May 22, 2012

Pismo Beach, CA

From Santa Ynez Valley, we got back on highway 101 and headed further north. I was surprised to see how many vineyards we passed on the stretch from the valley to Pismo Beach, our next stop. I had read about the portion further north of Pismo as having a large congregation of vineyards, especially near Paso Robles, but this region we drove through was packed with vines. It appeared as though every viable acre had been planted on; we drove through seas of green.

Vineyards along highway 101
We parked at the Grace Bible Church in Arroyo Grande, a few miles northeast of Pismo Beach. Then we constructed a solar eclipse viewing device (two cardboard boxes, one with a pin hole), and sat in the parking lot to watch the solar eclipse. Our cardboard tools worked fine, we were able to see the eclipse, but then I discovered that if I pointed my camera a certain way, and zoomed all the way in, I could get a picture of the eclipse. I think I took about 20 pictures, most of them blurry, before I got a somewhat decent one:

The Solar Eclipse
Right after the eclipse, we decided to check out Pismo Beach and the Oceano Dunes there. We got there near sunset, and explored around well into dark. These dunes are just as impressive as the White Sands National Monument. They are not made of sparkling white sands, but are much taller, and therefore more imposing than the White Sands. The Oceano Dunes also allow off road vehicular traffic, meaning you can take you four by four truck or four wheeler and go riding around in the sand!

Skyler, wondering the dunes
Undisturbed sand on the dunes
The Oceano Dunes
We ran around the dunes taking pictures, then went over to the vehicular area and watched dune buggies race around. We also saw a buried Ford Explorer, a site I’m sure is not uncommon around here. There were trucks and SUV’s driving on the beach, and several trucks had even pulled in their travel trailers and were parked right by the waves.

Rescue me!
Dune buggies
Camping with a travel trailer on the beach!
We (meaning me) weren't quite so ballsy, and opted to not take Fiona for a test drive on the dunes. :o)

The sunset on Pismo beach
For more pictures of the dunes, click here.

Happy sunset dune exploring,


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