Oxnard to Morro Bay

Day One of a Five Day Drive from LA to Coos Bay

Santa Barbara was our first goal of the morning, rather less than an hour up the road. Of course we were anxious to stop and sample the first Pacific-y place we could find there, which turned out to be Butterfly Beach.

CA: South Coast Region, Santa Barbara County, Pacific Coast Area, City of Santa Barbara, Butterfly Beach, View; surfboard rentals. [Ask for #271.002.]


CA: South Coast Region, Santa Barbara County, Pacific Coast Area, City of Santa Barbara, Butterfly Beach, View; surfboard rentals. [Ask for #271.002.]
CA: South Coast Region, Santa Barbara County, Pacific Coast Area, City of Santa Barbara, Butterfly Beach, Dog retrieves Frisbee toy through surf [Ask for #271.001.]


CA: South Coast Region, Santa Barbara County, Pacific Coast Area, City of Santa Barbara, Butterfly Beach, Dog retrieves Frisbee toy through surf [Ask for #271.001.]
CA: South Coast Region, Santa Barbara County, Pacific Coast Area, City of Santa Barbara, Butterfly Beach, View towards cliffs, with a stand up paddle surfer. [Ask for #271.004.]


CA: South Coast Region, Santa Barbara County, Pacific Coast Area, City of Santa Barbara, Butterfly Beach, View towards cliffs, with a stand up paddle surfer. [Ask for #271.004.]
CA: South Coast Region, Santa Barbara County, Pacific Coast Area, City of Santa Barbara, Stearns Wharf, View towards the city [Ask for #271.005.]


CA: South Coast Region, Santa Barbara County, Pacific Coast Area, City of Santa Barbara, Stearns Wharf, View towards the city [Ask for #271.005.]

We are fans of the old TV series Psych, which supposedly took place in Santa Barbara but was actually filmed in Canada; we wanted to see how well they managed to fake the correct look. Not very, it turned out. While the series centers on the sort of ordinary fishing pier found on either coast, Santa Barbara's pier is a historic commercial dock so huge that it has a large group of buildings on its far end. Called Sterns Wharf, it's been there since 1872 and has been a place to eat and shop since 1941. It's large enough to drive on and has ample parking. We were surprised at the ease with which we found parking on a July Sunday. Indeed, crowds throughout the trip ran at a fraction found at far lesser attractions on the Atlantic coast, a pleasant surprise. Temperatures were a pleasant surprise as well, barely pushing 70 with low humidity.

CA: South Coast Region, Santa Barbara County, Pacific Coast Area, City of Santa Barbara, Stearns Wharf, View [Ask for #271.006.]


CA: South Coast Region, Santa Barbara County, Pacific Coast Area, City of Santa Barbara, Stearns Wharf, View [Ask for #271.006.]
CA: South Coast Region, Santa Barbara County, Pacific Coast Area, City of Santa Barbara, Stearns Wharf, View [Ask for #271.008.]


CA: South Coast Region, Santa Barbara County, Pacific Coast Area, City of Santa Barbara, Stearns Wharf, View [Ask for #271.008.]

After Santa Barbara we left the main highway to take the PCH through the empty rural lands around Lompoc. A detour down the former route of CA 1, now called Harris Grade, took us over the arid Purisma Hills with good views.

CA: South Coast Region, Santa Barbara County, Lompoc Area, Purisma Hills, Harris Grade Road, View [Ask for #271.010.]


CA: South Coast Region, Santa Barbara County, Lompoc Area, Purisma Hills, Harris Grade Road (formerly the Pacific Coast Highway, CA 1), View [Ask for #271.010.]
CA: South Coast Region, San Luis Obispo County, Pacific Coast Area, City of Morro Bay, Embarcadero, View across Morro Bay towards Morro Rock. [Ask for #271.022.]


CA: South Coast Region, San Luis Obispo County, Pacific Coast Area, City of Morro Bay, Embarcadero, View across Morro Bay towards Morro Rock. [Ask for #271.022.]

We reached Morro Bay later in the afternoon. We found it a delightful, quaint town terracing up from its old port, now largely given over to low-key tourism. Views are striking from the upper roads over the old town and bay, to the spectacular Morro Rock that marks the bay's mouth, a 600 foot tall volcanic plug.

