USA Travel Diary Day 13 – Morro Bay to San Luis Obispo

This morning we have an early start as daughter No 1 has booked us onto a whale watching tour. I hate boats (it’s not natural bobbing around so far from solid ground), so have tried to get out of spending 3 hours on one. But she will not relent. After breakfast, we drive to Morro Bay to join our tour. It’s a lovely calm day. I’m not sure whether to be (a) relieved because it’s calm or (b) disappointed as there’s no way the tour is going to be cancelled.

Morro Bay
Morro Bay

We reach Morro Bay and board our boat; Freedom. The first 20 minutes of the journey are within the bay itself, so very pleasant. The captain goes through the safety briefing and points out that the coastguard are so close that if we get into trouble, it will only take 10 minutes for them to arrive and fish us out of the water. So far so good…

Morro Bay
Morro Bay

Then we leave the harbour for open ocean. Not only is it far choppier, but we stop by the harbour buoy which is covered in sea lions. The captain describes this as a ‘great white snack shack’. Suddenly, 10 minutes seems like a very long time!

Whale watching
Whale watching

We are only at sea another 18 minutes before we spot our first whale. It acts like it’s showing off just for us as it breaches again and again right in front of the boat. It’s such a spectacular sight I forget I hate boats for a while.

Whale watching

All is going well until a child suddenly projectile vomits all over himself and the man next to me. Everything stinks of sick despite the child’s mother spraying everything and everyone with water.

Whale watching
Whale watching

Our whale runs out of energy, so we sail further out to where a group of four whales are herding fish into a shoal for ease of eating while birds and sea lions waiting for lunch to be served. The captain makes sure to keep the whales on our port side (seeing as the starboard side is now covered with vomit).

Whale watching
Whale watching

We watch the whales a while longer. Two more people are sick. Then it’s time to return to harbour. It’s been an amazing experience, so I’m glad I was bullied into facing my fear of boats to watch these majestic creatures on their natural habitat.

Morro Bay shopping
Morro Bay shopping

We spend a little time wandering round the quaint little town of Morro Bay with its quirky shops, then have lunch at a restaurant with a deck overlooking the bay.

Madonna Inn
Madonna Inn

Then it’s time to continue to tonight’s destination; San Luis Obispo. We stop on the outskirts of town to have a peek at the Madonna Inn. This quirky pink palace has all sorts of funky features to explore. After a trip to the pink padded bathroom it’s time to move on.

Madonna Inn
Madonna Inn

After another brief stop at Target to stock up on gifts for family back home, it’s time to check in to our hotel. By now it’s a scorching 34 degrees and son-in-law is starting to flag. The receptionist gives us some advice about must-see attractions in SLO, so while son-in-law cools down, daughter No 1 and I walk to the main road (Higuera Street) to see Bubblegum Alley. Here, if you are so inclined (it’s rather disgusting but somehow compelling) you can see an alley way which has an estimated 2 million pieces of bubblegum stuck on the walls.

Bubblegum Alley
Bubblegum Alley

On Thursdays from 6-9 pm, Higuera Street is closed to traffic for several blocks for the weekly Farmers Market. This gathering of street stalls and entertainment has a real party atmosphere, particularly as it’s the night before Welcome Day at the local college (Cal Poly). It’s bit like a street party and freshers fair all rolled into one.

San Luis Obispo Farmers Market
Farmers Market

At the end of the market is San Luis Mission which dates back to the 18th Century.

Mission San Luis Obispo
Mission San Luis Obispo

It’s been a long, hot day, so we pick up some dinner and walk back to the hotel. Tomorrow we need to set off on our long journey home.

San Luis Obispo
San Luis Obispo

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