Ride Director: Richard Reinecke
Ride Co-Director: Marianne Reinecke
Report by: Jim McKinley
The Paso Robles Ramble was cancelled in 2020, of course, and it was last held in mid-February of 2019. I had always, zooming past on the highway, thought of Paso Robles as a sleepy, sort of washed-up railroad terminal. It turns out that ‘Paso’ is a thriving, lively small town driven economically by countless wineries, vast vineyards, and olive orchards. Some cattle. It is a tourist destination, catering to but not apparently dependent on visitors, and therefore has abundant choices in restaurants, specialized shops, and the usual collection of chain and big-box shopping establishments. It’s a metropolis.
One of the founders of Paso was the uncle of the outlaw Jesse James. Paso seems to pride itself – or the Chamber of Commerce does – on the ‘legend’ that Jesse spent about a year in the area between 1868 and 1869. His whereabouts are historically uncertain, and the legend says that he took the 40-day journey to California via Panama, after participating in a bank robbery in Kentucky.
The town is at the southern end of the Salinas River valley. The area includes gentle rolling hills to the east, and foothills rising to the Santa Lucia Range to the west, all blanketed in the dry grassland and oak woodland of Californian chaparral. Daily rides to the east had the advantage of relatively gentle climbs through open, vineyard-clad landscapes. To the west, rides afforded the opportunity to travel through higher, steeper and more abundant climbs and descents, through hilly terrain containing smaller, seemingly hidden, vineyards. Mornings were cool, becoming warm by noon, and overall temperatures climbed through the week, ending with highs near 90 degrees later in the week. Many of us escaped the heat by driving over the hills to the coast, riding from the town of Cambria on Highway 1 against the prevailing northwestern headwind. The return, then, was with a lovely tailwind. Moving the ride from February to early April was a beneficial adjustment to the schedule.
The week ended with a posh dinner at the Allegretto Vineyard Resort just outside of town. We ate in the warm dry air of the patio as the sun set over the Santa Lucia range. While sipping a glass of wine, one could imagine Jesse hanging around working the local ranches, and wonder why he would ever have left to return to robbing banks in the East.
Bicycle Adventure Club
PO BOX 23998 San Diego, CA 92193
Telephone (858) 715-9510 firstname.lastname@example.org