with Steve McCarthy
Let’s get back to what we do best. It’s April, and No Foolin’, it’s Road Trip Time. At least here in SoCal, Road Trip Season starts when the rain stops. At least Planning for Road Trip Season. This is a great time to set up that spring/summer Drive that you, and maybe a few friends, also who have neat cars, want to take to set out for the backroads.
The one I have planned here is a Three Day Trek, some of which is old, some is new, and all of it is a challenging quest to find, (drum roll here): The Center of the Earth. Or at least, the California Road Trip Earth. To be more specific, the EXACT Geographical Center of the Golden State.
First, it’s not where you’d guess. I’m betting that most folks, when asked to point on a map where the center of California is would put it somewhere around the stockyards in Kettleman City. Nope. Now remember, our Great State isn’t like Colorado or Kansas. It’s not a nice neat rectangle. That would be too boring. California is kinda boomarang shaped, taking most of it’s eastern boundary from the vaguaries of Mother Nature. The Sierra Nevada Mountains and the Colorado River do most of the defining and mountains and rivers don’t run in nice neat straight N/S/E/W lines. So, our border bends somewhere around Tahoe, then again near Needles.
Now I can’t say what Genius of Geography and Geometry figured this out, but the actual Center of California is in the southern Sierras, not far from Sequoia. Huh. Who’d a thunk it?
Now, Constant Reader will know that a few years ago, we described a trip through the Gold Country, and yeah, this one mirrors some of that, but there’s a few twists. Like going by way of Ojai and Morro Bay. Wha? Ya ask? Well, several people wondered aloud to me if a great drive could be made using both the coast and the Sierras. I took up the challenge and here it is.
Day One will take us from up near Magic Mountain at a neat little eatery called “Eggs n Things”, over 126, up to Ojai, then the challenge of Wheeler Ridge. The 166 will take us towards the coast and give a couple of great lunch opportunities. One is Jockos, the great steak house in Nipomo, the other is the Rock ‘n’ Roll Diner in Oceano.
This is one of those times that a little local knowledge is a good thing. Bikers, it seems have discovered Jockos, and on a weekend, it’s JAMMED for lunch. I’m not saying anything against Bikers. Great folk. But count on the place being pretty crowded. If you have a group, you might want to head to the Rock ‘n’ Roll. This is a neat place that I’ve also talked about before. It’s in two old railroad passenger cars just off of Hwy 1 near Pismo. Great place with pretty good Santa Maria Style Tri-Tip. Hell, can’t go to wrong with that!
From there, we’ll head along the coast and up over See Canyon. This has a bit of dirt road, but it’s well maintained and even the BLue Meany doesn’t object. From there, you’ll hit Morro Bay (where, if you wanted to hold off for lunch, Taco Temple is a great place, and head back east.
Over CA 41, past the James Dean Memorial, up and over to the great Central Valley and through the fields to Visalia. Yeah, I said Visalia. This is a good jump off spot and the Old Town has acquired several decent eateries and even a brew pub. It’s a good place to spend the night, lots of decent motels for good prices.
Next Month, we’ll head for the Hills.
Eggs 'N' Things
27560 Newhall Ranch Rd #301
Valencia, CA 91355
1. Head northwest on Newhall Ranch Rd toward Dickason Dr 2.7 mi
2. Continue onto CA-126 W 12.0mi
3. Turn left onto Torrey Rd 0.3 mi
4. Take the 1st right onto Howe Rd 0.2 mi
5. Slight left onto Torrey Rd 0.8 mi
6. Turn right onto Guiberson Rd 7.0 mi
7. Turn left onto CA-23 S/Chambersburg Rd
Continue to follow CA-23 S 0.6 mi
8. Take the 2nd right onto Bardsdale Ave 1.3 mi
9. Turn left onto Sespe St 0.5 mi
10. Continue onto S Mountain Rd 7.0 mi
11. Turn left onto E Harvard Blvd 0.2 mi
12. Take the 3rd right onto CA-150 W/Ojai Santa Paula Rd
Continue to follow CA-150 W 17.7mi
13. Turn right onto CA-33 N 57.2mi
Turn left onto CA-166 W/CHP Officers Irvine and
Stovall Memorial Hwy/Cuyama Hwy 62.1mi
15. Continue onto Cuyama Ln 89 ft
16. Turn right onto Hutton Rd 1.2 mi
17. Continue onto Joshua Rd 0.6 mi
18. Continue onto Orchard Rd 2.2 mi
19. Turn left onto Division St 5.6 mi
20. Turn right onto CA-1 N/Guadalupe Rd
Continue to follow CA-1 N 11.7mi
21. Turn left onto Pershing Dr 85 ft
22. Take the 1st left onto Railroad St
Destination will be on the right 7 ft
191 mi – about 4 hours 13 mins
Rock N Roll Diner
1300 Railroad St
Oceano, CA 93445
23. Head northwest on Railroad St toward Pershing Dr 7 ft
24. Turn right onto Pershing Dr 85 ft
25. Turn left onto Pacific Blvd 1.2 mi
26. Take the 1st right onto W Grand Ave 0.2 mi
27. Take the 3rd left onto N 4th St 1.1 mi
28. Turn left to merge onto US-101 N 2.3 mi
29. Continue onto CA-1 N 4.1 mi
30. Take exit 196 for San Luis Bay Dr toward See Canyon/Avila Beach 0.2 mi
31. Turn left onto San Luis Bay Dr 1.0 mi
32. Turn right onto See Canyon Rd 5.9 mi
33. Turn right onto Prefumo Canyon Rd 4.8 mi
Keep right at the fork 2.3 mi
35. Turn left onto Los Osos Valley Rd 5.2 mi
36. Turn right onto Turri Rd 4.6 mi
37. Turn right onto S Bay Blvd 2.1 mi
38. Turn left onto the California 1 N ramp 0.2 mi
39. Merge onto CA-1 N 1.8 mi
40. Take the CA-41 E ramp to Atascadero 0.2 mi
41. Turn right onto CA-41 N/Atascadero Rd/Morro Rd
Continue to follow CA-41 N 39.3mi
42. Turn right onto W Centre St 2.7 mi
43. Keep left at the fork 98 ft
44. Turn right onto CA-41 N/CA-46 E 6.5 mi
45. Turn left onto CA-41 N 50.9mi
46. Merge onto CA-198 E via the ramp to Hanford/Sequoia Park 28.0mi
47. Take exit 105B toward CA-63 S/Mooney Blvd 0.3 mi
48. Merge onto W Noble Ave 0.1 mi
49. Turn right onto CA-63 S/S Mooney Blvd 0.6 mi
50. Make a U-turn at W Feemster Ave
Destination will be on the right 433 ft
166 mi – about 3 hours 49 mins
Econo Lodge Sequoia Area
1400 S Mooney Blvd
Visalia, CA 93277