We always had the scenic coastal route in mind on our trip to Southern California, especially Highway 1 and Big Sur, between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
So after enjoying our time in LA, Beverly Hills, and Disneyland,
we started the next phase of our journey – the scenic route to Morro Bay. I didn’t know much about Morro Bay, other than it was roughly halfway to our next day’s destination, allowing for a slow drive and as many stops as we desired.
We were there by early afternoon and were hooked on the place after our first view of the rock.
We headed across the bay for a closer look at Morro Rock, at 564 ft. tall, one of 13 giant rocks that line the coast, the remaining plugs from ancient volcanos that eroded away 23 million years ago.
After admiring the rock, we turned back for another look into the bay and were treated to the largest number of sea otters we’ve ever seen frolicking in the wild. (click on the pictures in the gallery to enlarge.)
Behind them on the shore we saw three stacks.
We would learn more about them after dinner that night, where the food was delicious and the views superb.
As we were leaving the restaurant my husband asked a local what the stacks were.
“Smokestacks,” the man said and laughed.
Then he told us the story of the decommissioned stacks from an old powerplant and the controversy over whether to remove them or not. It was then I learned of Morro Bay’s nickname,’ Three Stacks and a Rock.’ My vote would be to leave them as to me they add character to this blue-collar beach town but it’s more likely they’ll be coming down.
The rock will remain but the city’s nickname will have to change.
We left Morro Bay the next day, stopping by Cayucos where I took time to explore the beach while Bob shopped in the collectible stores.
I was looking for jade. My mom had told me of the gemstones that were lying on the beaches for the taking, at least when she visited in the middle of the last century.
I appreciated the tip as there were indeed many beautiful stones dotting the beach.
But did I find jade? Only the rock knows for sure!
I loved the small towns of the central California Coast and if I had it to do over, I would have booked more time there. But many other adventures awaited us so we continued on to Big Sur, which I will save for next time.