El Paso de los Robles is the official name of the small California town now known as Paso Robles. (translated it means Pass of the Oaks -- Live Oaks that is). Paso Robles is approximately midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles using the US 101 freeway as your yardstick.
California eliminated all traffic lights on the 101 some years back. And as always speed limits are constantly being ignored by both trucks and cars, except when they are enforced, as they were yesterday by the CHP. Most of the 101 is 65 with some longer stretches of 70 mph.
New by Central California standards, (nearby Monterey, my home town, was first discovered in 1540 and became a city in 1770), Paso (the in town name) is a fast growing town that never has forgotten its roots.
Stay at the Courtyard there, just on the south end of town. Everyone is very friendly, and they serve both breakfast and dinner. The hotel staff shine, and are exceptionally nice. We hosted a group of 20 there last year and they were always willing to assist and to make sure the event was perfect.
Yesterday, October 9th, was Pioneer Day in Paso Robles with a variety of floats, tractors, trucks and bands. Some of the floats, which I have pictured were amazing.
Next weekend is harvest weekend there and the reason most people come to Paso. Wineries have become the number one attraction, Almost 100 now dot the hills, and have the longest growing season in the world. Micro climates allow every varietal in the world to flourish. Yesterday for example we saw Roussanne grapes being dried on straw mats. In a common Vin des Pays practice the grapes dry and the sugars accelerate making an excellent base for a dessert wine.
Paso has four seasons, and is cold at night most nights but summer highs can range from 95 to 105. Yesterday the temperature was a balmy 82 and the sun shone brightly on the grapes and the wineries.
So, if you find yourself heading down the 101 (or up) stop and savor Paso Robles. You will not be disappointed.