Leaving Morgan Hill we traveled down US 101 to SR 1, the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH). We were back on the coast!! We passed beautiful Monterey Bay. Not a great picture because I took it from the RV as we went down the road. You can see the lamppost bell which signifies “El Camino Real”, Spanish for “The Royal Road” or sometimes in English “The King’s Highway”, a 603 mile road connecting the 21 Spanish missions in California.
We passed over the famous, most photographed spot in Central California, the Bixby Creek Bridge. It was completed in 1932 and is one of the tallest single span concrete bridges in the world. It is 174 feet in length and is often used in commercials, music videos, TV shows and movies. With no convenient place to pull over in the RV, we had to settle for pictures from the window.
We passed through the coastal area where in May, 2017 a massive mudslide closed this section of the highway for fourteen months. A third of a mile of the road was covered in rock and dirt almost forty feet deep. The damage was massive. We felt very fortunate the road had reopened in time for our trip.
Our destination was Kirk Creek Campground, a small national forest campground with magnificent views of the Pacific Ocean. We pulled up to our reserved campsite (#10) and immediately knew we had a problem. The site was extremely unlevel. Bill tried everything possible with boards and levelers to get the RV level, but it was unsafe to stay there. I think in over five years of our being on the road this is the first time we have had to walk away from a reservation because of the site quality. Bill talked with the camp host in the hope we could get a better site but the campground was full. We had no choice but to leave and continue south. Complicating things was there is no cell phone service for most of this area of the Pacific Coast Highway, preventing us from calling other campgrounds for availability. Feeling frustrated and slightly anxious we tried not to let it spoil our enjoyment of the beautiful views. Site #12 would be good site for our next visit in this area.
We stopped at one of the places we remembered from 2014, the Piedras Blancas elephant seal rookery located five miles from Hearst Castle in San Simeon. In the distance on a hill we could see Hearst Castle which we also visited in 2014. This elephant seal rookery is the only elephant seal rookery in the world easily accessible and open free to the public every day of the year. During the peak times of January, April and October there can be up to 17,000 seals on the San Simeon beaches. The seals are up to sixteen feet in length and weigh up to 5,000 pounds.
In the late afternoon we passed through Morro Bay with Morro Rock in the distance. Morro Rock is a 581 foot volcanic plug. I won’t go into the geology of it here but it is easy to Google for more information.
TEN hours after beginning our travels earlier in the day, we pulled into our campground in Oceano, California about 175 miles north of Los Angeles. We are here for an eight night stay and ready for a rest!
Next up: more on Oceano and the surrounding area