Pismo Beach/Oceano Dunes

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Immediately after returning to Torrance from Lake Tahoe, we spent a long weekend with some family and friends at a campground near Pismo Beach, along the central coast of California.

Oceano Dunes

Valerie’s son Tim has a truck that is specifically equipped for the type of off-road challenges presented by the sand dunes at Oceano Dunes.  So he organized a family and friends camping trip.  Since we don’t own an RV currently, we rented a trailer from a local business that towed it to the camp site and set it up for us.

Tim gave everybody an opportunity to ride in the truck while he drove across the dunes.  The Oceano Dunes is a State Vehicle Recreational Area consisting of 3,500 acres that runs along the coast just south of Pismo Beach.  The sand is shaped by the weather into steep hills, often with very sudden drops.  All manner of vehicles navigate the dunes and camping is allowed along the coast away from the vehicles.  Everybody enjoyed the opportunity to “ride the dunes” in Tim’s truck.

During our 3 days here, we also visited Avila Beach, Harford Pier, Pismo Beach and had some great meals and plenty of good times.

Tahoe 2019–Part II

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After our mini-vacation, we returned to South Lake Tahoe for a few final days.  The highlight of this time was a boat tour to Thunderbird Lodge.  Steve and Wende’s new neighbor in Tahoe runs these tours in addition to tours to Emerald Bay.  Their business is called Cruise Tahoe.

Thunderbird Lodge Continue reading

Placerville, CA

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On our way back to South Lake Tahoe following our mini-vacation, we stopped off for one night in Placerville, CA.  More or less midway between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe, Placerville is on Highway 50 in the foothills of the Sierra Mountains.  They describe their location as “above the fog and below the snow line” which gives them something of a four seasons climate.

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Oakley, CA

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Continuing our mini-vacation to the San Francisco Bay Area, from Oakland we headed east to the town of Oakley, home to Valerie’s long time friends, Roger and Jo Anne.  They have been friends with Valerie and her kids for many years.

Half Moon Bay

On our first day, we took a day trip when Roger drove us all back west to San Francisco, across the Bay Bridge and then south to Half Moon Bay.  This is a small beach community that seems to have mostly avoided allowing itself to be overrun by development.  Just to the south of the town is a four mile stretch of beach that is the Half Moon Bay State Beach with a walking path, nice broad beaches and a campground.  We had lunch at the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company.  This is a beautiful stretch of California coastline.

The next day, we took a walk around their neighborhood with Roger and saw some of his favorite neighbors, sheep, goats and emu.   Before leaving we enjoyed a beautiful salad that Jo Anne prepared for us.

Next stop:  Placerville, CA

Oakland, CA

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Next up on our mini-vacation to the San Francisco Bay Area was a quick stop in Oakland to visit with Valerie’s cousin, Marcy and her significant other, Marc.  They have an apartment near Jack London Square in Oakland.  This part of the city is very lively with lots of restaurants, breweries and other activities.  Their apartment is in one of the recently completed buildings nearby.

Waterfront at Jack London Square

We started our visit with a stroll around Jack London Square and they treated us to a wine tasting at Rosenblum Cellars, a winery right on the Oakland waterfront.  Afterward, we had a terrific brunch at Fat Lady restaurant.  In the evening we went to a nearby brewery that was having a comedy night with 5 local stand up comedians.

We started off our Sunday with a nice hike in nearby Redwood Regional Park.  This a huge park with miles of hiking and mountain biking trails in the hills east of Oakland.  There are some nice spots with good views to the west to Oakland and the San Francisco Bay beyond.  After working up a good appetite, we had brunch at one of their favorite spots, the Chop Bar which very recently moved to a new location which is just downstairs from their apartment.  Quite delicious.

Our time with Marcy was all too brief but filled with fun activities, food and beverages.

Next:  Oakley, CA