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After spending all day wandering around Morro Bay, we have little time to travel to a campsite before dark. Fortunately, Montaña de Oro State Park is only six miles south of Morro Bay.

View of a hiking trail by the ocean in Montaña de Oro State Park.
View of a hiking trail by the ocean.

Quail at the campsite in Montaña de Oro State Park
Quail at the campsite

Montaña de Oro State Park

Montaña de Oro State Park is easy to pick out on a map, given it is the largest park managed by the state of California. The park spans coastal cliffs to 1,347-foot Valencia Peak and many a hiking trail in between. The coastline varies ancient sand dunes to volcanic rock. One surprise feature of the park is a large eucalyptus forest, the remains of a failed business investment. We experience such a small fraction of the park. But what we manage to see is fantastic.

Driving through a eucalyptus forest in Montaña de Oro State Park
Driving through a eucalyptus forest.

Bird on a rock in Montaña de Oro State Park
A birds eye view of birds on a rock.
Rock formations carved by the ocean in Montaña de Oro State Park
Rock formations carved by the ocean.

Islay Creek Campground

The Islay Creek Campground is a primitive campground. The grounds include 50 camp sites, some of which sit right next to the eponymous Islay Creek. Lucky us, the camp grounds have a wide selection of unoccupied camp sites this weeknight. We choose a secluded site shaded by a large oak tree.

One notable downside is the lack of cell service. This is normally a no-go for us. But as it is only one night and we are not up to working as it os. So, we manage.

Quail at the campsite in Montaña de Oro State Park
Male quail gathering at the edge of the campsite.

Exploring the Montaña de Oro State Park shoreline with the Avion Ultra C11 truck camper.
Oh, the places we go!

Spooner’s Cove Beach

Across from the entrance to Islay Creek Campground is Spooner’s Cove Beach. The wide stretch of beach flanked by ocean wrought rock formations is an ideal location to relax. We brought a picnic and a drone.

Picnic on the beach in Montaña de Oro State Park
Picnic on the beach. Can you spot us?

Avion Ultra C11 truck camper down on the beach in Montaña de Oro State Park
Down on the beach.

A Note About Last Night

Last night was a matter of heated debate. When the scratching and scrabbling sounds began, I perked up my ears immediately. I knew that sound: mouse.

This certainly wasn’t the first time that a mouse had invaded our adventuremobile. Followers of the blog will remember our unwelcome guest in the redwoods two years ago.

So, I was ready and gearing up to start emptying out the camper and evict our stowaway in the middle of the night. But Cowboy shook his head. “It’s the tree branches,” he insisted.

There
Was
No
Way

I know the sound of tree branches. I know the sound of mice. This was one and not the other. It was that furious, soft scratching followed by a pause, typified by small rodents burrowing. And, frankly, the last time we had this debate, I was right. I have the pictures to prove it.

This time, I was not right.

When I came outside to humor Cowboy’s theory, there the delicate tips of the branches were, gently dancing against the aluminum surface of the camper. Inside the echo chamber that is our Avion, the sound could have come from anywhere, but standing outside and watching the tree bend in the breeze it was clear: we needed to find a new camping site!

Lexi lives in a truck camper down by the river.

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