Our First stop after leaving Lodi was on the coast in San Luis Obispo and we stayed at the Elks Lodge for 3 nights. Restaurants, Museums, Galleries and boutiques line the streets of SLO. Of course it goes without saying that one of the best pastimes in this area is wine tasting.
Next stop was the Elks Lodge in Oceano. Our week long stay here also included visits to Pismo Beach and Grover Beach. The one thing I was most interested in besides the beaches were the eucalyptus groves which are the winter homes to thousands of Monarch Butterflies.
Unless it is 60+ degrees with little or no wind the untrained eye may never spot these beauties as they cling to the trees. From a distance they simply look like brown leaves on the trees. With their wings in the closed position you won’t see the beautiful orange and black colors you might expect to see. In the photo below you can see the branch completely covered with the butterflies. The actual size of this branch was approximately 7 feet in length.
Here is a close up of a few of them not completely clustered together. A little easier to see that they are butterflies.
In this first grove I visited it was estimated there were over 30,000 butterflies. In recent years the numbers to winter in this area has declined. Further down the coast we stopped for a week in Santa Barbara. My focus again was on the Monarchs. Another grove of Monarchs is located here at the Goleta Monarch Grove. We made several trips there over 4 days and took the mile round trip hike to enjoy viewing these beauties.
Next we head to the beaches.