Parkfield is the self-proclaimed earthquake capital of California. It’s located on the San Andreas fault north and east of Paso Robles (which is half way between Los Angeles and San Francisco on Highway 101). This is a combination of two trips there (one with blue sky, the other cloudy).
To get there go east on Highway 46 out of Paso Robles about 26 miles (just before Highway 41 joins 46 and just after Cholame [sha-lamb] where the James Dean memorial is located). Turn north on the private road for approximately another 20 miles and you will be in Parkfield. Don’t blink; you might miss it.
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If isolation and access to the various ranches in the area are what you want, Parkfield boasts a very nice little Inn. Just don’t try to get a room when an earthquake has been predicted. The press has everything in the area fully booked. The Inn wants you to “sleep there when it happens”.
Everything in Parkfield is made of leftover parts. The unique fountain in the middle of the park is one example of the local art.
Some of the details of the area around the fountain are shown below.
The water tower by the cafe repeats the theme: Be here when it happens.
The cafe has excellent food and is a destination in itself for visitors from everywhere within driving distance. (For a reservation, or local info, you can call 805-463-2421.)
Outside the cafe is a large carved cowboy along with a unique admission requirement (I’ve added a bit of yellow so you can read it better).
Note: A custom at the cafe was to tack a dollar bill with your business card to the wall. Many have done so. After the 11 Sept 2001 events the cafe asked the local firefighters to come in and strip the money from the walls and send it to the New York firefighter fund. According to the news $832 was collected! If you tacked a dollar to the wall in the past know that it went to a good cause; if you are coming to Parkfield consider helping to repopulate the wall knowing that it eventually will go to a good cause.
Even the library is unique–the fact that such a small community even has one. But, you have to time your reading; it’s only open Tuesday and Wednesday from 10am to 1pm (my last visit was 2001; the times may have changed). On the plus side, there is an outdoor reading area just to the right.
Parkfield is known as the earthquake capital because for recent history it has had a 6 point or better earthquake about every 23 years (it’s overdue for the next one; and scientists have recently indicated the past sequences could well be just chance). The Pacific side of the San Andreas fault is moving north at about 2.33 inches per year. In about 31.5 million years Los Angeles will move past San Francisco and Parkfield will be oceanfront property. A divided plaque in the park shows this movement.
The Parkfield and V6 Ranch Web site is: http://www.parkfield.com/
[This page was moved from my TomsDomain.com site to TomsFotos 9 Jan 2015.]