Airstreaming to Alaska – Chapter 2: Malibu to Morro Bay

Posted April 29, 2022 – Narrated by Carmen
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"The water is wide, I cannot cross o'er,
        And neither have I wings to fly.
Build me a boat that can carry two
        And both shall row, my love and I."
                – a Scottish Folk Song
Airstreaming to Alaska

The challenge is Time and Distance.

morro bay
Morro Bay, California

Perception can be deceiving, a mystery, unsolved. Turning back is natural instinct.

morro bay

But steady focus on the goal closes the distance.

morro bay

By late January we realized how much sense it makes to fly or cruise to Alaska. Someday we may do that.

But, if this overland journey is to be as much about going to Alaska as being in Alaska, then we will approach The Great North with all the tremor of a sixth-grader asking for a dance at the cotillion, employing as many short slow deliberate steps as possible.

morro bay

Traveling the California coastline at about 100 miles per week – the pace of a bicycle tourist – gives us time to think and plan and savor the drive.

100 miles per week is also the distance pioneers averaged on the Oregon Trail. It is still a good pace. A pace that laid the groundwork for one of the world’s greatest and fastest growing economies. Nothing wrong with slow.

With Beauty and the Beast, the pioneering spirit is always with us (including an indoor bathroom, gourmet kitchen and wide screen television).

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Pulling through downtown Morro Bay

The clean Pacific breeze, gorgeous views, beaches and fish dinners make this coastal tour move way too fast – another phenomenon to discuss around the evening fire.

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Our overland trek is on schedule

Everyone is well. The equipment is operating as intended. Outerwear is the current focus as we anticipate cooler temperatures up north. We are grateful for the bounty of outfitter stores along the coast.

There are advantages to driving north in winter. Low traffic, low tourism, no bugs – more elbow room to immerse in the Pacific coast history and geography.

Whenever we enter a sweet town, rather than grab a bite and run without even a tip of the hat …

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we stop, stay a while, pass time with the locals and wait for the passes to thaw. Hmm? Could that be the origin of “pastime?” No, but you heard it here first.

Leaving Malibu

‎⁨Highway 1 – Point Mugu⁩, ⁨California⁩

On a warm, windy Santa Ana morning, we pulled out of Malibu, taking our time on PCH, we eyed opportunities for adventure, views, and foodie delights.

We are always looking for places where we can pasture The Beast and explore with low dependence on fuel.

Morro Bay

By mid-afternoon we pulled off of Highway 1 to Morro Bay State Park nestled between a serene lagoon and a public golf course in SLO, San Luis Obispo County.

The lagoon

Morro Bay is an idyllic, low-key winter destination.

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a true walking neighborhood …

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with countryside …

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and seaside charm …

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It is an estuary brimming with wildlife …

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where birds, otters, sea lions and ancient pygmy oaks take sanctuary …

It’s an easy walk or bike ride to the sunny Embarcadero, with shops and restaurants offering regional specialties …

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Tognazzini’s Dockside Restaurant – Crab Benedict with Fried Polenta!

with a gentle rhythm and warm, positive vibe …

and, of course, miles and miles of beach.

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Other than a productive day-trip to the city of San Luis Obispo

we pretty much stayed home, grooving on the SLO life.

morro bay

The Bayside Cafe – a five minute walk from our campsite – became our office.

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We arrived without provisions and planned to stock up in town. Then, while walking Pico to the marina to check out the kayak launch …

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we stumbled upon the dog-friendly cafe.

After an evening bite and a beer, we experienced an epiphany: “Hey, let’s just eat here every day!” The entire menu is precisely what we like – rustic and comforting – and we ate it all. The price is right and the staff is beyond superb – let’s call them super-heroes, every one. Easiest camping experience ever!

Now, with more time to play, we could visit with Susan, Jim’s kindergarten-to-high school friend who lives nearby.

And, tackling the bay every single day was also a no-brainer:

The Rock

Speaking of brains … this rock! Well, what does it look like to you?

morro bay

Morro Rock, The Gibraltar of The Pacific, one of the Nine Sisters, is visible for miles and holds the regional imagination and history. Morro (“hill” in Spanish) looks like a lot of things. This volcanic plug is a changeling. Depending on the light and atmospheric conditions it can morph into a rising super moon … or a Baked Alaska on a silver platter.

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Sometimes it can look rather small …

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and, sometimes, very large.

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A solid week of face time with The Rock didn’t get old. At sunset a local gentleman with a camera joined me at the museum lookout. I suggested that he must have thousands of rock images in his files. He said, “You never have enough photos of The Rock.”

But The Rock is not alone

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In the 1950’s The Rock was joined by another sexy landmark, three perky smoke stacks, attached to a power plant.

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In 2014 the plant closed, but the 450-foot stacks remain as an impressive monument to industrial chic. If you want to see the iconic stacks, then you should make your Morro Bay plans before they are no longer an eyesore or an intriguing aspect of the skyline.

As local politics go, you’ve got your yes-stack people and your no-stack people, but the Prime Directive holds: we remain impartial. Still, Three Stacks And A Rock is an installation worth the t-shirt. It’s a haiku for the eyes…

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this tiny spot on the planet, where the eco-system and human encroachment appear to have come to terms.

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Morro Bay gives me hope that this living-compatibly-with-nature thing just might be doable.

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One last sunset …

and the next morning we were off for Santa Cruz.

