January 25-28

January 25

The morning dawned clear and golden. Ben and Miwa went out and took some pictures of Morro Rock as the first rays of sun reached it.

It was quite windy and there was a giant bug under the Trillium, so after breakfast, we went into Morro Bay in search of propane, Wi-Fi, laundry and groceries. There was a Starbucks at the Albertson’s, where we got the groceries, but it didn’t allow us to update our e-mail. So we went to Cayucos again, as Jill had seen a laundromat there.

The girls played in the playground while we did laundry and got tacos at the deli we had tried for on Sunday. Definitely worth the wait. We had tacos al pastor, carnitas, and grilled chicken (not pollo, as one might have expected). Jill and Ben ended up eating the vast majority of the tacos as the girls were engrossed in the playground. Ben also went to a coffee shop and used the wi-fi to update the blog and check e-mail.

We then went back to the campsite for a run on the beach before heading out to explore the surrounding area, south of our campsite. The other two state campsites (Morro Bay and another one south of Los Osos) were definitely not as nice as our current campsite, and of all 4 towns in the area (Morro Bay, Los Osos, Baywood Park and Cayucos) we definitely preferred Cayucos, though Morro Bay had an nice looking harbour and another great playground. Also, if you want an entire campground to yourself, January is a great month to go camping!

Ben and the girls played around with some long exposure pictures after dinner.

Clearly all the running and playing took a toll on the girls as they were sound asleep by 7:30.

January 26

The wind really picked up during the night. Between that and a very restless Ru who had decided to sleep in the top bunk, we didn’t really get much sleep. However, the early bed time for the girls the night before translated into an early wake up. This actually ended up working out in our favour as we were all able to go outside and see Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn all at once.

After breakfast, we headed into Cayucos for wi-fi, food and playground. The plan had been to get tacos for lunch later on, but the girls decided that they’d do for second breakfast, so there weren’t too many left when we rolled out of town.

After that, it was pretty much just an epic day of driving. We blew right through the heart of the Paso Robles wine region on the 46, which made us a little sad, though eventually we’ll get to those wineries. We made it almost to Redding before we called it a night.

January 27th

We left the rest-stop very early and hit Becca’s Diner in Anderson for breakfast. It was an interesting little place, and Jill got her Biscuits and Gravy fix for the year.

The drive through the passes was scenic, though it got foggy near Weed, and we didn’t get the great views of Mount Shasta that we had last year.

At a rest area on the Oregon side of the passes, we called ahead to an RV park in Portland to see if we could stay there on Thursday, but our RV was too old! Apparently they don’t take RVs older than 10 years. This altered our plans, and we decided to give Portland a miss, since they clearly didn’t want us. Instead we headed for the coast again and ended up at Driftwood II campground in the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. We had almost the entire site to ourselves, the only other people there were the camp hosts. I guess this is a good time of the year to visit the coast!

January 28

Happy Birthday Ben! The girls had promised to be extra good on this day, but broke their promise within 15 minutes. It was raining pretty hard when we woke up, so we packed p and headed into Florence to do some chores. We did some shopping, and had breakfast at Dunes Cafe while the laundry was being done at the laundromat next door. Ben had the closest thing on the menu to Eggs Benedict, it was a sausage patty on an biscuit, topped with a fried egg and smothered with sausage gravy.

We the toodled up the coast, making frequent stops where it looked interesting. Our first stop was the Sea Lion Caves, and the most amusing incident of the trip occurred in the parking lot. Jill needed her boots out of the bin, at the bottom of all the stuff in the back of the Xterra of course, and as Ben was straining to hold everything else up as Jill dug for her boots, he tried to sneak out a little fart. Following a heavily caffeinated, greasy breakfast, this was a very bad idea. He shrieked in distress, “Hurry up! I just shit my pants!” This caused Jill to begin laughing uncontrollably, and it took her even longer to get her boots out.

After Ben cleaned up and disposed of his underwear, we crossed the road to the entrance. The Sea Lion caves were neat, but Jill was in the midst of an over caffeinated anxiety episode, so the 210 foot elevator ride down to a dark cave with no other exits was a little too daunting to take on. Ben took the girls down, and they were duly impressed. It was an interesting place, but I’m not sure the 10 minutes we spent there were worth the $36 entry fee. Jill saw at least 10 sea lions being bashed about in the bay from up top anyhow.

Devil’s Churn was pretty neat, but Boiler Bay took the prize as the best “fury of nature” view point. It probably helped that it was high tide and there was a high surf advisory. We took quite a few pictures, but it was really hard to capture the full effect. Some of the sprays went up to 100 feet above average sea level.

It was about 4pm when we left boiler bay, so we planned to stop at the next grocery store along the highway and grab some chicken, wine and a cake.

Unfortunately, we didn’t find a suitable store until we hit Manzanita around 6:30 PM. Then, the two rest areas we had planned to stay the night at turned out to have overnight parking restrictions, so we gave up on that plan around 7 and just pulled into the next viewpoint for dinner.

Having been stymied every time we tried to stay at a rest area, we gave up and headed for Fort Stevens State Park, just outside of Astoria. $29 a night, with power and water. Not a bad deal compared to California State parks, where sites without power or water typically run $35.

After setting up and getting the girls to sleep, Jill and Ben celebrated Ben’s birthday with a bottle of bubbly and a Jessica Jones marathon.