CA: South Coast Region, San Luis Obispo County, Pacific Coast Area, City of Morro Bay, Embarcadero, View across Morro Bay towards Morro Rock [Ask for #271.023.]


CA: South Coast Region, San Luis Obispo County, Pacific Coast Area, City of Morro Bay, Embarcadero, View across Morro Bay towards Morro Rock [Ask for #271.023.]
CA: South Coast Region, San Luis Obispo County, Pacific Coast Area, City of Morro Bay, Embarcadero, View across Morro Bay towards Morro Rock [Ask for #271.024.]


CA: South Coast Region, San Luis Obispo County, Pacific Coast Area, City of Morro Bay, Embarcadero, View across Morro Bay towards Morro Rock [Ask for #271.024.]

The bayfront area has small shops, a few restaurants, and boat rentals. Uphill are more restaurants and hotels. We had a fine room at the Blue Sail Inn, with wide balcony views over the harbor, room parking, and easy walking all over town. We ate next door at Dorn's Original Breakers Cafe, with more spectacular bay views. This was our first experience with what is known back East as the "California style", and we were stunned. What Eastern restaurants had been serving up was mere caricature. We would continue to get this incredible level of food for the next two days.

CA: South Coast Region, San Luis Obispo County, Pacific Coast Area, City of Morro Bay, Embarcadero, Gift shop by the bay  with Morro Rock in the background [Ask for #271.012.]


CA: South Coast Region, San Luis Obispo County, Pacific Coast Area, City of Morro Bay, Embarcadero, Gift shop by the bay with Morro Rock in the background [Ask for #271.012.]
CA: South Coast Region, San Luis Obispo County, Pacific Coast Area, City of Morro Bay, Embarcadero, View from a kayak rental across Morro Bay towards Morro Rock [Ask for #271.016.]


CA: South Coast Region, San Luis Obispo County, Pacific Coast Area, City of Morro Bay, Embarcadero, View from a kayak rental across Morro Bay towards Morro Rock [Ask for #271.016.]
CA: South Coast Region, San Luis Obispo County, Pacific Coast Area, City of Morro Bay, Embarcadero, View across Morro Bay to Morro Rock, wreathed in clouds; rental kayaks. [Ask for #271.011.]


CA: South Coast Region, San Luis Obispo County, Pacific Coast Area, City of Morro Bay, Embarcadero, View across Morro Bay to Morro Rock, wreathed in clouds; rental kayaks. [Ask for #271.011.]
CA: South Coast Region, San Luis Obispo County, Pacific Coast Area, City of Morro Bay, Embarcadero, Canoeists paddle towards Morro Rock, shrowded in clouds [Ask for #271.015.]


CA: South Coast Region, San Luis Obispo County, Pacific Coast Area, City of Morro Bay, Embarcadero, Canoeists paddle towards Morro Rock, shrowded in clouds [Ask for #271.015.]
You can drive out to the rock ...

CA: South Coast Region, San Luis Obispo County, Pacific Coast Area, City of Morro Bay, Morro Rock State Park, A close view of Morro Rock, showing its structure [Ask for #271.018.]


CA: South Coast Region, San Luis Obispo County, Pacific Coast Area, City of Morro Bay, Morro Rock State Park, A close view of Morro Rock, showing its structure [Ask for #271.018.]
...and admire the view back to town.

CA: South Coast Region, San Luis Obispo County, Pacific Coast Area, City of Morro Bay, Morro Rock State Park, View across the bay towards the town. [Ask for #271.019.]


CA: South Coast Region, San Luis Obispo County, Pacific Coast Area, City of Morro Bay, Morro Rock State Park, View across the bay towards the town. [Ask for #271.019.]
CA: South Coast Region, San Luis Obispo County, Pacific Coast Area, City of Morro Bay, Morro Rock (Coleman Park), View across Morro Bay towards town; Lost Isle tour boat. [Ask for #271.021.]


CA: South Coast Region, San Luis Obispo County, Pacific Coast Area, City of Morro Bay, Morro Rock (Coleman Park), View across Morro Bay towards town; Lost Isle tour boat. [Ask for #271.021.]

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Coos Bay, OR
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