Roads less traveled… Cameron Hughes Lot 524, 2013 Central Coast Cabernet Sauvignon

Where the hell is Paicines?

I like to drive. A lot.

Unless I have a tight schedule to keep, I actually drive for most of my trips, both business and pleasure. It’s not that I’m afraid to fly… far from it. I grew up the son of an airline employee and have likely spent more time in jets than some pilots (except I slept through most of that time. I’m one of those plane sleepers. Even turbulence that has other passengers screaming for their lives has me waking from my slumber to slowly raise an eyelid, shift in my seat, and go back to sleep again, annoyed at those bellowing crybabies.) I just like to take roads less traveled. In fact, I eschew Waze, SatNav systems, and GPS in general when I drive. I have an old-school Rand-McNally Road Atlas. Spital bound, and highlighter pen marked routes I have driven before… in 49 of the 50 US states, and most of the provinces of Canada. Take a guess of which state I have yet to visit – hint: you can’t drive to it.

I was born with an innate sense of direction hitched to a wanderlust gene. I follow my nose and it never fails to get me where I’m going, or take me the same way twice.

So I was drinking this damn good wine tonight and thinking “where the hell is Paicines, CA?” So I pulled out my phone and opened a map app (hey, I’m sitting on my deck, I don’t have the Rand-McNally handy!) and sure enough I have driven through Paicines before!

California has five major north-south routes: CA1, 101, I-5, 99, and east of the Sierra, US395. I’ve driven all of them. I-5 is of course the worst. A line of cars nose-to-tail from Redding all the way to LA and beyond, clogging every lane and getting nowhere fast. Zero lane discipline. Endless Prii and SUVs slowly loafing in the left lane. A few years ago I had to get to SoCal and had already driven every way there… until I looked at my Road Atlas and spotted CA25. yes! A little ribbon of asphalt somehow woven through the oaken hills between US101 and I-5. So i drove it. Wow, what a fun road. While folks where gridlocked just east of me on I-5, I was blasting down a twisty backroad to the tune of “Red Barchetta” by Rush. I saw ONE other car. ONE. A SINGLE OTHER VEHICLE in a few hundred miles of wonderful fun behind the wheel.

So as I savored this Cabernet on the deck tonight at sunset, I recalled fondly that day’s drive through the middle of nowhere in central California. The wine is quite good. VERY different from your usual California Cab. More subtle. Softer.

I’ve made a mental note to drive that road again.

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