COWBOYS, ADVENTURE, GRAPES,
MACHINES & SCENES
Today we go "behind the scenes" of this far and still
some what wild west area of San Luis Obispo County California. Cowboys to Wine makers with stunning beauty and a few things that go round in between.This is the 50th year for the Paso Robles Agri Business tour, which takes you far from the tourist track.
THIS IS THE REAL DEAL
As we used to say on television
these scenes may not be suitable for all viewers
ROPING AND BRANDING
AT THE CRESTON RODEO GROUNDS
A two minute primer on a classic skill
FOR THE MORE GENTEEL,
WINE IS A BIG BUSINESSThe seventh generation is working the Ernst Steinbeck vineyards, home of the Steinbeck Winery.
The first grapes were planted here by the Ernst brothers in the 1880's. This shows the rare 4 stem arrangement of the vine.
Cindy Steinbeck tells how her son Ryan always wanted to
work with his Grandfather, and now he does. This is a family face to Agri Business.
THE CAMBRIA BUS CATCHES FIRE
The lavender color at Union Road and Highway 46 is
courtesy of the fire repellent used to douse the engine fire that temporary halted the Cambria Bus on the tour.
Just outside the Tobin James winery, there was much discussion that perhaps here is where our leg of the journey would end.
Undaunted we transferred to a temporary bus that included 3 surprised riders, two of whom had been napping and another who was in the restroom when the bus was rapidly diverted from the stop ahead, back to pick up the waylaid Cambrians. Consequently, a few of us "aisle surfed" on the way to the next stop.
The ranch, vineyard and farmland was spectacular.
There was a stop at the White Ranch. This family has been raising barley and cattle since the mid 1800's.
I learned that much of this area was planted in Almonds, and was known as the Almond capitol until WWII when barley was planted as part of the war food effort. Later of course some of the area was converted to Vineyards or grazing land.
The message at the Avenales ranch was sustainability,
in all aspects of water use, crop rotation and grazing
Then it was on to one of the most beautiful settings I've seen. The Vaquero Water Ranch is a 40 thousand acre spread
that used to be part of the historic Sacramento Ranch.
Historically the Vaquero cattle drives would cross this land because of the presence of water. Running streams made this a place where the cattle would be "watered up" before
they headed south or over toward the coast.
It's a long drive from a public road, over rolling mountains back into a spectacular valley. The home also dates from the 1840's and commands a magnificent view of some of
California's most beautiful cattle country.
Because of the grazing patterns used here, native grasses
are making a return. I thought the shot below captured the
the modes of cowboy transport. Horses are still preferred.
THEN THERE IS THE LAZY ARROW ADVENTURE
AT THE CAMMATTA RANCH
The historic 32 thousand acre ranch is now a
kind of dude ranch, camp ground, exotic animal
collection and well, a collection of lots of things
that go round.
This 1935 Lincoln V-12, is still in running condition.The lazy Arrow could be the only ranch with a genuine
Everywhere you look there are old machines, parts and those things that go around they talk about.
Mark is a collector of old treadle devices, often rebuilding or converting once electrical applications, back to the old
foot powered way.
The ranch is also a place for hunters and there a full
field dressing kitchen.
AND THERE WERE MACHINES AS WELL
What is an Agri Business tour without the technology?
This is one of the harvesters at the White Ranch.And this is a mechanical Grape picker used by the Steinbecks.
FOR THOSE OF YOU WITH REAL CURIOSITY
HERE'S A QUICK VIDEO OF THE PICKER
AND WE ARE BACK TO THE COWBOYS
These are guys who were probably the first
"agri businessmen" in the area. Fascinating
that despite all the changes in farming, grape growing
and wine making, some skills remain timeless.
A "by-product" of the roping, branding and cutting
are Rocky Mountain Oysters
I'd never had them before. I figured these would be about as fresh as they can get.
See you down the trail.