Thursday, March 6, 2014

Road Trippin’-San Miguel, Day 2
with Steve McCarthy

Well, it’s March. Already. That means we have to get serious about Road Trips. Last month, we detailed Day One of a return to the Central Coast of California, Let’s look at Day Two this month.
I purposely made Day Two a shorter one. This will give you a chance to make plenty of stops along the way. Stops you say? For what?
Well, WINERIES for one! The Central Coast has begun to seriously rival the Napa Valley as a serious wine growing region. The wineries produce the usual suspects (Cabernets, Sirahs, even Zinfandels, and yes, Merlot if you have to) and many are Top Shelf vintages. This tour will take you past several and if you are curious, there are plenty of others to choose from. You can make up your own wine tour to add in to this one.
The usual note of caution needs to be sounded. Even “tasting” wines can impair your driving! Even if you spit it out, the residual in your mouth will get absorbed and eventually, you’ll have a buzz. Add to that that using wine as a mouthwash in this manner WILL affect the Breathalyzer! These roads ARE twisty and require your fullest concentration, so, someone gets to be the Designated Driver and someone gets to be the Taster. Pick up how ever many cases you can fit in your Auld Crate, but save the “tasting” for back at the motel!
For breakfast, the same Basque restaurant we recommended for dinner last month doubles as a great place to eat in the morning. “Never Cook Bacon Naked!” How could you go wrong? For lunch, we’ll be in Soledad. This is one of several small towns in the area that cater mostly to farm workers, so Mexican food is THE meal of choice. Soledad has several, so take your pick. One of the good ones is a small chain of Mexican Bakeries, called “La Plaza Bakery.” Great fresh pan dulce and a small selection of food make this a good choice. If you aren’t that adventurous (shame on you!) there is the Windmill, a basic diner that serves good, “normal” fare. For dinner, try the BBQ place in San Miguel, “The Ranch” if you ate Basque the night before.
The other neat attractions are some of the lesser known California Missions. Soledad is the saddest. It was always the poorest mission, lacked water, and the priest who over saw it died of starvation. Although they’ve built a replica, what’s left of the original walls can still be seen. It’s one of the most touching stories of the whole mission saga. The other Mission is in San Miguel. It was recently restored after the major Paso Robles quake nearly ruined it. Well worth the look. The third is Mission San Antonio. That’s a bit more difficult as it’s in the middle of Hunter-Ligget Army Base. To get in, you have to have photo ID AND current insurance papers and registration. You probably also want to make sure you didn’t forget to pay any tickets and have an unknown bench warrant out for you, and DO NOT TAKE ANYTHING CLOSE TO A WEAPON in your car. They DO NOT FOOL AROUND about this! A friend learned the hard way and was unceremoniously escorted off the base! Still this place is a great place to see AND you get the bonus of seeing William Randolf Hearst’s hunting lodge!
So, for Day Two, take your time for a change, have an easy day of it, and stop and smell the vino!


Western States Inn San Miguel
1099 K St
San Miguel, CA 93451

1. Take K St to N River Rd 0.5 mi
2. Head north on K St toward 12th St 0.3 mi
3. Take the 3rd right onto 14th St 0.2 mi
4. Continue onto N River Rd 1.8 mi
5. Turn left onto Estrella Rd 4.7 mi
6. Turn left to stay on Estrella Rd 0.5 mi
7. Turn right to stay on Estrella Rd 1.0 mi
8. Take the 2nd left to stay on Estrella Rd 6.6 mi
9. Turn left toward CA-46 E 0.3 mi
10. Turn left toward CA-46 E 0.3 mi
11. Continue straight onto CA-46 E 14.5 mi
12. Turn left onto Cholame Valley Rd 5.1 mi
13. Continue onto Cholame Rd 10.4 mi
14. Continue onto Vineyard Canyon Rd 4.4 mi
15. Turn left to stay on Vineyard Canyon Rd 16.7 mi
16. Sharp right onto Indian Valley Rd 23.7 mi
17. Continue onto Peach Tree Rd 13.7 mi
18. Turn right onto CA-25/Peach Tree Rd 9.8 mi
19. Turn left onto Lonoak Rd 13.7 mi
20. Turn right onto S 1st St 0.9 mi
21. Turn left onto Metz Rd 20.0 mi
22. Turn left onto East St 0.3 mi
Turn left onto Front St

LUNCH Destination will be on the left 318 ft

La Plaza Bakery
901 Front St, Soledad, CA 93960
149 mi / 4 h 23 min

1. Head southeast on Front St toward Oak St 0.5 mi
2. Turn right to merge onto US-101 N toward Soledad 331 ft
3.  US-101 N 7.6 mi
4. Take the exit toward Gonzales (Alta St./Old 101) 0.2 mi
5. Continue straight onto S Alta St 1.0 mi
6. Turn left onto Gonzales River Rd 2.5 mi
7. Turn left onto Co Rd G17/River Rd
Continue to follow Co Rd G17 9.7 mi
Keep left to continue on Fort Romie Rd 1.1 mi
Note Mission Soledad on Right!
9. Turn right onto Arroyo Seco Rd 8.1 mi
10. Slight left onto Elm Ave (look for G-16) 0.2 mi
11. Turn left onto Co Rd G16/Elm Ave 3.7 mi
12. Turn right onto Central Ave 7.1 mi
13. Turn left to stay on Central Ave 0.1 mi
14. Take the 1st right onto US-101 S 2.8 mi
15. Exit onto Co Rd G14/Jolon Rd 0.3 mi
16. Merge onto Co Rd G14/Jolon Rd
Continue to follow Jolon Rd 23.7 mi
17. Turn right onto Interlake Rd 20.4 mi
18. Turn right onto Nacimiento Lake Dr 9.3 mi
19. Turn right onto Chimney Rock Rd 5.7 mi
20. Turn left onto Adelaida Rd 2.4 mi
21. Head EAST on Adelaida Rd toward Adara Rd and Paso Robles 9.0 mi
22. Turn right onto  G-14-Nacimiento Lake Dr/Paso Robles Rd 1.4 mi
23. Continue onto 24th St 0.4 mi
24. Turn left onto Spring St 1.2 mi
25. Take the ramp onto US-101 N 6.3 mi
26. Take the 10th St exit 0.2 mi
27. Drive to K St 0.1 mi
28. Turn right onto 10th St 138 ft
Take the 1st left onto K St3
30. Destination will be on the left 476 ft
125.6 mi

Western States Inn San Miguel
1099 K St, San Miguel, CA 93451