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Thursday, August 30, 2007

There's no surf there- how can it be fun?

Lopez Lake was a great place to set up our paddle surf base camp. The lake's campground is huge. There are 354 campsites which range from primitive tent only sites to full hookup RV pads.

One of the best things about the campground was the distance between sites. In California many campgrounds look like a Wal-Mart parking lot, you're packed in like a New Dehli streetcar. We were camped in a section called Bandtail (I suggest sites 2 - 7), the sites were comfortably distant from each other under leafy shade trees. Other sites in the campground may be closer together but in Bandtail, we were far enough apart that I was sure our nightly Deadwood double feature wasn't going to add any "color" to the neighbor kid's vocabulary.

Speaking of kids and families, this would be an excellent family vacation. There are tons of things to do other then paddling. Kids could fish, swim (there's a dedicated swim area with a lifeguard on duty) or spend half the day at the lake's waterslide park. Additionally, there's plenty of hiking and wildlife walking around to keep all but the most No-Friend-O, I mean Nintendo, addicted kid amused.

You'll have to get up early to paddle Lake Lopez; in the summer time it gets windy enough by the afternoon to make paddling a "Laird" activity. Get up early, though, and you've got the lake to yourself. We only paddled a couple of the arms of the lake, there is much more to explore.

It's really amazing the distances that can be easily covered with these boards. Most appealing to me is the tranquility of the activity. The only noise is the lapping of the water on the board and the dipping of the paddle, it's quiet enough to easily slip up on cool birds and other creatures.

The campground is close to the coast, it's a twenty minute ride from your campsite to the sand of Pismo State Beach. One morning I paddled an arm of the lake, had a ridiculous breakfast in the BreadBox (that's what I call my trailer), took a nap and finished off the day with a nice paddle from the Pismo Pier to the headlands to the north. A great day of paddling. Oh yeah, five minutes down the road from the campground is the tasting room for Talley Vineyards; wasn't a bad year for the cabernet.

There really is a special magic to this type of paddling. Flat water fitness and exploration paddling are going to be huge growth areas for this sport. It's almost too fun to be a work out and yet the fitness benefits are huge- this thing is going to catch on anywhere there is water- watch out Minnesota!

Lopez Lake Campground:

Also: Drive into San Luis Obispo (20 minutes from campground) and have a Pulled Pork Sandwhich at Mo's BBQ ( imagine savory barbecued pork covered with coleslaw on a perfect roll- it's killing me even thinking about it!

And: Check out William Randolph Hearst Memorial State Beach (approximately an hour and a half from campground) for an afternoon paddle- an absolutely beautiful spot.

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