Not far from Santa Barbara, California Route 1 heads inland for a time. This prompted much grumbling from the drivers seat to the effect of, ‘I thought it was a coastal highway, where’s the bloody coast then.’ Thankfully the road turns back to the coast at San Luis Obispo Bay. The bay consists of some small seaside towns and the grumbling stopped as we pulled into Pismo Beach, the first of them. The town was packed with surfy types and people generally just enjoying the weekend weather so it took us a little while to find a parking spot. We took a walk along the pier, watching the surfers and the pelicans doing their respective things.
Being at the beach and it being sunny gave me a craving for ice cream. I couldn’t see anywhere to buy it other than the fishing bait stall on the pier, and I was a little dubious in case they kept the two in the same freezer. Instead we jumped in the car and drove on up the coast to the town of Avila Beach. We felt like proper Americans driving 10 miles for an ice cream. Avila was much less busy than Pismo, but was just as nice. We found a great little ice cream shop, bought a cone each and made for the beach. Avila has another lovely pier, as well as a platform underneath it from which one can see starfish clinging to the wooden supports of the pier.
We decided to book accommodation in the town of San Luis Obispo, nearby but inland. I sat in the car using the laptop to jump on the wireless connection of the hotel we were parked by so that we could book something, the Ramada Inn. Back on the road it was only 15 minutes before we were checking in, having chosen the motel for no other reason than it had a guest laundry, something that was fast becoming a critical need.
In the evening we walked into town for food, finding the excellent Natural Café. Gemma was excited because they had a jacket potato with steamed vegetables on the menu, possibly the blandest dish in the history of cooking. Needless to say that is what she ordered. We’d read about a couple of places to have a beer, but couldn’t find one of them. The other had about 6 people hunched over their drinks at the bar so I decided I didn’t fancy it. Instead we went back to the motel and drank Canadian cider whilst watching a terrible horror film (Monster Man).