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Friday, September 11, 2015

PISMO BEACH AND ALL THE CLAMS WE CAN EAT! - Yes, You Can Make That Left Turn at Albuquerque

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I guess we did make that left turn in Albuquerque because we’re in Pismo Beach!
Yes, it really exists (as does the great town of Walla Walla, Washington…but that’s another story) and this beautiful, classic retro California beach town can be found about an hour north of Santa Barbara on California’s awesome Central Coast.

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Our home for two nights is the Oxford Suites, located adjacent to the 101 freeway on the south side of town. The room is a true suite with a living room, a separate bedroom, and a bathroom. Each room has its own flat screen TV. In the front room, there’s also an L-shaped sofa that folds out into a rather large sofabed. A wet bar and fridge complete  the living room amenities.

The bedroom features a king-size bed (rooms with two queens are also available, sink, ironing board, and a patio. The bathroom was basic with a tub and toilet…the sink is in the bedroom. Accessible rooms with roll-in showers are also available.

The room also includes a full, cooked-to-order breakfast in the dining room next to the pool and spa. There’s a fitness room and beer and wine are served in the lobby lounge each night for 2 hours.

Dinner time arrives and we have a selection of restaurants we’d like to check out. A couple, we scratch off the list right away because they are in the town of Guadalupe and no one wants to make a 20 plus mile drive for dinner.

The rest are in downtown Pismo Beach but each one features a long line heading out the door and an even longer wait.

This is not our first time to the Pismo rodeo, so we know that the little town of Avila Beach is just a few minutes away and the always reliable Fatcats sits at the shore end of the pier there.

There is no wait here and the outdoor seating, under heaters in the chilly air, makes us want some comfort food. No problem…Fatcats serves breakfast all day so Letty and I have French toast and chicken fried steak while Tim is satisfied with his roast beef sandwich.

A quick stop at the local grocery store in Avila for an overpriced bottle of local wine and we head back to the hotel to drink it.

The morning finds us in the southwest corner of town, next to the only beach in California that allows you to drive your car on the sand.

We’re here for something else. Each winter, thousands of Monarch butterflies migrate up to 2,000 miles to winter in a tiny grove of eucalyptus. A web of wheelchair accessible trails surround the grove where all we do it look up and see the air filled with the orange insects.

Big clumps of butterflies cling to the branches where they huddle for warmth and mating.

After another night, the next day finds us heading south down the coast.

At Ventura, we turn east and head a dozen miles up the mountains to the little town of Ojai. Here, we’re going to a little restaurant sitting all by itself about a mile out of town.

This is Boccali’s Pizza and Pasta, a country casual Italian restaurant that is oh, so relaxing.

We have a pizza with their flaky crust and a little of their house wine. It’s oh, so good too while we enjoy it outside under the California sun surrounded by orange groves and condor country.

It’s a great end to another trip as we finish up and head slowly over the winding road back towards L.A.

Copyright 2012 – Darryl Musick
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