It’s Evaluation Time!

There is the ever popular saying that “You can always get better,”. After talking with some of my peers and listening to their comments I have come up with some ways that I can improve this blog.

Audience Engagement

  • As of today I have 93 views, I could probably increase the traffic on this blog by posting to my Facebook groups or emailing the link to close family and friends. I will proceed to do these things so that I can get a wider audience. The blog The Comic Side of Life which gets a lot of views because it gets posted on Facebook a lot.

Feedback

  • I have not been getting much feedback on my actual blog, although I did have one comment from Alex who said that he enjoyed my post on Montana de Oro because it was easy to read with short, focused paragraphs and bullet points.
  • Katie said that she likes my pictures and the use of videos in my posts.
  • I got a comment from someone that used my blog as a reference for their own blog, KaMi Consulting.

Topic Choice

  • Katie also said that she liked the topics on the bucket list and that they were things that were likely to be on most college students bucket lists.
  • Ashley says that the information on the blog is relevant and gives good tips about places to go in SLO and fun events to attend.
  • The topics that seem to attract the most attention are the ones relating to beaches and things to do when you’re there, so I will be doing more of those posts in the future.

Room for Improvement

  • Dillon mentioned that my blog could focused more locally on San Luis Obispo rather than all of San Luis Obispo county because most students that attend Cal Poly do not live all throughout the county. So I will be focusing my future posts to events and things to do in SLO rather than in the whole county.
  • I can also improve this blog by making my posts more conversational and exciting rather than like you are reading a brochure for the place. I will do this by changing my tone and giving tips for things to do that college kids will like since they are my main audience.

Thanks for your feedback and support!!!

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Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area

When most people think of the Central Coast they think of beaches and small mountains for hiking, but rarely do people think of sand dunes. Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area is one of the only places in California where people can enjoy off-highway vehicle recreation on the beach and coastal dunes.

View of the Oceano Dunes in the distance. Photo by Nina Martin.

View of the Oceano Dunes in the distance. Photo by Nina Martin.

The Oceano Dunes consists of 3,600 acres but only 1,500 acres are available for off-highway vehicle recreation, according to State Parks of San Luis Obispo Coast. The other 2,000 acres are closed off to the public in order to preserve them.

The park is one of the most unique places in California, Kerry Odenhal Park Aid says. There is no where else where you will find coastal dunes available for the public to ride on.

“There are tons of activities to do with so many acres,” Odenhal says. “You can bring out an ATV (all-terrain vehicle), dune buggy or dirt bike and ride it for miles over these huge dunes!”

This video shows the type of riding visitors typically do at the dunes.

California State Parks also gives other activities that are offered at the Oceano Dunes.

  • off-highway vehicle riding
  • hiking
  • birdwatching
  • horseback riding
  • water recreation (swimming, surfing, boating, paddling)
  • surf fishing
  • camping

One of the best parts about the park is that you can rent ATVs and get trained to learn how to ride them. This attracts a lot of visitors during the summer, Jenny Stenger-Smith sophomore at Cal Poly says.

“I grew up riding ATVs and when I came to San Luis Obispo I was afraid there wasn’t going to be a place to ride, until I found out about the Oceano Dunes. So I went to the ATV Safety Institute and took a class, now I ride all the time,” Stenger-Smith says.

Map of the entire Oceano Dunes State Park. Photo by Nina Martin

Map of the entire Oceano Dunes State Park. Photo by Nina Martin

For the visitors who don’t enjoy riding ATVs as much, there are many other things to do and even plants and animals to see. In particular, the birdwatching at the dunes is of special interest to some people.

The California Least Tern and Western Snowy Plover. Photo by Nina Martin.

The California Least Tern and Western Snowy Plover. Photo by Nina Martin.

The Park’s Management puts forth tremendous effort to protecting two endangered species of birds, according to Beautiful Wildlife Garden. The park protects the Western Snowy Plover and the California Least Tern by closing off a section of the park in summer during the birds’ nesting season.

It’s a rare thing that you would find a park that would close down so much of the land just to preserve two species of birds, Arielle Plavnick sophomore at Cal Poly says.

“My mom and I have always loved birdwatching, so when she comes up to visit we go to the dunes and look for the plover and the tern. It is so sad that they are endangered so this park is doing a really good thing for the environment,” Plavnick says.

From ATVing to surfing to birdwatching, you can never get bored at the Oceano Dunes. So make sure to cross this one off your SLO Graduation Bucket List because there is no place like it in California and fortunately, it’s only about five bucks and a 15 minute drive off the 101.

For more information visit Dune Guide. You’ll find directions, good tips and tons of photos!

Avila Beach

Of the many beaches available along the central coast, Avila Beach is known for being one of the best. This beach has a variety of fun activities to do and weather that stays pretty much consistently perfect most of the year. If you’re a college student looking to go hang out with a bunch of other students stick to the left of the pier, that is where you will find the party on most weekends. If you’re looking for a more relaxed day with your family go to the right side of the pier, where most the families and younger children tend to go. Either way this beach is great for all ages, just hop on the 101 highway and follow the signs for Avila Beach! You won’t be disappointed and you can cross it off your SLO graduation bucket list!

