California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures - 59

28

Highway
99

This thoroughfare no longer
connects Mexico and Canada,
but it does showcase great
music, wine, and architecture

H I G H WAY 9 9 M AY LO O K U N A S S U M I N G AT F I R ST G L A N C E , but it has had an outsize role
in California's history. The road used to be a major thoroughfare that connected Canada and Mexico
and went on to serve as the transportation backbone of the Central Valley, where the state's enormous
agricultural industry has thrived. Driving it today, you can't miss the farms that grow vast amounts
of food. But look closer and you'll see evidence of the people, cultures, and history that have been
essential to California's development.
Start your exploration in Bakersfield by two-stepping to the legacy of Buck Owens, the pioneering
musician who created the Bakersfield Sound. Owens passed away in 2006, but you can still enjoy live
music and dancing at Buck Owens' Crystal Palace while dining on "Buck's Favorite Chicken Fried Steak."
Spend the night at downtown's Padre Hotel, a modern, luxurious retreat that dates to 1928.
The next morning, drive 46 miles to another 20th-century landmark-Colonel Allensworth State Park, in
the town of Earlimart. In 1908, Allensworth and other settlers established a town that would be financed
and governed by African-Americans. Take the self-guided tour and explore restored buildings, like the
school, church, general store, library, and homes. With furnishings from the early 1900s, the buildings
give you a chance to experience what a Central Valley frontier town looked like more than 100 years ago.
You'll find a more recent legacy about an hour up the road in the town of Traver. Bravo Farms, owned
by the Van Ryn family for the past 20 years, is a unique roadside attraction: Kids will love exploring the
seven-story treehouse and petting zoo, while adults can enjoy watching cheese being made. Then get a
delicious taste of the Central Valley's rich Mexican heritage by stopping at the Los Toritos Taco Truck in
Selma. Order authentic tacos, quesadillas, or burritos, and wash down your meal with a cold beer.
Sated, it's time to explore some architectural flavor just up the highway in Fresno. Baldassare Forestiere,
a Sicilian artist and builder who immigrated here in 1901, constructed an elaborate series of underground
rooms and gardens over a period of 40 years. Check out his unique efforts on the guided tour of
Forestiere Underground Gardens (open the end of March through November). Then take in a show at the

S TA R T
Bakersfield

chic Art Deco Tower Theatre for the Performing Arts; it's the only 1930s suburban theater designed by

2 272

days

miles

famous Los Angeles architect S. Charles Lee that's still in existence. Spend the night up the road in Merced,
at the Colonial-style Bear Creek Inn, which has been owned by just five families since 1882.
You're near the end of the drive in Lodi, but the trip is far from over. You'll want to spend some time
here, hopping among the wineries that pepper the hills outside town. Zinfandel aficionados will be
especially satisfied here; warm days and cool evenings create the perfect environment for these red

PHOTOGRAPHS: (D'ART WINES) MONETTE KEIL, (BUCK OWENS' CRYSTAL
PALACE) BUCK OWENS PRIVATE FOUNDATION

FINISH
Lodi

wine grapes. Here, too, visionary innovators have brought their own spin to their passions. One example:
d'Art Wines, where you can sample Dave Dart's Cabernets and Tempranillos in a tasting room filled with
his own photo art. It's an experience that showcases this route's uniqueness as it enlivens the senses.

D 'ART WINE S

B U CK OW EN S' CRYSTAL PA L ACE

59



California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures

Contents
California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures - Cover1
California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures - Cover2
California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures - 1
California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures - Contents
California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures - 3
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California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures - Cover3
California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures - Cover4
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