We started out January of 2016 by traveling south to the classic beach town of Pismo Beach, California. Pismo Beach is located on California’s famous central coast, half way between San Francisco and Los Angeles along Pacific Coast and 101 Highways. The Pismo Coast Village RV Resort is one of our favorite RV parks. It is located next to Pismo Creek that enters the Pacific Ocean at the southern end of Pismo Beach. We took walks on the white sandy beach, enjoyed the shore birds at the lagoon, window shopped on the Boardwalk and watched the surfers from the 1,200-foot pier.

The Pismo Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove is located down Coastal Highway 1 from our RV Resort. Each year thousands of vibrant orange and black Monarch Butterflies flock to Pismo Beach, seeking shelter from the freezing northern winters. From late October to February, the butterflies cluster in the limbs of a grove of Eucalyptus trees at Pismo State Beach.
The colony of around 25,000 butterflies form dense clusters with each one hanging with its wing down over the one below it to form a shingle effect. This provides shelter from the rain and warmth for the group. The weight of the cluster keeps it from whipping in the wind and dislodging the butterflies.

We were so excited to be able to ride the dunes in our four-wheel drive Jeep Sahara. This is the last remaining coastal sand dunes open to Off-Highway Vehicles and Four-Wheel Drives. There are about 3,500 acres in the Recreational Area, 2,000 are set aside as a buffer and preserve leaving 1,500 acres of sand dunes to drive on and explore. It was amazing going up and down the slopes, doing donuts in the wet sand and dodging ATV’s coming over the hills. Patty feared her life at the top of each sand dune peering down the steep slope on the other side.

We took a drive to Morro Bay, walked along the breakers next to Morro Rock, and witnessed a gorgeous sunset from the cliffs of Montana de Oro State Park. Morro Rock is a 576-foot high volcanic plug, which stands at the entrance to the harbor. Originally it was surrounded by water, but the northern channel was filled in to make the harbor. The rock was quarried from 1889 to 1969, and in 1968, it was designated a Historical Landmark. The big wave sets rushing over the breakers provided a nice photo op. The slippery and jagged rocks were quarried from Morro Rock and other rock was imported from Catalina Island. Next to Morro Rock is the Dynergy Electrical Power Plant. The large tall smokestacks were sometimes referred to as “Three Fingers”. The plant was built in 1950 and expensive upgrades caused it to close in 2014.

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