Sunset at Pismo State Beach

Occasional observations from afternoon and evening beach walks along Pismo State Beach,

between Oceano Beach, Grover Beach and Pismo Beach,

along with a few detours to our favorite local establishments.

Click HereA BEACH WALK BLOG #2 - 2010
Click HereA BEACH WALK BLOG #3 - 2011
Click HereA BEACH WALK BLOG #4 - 2012


Photographers at Grover Beac, CaliforniaTuesday, December 29, 2009 - Photographers Out To Get Another Beautiful Sunset Shot

There are really a lot of gorgeous sunsets here in the Pismo Beach area in winter and today was no exception. The sun sets over the ocean, which allows for long, wide vistas. Even when it is clear on land, there are often clouds over the ocean which pick up the bright orange, pink and red hues of the setting sun.  It is not hard to get a beautiful sunset picture, so there are often a lot of photographers out to that always impressive sunset shot.

Saturday, December 26, 2009 - Santa Maria Museum of Flight

Today we visited the Santa Maria Museum of Flight, located at the Santa Maria Airport.  We had a personalized tour of the exhibits, which included two hangers as well as outdoor exhibits.  Included were a variety of early airplanes, "home built" experimental aircraft, military jets and numerous models and exhibits.  The facility was used in filming the 1991 Disney film "The Rocketeer", so material related to the movie is also exhibited.  The museum also houses extensive historical achieves.  I recommend a visit for anyone with an interest in aviation.

A Donkey Cart on Grover BeachFriday, December 25, 2009 -  A Donkey Cart

Merry Christmas!   It was another warm day.  Many families were on the beach enjoying games of soccer, beach walking, dog walking, picnicking, building sand castles and so forth.  One of the more interesting was a couple that came trotting down the beach in a donkey cart!

Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreational AreaThursday, December 24, 2009 -  Christmas Eve

A glorious, warm day today. Numerous people are walking and driving up and down Oceano Beach.  Oceano Dunes is the only public beach in California where vehicles are still permitted to drive on the beach.  Further down the beach others enjoying the ATVs and dune buggies in the dunes.  I am glad we are no longer in Oklahoma.  There are reports of heavy snow, blizzards, and below freezing weather.

A new Air Force PilotFriday, December 18, 2009 - Oklahoma!

No beach walk today. We are in Enid, Oklahoma.  Our daughter received her Air Force Pilot's wings today at Vance Air Force Base.  Mom and Dad (and the rest of the family) are very proud.

Lake Oso Flaco, near Guadeloupe, CaliforniaWednesday, December 16, 2009 - Oso Flaco Lake

Oso Flaco Lake provides a lovely and varied nature trail.  The trail starts through a wooded area, then proceeds on a boardwalk that crosses the shallow lake.  You will then cross the huge sand dunes to end up at the ocean.  Numerous birds and wildflowers are found along the way.  It is a wonderful way to spend a few hours observing and enjoying nature.   The Oso Flaco Lake is located a few miles south Oceano off of Highway 1.   Or, if you want a good long walk, you can just walk a few miles south along the beach from Pismo Beach to get ther (assuming the beach is not blocked to protect nesting birds).

Oceano Lagoon from the Guiton Trail in OceanoSunday, December 13, 2009 - Nature Center and Nature Trail

Today we visited the Pismo Nature Center located in the Pismo Beach State Park campground off of Pier Ave. in Oceano.  Though not large, the nature center has exhibits on local wildlife and the Chumash Indians that inhabited the area, as well as a small gift shop.  Most of the exhibits are oriented towards children, though us adults learned some things as well.  The Nature Center is open Friday - Sunday 1 to 4PM Sept. to May, and daily except Tuesday and Thursday June through August. Docent programs are offered most weekends, so check their schedule.  Following our visit we attempted to walk the Guiton Trail.  The 1 1/2 mile loop trail guides you through the many habitats that surround the Oceano Lagoon. We saw a variety of birds and ducks, a deer and signs of beaver.  It is hard to believe as you walk through the woods and meadows that you are just a few hundred yards away from the state highway and housing developments.  It is all so quiet and peaceful.  The water level of the lagoon was high due to the recent rains.  Part of the trail was flooded out, so we will have to save the rest of the trail for another day.

Saturday, December 12, 2009 - A Short Walk

The rains continued off and on today.  After we finished dinner, there was a break in the rain, so we thought we would take a night beach walk.  We started at the Grand Ave. parking lot and headed north towards the Pismo Pier.  Alas, we did not get very far.  The rains caused the normally dry creek that is next to the Pismo State Park camp grounds to turn into regular stream that flowed across the beach.  Though the stream was not deep, it was wide,  the night was dark, and I was wearing socks and sandals.  After getting about half way across and getting my feet wet,  I decided to turn back and head for the comforts of a warm, dry, home.

Monday, December 7, 2009 - A Beautiful Sunset

It rained today - we really needed it.  It has been a dry few years.  The clouds broke in the late afternoon creating a spectacular sunset with multiple layers of clouds reflecting the sun's orange rays.

