Actually, I think it’s more like a city. Maybe. I’m not sure what exactly a town vs. a city is, but compared Morro Bay, San Luis is a city in my mind. Compared to San Francisco…well, it’s a town.
So. I moved. From Morro Bay to San Luis Obispo. But then, I think you know that by now. Let’s talk about my new town/city!
Morro Bay was just Morro Bay. San Luis Obispo is generally just referred to as San Luis. Sometimes SLO (leading to silly phrases like The SLO Life). But if you grew up in these parts, like I did, you just say San Luis (and it’s Lewis, because even though this is California, this county is white white white).
Morro Bay had the Rock, which for some reason, I found incredibly photogenic. And the ocean. I think I miss the Rock more than the ocean. Weird, but true.
San Luis has no Rock and no ocean. It’s only 12 miles from Morro Bay, but it’s slightly inland and oh so different. It has a college (Cal Poly State University, my alma mater), a Mission (Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, one of the 20 something missions that all CA school kids learn about in elementary school), an actual downtown with downtown-like events (shopping, free concerts, Farmer’s Market) and a BOOKSTORE (Barnes and Noble, but dudes…I’ll take it), a historical railroad district (with a dumpy train station), a historic old town (with lots of cool houses that I like to ogle when I’m out walking or running), some pretty kick-ass parks, and a much more diverse population than little old Morro Bay.
Morro Bay had a population of about 10,000, mostly retirees, with some families and lots of tourists escaping the heat of the Central Valley. And way too many barking dogs. Driving in Morro Bay meant you were often stuck behind someone going exceptionally slow who was either lost or in need of their license being revoked.
San Luis is a college town, the county seat, and at 45,000 people, the largest city in our county. There is more traffic noise, but incredibly, fewer barking dogs, at least where I am. And driving now feels more like a race. Vroom vroom.
Morro Bay was generally foggy.
San Luis is way warmer. Not as scorchingly hot as our North County, but I’m still amazed by how quickly things dry here. And how much more I feel the heat when I’m running. I’m still adapting to the warmer temps. It’s also hillier, which is both good and bad when one is trying to run. Running has never been easy for me, but it suddenly got even harder.
This is not the first time I’ve lived in San Luis. But the last time I was a college student and my world was much narrower. The college is on the other end of the city and I was more into school than the city at that time in my life. Plus, it was only for 2 years (the rest of the time I lived at home in Los Osos, which is another small coastal town about 10 miles away). I’ve also worked in San Luis for the past 9 years, and would drive into town almost every weekend, because, hello…the bookstore. So it’s certainly not a foreign environment, but it’s different enough that it’s giving me lots of things to explore.
And exploring is good.
Oh! And a few years ago San Luis was featured on Oprah as one of the Happiest Places on Earth. While that may be a bit of an exaggeration, I’m willing to roll with it. Cheers to happiness!