Has your 9-to-5 career become an 80-hour-a-week grind? When you finally get home, do you hesitate to answer the phone for fear it’s another telemarketing call for another Visa card – or your boss with yet another crisis? Are your friends and family, whom you never have time to see anymore, sending you emails warning "Get a life!" Remember the words of Dilbert: "The only risk of failure is promotion."
Hey, it’s time to take care of what really matters – you. You need a three-day get-away with no driving, no phonemail and no vertically and horizontally configured reporting structures (bosses and boss wantabees).
You’ll start by relaxing aboard Amtrak’s Coast Starlight to San Luis Obispo smug that you’re a world away from office politics and panic. Halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, you can start from either city. It’s the ideal trip for spending a weekend with your friends from all over California.
From Southern California, you’ll see miles of beautiful coastline, including areas not accessible by car, such as Point Conception and Point Arguello. Or if you start from Northern California, you’ll see the estuaries of San Francisco and Monterey Bays, the agricultural fields of the Salinas Valley, plus enjoy the view as the train climbs the oak-forested hills above Paso Robles.
Detraining in San Luis Obispo, you’ll pedal an easy 15 miles (mostly country roads) past nine ancient volcanoes to Morro Bay, where you’ll feast on pasta, fresh fruits and vegetables. After dinner, you can enjoy Friday Night Market on Morro Bay’s Embarcadero or relax and listen to stories around the camp fire . You’ll sleep well camped under the brilliant stars, whispering pines and cool summer breezes.
After breakfast on Saturday, you’ll have a brief orientation on kayaking. (No previous experience necessary.) Later, by kayak we’ll look for the harbor seal, sea otter and willet. Also, we may see many of the 70 species of birds that migrate to or through this important estuary of the Pacific Flyway.
We’ll beach our kayaks along four miles of sand dunes that separate the Pacific from the bay. We’ll have an opportunity to climb sand dunes up to 85 feet high, with spectacular views of ocean and bay.
After lunch, we’ll learn about the geography, geology and marine biology of the region. We’ll also have an opportunity to cycle to Morro Rock, visit an aquarium and walk through a nature preserve. Before sunset we’ll ride our mountain bikes on trails above majestic bluffs with spectacularly romantic views of the setting sun. Another sumptuous dinner awaits.
Sunday morning you can sleep late – or ride a remote mountain bike trail. Later, we’ll "sail" with the tail wind into San Luis Obispo, lunch in the park, tour historic Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa and board our trains home.
For three days, you’ll see spectacular scenery and meet interesting people. You’ll have an opportunity to learn more about nature – and yourself. It’s a chance to put things in perspective while having a lot of fun. And most of all, both you and your friends will know "you have a life."
Four Days, Three Nights (Fri-Mon)
Another option: You can extend your trip an extra day and enjoy Market Night in Old San Luis Obispo, sea kayaking to coastal Chumash paintings and bicycling to Cambria’s Moonstone Beach.
Five Days, Four Nights (Thu-Mon)
A final option: You can add to the above, San Simeon State Park and
a tour of the 115-room Hearst Castle.