McWay Falls at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. Dawn Page / CoastsideSlacking

Road Repairs Restore Big Sur Thrills South to Gorda; Where is Everybody?

Half the fun of visiting Big Sur is the drive. And the newly opened bridge at Pfeiffer Canyon means the good times are back, at least as far as Gorda. For now, think of Highway 1 southbound from Carmel-by-the-Sea as a curvaceous 65-mile cul-de-sac with a view. It was so nice we drove it twice. Continue reading “Road Repairs Restore Big Sur Thrills South to Gorda; Where is Everybody?”

A Letter to The Coastside: Thanks for a Spooktacular October! We Needed That

We met in the Midwest, where October means crisp leaves, warm apple cider and that first cold snap. It was classic. For 20 years in suburban L.A., fall meant hot winds, choking dust and fires. It was miserable. Now here we are Coastside enjoying a whole new fall tradition. And it’s amazing!
Continue reading “A Letter to The Coastside: Thanks for a Spooktacular October! We Needed That”

Lady Washington Ties Up at Pillar Point Harbor; Tall Ship Sailed in ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’

Recognizable as the nimble HMS Interceptor in the 2003 Disney movie blockbuster “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,” the replica tall ship Lady Washington sailed into Pillar Point Harbor this week for a two-week stay. We clambered aboard for a visit. Continue reading “Lady Washington Ties Up at Pillar Point Harbor; Tall Ship Sailed in ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’”

Quest for a Coastside Labyrinth Travels from a Quarry to Lands End and Back Again

Why walk a labyrinth? Actor Jeff Bridges, who portrayed the ultimate slacker in “The Big Lebowski,” offers this:

“With a labyrinth, you make a choice to go in – and once you’ve chosen, around and around you go. But you always find your way to the center.”

Nice centering metaphor. That is until someone completely lacking in inner peace pitches the labyrinth’s border stones into the ocean. Bummer. Continue reading “Quest for a Coastside Labyrinth Travels from a Quarry to Lands End and Back Again”

Martins Beach, near Half Moon Bay, California. Dawn Page / CoastsideSlacking

What’s so Special About Martins Beach? We Crash the Gate and Sashay Past a Cop to Find Out

If the landowner had never blocked access to Martins Beach, we probably never would have heard of this controversial stretch of sand south of Half Moon Bay, much less visited. So, what’s so special about Martins? We decided to crash the gate and find out. Continue reading “What’s so Special About Martins Beach? We Crash the Gate and Sashay Past a Cop to Find Out”

Sea otter at Moss Landing. Dawn Page / CoastsideSlacking

Quest for California Sea Otters Ends with Shenanigans and Groupies Downstream from the Power Plant

Marine mammals stir the hearts of even the most jaded Coastsiders. Slackers, too. We’ve seen dolphins cruising, whales spouting, harbor seals lolling, and elephant seals … well, um… it was mating season. But sadly, not a single sea otter. Where the heck are the sea otters? Continue reading “Quest for California Sea Otters Ends with Shenanigans and Groupies Downstream from the Power Plant”

Cold Day Coastside? Break out the Flannel and Chill at the Moss Beach Bluffs, Beach and Tide Pools

If you enjoy Coastside sand and surf but a water temperature of 55 degrees is not on your “to do” list, then consider visiting the beaches, bluffs and tide pools of the James V. Fitzgerald Marine Reserve in Moss Beach. Continue reading “Cold Day Coastside? Break out the Flannel and Chill at the Moss Beach Bluffs, Beach and Tide Pools”

The Automobile as Art at Dream Machines, Half Moon Bay’s Annual Chrome-a-palooza

What’s your “dream machine?”

For half a century, MontaraManDan has dreamed of owning a 1967 Mercury Cougar in British racing green. The one with the hideaway headlamps. So awesome! GeekSlacker, for a time, yearned to escape from the rigors of her jet-setting tech world on a Harley. She escaped by retiring instead.

Continue reading “The Automobile as Art at Dream Machines, Half Moon Bay’s Annual Chrome-a-palooza”

Poo Bags, Pot and Platform Shoes Litter the Beach on Earth Day; “Underpants!?”

We lived in an inland valley outside of Los Angeles for more than 20 years and never really embraced the beach. The thought of hugging a stretch of sand on Earth Day didn’t even cross our minds.

In fact, our most vivid sand and surf memory from those years was that time we drove to Zuma Beach with folding chairs and a thermos of coffee to watch the sun set into the waves, only to learn an important geography lesson – beaches above Santa Monica for 150 miles mostly face south. Don’t judge. We were new.

Continue reading “Poo Bags, Pot and Platform Shoes Litter the Beach on Earth Day; “Underpants!?””

Gray Whale Cove [photo: Dawn Page]

Trail with a View Joins Two Spectacular Coastside Beaches

The mountainside trail between Gray Whale Cove and Montara state beaches is a middling means to two rather spectacular ends. It’s about the beaches, not the journey. Featuring a moderate descent to and ascent from the beach into McNee Ranch State Park on each end, the bulk of the winding Gray Whale Cove Trail is carved into the side of Montara Mountain and roughly parallels Highway 1, whose sights and sounds detract from some otherwise spectacular views of the ocean meeting the shore. Continue reading “Trail with a View Joins Two Spectacular Coastside Beaches”

Ano Nuevo elephant seals [photo: Dawn Page]

Birth, Death and Debauchery on the Beach – Must be Elephant Seal Breeding Season at Año Nuevo

Dawn and I slipped down the coast on a misty, windswept afternoon last week to check out breeding season and the resulting offspring at Año Nuevo State Park. The coastal park is home base to as many as 10,000 elephant seals who return twice a year to alternately breed and molt between sea voyages of up to 12,000 miles. Continue reading “Birth, Death and Debauchery on the Beach – Must be Elephant Seal Breeding Season at Año Nuevo”

Rancho Corral de Tierra

Sample the joys of the Coastside with a Family-Friendly Stroll on the Old Road

Not much time? Have a toddler or infant in tow? Try the family-friendly stroll along Old Pedro Mountain Road from Montara to Martini Creek through Rancho Corral de Tierra, the newest addition to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Once the primary route between Montara and Pacifica, the aging pavement remains stroller and bicycle friendly, the grade is minimal and the walk will give you a taste of numerous Coastside charms.
Continue reading “Sample the joys of the Coastside with a Family-Friendly Stroll on the Old Road”