If you think it’s impossible to find nearby respite from the traffic and crowds in Southern California think again. Blessed solitude awaits just a short drive north of the San Fernando Valley up Interstate 5 and over the Grapevine to the Mt Pinos area west of the freeway.
Nine LCOC members journeyed to the Pine Mountain Inn at the invitation of hosts Ron and Beverly Cressey during the first weekend in May to experience a literal breath of fresh air and a leisurely motor tour of the area’s wilderness preserves and agricultural zones. Once the home of the Chumash Indians and of Hollywood personalities such as former blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, the Mt Pinos area is now a haven for savvy Angelenos who are fleeing the bustle.
What a way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo! All 11 tourists and three dogs began their adventure at the Flying J Travel Stop at the Frazier Park exit of the freeway. Led by Ron and Bev’s beautiful white 1940 Continental Cabriolet, the 5-car LCOC caravan spent about two hours touring gorgeous mountain and high desert and farm areas before stopping for a most welcome lunch at the rustic and historic Buckhorn Grill in Cuyama. Burned trees and bushes from the recent Day Fire marred some of the scenery but fortunately Mother Nature is already beginning to regenerate growth.
Joining Ron and Bev were Jan McNiel and Marv Wendt in their 1947 Continental, Arv and Nicole Larson in a Mustang, Ron Cressy and Ray Gonzales in their 2016 Lincoln MKZ and Jim Ayres, Jim Powers and Elayne Bendel in Ayres’ 2015 MKZ. Ideal mid-70s weather allowed the cabriolet to travel top down with the 1947 Continental close behind followed by the rest of the cars.
The isolation of the tour route enabled the group to make roadside stops to admire the views, snap photos and watch rare California condors in flight. The old vehicles journeyed up and down the hilly winding roads without complaint much to the delight of all.
The tour ended at the Pine Mountain Inn in the tiny village of Pine Mountain, where the tourists enjoyed a relaxing wine and cheese party on the veranda before heading to dinner at Café Silva Bella, where the five star dining reviews proved very accurate. After dinner most of the group opted for an early bedtime and explored the area on their own Sunday morning before heading home with thanks to the Cresseys for a wonderful getaway weekend.