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  • Lyndell Daniel


Updated: Nov 2, 2020

The California bush fires meant a change in our itinerary. Instead of driving from San Francisco to Los Angeles along Highway 1, we had just flown from Seattle to Los Angeles and were now making our way to Cambria via Bakersfield, across to Morro Bay and then on to Cambria.

Views were clear and the highway moving nicely, until we reached Bakersfield where we were confronted with immense smoke, haze and very low visibility. This continued through Morro Bay and into Cambria. We had phoned the day before to check on conditions in Cambria, and been advised that everything was good; maybe the residents have become blasé to fires, smoke and low visibility.

Cambria is a quaint little seaside village midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, reached along California State Route 1 (Highway 1).

We stayed at the Pelican Inn & Suites, Cambria, which is located directly across the road from the beach. The views were magnificent, the accommodation superb which included a delicious breakfast and a nightly relaxing spa in the open air. I chose a beach front room with verandah, where we could sit and watch the ocean, the birds, surfers and enjoy the early morning sunrise, before exploring the surrounding areas. It's been said, that Cambria is a place where you can escape from it all; a place where adventure meets relaxation, where fun meets flavor and where the pines meet the sea - and it certainly did not disappoint.

Driving through the town on Main Street, you’ll see Cambria vibrant with locals and tourists, boutique shops lining the streets, and local eateries that are worth traveling for alone. Cruise with your windows down and enjoy the quaint coastal town come to life!

With boutique lodging and no hotel chains in sight, your vacation will be unlike any other - enchanting beaches, historic attractions, delicious dining options, and wide open spaces—without the crowds.

We took the easy 30 minute drive from Cambria to Morro Bay to kayak with the Otters. As you can see from the photo above, Morro Bay was quite affected by the smoke from the California fires. Whilst it was devastating and very sad to see the destruction caused from the fires in many parts of California, in Morro Bay the smoke and haze created a beautiful dreamy, foggy scenery. This little beach town is a must visit; it has more Eucalyptus trees than Palm trees, cute little otters, lingering harbor seals, a lovely Bay to paddle or kayak on and displays a quiet quirkiness that makes it an adorable little place to visit.

Oh, this is just too much....paparazzi!!!!

Ummm, can I have some privacy please.

Hip Hip finally got me looking at the camera.

Just floating around the bay - so peaceful, calm and relaxed.

Mother and baby - so adorable.

You can just feel the love between these two.

We spent two days kayaking with the otters and harbor seals along the Bay. We found the best time to experience the frivolous play of the otters was in the morning. They would come up to your kayak and then glide down the Bay looking back to check out where we were.

Early morning kayaking ensures beautiful views along the Bay.

It’s impossible to mistake Morro Bay for any other California seaside town. Just off its shore, a massive, ancient volcanic plug known as Morro Rock rises 175 metres from the ocean, adding a dramatic exclamation point to this haven of natural beauty. Aside from the beautiful scenery, kayaking in Morro Bay meant sharing it with the wildlife - the harbor seals, sea lions and sea otters as well as seeing many different bird species.

Morro Bay is identified by the three 450- foot [smoke] stacks (three stacks for short). The power plant, which has been a waterfront location before the city was even incorporated, burned natural gas to generate electricity until it was shut in 2014 - leaving in its abandonment what one business leader calls a "three finger salute".

Whilst kayaking in Morro Bay, it's impossible not to see the Harbour Seals relaxing, sunbaking and resting out of the water on the docks or even the boats. Whilst they look extremely lazy and peaceful in my photos, California sea lions are the largest and fastest marine mammal that live year-round in Morro Bay. They can weigh as much as 860 pounds and swim as fast as 25 miles per hour.

The San Francisco to Los Angeles road trip along Highway 1 is an iconic drive through some of the most beautiful parts of California. Stretching 442 miles / 711 kms and taking around 8 to 9 hours non-stop to drive, the San Francisco to Los Angeles drive down Route 1 is scenic beyond belief. I would certainly suggest not doing this drive non-stop. There are far too many beautiful places to stop along the way.

From Cambria you can explore the historic Piedras Blancas Lighthouse. Also nearby is the Northern Elephant Seal Rookery! We spent quite some time with these oceanic giants, who are a sight to be seen. You can catch a glimpse of them as they rest along the shorelline, but make sure you park and walk along the boardwalk to witness their antics in and out of the water. During peak season, thousands of animals lounge on the shore, breeding, birthing, and resting. Fortunately, there are elephant seals on the Coast year-round for visitors to admire.

At Simeon you will find the Elephant Seals, frolicking in the water, resting on the beach, throwing sand over their bodies and just providing entertainment.

The three Amigos.

So peaceful.....

Ummm....I'm just too tired to move any further.

Oh that was definitely a good joke :)

Wonder if I can reach those birds, before they notice. May take me about 10 minutes.

Feeling a bit hot, just need to cool off with this sand.

What's that you said........

Love the smile....

And as the story goes....we had to depart Cambria, heading back to Los Angeles for our trip home; stopping along the way at Santa Barbara, Malibu and Santa Monica.


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