Sunday, December 6, 2009 - Family Visit

No beach walk today. Got a call today from a distant cousin who we have not seen for years.  She was in the area so we met at Cafe Andreini in The Historic Village of Arroyo Grande.  It was good to see her at an event other than a funeral, and to chat and visit in the relaxing, casual, atmosphere of the Cafe.
The Historic Village of Arroyo Grande  runs along East Branch Street.  It has a wonderful collection of small shops, antique stores, restaurants, and museums located in historic buildings. Adding to the "old time" atmosphere are a few chickens running loose.  If you visit, be sure to walk across the "swinging bridge" that crosses Arroyo Grande Creek.  Originally built in the 1800's, it is the last of its kind in California.

Horseback riding on Pismo BeachMonday, November 30, 2009 - Fancy Riding on the Beach

It was another beautiful, warm, day here on the Central Coast.  We watched a beautiful sunset on the beach.  The moon was almost full.  Numerous birds were feeding in the surf.  A horseman was practicing some fancy riding on the beach. 
For those who would like to try some riding, The Pacific Dunes Riding Stables in Oceano offers horseback rides along the shoreline and in the beautiful Oceano Dunes Preserve.

Historic Price Anniversary House in Pismo Beach, CaliforniaSunday, November 29, 2009  - The Historic Price House

It was another warm, sunny day.  Today we decided to explore the Price Historic Park in Pismo Beach rather then do our usual beach walk.  The park is the home of the historic Price Anniversary House and other historic structures, along with a replica of a traditional Chumash Indian village.  John Price, the founder of Pismo Beach, built the house to his wife for their 50th wedding anniversary in 1893.  We were expecting the Price House to be closed for the season, however to our delight we found Effie McDermott, President of the Friends of Price House, at the park.  She gave us, and another couple who was related to John Price, a personal tour of the house and grounds.  The Park shows the dedication and hard work of those who maintain the areas heritage.

The Pismo Beach Clam becomes a Turkey for ThanksgivingThursday, November 26, 2009  -  Happy Thanksgiving

It was a warm, sunny day.  We had a delicious Thanksgiving feast, then needed a beach waddle to work off some dinner, before engaging in deserts.  We saw a brief green flash when the sun went down, then walked inland to Pismo Beach where we passed this giant Clam Turkey in front of the Pismo Coast Village RV Resort.  The giant clam is one of several throughout the city. A few times a year the giant clams are done up in a seasonal costume.  This Thanksgiving it is a Turkey.  It is always fun to watch to see how the giant clams change throughout the year.

Sunday, November 22, 2009  - Butterflies

Today we walked along the boardwalk over the dunes to the Pismo Butterfly Grove.  There were thousands and thousands of butterflies, some flying about, some resting in trees.  The Pismo Butterfly Grove is one of the largest Monarch Butterfly wintering areas in the United States. Butterflies stay here from about October to February, when the fly north.   It is a wondrous place to visit and spend a few minutes watching the butterflies.  The butterfly count is down this year, possibly due to the drought, however there were still plenty of butterflies to be seen.

Sunset at Pismo BeachSaturday, November 21, 2009  - I'm Hungry!

It was another lovely, late afternoon walk along the beach. We watched the sun disappear into the Pacific.  As we approach the Pismo Pier we are first hit with the magnificent aroma of garlic and butter emanating from the Sea Venture Restaurant.  Proceeding further we are get the smells of other delicious foods from some of the fine restaurants along Pomeroy Ave. in Pismo Beach.  I am getting hungry.  Too bad my wife did not come along so we could have dinner here.

Thursday, November 19, 2009  - Birds on a dark night

It was a late walk tonight, due to a meeting at church.  It was a clear, dark, moonless night.  Dozens of Sanderlings were running back and forth in the surf in the dark, looking for dinner.  The more sedate Gulls just stood by watching the waves and hoping to find something to eat.  Watching the small Sanderlings quickly scurry about on their tiny legs is always fascinating. The amazing birds winter in the Pismo Beach area, then fly thousands of miles each year to breed in the Arctic during the summer.  I wonder when they sleep.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009  -  Wonderful Green Flash(es)

The last bit of sun turned pale green just before it disappeared below the horizon.  The sun vanished and a moment later there was a brief but intense emerald green flash.  Unfortunately my digital camera was too slow to capture the wonderful but fleeting moment.

Sunday, November 15, 2009  - A Lovely Sunday Afternoon

It was a lovely Sunday afternoon as we strolled down the beach.  The weather was warm. The surf was quiet.  There were joggers, walkers, and lots of people walking their dogs.

