Knowing that Lucky was going to be in GoWesty’s shop for at least a week, we decided to tour California’s central coast and immerse ourselves in the culture of San Luis Obispo County (SLO County).
To kick things off, Gregor bought himself a stylish shoulder bag in downtown SLO. I was very happy about this, as it would spare me from carrying his sunglasses AND reading glasses AND Blistex lip balm in my purse. It would also spare his jeans from wallet elephantitus, the notorious virus that causes the fatal back-pocket-eating disease.
“I like your man purse,” I said playfully.
“It’s a satchel,” he snapped.
We drove our rental car from San Luis Obispo to the quiet town of Paso Robles, where we pre-booked a little cottage for one week.
Park Street in historic downtown Paso Robles
Our adorable vacation rental was named ‘Quercus Cottage’
We enjoyed sipping Trader Joe’s beers on the porch. $4.99 for six beers. Nooice!
Across the street from our porch was the Paso Robles Centennial Oak. It’s the biggest oak tree we’ve ever seen. Fun fact: ‘Quercus’ is the Latin word for ‘oak tree’.
Some of the neighbours still hadn’t taken down their holiday decorations. It was weird to see a candy cane next to a cactus plant.
Paso Robles is a prime wine growing region in California.
When in Paso, you can’t forget to accompany your wine and cheese with local Mission figs.
From Paso Robles, we took day trips to the surrounding wine region and the coastal towns along California’s scenic Highway 1. Here are some highlights…
Something you don’t see in Calgary.
Sebastian’s Deli at Hearst Ranch serves local beef and farm fresh vegetables. Uh-mazing beef burger and fries – hands down, the best we have ever tasted. Ever.
Serene pasture at Hearst Ranch. Wildly ostentatious Hearst Castle is in the distance.
Quaint storefronts in Cambria
The throw-back surfing town of Cayucos. Love the vintage blue-green paint.
Janice: “It’s so big!”
Gregor: “That’s what SHE said.”
Celia’s Garden Cafe in Los Osos
The little adobe houses all over SLO County are cute.
After spending a week in Paso Robles, we found out that Lucky needed to be in the shop for another week. While we were anxious to get back on the road with our beloved camper van, we were also happy to extend our ‘mini-vacation’. But with the Canadian dollar down by 20%, we needed some more money…
I’d like to speak to the marketing genius who named this bank chain.
With wallets replenished, we moved to the beach town of Oceano to explore, eat, and drink our way through the rest of SLO County.
We found a room with a kitchenette at Pacific Place Resort. From our balcony, we could watch the sun set over the ocean and hear the waves pounding on the beach just a few blocks away.
Our new location gave us easy access to historic towns and coastal gems that we would have otherwise overlooked if we followed our typical camper van routine.
Gorgeous views from Avila Ridge hiking trail
A sea anemone in the tidal pools at Shell Beach
Avila Beach Pier. It’s the longest one I’ve ever seen…
Historic Arroyo Grande Village
Gregor got to ring the school bell at Santa Manuela School in Arroyo Grande.
The local food is awesome. There is a farmer’s market somewhere in SLO County almost every day of the week.
Fruit here is unbelievably sweet – we thought for sure that the farmers injected sugar into the produce before they brought it to market.
There is no shortage of seafood and BBQ restaurants on the central coast.
The BEST pacific clam chowder EVER is at Splash Cafe. There are several locations in SLO County.
Skookum oysters were smooth like satin at Cracked Crab, Pismo Beach.
Cracked Crab dumps the “Bucket for Two” directly onto your table. They supply wooden mallets so that you can clobber your food. Can life get any better?
These little chocolate dipped treats will delight your colleagues at the next Casual Friday Lunch ’n’ Learn. (No, we didn’t try them.)
Great food, amazing scenery, fascinating history and culture – SLO County has it all. But the best part about this place is the genuine friendliness of the locals. At first we were a little creeped out by how friendly they were – like everyone was on chill pills. But we eventually realized that it’s just the way people roll around here. Their laid-back attitude, small-town hospitality, and willingness to share the hidden gems of the region really made our mini-vacation special.
Amazing what happens when you SLO down.