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Traveling on a Full Tank



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As the mercury reaches triple digits, and your kids are off at overnight camp cooling off in lakes and rivers, you can have your own relaxing get away. Filling up the car at $4 a gallon can be quite expensive, so Chere Smith, domestic travel manager of the Automobile Club of Southern California, has recommended four destinations that require only one tank of gas.
Pismo Beach: The City of Pismo Beach, 132 miles from Bakersfield, offers tourists many activities including golfing, bicycling, kayaking, walking through Monarch Butterfly Grove, scuba diving, and miles of beautiful and clean beaches where you can explore pools, coves, and caves.

"You can take a scenic drive up Highway One to find San Luis Obispo, Morro Bay, and Cambria, as well as Hearst Castle."
Smith recommends booking a night at the SeaVenture Resort on Ocean View Avenue. Located near the 1200-foot Pismo Pier, this beach-front hotel features balconies with private whirlpools and an ocean view dining room with entertainment. For more information, visit www.seaventure.com.
On the Pier you can enjoy a world-famous bowl of clam chowder at Splash Café. If you want to venture from the beach-front, you can take a scenic drive up Highway One to find San Luis Obispo, Morro Bay, and Cambria, as well as Hearst Castle.

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Ojai: This small, Spanish-style town is located just 119 miles from Kern County. A haven for artists, Ojai's charm reaches out to musicians and health enthusiasts; and its serene beauty provides much inspiration. Stroll along the oak-shaded paths and ex- plore its unique shops, galleries, restaurants, and spas.
The Ojai Valley Inn & Spa on Country Club Road would make a great escape from your fast-paced life. This five-diamond resort recently underwent a $90 million renovation and expansion. Two hundred acres provide guests with amenities; including five restaurants, tennis courts, two swimming pools, and world-famous spa facilities. At its 31,000 square foot luxury spa, you can experience a variety of facial, skin, and body treatments for men and women.

With room rates ranging from $400-$650, Smith says, "It's expensive, but worth it." For more information, visit www.ojairesort.com.

"...people will be sticking closer to home. This means that you might need to make your reservations earlier than in past years."
Kernville: Nestled in the Southern Sierra Nevada Mountains, 52 miles from Bakersfield, Kernville is known as The Gateway to the Sierras. Started as a gold town in 1860, the city's downtown features a park, bars, restaurants, and western shops. The city's geographical location introduces its visitors to many outdoor activities on the Kern River white water rafting, year-round fishing, kayaking, and other water sports.

White water rafting trips on the Kern River can range from a half-day to three-days shooting rapids ranked from Class I to Class V. "Whatever your skill level, you can book a trip to fit it," says Smith. For information, visit www.eaglerafting.com or www.whitewatervoyages.com.

Smith recommends two local bed and breakfast inns: Whispering Pines Lodge Bed and Breakfast and Kern River Inn Bed and Breakfast. The Kern River Inn is adjacent to the downtown shopping area, historical museum, and fine restaurants. For more information, visit www.kernriverinn. The Whispering Pine Lodge's view encompasses the river and surrounding mountains. An extensive flower garden also surrounds the lodge. Visit www.kernvalley.com/whisperingpines for information.

Paso Robles: Paso Robles wine country is just a mere 108 miles from Bakersfield. With its early-California architecture, the beautifully restored historical buildings house specialty boutiques, restaurants, wine tasting rooms, antique shops, and much more. Known as wine country, 90 wineries surround the area for wine-tasting excursions and wine events. Although Paso Robles can be hot during the summer months, you can book a chauffeured limousine winery tour in air-conditioned comfort, Smith says. Visit www.pasowine.com for information.

If you travel to Paso Robles during August, make sure to visit the Olive Festival featuring regional olive growers, olive oil producers, olive and olive oil tasting, and local wineries. Also during the summer on Friday evenings, you can delight in hearing local musicians at the Twilight Concerts in the Park.

The Historic Paso Robles Inn makes a wonderful destination in itself, Smith says. Registered as a Historic Hotel of America, the Inn's tree-shaded grounds provide guests a beautiful garden setting to relax. For information, visit www.pasoroblesinn.com.

Smith says Kern County residents are lucky to be centrally located to all these wonderful destinations. "We are right in the middle of so much," she says. "Getting away gives us something different to do that we don't offer in Bakersfield."
With the summer's record-high gas prices, Smith says people will be sticking closer to home. This means that you might need to make your reservations earlier than in past years.
All of the accommodations listed merit a Three- Diamond rating and the Automobile Club of Southern California can make all of your summer reservations. For more information, please call the AAA Bakersfield Office at 852-4010.

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