Chapters in the “Airstreaming to Alaska” series

  • Chapter 1 – San Diego to Malibu
    • Sun Outdoors San Diego Bay – Chula Vista, California
    • Malibu Beach RV Resort – Malibu, California
  • Chapter 2 – Malibu to Morro Bay
    • Morro Bay State Park – Morro Bay, California
  • Chapter 3 – Morro Bay to Santa Cruz
    • Santa Cruz Harbor RV Park – Santa Cruz, California
  • Chapter 4 – Santa Cruz to San Francisco
    • San Francisco RV Park – Pacifica, California
  • Chapter 5 – San Francisco to Eureka
    • Vinnie’s Northbay Airstream Repair – Wilton, California
    • High Water Brewery (Harvest Host location) – Lodi, California
    • Harmony Wynelands (Harvest Host location) – Lodi, California
    • Van Ruiten Family Vineyards (Harvest Host location) – Lodi, California
    • Four Fools Winery (Harvest Host location) – Rodeo, California
    • Lawson’s Landing – Dillon Beach, California
    • Mia Bea Wines (Harvest Host location) – Redwood Vally, California
    • Johnny’s at the  Beach – Eureka, California
  • Chapter 6 – The Oregon Coast
    • Harris Beach State Park – Brookings, Oregon
    • Bay Point Landing Resort – Coos Bay, Oregon
    • Blue Herron French Cheese (Harvest Host location) – Tillimook, Oregon
    • Seaside RV Resort – Seaside, Oregon
  • Chapter 7 – The Strait of Juan de Fuca
    • Washington Land Yacht Harbor Airstream Park – Olympia, Washington
    • Salt Creek Recreation Area – Port Angeles, Washington
  • Chapter 8 – Victoria, British Columbia
    • Weir’s Beach RV Resort – Victoria, British Columbia
  • Chapter 9 – Victoria to Mackenzie
    • Riverside RV Resort – Whistler, British Columbia
    • Big Bar Rest Area – Clinton, British Columbia
    • Walmart Parking Lot – Prince George, British Columbia
    • Alexander MacKenzie Landing – Mackenzie, British Columbia
  • Chapter 10 – The Alaska Highway
    • Northern Lights RV Park – Dawson Creek, British Columbia
    • Former Prophet River State Park – Peace River, British Columbia
    • Hay Lake – Fort Liard, Northwest Territories
    • Northern Rockies Lodge and RV Park – Muncho Lake, British Columbia
    • Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park – Liard River, British Columbia
  • Chapter 11 – Yukon
    • Watson Lake Visitors Center Parking Lot – Watson Lake, Yukon
    • Teslin Rest Area – Teslin, Yukon
    • Norsemen RV Park – Atlin, British Columbia
    • Hot Springs Campground – Whitehorse, Yukon
    • Real Canadian Superstore Parking Lot, Whitehorse, Yukon
    • Gold Rush Campground – Dawson City, Yukon
  • Chapter 12 – Top of the World Highway to Chicken, Alaska
    • Downtown Chicken Cafe and Saloon
  • Chapter 13 – Tok to Valdez
    • Tundra RV Park – Tok, Alaska
    • Gulkana River Rest Stop – Gulkana, Alaska
    • Bear Paw RV Park – Valdez, Alaska
  • Chapter 14 – Glacier View to Anchorage
    • Grand View Cafe and RV Park – Glacier View, Alaska
    • Alaska Raceway Park (Harvest Host location) – Palmer, Alaska
    • Ship Creek RV Park – Anchorage, Alaska
  • Chapter 15 – Kenai Peninsula
    • Heritage RV Park – Homer Spit, Alaska
    • Marathon RV Campground – Seward, Alaska
  • Chapter 16 – Whittier to Talkeetna
    • Williwaw Campground – Whittier, Alaska
    • Talkeenta Camper Park – Talkeetna, Alaska
  • Chapter 17 – Denali
    • Riley Creek Campground – Denali National Park, Alaska
  • Chapter 18 – North Pole to Chena Hot Springs
    • Riverview RV Park – North Pole, Alaska
    • Chena Hot Springs Campground – Fairbanks, Alaska
  • Chapter 19 – Tok to Haines
    • Fast Eddy’s Restaurant Parking Lot – Tok, Alaska
    • Gravel Turnout – Beaver Creek, Yukon
    • Gravel Turnout – Destruction Bay, Yukon
    • Haines Hitch-UP RV Park – Haines, Alaska
  • Chapter 20 – South to the Lower 48
    • Gravel Turnout – Haines Junction, Yukon
    • Teslin Rest Area – Teslin, Yukon
    • Jade City Parking Lot – Jade City, British Columbia
    • Mehan Lake Rest Area – Bell II, British Columbia
    • Fort Telkwa Riverfront RV Park – Telkwa, British Columbia
    • Walmart Parking Lot – Prince George, British Columbia
    • 100 Mile House Municipal Campground – 100 Mile House, British Columbia
    • Mt. Paul Golf Course (Harvest Host location) – Kamloops, British Columbia
    • Crowsnest Vineyards (Harvest Host location) – Cawston, British Columbia
  • Final Chapter – Lessons Learned
    • Philosophy
    • Preparation
    • Planning
    • Mileposts (the book)
    • Roads
    • Weather
    • Camping
    • Cash and Currency
    • Clothing
    • Food
    • Wildlife
    • Bugs
    • Fuel
    • Dump Stations and Potable Water
    • Pets
    • Internet Connectivity
    • Hiking
    • Cycling
    • Kayaking
    • Damage
    • Dangers
    • Canada Border Crossing
    • US Border Crossing
    • General Observations
    • Serendipity
    • Final Thoughts
    • Our Camp Sites

If you want to see our exact route, click here.

*photos in this post (unless otherwise noted) were taken and copyrighted by Living In Beauty.