Sand and Olallieberries
The area around San Luis Obispo, California, is delightful. Vineyards and wineries abound, the coastal mountains and Pacific Ocean afford wonderful views and the old city with Craftsman and Spanish architecture is filled with shops and restaurants. The drive to and from SLO along the Pacific Coast Highway (California 1) is awesome, with waves crashing into the rock-studded shore and the coastal mountains rising above the highway.
Close to SLO are the Oceano sand dunes–the only place along the California Pacific that allows motorized recreational vehicle traffic. Kathy and I rented a morning drive in a Prowler high power, low to the ground, two seat buggy and took off to the dunes for what I assumed would be a fun and easy drive. Mind you, I have never driven such a vehicle before and no one told me the dunes were endless and rolling and HIGH and STEEP and no laid out path. Kathy prayed OUT LOUD as we hurtled down 80 foot drops–I had no choice but to take them and to accelerate quickly to make the next rise or (1.) Get buried in sand and stuck; (2.) Risk sliding sideways in the soft sand on the steep dunes and overturning the cart. I do not like heights and this was one height after another–it was a roller coaster without rails. Thankfully, I found a relatively flat area and tooled around there for a while. Then it was time to head back and we had to find a position pole to locate ourselves on a map. As you probably guessed, in my concentration on staying alive and listening to Kathy alternately pray and scream, I had traveled far from base and had to take a more direct route back because of time limitation. This meant more and worse dunes. We skirted by one monster–a giant doodlebug hole–by staying on the precipice and running at top speed to keep from slipping into the abyss. It was so steep and deep that I feared if we slipped in they would need to bring in a helicopter to ferry us out and I actually wondered how much that would cost!? Back at the hotel, Kathy and I were so covered in sand that we had to shampoo our hair several times and the sand had gotten to places that surprised me. Kathy told me she enjoyed our two and a half hour adventure.
Traveling on to Cambria on CA-1, we felt relaxed and hungry. The beauty of the surroundings were inspiring. We stopped in Cambria and ate olallieberry pie, an area speciality. This berry is a cross between a blackberry and a raspberry. It went down smoothly with French vanilla ice cream. What a day–sand and olallieberries! WEG