For a long time, I have driven along South Vine to go to the post office almost every day, or I've taken 101 to Spring Street. When the river runs, I always have a great view from the car as I'm driving, but there's never been anywhere to park and take a picture of the river from above. At the end of December, it finally dawned on me that the new commercial building on South Vine overlooking the freeway (101) had a parking lot. So I decided to explore. This is where I parked.
After parking, I got out to see how close I could get to the freeway. I was blocked by a chain link fence, but I decided to walk along South Vine and use my zoom lens to try and catch the river. Here are some of the scenes I saw.
First, this bit of the river as it runs under the utility bridge. This is south of Larry Moore Park, so you see the riverbed, the river, and on the other side the rural properties that border the park and the Salinas River.
Going north a bit, in this picture, you see the south end of the park. The entrance is near the large trees on the river side of the road. The road is Riverbank and on the other side of it you see the first house in the track I have a house in, though my house is three blocks east of the river on a corner of Riverbank. If you look closely at the picture below, you will see a fence on a rise to the right of the house. it runs along the back of the rural properties on Oak Lane, another street that has small farms. I often walk it. Between the fence and the house you can barely see a bit of brown by some young trees. That is the beginning of a new phase of trail that runs between the Riverbank tract and the farms, through to South River Road. They just finished this section of trail.
As I turned to face the northeast, I could see the sign for the city of Paso Robles that greets people about to get off 101 at Spring Street. Behind it, nestled in the hills, is the Riverbank tract. If you knew where to look, you could see my house there in the distance. The grassy area between the trees and the houses is part of Larry Moore Park. It has river access and a trail that now extends almost a mile along the river.
Were you to walk north on the trail toward Niblick Road, you would pass right beside the Kohl's department store. It's just beyond the strip of white in the right foreground. The buildings are pinkish. When you walk the trail, there's only a wall between you and the Kohl's building. I was mostly trying to photograph the storm clouds in this picture.
Below is a closer look at the Kohl's center. You see a parking lot in the middle, and to the left is a series of buildings that contain J.C.Penny, Staples, Big 5, and Walmart, as well as some smaller businesses. The road in the middle going uphill is Niblick Road, heading off to east Paso Robles. The grass and the trees in the foreground are park of Larry Moore Park near the river. Remember I'm taking all these pictures from South Vine Street across the freeway, with a zoom lens. I'm at least a quarter of a mile away.
Now that I've taken some pictures of this part of town, I head south again toward my own neighborhood. If you take South Vine south, it will run into 46 West, the highway that goes out to the coast. I live on that highway, though four miles west from here. For most of the pictures you saw above, I was walking near the chain link fence you see between Vine and the freeway in the picture below, and I was having to poke the lens through the holes in the fence. In this picture, you are looking south toward Templeton and Atascadero.
After walking a bit of a distance down South Vine, I decided the river was going too far away from me toward the east and I'd not be able to get quite the shots I'd hoped for. This is the view I got of the rural area between the river and South River Road as seen from across the 101 Freeway from South Vine Street.
I finally turned to go back to the car and decided to get a closer look at the building I had parked next to. It's been vacant since it was built. It is solar powered, but evidently hasn't been able to find a tenant. It appears to be a group of offices. You can see that no one has paid much attention to the landscaping for a long time, if ever, after it was planted. Such a shame!
Now you've seen what I see almost every day when I drive to the post office to drop off my packages. You also had a glimpse of the park where I like to walk by the river and the tract where my mother lived and where I still come to meet with friends, hang out now and then, and keep a tamer garden than at home. You have just seen a major slice of my life.