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Follow SLO Bucket List on Twitter!

For more exciting things to do in San Luis Obispo follow @SLOBucketList on Twitter! By following you will learn about fun, adventurous activities to do in SLO and get helpful tips on good places to go in your spare time! The tweets will give helpful tips on things like:

  • restaurants
  • parks
  • hikes
  • shopping
  • fun activities (eg. yoga classes, skydiving, water slides)

These tweets will give you numerous activities to cross off your SLO graduation bucket list! To make it even easier there is a button on the left side of this screen, all you have to do is click and you’ll never be bored again!

Follow @SLOBucketList on Twitter!

Screenshot of @SLOBucketList on Twitter!

Montana de Oro State Park

Montana de Oro is one of the largest state parks in California and definitely in the running for the most beautiful and diverse on the central coast. With many different terrains and activities to do it is a priority on the SLO graduation bucket list!

During this time of year Montana de Oro is particularly beautiful. With the incredible weather San Luis Obispo county is blessed with wildflowers are able to thrive in this park. According to the Sierra Club, it was the yellow color of these wildflowers that gave the park its name, Montana de Oro which translates to Mountain of Gold.

The amazing part about this park is the variety of terrains that bring an extremely diverse wildlife to the area. According to California State Parks, there are many trails for visitors to hike as well as mountain biking and equestrian trails.

This park features over 8,000 acres of rugged cliffs, secluded sandy beaches, coastal plains, streams, canyons, and hills, including 1,347-foot Valencia Peak.

John Flaherty, owner of Central Coast Outdoors, says that he knows this park like it is his own backyard. With a full range of different levels of hikes and incredible tide pools this is a very special place on the central coast, Flaherty says.

“It is a relatively large, undeveloped stretch of coastline that is very beautiful and it has excellent public access,” Flaherty says.

Montana de Oro beach. Photo by Nina Martin.

Montana de Oro beach. Photo by Nina Martin.

With so many different terrains there are bound to be a huge range of animals. Here are some of the animals you can expect to see out there, Flaherty says.

  • mountain lions
  • bobcats
  • deer
  • coyote
  • brush rabbits
  • many kinds of birds
  • California quail

Montana de Oro is one of the most beautiful places on the coast and a great place to take visiting family and friends, Xochi Hernandez, sophomore at Cal Poly, says.

Xochi Hernandez at the Montana de Oro tide pools. Photo by Nina Martin.

Xochi Hernandez at the Montana de Oro tide pools. Photo by Nina Martin.

“I took my boyfriend and my family there and they both loved it! We took this long hike, called the Hazard Peak Trail, up to where you can see the ocean for miles,” Hernandez says.

According to hikespeak.com, Hazard Peak Trail is about six miles round trip and gives a heavy dose of ocean views at the top.

The tide pools and sand dunes are two of the other main attractions for college students at Montana de Oro, Cheyenne Sommo, sophomore at Cal Poly, says.

“Every time I go there with friends we always roll down the sand dunes. It’s so much fun because the sand is so soft and pure,” Sommo says.

The tide pools are the place you want to go when you’re looking for animals, Sommo says. As soon as you look down you see so many different types of sea life.

Cheyenne Sommo at the tide pools at Montana de Oro. Photo by Nina Martin.

Cheyenne Sommo at the Montana de Oro tide pools. Photo by Nina Martin.

Corallina Cove is one of the best places to go to look at the tide pools, Flaherty says. These are some of the animals you can expect to find down there.

  • sea otters
  • harbor seals
  • sea stars
  • limpets
  • hermit crabs
  • California mussels
  • chitons

The central coast is blessed with many state parks and Montana de Oro is close enough to SLO that you can’t miss out on experiencing its beauty.

For more information on how to reserve campsites, directions and services you can visit Reserve America.

Go See Coachella Artists in SLO

When the sun comes out so do the crowds of fans jumping with excitement to see their favorite bands and artists perform at music festivals like Coachella, according to an article in the Mustang Daily. Luckily, in San Luis Obispo there are many venues these famous acts typically like to perform at on their way up or down the coast.

Since huge music festivals can be a bit pricey for broke college students, many choose to wait to see their favorite bands perform locally for a more reasonable price. Usually when bands perform at these small venues in SLO prices range from $20-$40, compared to the hundreds festival-goers dish out.

These are some of the artists that will be performing in SLO this spring.

  • The Postal Service- April 12th at Alex Madonna Expo Center
  • Passion Pit- April 14th at Pozo Saloon
  • Modest Mouse- April 17th at Alex Madonna Expo Center
  • The Expendables- April 18th and 19th at SLO Brewing Co.
  • Andre Nickatina- April 26th at SLO Brewing Co.

