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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Lopez Lake Day 3-Pismo Beach and all the clams that you can eat

Continued from

I awoke cold, stiff, slight back ache, a stuffy nose, and couldnt wait to feel the warmth of the sun bask upon my glorious face. Seems like each night we spent the colder it got and once again our tent while spacious is better suited towards desert and higher temperature camping as opposed to some of the lower temps we've experienced as of late.

I got up and didnt bother with the japanese coffee contraption and headed straight for the instant coffee...even taking the time to heat some warm milk up as well as I heard the wife waking up and thought she would appreciate the gesture. With the task of making a Warming, Soothing, Caffeinated Beverage out of the way I started making breakfast using the leftover fajitas, the rest of the pre cooked hashbrowns, and then adding as many eggs as could fit in the skillet. Mighty tasty but once again camp food always tastes better then food cooked at home for whatever reason.

Bellies full, off we went to the grand journey to Pismo Beach taking the same route we took to hit the groceries the previous day. Hitting Pismo, Tomoko mentioned how much the area reminded her of Seal Beach and how it had a similar vibe. I would agree a bit but sadly Pismo reminded me more of Huntington before development and Starbucks entered the picture. We strolled down Pomeroy Ave and took in all the shops they offered and meandered past the Splash Cafe where we had planned to lunch. I took in the cafe and couldnt wait to sample the world famous clam chowder once again but having eaten not an hour earlier none of us were quite ready. I was hoping to take the Kids to arcade in  one of the buildings but sadly it was closed on this weekday. I saw through the window and apart from a few ticket dispensing type games looked like they had all the same games they had when I last visited in 1999 or whenever it was.

We made it to the pier and the kids moaned a bit wanting to play in the sand and water but pointing out that the pier wasnt nearly as long as Huntington's Beach they went with...Im pretty sure them seeing a snack bar on the end had something to do with it. I looked north towards Morro Bay and envisioned what living life in this area must be like and remember the strange conversation with a fellow camper the day previous who mentioned he lived in Grover Beach tried to put aside the notion that not all people in this area had the unique manner of speech and odd look in his eye. He asked where we from and when I mentioned OC and growing up in Huntington Beach he said "I was carjacked one time in Huntington Beach and almost killed." I thought of replying with "well I hope it wasnt anybody I know" but decided not best to joke with an odd stranger in a semi-desolate part of a San Luis Obispo County campground.

For some reason this stand reminded me of a Fish n Chip stand you'd see in  London...I guess however since Ive never been to  London.
Anyhow we walked the pier and I snapped some picture of the snack bar, a pelican sitting on the pier railing while a fisherman sat with pole in the water not 3 feet over, and a heavy set older latina women who I snapped for no particular reason.

Pelican and Fisherman co-exist in this harmonious world of wonder.
Can we have Peace on Earth?
We enjoyed the view and slowly made our way back to the shore to take the kids to the sand under the guise of digging for Pismo Clams. Reaching the sand Tomoko and I commented on how the grain of the sand was akin to baby powder...arguably the softest beach sand Ive ever felt. I wanted to lay out a huge blanket and catnap under the sun but what we want to do and what we can do are two very different things with an 8 and 4 year old.

My attempt at a Panorama Shot.
We watched the kids play at the shore and start digging feverishly to try and find a clam while tomoko and I enjoyed the sound of the ocean, the soft gentle breeze, and the brief respite from the harsh rustica offered via campsite. Finally we decided to head to the Splash Cafe.....and it did not disappoint.

In spite of the 10-15 minute wait outside we found a table and ordered 2 chowders, 1 Fish and Chips, a couple of sodas and 1 Fat Tire that Tomoko and I shared. The first bite of the chowder nothing short of pure unadulterated culinary bliss with a creamy smack in the face that countered nicely with the savory herb used in the chowder and the cool brine and texture offered by the shrimp and crab mixture. Alex talked about how good it was between bites and Tomoko said it was clearly the best chowder she had ever had. The Fish and Chips were good as well with the exception of the Tartar Sauce which was nothing special....Almost tasted like your typical store bought brand of tarter sauce or put to even a more basic critique- miracle whip mixed with relish.  Since my Pantry Chef days of working at Delaneys I expect more a tarter sauce...I want bits of onion along with the occasional caper or two. All in all a small complaint as I am sure 90% of the people are ordering the chowder. Upon retrospect I would have liked to try their cocktail sauce as well. We left with belly full and ready to make the drive back to town to hang on main street.
Clam Chowder in Bread Bowl topped with Shrimp and Crab.....drool. 

This sign for Highway 1 looked better in Black and White then color.

Back on Grand Ave in Arroyo Grande we walked around the town a bit walking over one of the many historic bridges that cross the creek that flows over a deep ravine. We stopped at one bridge that a bronze historical marker on that denoted the bridge was built in 1918...but then washed away in the great storm of 23 and again in 64. The new bridge was a state of the art replica and built on conjunction with sponsorship of the local Der Weinerschitzel unit#123. Good Times.

Checking our watches we realized we were late for the in camp water slide. Doing a cost benefit/time analysis we decided it would be cheaper to simply take the kids to the local boomers for miniature golf. I found one up the road in santa maria via the cell phone app and after a short drive the 4 of us were golfing on what may be the worst kept boomers in California with the course littered with leaves and branches and a shortage of staff meant us waiting about 10 minutes before we saw anyone at the counter. Nonetheless we played and had a great time and gave Dustin a big boy sticker for coming 2nd overall. I found a wall poster that had an annoucement for boomers text club which I joined on the spot and received a message in seconds for a free popcorn. After another 10 minute wait we got our popcorn. Truth be told I really was just going to leave but Alex hearing about the popcorn would not let that be a possibility. I concerned on a couple of occasions simply walking behind the counter and getting my G D popcorn but wasnt sure about the example that would set for the kids. Finally we got it and as we has our cooler in the van already we all shared a big gatorade on the trip back to camp. 

Back at camp we wrapped our leftover Fish N Chips in Foil and threw them on the fire but it was certainly a case of the "In N Out Effect" in which the fries had a life span of about 5 minutes and any amount of time after meant consumption not recommended. Good thing it was our last night.

We got the kids to bed and once again Tomoko and I enjoyed watching the stars sans moon in one of california's least light polluted areas. As a matter of fact in the hour we sat looking at the sky we counted about 5 or 6 shooting stars between the two of us and I once again reminded myself that one day I need to learn how to properly work my telescope I was given as a gift. Ive tried it on a couple of occasions however never using a telescope only managed to see pitch black.

We each had a glass of wine and took it all in as it would be our last night of our journey with the ride back still to go.  


Michelle Cahill said...

I love enjoying your vacations with the family! So much fun to travel vicariously!

Michelle Cahill said...

Cool pelican!

Hipcheck said...

We had a lot of fun that day!