Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Days of Wine and Paso Robles
Road Trippin’
with Steve McCarthy

Well, that was different. In a good way. We went on a drive WE didn’t organize. I know, Crazy, right? And, we had a great time! We have friends, John and Lynn, who live off of Hwy 46 half way to Cambria and are mostly into Morgans and wine. Not a bad combination. They also host a few quick jaunts in and around the Paso Robles Wine Country, and we got invited to join in on their Autobrekfest Italiano 2014 tour. It was a blast! There were about 25 cars, mostly old stuff, and even a couple of Alfas. John led off in his Bugatti! They even hosted a great breakfast!
Now, I’m not letting on exactly where they live. I don’t want you all out there in cyber-reader-land to think you can cadge breakfast from them. I therefore modified things a bit so you can do this on your own or with a few friends. From Atascadero (where we we like to stay) to the last stop in Paso Robles in under 100 miles, so there is plenty of time to stop at other wineries along the way. You will want to pack a picnic lunch. We had a tasty catered affair at the Poalillo Vineyards, so were relieved of that “burden.”
We’ve found a great little breakfast place in Atascadero called the A-Town Diner. The place used to be called Virgils back in the day, and boasts a wall of hot rod photos and other memorabilia from back then. Our kind of place. The waffles are great, the service is friendly, what more do you need to start the day. Heck, Marianne even said the coffee was good!

From there, it’s off to the coast at Morro Bay, then back into the hills for the first stop, the Pasolivo Olive Oil Company. They have acres of trees and are at the leading edge of one of California’s newest foodie trends, Boutique Olive Oil. They have a tasting room and a mini-tour and it’s all very interesting. Lots of varieties of oils, vinegars, spice blends and such, well worth the stop. Their Lime/Olive oil is an interesting and refreshing example.

From there, we wind about, past a lot of tiny little wineries that have become the signature of the area. Pick and choose as you will along the way. The route takes you back to Paso Robles, past the Paso Robles Inn (once a hot springs spa of all things!) and then back into the hills.
One of the more arcane facts is about Peachy Canyon. No, it’s never been renowned for it’s peaches, and all though it’s a peachy-keen road, that’s not it either. It’s named for a local outlaw and horse thief who hid out in caves back in there. Love that local lore! The area also had mining at one time. Not just a bit of gold, but more importantly, mercury, essential for the processing of gold during the Gold Rush. Again, Who Knew?
The Poalillio Winery is the next stop. This place has fantastic Zinfandel’s and a very good Sauvingon Blanc. I was lucky enough to sell a few books that morning to some of our fellow travelers, so we stocked up on Envy Zinfandel and their DY-NO-MITE port. Looking forward to pears, stilton, port, and a good cigar!

It was at the winery that we were unfortunately brought face to face with one of the harsher realities of backroads driving. We got word that one of our group had a moment of inattention and plowed his Healey off the road and through a barbed wire fence! It ripped the windshield back and bashed his face a bit. Thankfully, that was all. It could have been worse. After a trip to the ER, he was driven back to the winery by Lynn. She had driven as chase car.
That gave me a great idea. In any group drive, have someone volunteer to be the Last Car. Promise them dinner or lunch as a thanks. That way, if anyone breaks down or (gulp) wrecks), there will be someone whose job it is to pick up the pieces! Although others DID stop and help, it was a good thing that Lynn could pick up the unlucky guy, get him to the winery, and find someone who could give him a ride home! Food for thought!
After we finished at the winery, we headed back to Paso Robles. In the center of town is an collection of great eateries and several art galleries. Makes for a great stroll. That evening, about half of us met at the D’Anbino Winery/Eatery for dinner AND some great Jazz! It’s located in the old train station and is a lot of fun. You’ll want to call ahead and find out who is playing and when. If no one is on that night, there are plenty of other attractions in Paso Robles for your evening fare.
The next day, on the way home, we had other adventures I’ll relate in another column. All in all, this was a delightful, well organized time. Many thanks to John and Lynn. It’s good to know that there are others who are hard core Road Trippers!

A-Town Diner & Deli
7305 El Camino Real
Atascadero, CA 93422

1. Head northwest on El Camino Real 0.2 mi
2. Turn left onto CA-41 S/Morro Rd 15.9 mi
3. Turn right to merge onto CA-1 N toward Cayucos/Cambria/Hearst Castle 3.7 mi
4. Turn right onto Old Creek Rd 9.1 mi
5. Turn right onto CA-46 E 7.3 mi
6. Turn left onto Oakdale Rd 0.5 mi
7. Turn right onto Las Tablas Willow Creek Rd 1.7 mi
8. Turn right onto Willow Creek Rd 2.8 mi
9. Slight left to stay on Willow Creek Rd 0.1 mi
10. Slight left onto Peachy Canyon Rd 0.6 mi
11. Turn right onto Vineyard Dr
Destination will be on the right 2.8 mi
44.6 mi – about 1 hour 7 mins
Pasolivo Olive Oil
8530 Vineyard Dr
Paso Robles, CA 93446

12. Head northwest on Vineyard Dr toward Adelaida Rd 1.4 mi
13. Turn left onto Adelaida Rd 1.3 mi
14. Slight left onto Klau Mine Rd 2.2 mi
15. Turn right onto Cypress Mountain Dr 3.3 mi
16. Turn right onto Chimney Rock Rd 8.8 mi
17. Continue onto Godfrey Rd/Nacimiento Lake Dr
Continue to follow Nacimiento Lake Dr 7.5 mi
18. Continue onto 24th St 0.4 mi
19. Turn right onto Spring St
Destination will be on the right 0.9 mi
25.8 mi – about 50 mins
Paso Robles Inn
1103 Spring St
Paso Robles, CA 93446

20. Head north on Spring St toward 11th St 390 ft
21. Turn left onto 12th St 0.6 mi
22. Turn left onto Merry Hill Rd 0.3 mi
23. Take the 1st right onto Peachy Canyon Rd 4.9 mi
24. Turn left to stay on Peachy Canyon Rd 5.2 mi
25. Turn right onto Vineyard Dr
Destination will be on the right 1.1 mi
12.2 mi – about 27 mins
Poalillo Vineyards
7970 Vineyard Dr
Paso Robles, CA 93446

26. Head southeast on Vineyard Dr toward Jensen Rd 5.9 mi
27. Turn left onto CA-46 E/Green Valley Rd 4.6 mi
Turn left to merge onto CA-46 E/US-101 N
           toward Paso Robles/Bakersfield 1.2 mi
29. Take the Spring St exit 0.6 mi
30. Continue straight onto Spring St 0.2 mi
31. Turn right onto 4th St 0.1 mi
32. Turn left onto Pine St
Destination will be on the right 0.2 mi
13.0 mi – about 19 mins
D'Anbino Vineyards and Cellars
710 Pine St
Paso Robles, CA 93446