Tickets for these events are as follows.

  • The Postal Service- sold out, but may be able to find one (overpriced) on Craigslist
  • Passion Pit- $30
  • Modest Mouse- sold out
  • The Expendables- $20 in advance and $22 at the door
  • Andre Nickatina- $23 in advance and $25 at the door

So even if you are a broke college student who can’t afford to attend the giant music festivals like Coachella, you can still see the same artists locally in SLO at a much lower price.

To find out more about all the different artists coming to these SLO venues soon, check out this article in the Mustang Daily.

Cerro Alto Trail Hike

View of the coast from the summit of Cerro Alto.

View of the coast from the summit of Cerro Alto. Photo by Nina Martin.

San Luis Obispo is notorious for being a college town full of active students always looking for something to do. One of the main ways students occupy their time is by going on the many hikes and trails that are available throughout San Luis Obispo County. Of the many hikes there are to choose from, one that is particularly difficult yet rewarding is the Cerro Alto trail located in between Atascadero and Morro Bay.

According to the Sierra Club’s website, the hike is about 2.5 miles (one way) and is about a 1,600 feet elevation gain to the top of Cerro Alto Mountain. The plants on the mountain vary from lush vegetation to dry chaparral, with a year round stream.

It is a rugged, strenuous, steep and tough trail but you get a nice reward of some great views once you get to the top, Doug Carscaden, Ranger Service Supervisor at the City of San Luis Obispo Parks and Recreation, says.

“It is one of the only common U.S. Forest Service Campgrounds; it is U.S. Forest Service property. It is a must-do hike and a good conditioning hike for your summer backpacking trips also,” Carscaden says.

The United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service’s website says that the little vegetation and high summer temperatures make this hike more enjoyable in the spring and fall. It also gives information on fees for hiking and camping and on the different types of passes you can buy for the campground.

It is a really good hike that is pretty steep and but worth the view at the top, Cindi Patterson, office manager at Central Coast Outdoors says.

“It is a good trail for mountain biking and birdwatching, that’s what I did when I hiked there,” Patterson says.

For many students living in SLO hiking is a common pastime and hobby. Matt Barksdale, a freshman at Cuesta College, has done the Cerro Alto hike at least 10 times.

“I have both mountain biked and ran the Cerro Alto trail,” Barksdale says. “My favorite part is the view that you get at the top. You can see all the way from Pismo Beach to Paso Robles.”

There are a lot of snakes and lizards on the hike, Barksdale says. Hikers should also watch out for poison oak, especially at this time of year.

“I would definitely recommend giving yourself a good amount of time to hike because it is pretty steep,” Barksdale says. “Also I recommend bringing a lot of water and maybe a jacket because it can get breezy at the summit because it is so high up.”

Matt Barksdale and Jenna Alvarado at the summit of Cerro Alto.

Matt Barksdale and Jenna Alvarado at the summit of Cerro Alto. Photo by Nina Martin.

For Cal Poly students looking for an adventurous activity that gives you a good workout this is a great option, Jenna Alvarado, junior Cal Poly student, says.

“I was not expecting it to be as steep and as long as it was, so I got pretty tired at the end,” Alvarado says. “But the view at the top is absolutely amazing! It is incredible how much of the central coast you can see from the top of the mountain.”

Trails.com gives a good description of all the different parts of the central coast you can see from the top of the Cerro Alto Mountain. It also provides the trail’s statistics and information such as the length at four miles and the top elevation at 2,624 feet.

This hike is a great option for students looking for a healthy, outdoors activity that is very rewarding in the end and a must-do on the SLO Graduation Bucket List!

San Luis Obispo Must-Do Bucket List…before you GRADUATE!

Image of Montana de Oro by shortylocaus via Flickr

Image of Montana de Oro by shortylocaus via Flickr

Welcome to Cal Poly SLO Graduation Bucket List, a blog that describes fun, adventurous activities you have got to do before you graduate Cal Poly! This blog will give detailed accounts of the best places to go in San Luis Obispo and things to do when you’re there, like hiking in Montana de Oro.

Thematically it is similar to two blogs, Bucket List 2013 and The Number Kevin because the first one is all about a bucket list that must be completed by the end of the year, but this blog differs from Bucket List 2013 because it is a bucket list that must be completed by graduation. The second one is more of a travel blog based in San Luis Obispo, giving details on hikes and fun things to do in SLO. This blog will differ from The Number Kevin because it is more student oriented and is in the form of a bucket list.

In appearance this blog will be colorful and simple, the pictures and writing should speak for itself, along the lines of student blog Lashes and Leotards, which has bright colors but not many other distracting background images. The layout of this blog will look similar to the student blog Life Lessons Solved, with the dates scrolling down the side next to each post but with different, brighter colors and different font because the inspiration of this blog is activities that make you happy! The theme style of this blog will be similar to the student blog SLO Style Watch which also appeared to use the theme, Chateau by Ignacio Ricci.