Photo selection for the week of March 28 - April 3, 2014
The special thing about Central California is that there are numerous places and routes that allow you to slow down and enjoy a quieter and more relaxing pace of life.
Indian Valley Road is certainly one of these mellowing routes. It can't be driven fast, and you wouldn't want to anyway since there are interesting features all along the way.
Before setting out on this or any back road drive, be sure to check out my page on How to Drive Back Roads. The tips there can make your drive more enjoyable.
The last time (March 2014) I passed through here, this sign was gone. But that doesn't mean that services have popped up all along the way. Nothing has changed and the warning still applies. I imagine that someone thought it was "cute" and decided to hang it in their dorm room.
So, be sure to gas up before embarking on this drive and be sure to have some water and a snack.
From San Miguel take 14th Street east across the Salinas River bridge. Turn left immediately at the end of the bridge. The photo above shows the view there. Then take the next left and you're on Indian Valley Road.
If you were to go straight instead of turning onto Indian Valley, you'd be on Cross Canyons Road where there is a good wine tasting trail beginning with Locatelli Winery just around the corner here.
Getting to Indian Valley Rd. from the north - just 50 feet east of the intersection of Highways 198 and 25 is the exit for Peach Tree Road which heads mostly east here. Peach Tree Road continues for 8-9 miles along the trace of the San Andreas Fault and turns into Indian Valley Rd.
Indian Valley can also be accessed by way of Bradley off Highway 101 via Hare Canyon Road.
A nice drive from San Miguel to Hollister will include Indian Valley Rd. to Peach Tree Road; then north on Highway 25 past Pinnacles National Park and then on to Hollister.
No, you didn't take a wrong turn and end up in the Himalayas...there are some yaks along the road here. They've been here for a number of years and seem to be dealing with the low altitude just fine.
There was once a small town here called Valleton. At the southern end of the road it was about 8 miles from San Miguel. I think this is all that is left of the settlement. I don't know for sure, but I think it is the old schoolhouse. In those days the schools also did duty as a community meeting place, dance hall and polling place.
The first photo in this series on wildflowers is the most recent. The next photos were taken in 2008.
Not every year is a good wildflower year. The lack of rain during the winter of 2013-14 seems to have been a hindrance to a good bloom.
One of the best displays of wildflowers I've seen in quite a while was on a drive through Indian Valley, and I didn't have a camera.
Various colors of flowers flowed down a hillside and covered several acres. Stunning sight. Perhaps when you visit you'll see a grand display like that...
Bush lupines blooming in the creek bed
Small purple flowers and fiddlenecks blooming alongside the roadway.
Goldfields looking as if they are flowing down the hillside.
A close-up of a bush lupine.
Goldfields painted on a hillside.