Now the memories of comfort join us on our journey. We pass through Santa Maria, when we lived in Paso Robles, this was our closest Costco and Del Taco. For those living outside of Southern CA, Del Taco is inexpensive, Mexican fast food that has a distinct and addicting flavor. It was one of the few drive-thru's my parents would take my brother and I through. For many years, Ryan and I would beg my mom to take us through McDonald's. My mom was wise, she would always tell us it was closed and the reason why there were so many cars is because it was the cleaning crew.
We pass Santa Maria, continuing North and a huge cloud of fog covers everything as far as the eye can see, we are in Arroyo Grande. The temperature gage decreases from 89 degrees to 70 and the sun is nowhere in sight. These dramatic temperatures are good for the grapes grown in this region. The fuel gage buzzes and we exit Higura street in San Luis Obispo. Too many memories to mention. The farmer's market we would visit each Thursday evening, Mo's BBQ - pulled pork sandwich, Muzio's Italian deli and the stationary store where we spent a rainy afternoon deciding on which wedding invitation to select. We fill the tank, curse Dub-Ya, hit the road and pass over the Cuesta grade, Atascadero and Templeton before exiting onto the 46 East where some of our favorite wineries are placed on the Central Coast.
The vineyard at Eberle Winery
Our first stop a few miles down the 46 East is Eberle then onto Tobin James, we drink wine, relax and call our friends to meet for dinner. They live on our old street so we get to drive by our old house. The current renters are not as tidy, the house is dirty yet the yard is empty. Our little city in the vineyards has a different pulse, it has exploded. The A & W root beer where they would walk your food to your car and place it on the handy little tray that attaches to your car window has been torn down along with numerous other mom and pop places now replaced by struggling realty companies, the roads are filled with super sized vehicles towing water toys to Lake Naciemiento.
A micro-bin soon to be filled with one half ton of grapes.
We hit the road early Saturday morning because the wedding starts at 3:00 and we want to get to the hotel by noon. D and I both sigh heavily as we enter the 101 North lane. I wait patiently for the coffee to hit my veins and D drives onward. Quickly, we pass through San Miguel and then we enter Steinbeck country. Driving through King City, Gonzales and Salinas we watch the hard working migrant farm workers - so many don't want in our country to pick our fruits and vegetables. Funny, I don't see people bidding for these jobs. It is not difficult to see why this area inspired Steinbeck, so much of the human condition to observe. I'm reminded that I want to re-read East of Eden.
We pass a beautiful row of trees and are no longer in the central part of our state. We pass Gilroy, Morgan Hill, San Jose and make really good time. We approach Oakland around 12:30, meet up with family and look forward to the wedding.
Enough for tonight.
I'll post part two soon.