April Fools Trip to California Central Coast, Days 3/4 – Chocolate lilies in San Simeon, Ragged Point, Shell Creek, Templeton, Santa Margarita, and Cambria

The previous installment of this trip described driving through the beautiful Carrizo Plain. This installment covers the time we spent visiting family located on the California Central Coast. Time spent eating, hiking, and viewing more fields of flowers.

Day 3 – Cambria, more family, Chocolate Lilies, and Indigo Moon

Today were changing venues, and moving ourselves north to Cambria to visit with Gretchen’s dad Ken and stepmom Joyce. We started out by revisiting Dorn’s before loading into the car and hitting the road. It is a little over 20 miles and 25 minutes to Cambria from Morro Bay. It was a beautiful morning and a great day to be on the road.

Soon we were pulling into the driveway at K&J’s. Their house is located on a fairly steep hill, overlooking the ocean. The main house built on top of the garage, and reached by 2 flights of stairs. The view is unobstructed, and endless. You can see the surf, whales offshore, and deer wandering the fields nearby. A beautiful spot.

Chocolate Lily (about 3 inches tall)

We sat on the deck, shaded by an umbrella, and talked as people gathered for lunch. Gretchen kept seeing whales that I’m sure were there, but I never managed to see them. Eventually Lynn and Fritz had arrived giving us a quorum.

The plan for the afternoon was to go on a hike recommended by Barb on the south side of the town of San Simeon. We piled into two cars and set out. The hike is actually a stroll and suitable for folks with limited mobility. But the main reason it as proposed was the large quantity of Chocolate Lilies to be seen there.

I also took pictures of many of the other flowers to be found on this one site. quite a gathering for a roadside hike in an old cow pasture off Highway 1.

I managed to get a good group photo. Ken is sitting on the ground, with Jeep and brother Fritz flanking him . Standing up is Joyce, and sister Lynn (Bear).

We chose to take advantage of the great weather to head north on Highway 1 after the flower walk. The road is currently in excellent shape and the traffic was light. I’ve traveled that section of road many times and the drive was both pretty and nostalgic at the same time. It gave all of us a chance to reminisce privately and with the group.

Now Ken is fond of quoting Winnie the Poo and saying that he “needs to have a little something”. As we approached Ragged Point it was decided that it was time for an ice cream break. The little store there had a good selection of novelties, and soon we were enjoying our personal selections. I think I had a drumstick.

Gretchen and Joyce making the ice cream buy

Afterwards we wandered the grounds taking in the sights, or resting on our laurels as the mood struck us. Gretchen and Ken found a couple of chairs situated to enjoy the view north.

Father and Daughter

Our destination for the night was the Cambria Pines Lodge situated off the highway above the town. We have stayed there several times and the hotel is consistently a good place to stay. We were sharing the room with Lynn this night and the suite we were given had a separate room for Gretchen and I, while Lynn had a comfortable murphy bed in the living room area.

We checked in, and inquired about dinner reservations at the lodge. Unfortunately, we discovered that there was no “room at the inn”. Which was fine with me as it made it possible to go to one of my favorite Cambria restaurants, Indigo Moon. They always have a nice selection dishes to choose from, daily specials that are special, and a good beer selection. Altogether a good place to eat. We had the whole crew there for dinner including Fritz.

After dinner I needed to stretch my legs. There had been a lot of sedentary driving over the last 3 days and I was feeling restless. So, I headed down the hill to downtown Cambria. There is a trail behind the Lodge that goes through the woods and down to the town. Just a warning. It is a little steep, not well maintained, and there are no lights. So be careful and use it before it gets too dark. Oh yeah, there is also poison oa to watch out for. But others, highly recommended.

I also had an ulterior motive. We hadn’t had dessert after diner and I was in need. I was on a mission to get exercise and pie. The best pies on the central coast can be found at Linn’s Restaurant in downtown Cambria.

So, I got in several miles of walking, and then I got pie. Specifically Olallieberry pie. A whole pie in fact. I dutifully carried it back the mile or so to the room to share with Lynn and Gretchen. It was dark and scary, but I was on a mission.

Once back in the room, I quickly restored my energy and state of mind with a large slice, eaten with a spoon, on a paper plate. This was roughing it. There wasn’t any ice cream or whipped cream to go with it. I had to console myself with seconds.

So, sated with berries, and tired from a great day, it was time for bed.

Day 4 – Central Coast flower tour, walking in Cambria, Gretchen buys a hat

Going back through my photos for this day reveals that I was having “flower picture fatigue syndrome”. There just are not that many pictures of flowers for this last day, in spite of the landscape being every bit as impressive as seen on the previous days.

Today was to be a car tour day, with most of the sightseeing done from the comfort of our seats. The plan was a nice breakfast at the Pines followed by piling into the car for a road trip to Shell Creek Road to look at the flowers.

Our route for the day

Gretchen and I had passed Shell Creek on the way to Morro Bay on Day 1, without making a stop. Today, we were going back with the whole crew; Ken, Joyce, Lynn, and Fritz. There were too many of us to fit in one car, so Fritz was also driving.

We had breakfast at the pines, and then headed out on the road. We met up with Fritz at Shell Creek where we got out and wandered around looking at the flowers.

I was able to get the whole Renshaw clan to pose for a group photo like crows sitting on a fence.

Lynn (Bear), Fritz, Gretchen, Ken, and Joyce

After our grand tour through the flowers, we stopped for a quick lunch at the Loading Chute restaurant in Creston. The place produced some great tri-tip sandwiches.

After lunch, Fritz made said his goodbyes and headed back to San Luis Obispo. The rest of us followed the road back to Cambria. On the way, We dropped Lynn off in Templeton, for her drive back to Santa Cruz.

We dropped Ken and Joyce at home, and decided to walk around Cambria and do some sightseeing and shopping. Our first stop was the Amphora Gallery where the ceramics pieces displayed in the windows drew us in. We spent a fair amount of time admiring the work there. Gretchen, however, was drawn to to some beautiful wool hats done by Tess McGuire. She selected a nice purple and green hat that looked quite pretty on her.

After that we stopped by another favorite spot, The Garden Shed. This is a fun place to browse and look at garden related stuff. Gretchen wanted me to see some hand-built ceramics pieces she had seen there. I hate to say that I didn’t get the name of the artist.

After that it was dinner at the Pines, pie for dessert in the room, and the end of a nice day with family.

It’s important to have this time with family and friends. Too soon the time has passed, the opportunities are gone, and all we’re left with is the memories.

And with that melancholy thought, I finish this post.

1 Comment

  1. Hi Bob ! I enjoyed reading your descriptions and pictures. I took down the names of some of the places you visited and ate at. Thanks ! Trevor

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