Paso Robles, California: Our Adventure Begins: How to get to Oregon in our car (while avoiding I-5) to reach Eugene and our motorhome. As I previously wrote, we planned this trip as the virus was waning and things were opening-up. Now that COVID has mutated - with an obvious goal to KILL US ALL - we are not sure how this trip will play out, but will take it day-by-day. Town-by-town. If nothing else, we have just over 1000 miles to cover and we both are licensed drivers.
While I'm on the subject of drivers… six month ago, My Driver sadly left his five iron leaning up against a tree on the 6th hole at our golf club. Dave missed his iron by the end of our round, but the club was no longer there when he looked. No problem - someone had obviously found the errant stick and would return it to the caddy shack. Except no one did. The club was not returned. The 5-iron was quite old - and not particularly expensive or coveted - so Dave could not understand why someone would keep/want his ancient five iron. Every few days, Dave would go into the "lost club" bin and look for his 5-iron. Imagine his surprise last week, when the lost club was mysteriously waiting in the bin! Where had it been for the past six months? How random, but how wonderful that My Driver now has a full set of clubs. Surely, his game will improve?
Back to our adventure! We had a 10a departure goal, and we put the garage door down at 9:58. That was a good sign. Plus, we had great traffic all the way to I-5 (on a Sunday when everyone from LA is leaving Palm Springs from a fun weekend), where we took a right and had decent traffic all the way to Paso Robles, arriving to our Paso Robles hotel at 4p, even with a one-hour break for an outdoor lunch (fast-ish food at Baja Fresh).
Because everyone should have a pink chandelier over their bed!
After checking into The Piccolo in downtown Paso Robles, we took a good hour to stroll around and reacquaint ourselves with the main square. Pretty quiet on a Sunday afternoon, and we did notice several storefronts had new names, and probably new owners. About half of the people walking around were wearing face masks. Cute shop, art gallery, restaurant, cute shop, art gallery, restaurant, on repeat, up and down the streets.
We had time for a drink in the rooftop bar of our hotel and then headed out to an “art installation” in the rolling fields outside of town: Bruce Munro Light at Sensorio. I really cannot describe this “experience” as it should be, as how can one truly explain thousands of glass balls, resembling a field of flowers (?) assembled in a little glen (?), that light-up (?), and change colors in waves? All I do know - it was very pretty and I am posting way too many photos.
We arrived about 7:30p, and the sun didn't set until after 8... and it really didn't get dark until 8:30. We had VIP tickets, which really only gave access to seating (with heaters/fire pits), flush toilets, and a premium view of the little valley holding all the lights. We found a table and had "dinner" while we waited for darkness. The only bad thing about this event was the food. Seriously bad food. Only carnival-type food: hot dogs, tater tots, corn dogs, etc. Very juxtaposed to the arty ambiance.
Here is a shot from our table, just as the bulbs were beginning to light-up, with a pretty sunset in the distance:
Obviously a very large area is covered in electric bulbs. And I can't tell you if they were powered from a grid or not, as we saw a lot of solar panels. As darkness grew, so did the beauty of the lights:
There are paths throughout the installations, so attendees can meander up and down the fields of lights. Here is a close-up of a bulb:
As we reached the far end of the installation, there is a little path to the "Towers" exhibit. This newer installation has many (maybe a 75?) towers made of thousands and thousands of wine bottles:
We counted, and found 36 wine bottles on each row of each tower = 253 bottles on each tower = 18,900 if 75 towers. Dat's a lotta vino! As with the bulbs in the field, the towers were constantly changing colors as well.
I don't know who thinks of this stuff, or if it is art, or if it is landscape, or what it is, but it is something one does not see every day and it was exceedingly pretty - which is always a good thing.
Above is the view from the bottom of the field, looking up to the VIP seating area. Stunning! And below is one last final look from our table at the top of the venue to then entire display:
Nearly unbelievable. Glad we went, as I am not sure how long it will continue. We heard rumors this field is set to be a housing development... but to my trained eye, I am guessing a country club with housing, as I could see many potential golf holes dug into the surrounding acres? If you do go? Eat before you arrive. Don't wear sandals! Dusty and dirty paths. Sneakers. With socks.
Until my next update, I remain, your fully lit correspondent.