To get to Paso Robles the easiest route was through the Kern River Gorge to Bakersfield on the western end of 178, which we’d taken in from the east. After a brief stop to put air in the tires and another to dump our grey water, we started through the gorge. While these roads wound and twisted along the sides of mountains with the Kern River always on our right, they were wide enough to drive comfortably and we did not inch along. Every once in awhile we’d come around a corner to another beautiful vista but the entire drive was wonderful.
|Isabella Lake from the other side on our way to Bakersfield|
|Rte 178 winds along the banks of the Kern River|
|and oil derricks|
|goes for long flat straight stretches|
|with undulating hills. Th signs of the drought were everywhere though as is seen with the color of the grass. This was June and the grass was already dry and burnt.|
The day had gotten hotter and hotter and we decided to put the a/c on again. Wow! In a year and a half we’ve used it MAYBE half a dozen times and now we were using it twice in a week! It’s lucky we did because when we arrived in Paso Robles at 4pm it was still 97F/36C. Opening the door when we arrived felt like opening the door into a sauna. Hot and dry. Because of this my lobbying to keep the generator running so we could have the a/c but it was not a difficult argument. It would not be cool enough until 8pm to turn it off.
During that time, though, I tasted and bought some wine in the very nice vineyard store, made a nice cold salad for dinner, we strolled through the vineyards and olive groves, down to the Rio Seco (dry river) which is a river of white sand at this point, sat and talked with one of the farmhand families who’d come to tend the community garden at the winery and watched the gorgeous sunset in the west as the full moon rose in the east.
The area was peaceful and the morning dawned with birds chirping their greetings to the rising sun. Phoenix and I walked through the small barnyard and greeted the fowl who were rising and awaiting to be fed. It would be another hot day but we were headed west toward the coast and hopefully cooler temperatures so we got an early start.
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