San Luis Obispo, California

We’re in our room here in San Luis Obispo (SLO) after having had a nice walk into town to see the SLO mission and to see some of the downtown streets in the early morning. It’s a pretty univeristy town with a lot to recommend it. I still think Santa Barbara’s at the top of my list, however.

Yesterday, after a great tour of Santa Barbara with our friends, Marcia and PJ, we took off north on 101. All pretty country in a part of California where I have not, previously, spent much time. We took a side trip to Solvang, a Danish enclave out here in the middle of Spanish heritage, California. Interesting and different. Doesn’t seem much different than I remembered it when I last visited in the 1970’s with my first wife, Rose.

From Solvang, we found a market in the next town up the road, Buellton (sp?) and gathered a few things to eat in the car.

The weather along the coast had been bright and clear but the California coastal fog seemed to be waiting for us futher inland though it burned off as the afternoon advanced.

From Solvang, we drove up and through Santa Maria and then back out the the coast again at Pismo Beach. We parked there briefly and had a walk on their pier. Pismo Beach was interesting because of its isolation. Yet, there were many fine houses up on the bluffs with spectacular views and I found myself wondering if all of them were retirement places or if people found a way to make a good living in such a spot. Truly, the long California coast hides many worlds and opportunities and I’ve been privy to seeing many of them through new eyes since we walked in San Clemente and then began our slow trek north.

We’ve already talked a bit about perhaps shortening our time in Utah and Arizona in favor or spending more time in this area when we make the return down this coast from San Francisco back to Los Angeles and Irvine prior to flying back to New Zealand.

Two months seems a long time for a vacation and yet, and yet, I think that every day we have to pass by something we would have liked to spend more time investigating.

Colette continues to be an excellent travelling partner and an excellent partner in general. Calm, thoughtful, reflective, intelligent and interested in everything around her. I am finding the views of my homeland through her eyes to be one of the joys of this trip.

My own memories of all the years I spent in California are also firing as we move from place to place. Sometimes I fear that I’ve been far too self absorbed and too much of a vagabond and a sensualist in this life. But then, as we travel and I remember, I find I am recalling and reliving a life with so much experience and joy in it. I can only hope I haven’t been too hard on some of those who have shared parts of the journey with me. But for me and what I’ve lived and can remember, I have few regrets. Que bellissimo.

So, we pulled into SLO as the twilight was gathering and had to search through the tree laden streets to try to find the heart of the town. Then found, it proved to be full of people and motion. Coffee shops, students, trees, art stores. All such a pleasant mix. It made you just want to get out and stroll in it.

We criused until we found a Starbucks and parked and went in to use their free Internet and located where SLO’s motel row was. A few possibilities were found and off we went to engage a room for the night.

For the first time since we landed, we were in a room alone with some quiet time. Please, this is not a complaint. We have loved everyone’s embrace of us as we’ve come into their homes. But here, we could finally sort our suitcases, write up things on our laptops, Skype a few friends, take long showers and simply sit and relax for a bit in relative silence. It all has its place.

Today, We are going to drive one of the most intense and isolated bits of the California coast. We’ll go from SLO to Morro Bay and then up highway 1 all the way to Monterey Bay. We’ve decided that we going to skip Hurst’s Castle. It was a temptation but we’ve decided that we prefer to the the ‘life’ of cities like SLO and the reality of the raw coastlines over the preserved and lifeless (now) treasures of yester years. We can always rent the video about Hurst but we can only experience the coast we’ll see today in the living now.

Love to all who are reading these words,

dennis

One Response to “San Luis Obispo, California”

  1. Kathy says:

    Sounds like you’re having quite a nostalgic experience which is how my trip felt for me. I enjoyed every aspect of my time in the US and so enjoyed seeing everyone and it brought back many good memories. But I Know that if I chose to move back there, that it would be different as I’d have to figure out how to survive in the US which seems much more difficult that surviving in NZ. I’m sure you will enjoy every precious day there though! And I’m enjoying reading about your adventures especially since I’ve been to many of the places you’ve been so far. Hugs,