Outdoor Adventures / Road Trips

Scenes From Old Coalinga Road

Old Coalinga Road

If there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s this: I love to drive. Or rather, my husband loves to drive, and I love to take pictures while leaning out the window.

Road trips have always been a big part of our life — starting with our first date over six years ago, when we decided to do a week-long road trip through the Eastern Sierra together. If you can survive being confined to a car with the same person for a week, wearing the same clothes every day, and traversing over 500 miles through doohickey towns in Central California… well then, it’s totally meant to be.

What we love most about road trips is taking the road less traveled, as cliched as it sounds. But that’s the truth.

We make frequent trips between NorCal and SoCal since Will spent most of his life up north, and rather than shooting straight up I-5 each time, we like to explore all the little nooks in the middle of the state — the nooks that most drivers pass without another thought as they crank on the pedal, anxious to speed past all the stinky cow fields with their windows rolled up.

A few weeks ago, we veered off the 5 in search of one of those little nooks. We passed through Coalinga, an agricultural town on the eastern edge of the California Coast Ranges — “the Sunny Side of the Valley,” as it’s known.

Spring blossom

Cactus blossom

It’s fairly nondescript for a few miles until you reach the outskirts and find yourself in the country. Old Coalinga Road meanders north toward Pinnacles National Park. All along this road are the random scenes I love from old-fashioned Americana: rundown cabins, rustic barns, ranches in the middle of rolling green hills, and cows (not the stinky kind) grazing all over those hills.

Rundown cabins

Rustic barn

Endless field

Rolling hills

Lone tree

Beautiful oak

Happy cows

We were a little late in the season for wildflowers, but we did find a beautiful stretch of road covered with fabulous, feathery, cotton candy-pink shrubs.

The side of the road

Pink wildflowers

Pink shrubs

Pink blossoms

This weekend we’re off another road trip — Tahoe and Reno for a few days of hiking, biking, booze cruisin’ and Reno River Festin’. I wonder what random road we’ll find ourselves on?

Linda Ly About Author

I'm a plant lover, passionate road-tripper, and cookbook author whose expert advice and bestselling books have been featured in TIME, Outside, HGTV, and Food & Wine. The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook is my latest book. Garden Betty is where I write about modern homesteading, farm-to-table cooking, and outdoor adventuring — all that encompass a life well-lived outdoors. After all, the secret to a good life is... Read more »