blue Skye Coastal Café had it all: sunny, outdoor seating (protected from the cool breeze by a windscreen) with a view of the marina and Morro Rock; delicious food; and friendly service. Couldn’t have been better.
After lunch, we slipped over to Morro Rock for a walk in the sunshine. The channel into the marina was prime territory for water and shore birds, and hawks soared around the heights of the rock. Strolling back to the car along the channel, we watched the entertaining synchronized movements of groups of water birds diving and resurfacing. Odel pointed out a couple of birds that had just resurfaced further into the channel… but there was something wrong with that picture… finally, I got it. Not birds, otters! We picked up the pace and spent the next 10 minutes or so laughing at the antics of four otters floating and frolicking in the channel (too far away for a close-up with my little camera).
It was a grand day to close our stay in Oceano; after a walk on the beach this morning, we’ll continue our southward travels. Later, friends.