When someone asks you if you want to go to Scheideck (pronounced “shy-deck”), you say yes. Well, you say yes if it’s Sunday, it’s sunny after a couple of days of rain, you just ate a fabulously filling chicken fried steak breakfast at Pappy’s in Santa Maria, and you feel like an adventure.
So I said, “Hell yes!”
No surprise there.
- PHOTO BY CAMILLIA LANHAM
- MINI G: A fun-sized ghost town welcomes travelers to the Reyes Creek recreation area and the set of cabins also known as Scheideck.
I didn’t know what I was saying yes to, but there was a campground, a creek, trout fishing, cabins for sale, and a bar in the middle of nowhere involved. How could I say no?
We headed east from Nipomo on Highway 166. Wildflowers are abundant. Yellow hillsides. Pink meadows. Pops of purple. And so much green. Quintessential California, I would say. Or at least the side of California people in other states dream about. Oak-tree studded valleys, shouldered by green mountains and spotted with cattle.
If you want to sell a rural property, now is the time of year to do it.
After about an hour, we pull into Cuyama with visions of a newly refurbished Buckhorn saloon and hotel staring us in the face. Time for a pit stop! Deer and elk mounts, eclectic airbrushed art, corrugated metal, and old wooden crate shelves mingled with the lonely sounds of singing accompanied by acoustic guitar.
This place is gigantic and usually filled with bikers and motorists, but the slight chill in the air and threat of rain forestalled a busy bar, so we had it all to ourselves. A very large red beer (yes, occasionally I like me a Sunday Funday beer and Clamato juice—you can take me out of Montana, but I guess you can’t chase the Montana out of me) and a tour of the grounds later, we got back on the road.
We hang a right on Highway 33 toward Ventucopa—yes, Ventura and Maricopa smashed together—flanked by pistachio groves waiting to bud. On the right, we pass a little red shop with dilapidated looking gas pumps out front. My friend laments that we just passed up the allure of pistachios. Her husband makes a u-turn, pulls into the drive, and picks up some lemon zing and chili lemon organic Santa Barbara Pistachio Company treats. Tasty.
After driving from San Luis Obispo County to Santa Barbara County to Ventura County in a matter of 15 minutes, we hit Lockwood Valley Road, and the dream of setting eyes on Reyes Creek Campground and Reyes Creek Bar and Grill (also known as the Scheideck) becomes real. It’s paved, but we still get to splash through a couple of water crossings!
- PHOTO BY CAMILLIA LANHAM
- LAZY SUNDAY : Local regular Annabelle gets warm by the wood burning stove in the Reyes Creek Bar and Grill.
As we head into the Los Padres National Forest, I can see snow on the mountaintops around us. The Reyes Creek area is not at all like what I expected. There’s a couple of blocks of cabins huddled together along the creek—across from a sweet miniature ghost town that’s perfect for the little ones. All roads lead to the deck of the bar and grill, which is full of warmth put out by an extremely hardworking wood stove.
Dollar bills are attached to the ceiling and walls, a pool table sits in one room, while an open dance floor leads you into another. The family that runs this place is working it—one’s chasing dogs around, others man the kitchen, and another tends bar. It’s cozy and friendly.
The kids get a free ice cream while the adults partake in a cold beverage, and then we check out some of the cabins that are for sale before heading to the creek, which was stocked with trout last weekend. Sweet!
Tents, tarps, chairs, and whatever else was destroyed in last night’s downpour fills the dumpsters of the campground. Evidence that it might not have been the best weekend to head to the middle of nowhere to “rough it.” But it’s sunny now!
A quick jaunt up the creek yields a waterfall, some deeper fishing holes, and readily caught trout before we hit the road again to head back. It is Sunday after all, and the funday is rapidly becoming thoughts of Monday.
Editor Camillia Lanham believes that someday Sunday will never end at firstname.lastname@example.org.