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.

Coos Bay, OR

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This is the first time we have traveled (in our motorhome) outside of the state of California since January 2017, about 15 months ago.  We drove in our car to Tahoe for skiing earlier this year but otherwise we spent all of 2017 and the first part of 2018 in California.  We crossed into Oregon on Highway 101 while moving from Crescent City, CA, to Coos Bay, OR.

Cape Arago Lighthouse

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White Sands National Monument (Alamogordo, NM)

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Two hundred and seventy-five square miles of white sand dunes, the largest gypsum sand dune field in the world.  This is the White Sands National Monument just south of Alamogordo, NM.  The source of the sand is the gypsum that is trapped in the rock layers of the surrounding mountains.  Rain falls on the mountains and the runoff collects on the desert floor.  When the water evaporates, the gypsum collects in crystal formations.  Wind then takes over and tumbles the crystals until they break down into grains of sand.  These are active dunes, moving thirty to forty feet per year.  Surprisingly, the dunes have formed in only the past 10,000 years.

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