Southwest trek travel blog

A field of oil derricks a short distance off I-5

We moved about 170 miles today from Patterson to Paso Robles. As we drove south on I-5 we past miles and miles of orchards, green trees growing in brown, parched soil. California has been experiencing a drought the past few years and water use has become a major issue. Along the highway are signs that read “Is growing food a waste of water?” and others calling for the government to build more dams.

Without getting into the pros and cons of California’s water usage and restrictions, I find it ironic that while the west coast is thirsting for water, the east coast is drowning in floodwaters. Call me silly, but if the nation can build an 800-mile pipeline to move oil across Alaska or more than 2,000 miles of oil pipeline in the Keystone project, why can’t we build pipelines to move excess water from east to west. The pipelines don’t have to traverse the whole nation, just move water from the Northeast to the Ohio River basin where it would flow into the Mississippi River and a pipeline from the Mississippi across the plains to the Rockies, where it can feed into the Colorado River basin. California and other western states get water and the east coast gets flood control.

Paso Robles is a grape-growing region with an abundant wine industry. The downtown has at least 20 tasting rooms and dozens of more wineries abound in the countryside. After parking the motor home at the Vines RV resort, we drove into town to taste some wine. What we discovered is this region produces mostly dry white and red wines, and we prefer a sweeter wine. Also, most of the wines are priced at more than $20 a bottle compared to the $15 to $20 a bottle we pay at wineries in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. I don’t think we are going to be purchasing much wine here.

We did meet a young couple from Maryland at one of the tasting rooms. The young man was wearing a Phillies T-shirt and when I commented about it he said he was originally from the Philadelphia area. We told them we were from New Jersey and we struck up a conversation. Turns out the young woman grew up in Vasalia, Calif., and her parents live a few blocks from where we stayed three nights ago. Also, her parents own a motor home. It is amazing the people you meet thousands of miles from home.

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