Every day I drive from Cayucos to Paso Robles for work; then back home from Paso Robles to Cayucos. Though a beautiful drive, at times it gets tedious. So, this evening, I decided to take the long way home. It's fairly direct, but takes forever. Mostly because driving over 10 mph is a very bad idea for much of the drive. I started out by taking Hwy 101 South, then taking the Vinyard drive exit in Templeton. No, not stopping by the wineries this time, but rather taking a visit to one of my favorite swimming holes! After exiting the freeway, I travelled west on Vinyard Dr., until I reached S. Bethel road, at which point I turned left. This road winds through a nice new neighborhood, then into an older neighborhood with larger lots, and horses. The road splits, and I take the right fork, putting me on Santa Rita Rd. I passed a meadow with deer grazing, a bunch of amazing homes, and then drove into an oak forest, no longer needing to shield my eyes from the setting sun.
After about 3 miles on this road, I spotted The Spot. The Spot is marked by a pullout lined with large rocks, usually covered with graffiti. There is also an area that looks like fires have burned here, complete with empty beer cans. I didn't drive in between the rocks and park in the pullout because a couple was making out in a car near the far end of the parking area, and I didn't want to interrupt them. Instead, I just parked along the edge of the road, and walked directly to the creek, straight ahead.
The path to the creek is short, but a bit tricky. Watch out for poison oak! I crossed the creek in front of me by ducking underneath the large willow tree that arched straight ahead. I continued walking forward a few feet until I reached a graffiti-covered rock on my right. I turned 90 degrees left, and walked past a big tree that looked as though it had lost it's innards. I kept walking past this tree until I passed between two other trees of the same sort, but these in much better shape. I guess it's hard to be a tree growing in a creek bed.
From between these two trees, I spotted a bay tree on my right. I headed toward the bay tree to pick some leaves for the soup I was planning to cook that evening, when I spotted a pile of beer bottles at it's base. Irritated at the litterbugs who frequent this gorgeous spot, I picked up the beer bottles and thought to myself, "What a perfect place for my letterbox!" So, there it is. Underneath some rocks at the base of this tree, awaits the "Santa Rita Creek" letterbox.
After planting the box, I hopped rock-to-rock downstream a bit to the swimming spot. The water was still sort of warm, even though it was evening. Sure, early summer is the best time to visit (because there's still plenty of water) but everyone knows that Fall on the Central Coast is always the best time of year, and the best time to explore. It was a quick dip, though, since the sun was setting and the mosquitos were having a grand time feasting on me, so I hopped back to my car to get home.
I continued on Santa Rita Rd., though the pavement ends, all the way to Cayucos. It was an incredibly beautiful, though long drive. Sure, my odometer says it was 15 miles, but it felt like 25. At the end of Santa Rita Rd. I turned left onto Old Creek Road, and in moments was granted views Whale Rock Reservior, of the ocean, and my hometown.