We got tired of living in dirt at the Santa Margarita KOA. RV parks are limited in this central coast area of California, but there are a couple of good back-up parks in the city of El Paso de Robles (that would be “Paso Robles” in California-speak). Wine Country RV Resort and Vines RV Resort are related parks, and we found space for 2 months at Vines. There can be no comparison between this park and the KOA we came from; concrete pads, paved interior roads, beautifully landscaped, pools, spa, clubhouse, and an exercise room (albeit very small). While we were at the KOA, a feral cat had taken up residency on a small ledge between the chassis rail and the floor of our coach, just above our engine. On moving day, I was relieved to successfully evict said feral cat without harm to the rig or the cat. Jacks up and off we went, 45 minutes drive to our new home at Vines. I no sooner got all set up and settled in at Vines when we heard the distinct sounds of a feline complaint. A quick check and I found we had not taken in one illegal tenant at KOA, but TWO! And this one just kicked back and took the drive to Paso Robles in style. The short version here, one sleepless night listening to Felix the Cat in our engine compartment until he/she decided to vacate the premises voluntarily. Whew!!!!
Between yard work and babysitting we had no problems staying busy. We even got Chad roped into some physical labor now & then on his times off. One thing this area is not short of is Black Widow spiders. We encountered/squashed/mangled/killed/sprayed 2 of the little buggers during our first couple of weeks at Chad and Crissy’s house. And, of course, we had lots of Oma and Opa time with little Hailey.
Chad, Crissy, and Hailey took the old folks (that’s us) to lunch one weekend at a place in San Luis Obispo called “Blast 825”. It is a pizza place with a very large assortment of beers on tap. I’ve never seen this type of set up before, but you register a credit card with the cashier, then get a bracelet that you hold up to the particular beer tap you wish to taste and dispense the amount you want-they only charge you by the ounce. It was pretty cool, and the pizza wasn’t bad, either. Just outside the place you walk by an alley where the walls are absolutely covered with chewing gum wads, the locals call it the Gum Wall. You know, some things just make you want to go, “Hmmmmmmm?”
Labor Day weekend arrived, along with our daughter Jenn, son-in-law Gus, and of course, our grandson the Gladiator (Maximus). They traveled from Santa Rosa, CA, to spend the weekend in an early birthday celebration for Jeanne and to ooooh and ahhhh over Hailey. Chad and Crissy played tour guides and we headed out to the coast for one of the days, to the area of Cambria and Moonstone Beach. On the way, we made a quick stop off at a place called Jack Creek Farms for some honey tasting. They had a couple of lasso set-ups out in the yard which Oma and the Gladiator had fun with.
We ate an early dinner at the Moonstone Grill, then headed off along the beach on the boardwalk to check out some of the wildlife. We found a tidal pool area and everyone had fun molesting the Sea Anemones (poke your finger into the middle of it and it closes up around your finger). We also got to see a few Elephant Seals sunning themselves on the rocks.
Next day our tour guides took us all out wine tasting. First stop was the Sculpterra Winery & Sculpture Garden. There are some very nice sculptures scattered about the nicely landscaped garden. Alas, for I cannot attest to the quality of the wines, I am but a humble beer drinker.
Our second stop was at the Via Vega Vineyard. This place is unique in that the owner has quite a collection of original team banners for the S.F. Giants which all hung at the stadium at one time or another. He gave us the short tour of the banners and again, the wine quality was wasted on my commoner’s palate.
Last stop was at Calcareous Vineyard, which had a nice view of the Paso Robles valley floor. Max had fun grabbing at the olives hanging from the olive tree and sitting in their lounge chairs made from barrel staves.
Our after-dinner walk around the neighborhood turned out to be a little rougher than usual – Jeanne was walking with Max and tripped and fell on the roadway, incurring a nice case of road rash on her knees. Ouch!
We said good-bye to Max and his family as the Labor Day weekend came to an end. Back to a week of babysitting for us. Hailey continued to be a good baby, even though she was teething and a bit testy at times. On the following weekend, the Big Sur/Soberanes fire finished, we ventured off to Hearst Castle for the day. Lifelong California residents (prior to full-timing 4 years ago) neither Jeanne nor I had ever been to the Castle, which is now a California State Park. They offer several different tours and we opted for the Grand Tour which covered the 5 big rooms and the grounds. Unfortunately for us, the timing was bad because the park is repairing the very large outdoor Neptune pool. That pool was empty and construction material was scattered about. The pool was built of concrete originally and time and wear caused it to leak about 5,000 gallons of water per day. That is the amount of water allotted to the landscape maintenance crew to care for all the landscaping per each day. The current repairs will install a barrier under the tiles to keep the water in the pool. They also lucked out with their construction; the original company that produced the pool tiles is STILL in business, so the replacement tiles will be the same as the original. The tour was interesting, Hearst was really into art and imported numerous types of artwork, a lot of the pieces 500 to 3,000 years old. It was a nice tour for $25 per person. The rooms tended to be on the dark side, and flash photography is not permitted, so many of my interior shots were too dark.
After we finished the tour, we headed down to the beach near the Castle. Just north on Hwy. 1 we found a viewing area for Elephant Seals and boy, did we view some seals! There were many scattered about the sand and some in the water barking at each other.
To finish off the weekend, Jeanne & I decided to have some work done on her Jeep to make it a little more offroad-ish. Chad recommended we check out TAPS Truck & Auto Accessories in Paso Robles. We went there and picked out a few upgrades for her Jeep, and currently are awaiting their delivery for installation. You will have to wait until the next post to see the transition, I know we can’t wait.
And finally, Chad, Crissy, & Hailey treated Jeanne & I to dinner for her birthday. They took us to Buona Tavola, an Italian affair in Paso Robles. We had a very good meal and good time there, celebrating Jeanne’s 29th birthday again.
That catches things up for now. More to come, stay tuned…