View from the Board Walk trail between Grover Beach and Pismo BeachSunday, November 8, 2009  - Frozen Yogurt

We walked from the Grand Avenue parking lot, located next to the Grover Beach Golf Course, along the beach, to the Pismo Pier.  In Pismo we enjoyed a delicious fruit-topped frozen yogurt from Pismo Yogurt while listening to street musicians and watching the world walk by.  We took the board walk trail back to Grover Beach.   The "board walk" (actually only the first and last sections are wood) runs from Pismo Beach, through the Pismo State Beach campground, by the Butterfly Grove, then over the dunes, where one gets a wonderful view of the beach.  It was a throughly pleasant Sunday afternoon.

undulations in the sand at Pismo BeachA surfer near the Pismo PierSaturday, November 7, 2009 - Big Waves

  There were unusually large waves today, though by late afternoon they were starting to die down.  The waves had carved out all kinds of interesting patterns,  undulations and small streams in the sand.  The waves must have been strong as several large rocks with giant kelp attached to them washed up onto the shore.  The surfers were out by the Pismo Pier, as were the beachcombers with metal detectors looking treasures in the sand.

Mama's Meatballs Restaurant in Oceano BeachFriday, November 6, 2009  - Dinner at Mama's Meatballs

We had dinner at Mama's Meatballs, a delicious Italian Restaurant on Pier Ave. in Oceano, before engaging on our evening beach walk.  As usual, the place was packed, the food was superb, and the service a bit inattentive.  I recommend it both for dining in or for take out. 

It was quite dark for our after dinner beach walk as the moon had not yet risen.  The waves flashed a eerie, bright, phosphorescent green.  The stars and Milky Way could be clearly seen overhead. The walk was a wonderful, relaxing way to end the day.

Thursday, November 5, 2009   -  The Phosphorescent Sea

We started our walk at Grover Beach shortly after the sun went down.  Though it was clear on the beach, the storm clouds in the distance had a bit of their red glow from the sunset, creating a dramatic nightfall.  It was dark by the time we reached the Pismo Pier.  The lights from Avila Beach twinkled in the distance.  On our return to Grover we noticed many of the waves had an unusually bright phosphorescent glow as they broke against the beach.  The lights of a ship could be seen in the distance.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009  -  Scary Poppins

No beach walk today - we went to the Great American Melodrama in Oceano.  The main production was "Scary Poppins", a wonderful. playful, spoof on Mary Poppins, followed by their United Swing! Organization Vaudeville Revue.  Scary Poppins was very funny with non-stop parody songs and antics.  The vaudeville revue was a tribute to the U.S.O. clubs and featured song and dance from the 1940's and 1950's era.   Those actors must be exhausted after a show like that - not to mention serving food, seating patrons, etc!   As usual, the Melodrama provides an excellent evening of entertainment for a moderate price.

Monday, November 2, 2009  - A Romantic Full Moon

Now that it is getting dark early, the Beach walks are sometimes by moonlight.  It was a beautiful evening, with a low tide, smooth ocean, a light, low ocean fog, and the nearly full moon reflecting off the wet sand.  I would even call it romantic - if I was not walking with my sister.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009 - A Dramatic Sunset, and another Green Flash

It was a most an unusual sunset this evening. As the sun set, the atmosphere refracted it into three parts, making it look almost like a goblet, with a large base, large top, and a smaller protrusion on the stem.  Soon the center protrusion disappeared, then the sun itself set below the horizon, yet the image of the sun still could be seen hanging over the ocean. Just as the final image of the sun disappeared into the ocean there was a bright Green Flash. 

Saturday, October 24, 2009  - The Green Flash

As long as I can remember, father has always wanted to see The Green Flash, but until now, has never observed it.  The Green Flash is a rare atmospheric phenomena that occurs at sunset (or sunrise)  where a momentary green flash occurs just after the sun sets.  See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Flash for a further explanation.

My parents were visiting, so we decided to have a picnic at the Grover Beach picnic tables.  As sunset approached we went out on the boardwalk to the beach.  About 8 to 10 people were out there admiring the pretty sunset.  My father was there, with one eye in the camera to try to take a picture, one eye observing the sunset.  Just as the last bit of the sun went down it flashed green for about half a second.  It was not as big or as intense of a Green Flash as I have sometimes observed, but there was definitely a Green Flash.  Some of those on the boardwalk clapped or commented about it.  At last he had seen the Green Flash.  Unfortunately, digital cameras being slow, he was unable to capture the image.

Thursday, October 22, 2009  - Dolphins at play

A pair of dolphins swim about 30 yards off-shore playing in the waves. Looks like they are having fun!

Seal at Grover BeachSunday, October  11, 2009  - See the Seal

A seal wades ashore and poses for tourists and photographers, before returning to the Ocean.

Sand Castle by Pismo Pier Saturday, October 10, 2009 - A Magnificent Sand Castle by the Pier

On most Saturday afternoons during "tourist season" there appears a most wonderful sand castle just north of the Pismo Pier. Hours of labor go into these imaginative creations - only to be washed away by the next tide.  A bucket for donations to the local Pregnancy counseling center is set up near by during the construction.

Questions or Comments?   You may e-mail me at  blog@oceanovacationhomes.com

Click HereA BEACH WALK BLOG #2 - 2010
Click HereA BEACH WALK BLOG #3 - 2011
Click HereA BEACH WALK BLOG #4 - 2012


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