John & Anne Wiley

2011/08/14

Shell Memories

One of my warm childhood memories is the moment during long family drives from the Bay Area to SoCA, when we came through the pass from SLO to catch first glimpse of Shell Beach. The dull brown interior hills and hot valleys suddenly gained a brilliant blue and green top as the breezy Pacific came into view.

2954 Memory Beach

2954 Memory Beach

So when we flew past these hotels near that spot, those memories mingled with new ones from our anniversary stay in one of the hotels. The rock spire between lanes on the freeway (top of pic) looked so much bigger as a kid than looking down on it now, and the brilliant white bluffs tell of ancient marine life. Along with some wide sandy beaches the whole shoreline is riddled with sea caves like these, and the nearby residential area has several places where you can climb down bluffs to explore.

2947 Secret Shore

2947 Secret Shore

Added to my memories of Shell Beach now, are more recent ones in the adjoining towns of Pismo, Grover, Arroyo “Dinky” and of course our new fav Oceano. As you can see in this next pic, there’s a nice park at the lagoon next to the airport.

2959 Oceano Airport

2959 Oceano Airport

A block or two beyond the bottom of the pic is the beach, and just off to the right is the beginning of the vast dunes. It’s such a delight to fly around this beautiful area, land there and stroll to one of the cafes or Mama’s Italian restaurant, wander the dunes, wade the beach, and explore at whim until we find ourselves back at the airport. There we might chat with the owner of that yellow biplane parked next to the white hangar in the middle of the pic (click to see it on the full-size pic). Maybe meet other people who’ve flown in, talk to those waiting for a skydiving jump, or the ultralight flyers who sometimes fly there. Then we take off and often fly around the area again before heading past this lagoon along the beach to look at the crowds enjoying the all terrain vehicle area of the dunes, and the large nature preserve in the dunes beyond.

2962 Dune Lagoon

2962 Dune Lagoon

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