As usual, I was up before dawn, one of my favorite times to take pictures. My time in California was dwindling. I came to one of my favorite locations in Morro Bay to catch the sunrise hitting Morro Rock. Sometimes, the sun seems to set the rock on fire with a golden glow. That was not to be on this day, but I captured a scene that became my favorite image of the trip.
I was standing on the dock at Anchor Park, my camera was set up on my tripod and I was sipping coffee, trying to keep warm in the early morning chill. Out of the corner of my eye I spotted a man rowing his sailing dinghy, bow to shore, from his ketch anchored in the bay. He pivoted the boat as he got closer and I realized there was a dog in the stern. The dog was motionless, intently focused on the approaching shore and the relief that would come with it. In the still air I could hear only the creak and splash of the oars. As the man tied his boat to the dock, his dog sat patiently, his thick fur glistening with dew in the cool morning light. We greeted each other; he told me that his “woolly mammoth” loved coming ashore for his morning walk. The man was barefoot in the 50 degree temperature, his feet red from the frigid water in the bottom of the boat. After making the dinghy shipshape, they walked off for their morning respite. I looked for them the next day, but they were nowhere to be seen.
Sailors and their dogs. Few relationships are as devoted.
At first glance (i.e., from a computer screen in Virginia) Morro Rock resembles a craggy bowler hat. In real life, where I had the benefit of appreciating the scale, I realized that it’s huge–almost 600 feet high (higher than the Washington Monument, my benchmark for “high”) and since we’re at sea level 600′ seems really friggin’ high. The texture of Morro Rock gives it real character and when you experience the rock you understand why people are drawn to it photographically and emotionally, which may be the same thing. Ultimately, Morro Rock sets Morro Bay apart from other seaside towns up and down the coast. Add the occasional elephant seal cruising through looking for snacks, sailboats on their moorings, working fishing boats, at least a dozen good restaurants on the waterfront, and you have a charming location that deserved far more time than the single day I had dedicated to it. Although I regretted not scheduling a second day at the end of my trip, as it turned out it rained so my options would have been limited. But after a few more shots, including the one above, it was time to work my way up the coast.
My first opportunity to travel to the Central Coast of California dropped into my lap–a professional conference was announced at nearby Atascadero and I hurriedly decided to attend. However, I didn’t schedule enough time on either side of the conference, and had relatively little time for photography.
It’s a long way from Washington, DC to Morro Bay, CA, or so it seemed, squeezed into the coach cattle car. After a truly boring flight from Dulles, I arrived at LAX with plenty of time to make my puddle-jumper connection to Atascadero. Once there, I discovered that the car rental company had run out of cars and had only a pick up truck. With no choice but to take it, I discovered that pick ups have evolved considerably, and I was treated to what was essentially an SUV with a cargo bed. I made the short trip to Morro Bay in the dark, grateful for my phone’s GPS. I forgot to grab the cable for my GPS. Grrr…