Saturday, October 13, 2012

DAY 51- Trail of Tears Closed and Templeton...

The night before I located the Lamp Liter Inn; no thanks to Google maps but after that I just didn’t feel like driving around.  In fact, I could use a drink after all of the construction and curvy road driving.  I got checked into the hotel which is just off of the freeway.  I instantly felt at home with the hum of the interstate traffic because for the last 5 years I had lived in an apartment where I could hear that familiar low drone.  There was a restaurant/bar on premises and I headed to the bar.  I ordered a nice pastrami sandwich with a beer and just relaxed as I sat at the bar.  I struck up a conversation after a bit with an older Latino couple and they were just a fun couple. 
Photo- The wonderful landscaping near the pool area at Lamp Liter Inn.

I sleep wonderfully with that hum of traffic and the next morning woke up refreshed.  The Lamp Liter Inn has been past its heyday but it was clean and had some nice landscaping.  There were cute little homey touches like- fake plants in the room and cute little tole paintings on the doors to the room.  But there was a shortage of plug ins and that was a bit of a challenge for a lamp top, cell phone, and etc.  There was also a very nice pool that I would’ve liked to enjoy but it was just a bit on the cold side.  I went over to the restaurant and had lunch while in the next booth a couple of local businessman talked about salvaging some fruit.  It was interesting hearing them talk and I just sat quietly eavesdropping. 

When I went to check out,turned in my key (an actual metal key) and I asked the clerk about something nearby where I could explore or check out for a couple of hours.  It wasn’t that far of a drive over to Templeton and I had told the Bed and Breakfast there that my expected arrival time would be about 4pm.  So I had a bit of time on my hands.  The clerk recommended a local park called Grove Park.  The park was a place along the “Trail of Tears” and there was also a museum on the premises and a huge Indian statue too.  It sounded perfect for what I was looking for.  I got the directions and headed out.
Photo- Grove Park's Trail of Tears statue as I took through fence posts. 
Photo- Yep! Another place that got the memo about my coming to town!

I got there to the entrance to the park and found that they had gotten the memo about me being in town too.  The park was closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  I found a parking spot just off the road and took a picture of the statue between the bars of the fence.  But it appears that the “Trail of Tears” was closed to me today.  Darn it!  I drove back through the town of Visalia which seemed like it had the usual city fare of shopping strip malls and restaurants; all of which was landscaped with a touch of palm trees.  I found the freeway and headed south wearily following the Google directions.
Photo- Some of the barren area but with a bit of hills.

I headed into a huge flat area with almost a nothing out there type of landscape.  It rather reminded me of the drive from Salt Lake City to Wendover, NV where you drive for miles with the Salt Flats to the north.  Only I will say that this nothingness did have warmer colors than the grays out by the Salt Flats.  The landscape was all a golden blond of dry flat but at least the sky was blue.  The landscape slowly turned to a bit more hilly but with the same colors.

I finally came to a small town that had a gas station and thought I had better fuel up since I didn’t know when the next station would be.  While there I asked the Latino man at the counter where the restroom was.  He pointed to the back and said all the way back and to your left.  I ended up going back in the stock room area where there was the dirtiest restroom ever.  I didn’t sit and I tried to touch as little as possible but when you got to go, you got to go.  I continued my drive towards Templeton. 
Photo- A wonderful ocean view just south of where the Hearst Castle turn off is.

As I got closer to Templeton the scenery really changed and became pretty.  It was about two hours earlier than what I had told the Bike Lane Inn to expect me.  I decided to check out this sign that said Hearst Castle 32 miles away.  I ended up going along some farms and vineyards on Hwy 46 on the way over to Hwy 1 where I ended up at the ocean beach.  It was a beautiful scenic drive.  I did eventually end up driving to the entrance of the California State Park entrance for Hearst Castle but it was terribly busy and I wanted to back in time to check in to my room at Bike Lane Inn.  So I turned around and headed back towards Templeton.
Photo- The very scenic vineyard area just outside of Templeton.

Bike Lane Inn is a wonderful little bed and breakfast that kind of caters to cyclists.  After I got settled in a bit, Elaine served me wine with crackers and cheese and sat down with me.  We pored over bike map routes that her and her husband had designed for the area.  There were several different distances and routes to choose from.  This was wonderful!  I wish I had gotten told them that I would’ve arrived sooner and then I could have gone out that night. But it was too late for that night.  Instead, I changed and walked down the four blocks to Templeton’s Main Street to find somewhere for dinner that night.
Photo- The inside of AJ's Spur with a wonderful old western saloon feel to it.

I decided to eat at A.J.’s Spur which was an old fashioned western restaurant/saloon.  I sat at the bar area and ordered a beer along with a bar special for dinner.  While I was still working on my dinner I got involved with talking to an older gentlemen named Ike who was taking care of some family business in the area.  We talked about the area of Templeton and my experience in Fresno and all matter of subjects.  The next thing I know it’s after 9PM and they are closing down the restaurant and bar. 

Due to the poor economy a great deal of places closed earlier.  If you wanted to actually go out to a bar in the area, you would have to drive to near Paso Robles and go to Applebee’s.  This rather floored me because I thought Utah could be bad for bars and people that liked to drink.  But then again, I wondered how much of it was done that way because everyone may have already been out wine tasting at various vineyards and may have already had enough to drink in one day.  Calling it a night, I walked back up the hill to the Bike Lane Inn.

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