We made it, we made it!!!!!

Trip Start May 11, 2012
Trip End Jun 08, 2012

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Flag of United States  , California
Monday, May 21, 2012

5/21/12 – Today was a fun-filled day, and I say that with tongue in cheek. As you read on, you will understand why.

We left Bakersfield at 8:30 AM and headed for Paso Robles. Again, the Trip Tic and the Garmin had a disagreement and we decided to go with the Garmin. It is easier to have someone tell you when to turn than have to figure it out on your own. Saves a lot of arguments, too. LOL

Getting to I-5 took us through Bakersfield and we got to see more of the city than just the Best Western and Mexicali Restaurant. Our trip was only 2 hours long, but it took us through some interesting countryside. We had to stop to take photos of a massive oil field with hundreds of oil well pumps on both side of the road, as far as the eye could see. My pictures just don't do justice to this enormous operation. Black pumps, orange pumps, green pumps, rusty pumps, facing in many different directions, some bouncing up and down and others not moving at all. And oil pipe lines everywhere, taking the oil to holding tanks nearby. And we wondered if some large company might have come in and bought the land from a local farmer for the price of farm land, then turned it into a mega-million dollar operation.

We found ourselves in very fertile farm land. Flat fields of green plants as far as the eye could see. On the right, they went to the horizon and beyond, and to the left they extended to the mountain range that rose up in a purple haze…or was it smog? Who knows. But there were times when we could not see them at all. We saw tomatoes, onions, olives, pistachios and almond trees, and plants we could not identify from the car.

We stopped early on at a gas station and store that had a huge sign with James Dean painted on it. This thing towered above the store. And inside there were more pictures of him and a figure of him sitting on a stool at the soda fountain.  We bought some pistachios that were grown across the street from the store.  And I asked the clerk if this was James Dean's home town. He told us no, that he was from Indiana, but this was his last stop before he crashed his car and died, 25 miles down the road. We continued down that road and I was telling Steve who James Dean was. Steve was confusing him with Jimmy Dean, which is understandable. And as we talked, we drove into a construction area where all cars were on one side of the otherwise divided highway. Suddenly, there was a State Trooper coming in the opposite direction and when he got to us, he turned on his lights and did a U-turn behind us and we were stopped for speeding. He said we were going 65 in a 45 mph zone. He took our documents and left us there for a while and we decided that this was going to be a very expensive event, since the fines were probably doubled for construction and I had seen a number of signs on this road threatening a $1000 fine for littering, so I knew this was going to be big.  He returned to the car and gave us back our papers and gave us a verbal warning. And we had a pleasant chat…I told him we were all worked up about the James Dean thing and he laughed. He was a nice man and we were grateful that he let us off without a fine.

Soon after, we passed the intersection where the accident had occurred. There was nothing special there except that they had named it the James Dean Memorial Intersection, or some such thing.

We arrived in Paso Robles around 10:30 AM and checked into our hotel, and after lunch we set out to do some wining. We went to Sculpterra Vineyards first. They were very dog friendly and we were allowed to bring Beamer inside while we tasted the wines. He behaved very well and enjoyed some of the pistachios and oyster crackers. And we bought a nice Repousse.

Next we went to Pear Valley Vineyards. They were not dog friendly at all, and I stayed outside with Beamer while Steve went in.   It was just too hot to leave him in the car. And every few minutes, Steve would bring a glass of wine out to me so that I could taste it. And Beamer enjoyed the pats of other visitors  as they walked by.  We bought 2 Red Zinfandels at a very reasonable price.

Finally we visited  Biachi Vineyards, where they welcomed Beamer inside and he enjoyed communing with the other guests. There was a lady there who spent a lot of time patting him and talking to him, which he absolutely loved. And she told me, with tears in her eyes, that she had just lost her 17 year old sheltie, and we connected. We bought a Cabernet Franc and a Trevino which was TO DIE FOR. Incredible wine. Can’t wait to drink it.

We are now sitting in our hotel room, enjoying one of the Red Zins and planning tomorrow.
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Lindsay on

Sounds like you are having an amazing time!! I am so happy for you! I love all the pictures and you are a wonderul writer!!

I'm not sure where the rest of your trip will take you, but if you head to Sonoma/Russian River Valley, Scott and I might have some good recommendations for you from our last visit there.

sheflysx on

Thanks for reading. And thanks for offering up some wineries in Sonoma. We were there last summer and it is not currently on the radar, but if that changes, we will call you for your recommendations.

Rudy Martzke on

Jackie, continued great travelPods. Have me now considering Paso Robles for our next California wine trip.
Question: How much static did you give Steve before the cop returned and just gave him a warning?

sheflysx on

No. We just talked quietly until he came back. I understood how it could happen. No big deal.

Barbara on

There are MANY Good Cops out there!!! Guess I am partial..................

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