Old farm machinery or implements of torture? King City and Pinnacles
Implements of torture? or farm machinery, or both…Our next day trip took us inland to King City, Monterey County, San Lorenzo Park..a little gem of a county park, not what we were expecting. Located along the very dry Salinas River at the base of the Santa Lucia Mountains this park has wonderful RV hookups and an amazing collection of old tractors and farm machinery complete with Museum and several relocated buildings, an old train station and school..it was fantastic.
Having spent the latter part of my life on farms, exploring old pieces of metal behind barns and trying to guess what they were used for I was kinda tickled to see so many chunks of weird and at times outrageous looking farm implements, and wondering at the mortality rate of farmers 75 years ago..some of these belonged in a horror show! It was a delightful spot though, filled with old Eucalyptus trees, chirping birds and even a small fish pond and home to the Agricultural and Rural Life Museum. A wonderful collection of the farming history in this area. If you are into rust..this was heaven 😉
We felt right at home doing some shopping downtown, the predominant spoken language is Spanish, and it felt like, well, an ag town, slightly transient and just a wee bit sleazy, as we learned from a delightful German woman who worked at the Scheid Winery the town was a hothouse of ranch politics and corruption..hey, just like home..don’t have to go South of the border anywhere to find human nature;) By the way, the Scheid winery had a lovely tasting room and their Pinot Noir Rose was to die for in hot weather:) and their 2009 Claret sublime.
On our way South on the 101 a sign proclaiming “Pinnacles” caught my eye..wasn’t sure if our Condor neighbors in the Sierra had mentioned it, probably, but when we looked it up and discovered it was only a skip and a jump away, 27 miles, we decided to drive out to the Western portion of the park. There is no road all the way through so you have to choose the East, where the campground is, or the Western side.
It is truly a unique old volcanic landscape, one of those unheard of parks it seems. There was no one at the ranger station when we arrived so we headed up to the trail head after finding a map at the center. The road up is very narrow, one lane at times even before the ranger station, not something I’d ever want to bring the trailer up.
The dramatic rock spires are surrounded by rolling chaparral, live oaks and pines. Over 16,000 acres of park and so many amazing hiking trails. It was cool to know they also have 32 condors flying here. As we hiked up the Juniper Canyon Trail I think Mike read the map incorrectly, he told me there was a 300′ elevation change but as we huffed and puffed our way up the switchbacks..it was 88° and climbing..We looked at the map and discovered it was 1200 foot elevation gain..and worth every minute..until we passed through this amazing tunnel chipped out solid rock Mike said high enough..the drop offs were coming faster and farther and farther down..as he says, he’s not afraid of heights, just falling;)..I continued on a bit further up for a few shots but decided that 4 miles was enough and time to head home.
We did meet quite a few hikers along the trail, going both ways, and everyone asked about Condors, but they all seemed so intent on hiking no one was looking up. About halfway up our climb we saw a pair circling, in that unmistakable condor way..just soaring, no wing flapping, that we knew exactly what we were looking at…stop..rest and look around is the best tip I can give anyone..slow down..we are such a goal oriented society..not always the best the way to enjoy this kind of landscape. We plan on a return visit to the East side and a stay at their campground. There are bat caves to explore as well.
I couldn’t talk Mike into another hike the next day so we settled on a winery tour and that was lovely. We had a weather front coming through and the skies were fantastic. I also got to spend the afternoon wandering about the old machinery and cars. Fascinating stuff, odd shapes and handles, rust and peeling paint. A smorgasbord for practicing photography and enjoying the effort made to gather all these things here at the Park.
But the time had come to move on again, this place is a keeper for anyone wanting a beautiful shady, and or grassy spot to stop over going up the US 101. Our next stop was planned for not too far down the 101, Buellton. We’d looked for something on the beach but there was not a spot to be had for the weekend so we settled on the Flying Flags RV Park. I’m not quite sure how these places get built and why, and where but they are not where I would want to spend my vacation…perhaps a gateway to wine country, or maybe this is just not my thing..Yes, we are odd I suppose. It is just what it says it is I guess, an RV resort, you have your swimming pool, and cafe, pool table and horseshoes…swings for the kiddies…It was all very lovely…very generic..very..well…the only cool thing were all the Airstream trailers for rent.
We pledged to look around the following day for somewhere a bit more interesting. We had one of the worst meals in our travels that night..avoid “Mother Hubbards” like the plague folks…don’t do it…but do go to “Industrial Eats“…everything…I mean everything was amazing..thanks Sarah and Grant for the info and great company there!
We spent the morning going driving out to the beach-Jalama Beach-as Mike had read nightmare stories about the road out there and kind of fed-up with bad narrow roads for the time being he wanted to see it, before driving it..turned out to be a piece of cake…whoever you are that wrote it was a nightmare, you’ll find many many worse roads to come! Ha!
We stopped into Lompoc to visit our friend, Sarah, who treated us to some wonderful fresh produce from her garden, a visit with her lovely rabbit and an amazing spider in her garden…very cool! And we decided to spend the next few days at the beach-made our reservations and off we went…we knew the next few stops were going to be..L.A (Hell L.A) and maybe inland in San Diego so this was our last chance to breathe in the salt spray and hear the waves…so glad we did, but that, is another story, another day. Stay tuned as the adventure continues:) Saludos amigos-next stop Birds, Kite surfers and amazing beaches!
See you soon:)