Bravo Farms, Kettleman City

Road Tripping California – I-5

My family lives in the greater San Diego area.  I live in the heart of Silicon Valley.  So I have made the drive down the I-5 several times a year for decades.  Although I’ve traveled this route dozens of times, I’m always trying to find interesting places to pause, stretch my legs, and relax my eyes.

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Roadside Kitch – Bravo Farms – Bravoland

One of the places I find myself regularly stopping is at the super-kitschy Bravo Farms in Kettleman City.  For many years, this strange place was the ultimate in retro road-side attraction.  With the look of a wild-west town complete with gold panning waterwheel, faux horse-drawn wagons, and vintage advertising signs.

Bravo-Farms-BIKE.JPGTwo Floors to Wander

This large complex has a variety of activities, things to eat, and trinkets to buy.  We spent about 45 minutes strolling, stretching, and snacking.  There are two floors to explore, a restaurant, retro ice cream stand, gift shop, antique area, and large clean bathrooms.  It’s wild-west theme flows through the entire sprawling building.

One of the fun features of Bravo Farms is the outdoor picnic area and play space for kids to run around and explore.  While I was there on a rainy day and didn’t go out to explore this area, I contemplated taking a selfie with this cow.  Perhaps on my next trip!

Above: An Antique bike hangs from the eves of the second-floor balcony. 
Below: A view into the kids play zone.

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Doc Burnsteins’s Ice Cream Lab

If you are a fan of premium ice cream, and road tripping on I-5, Doc Burnstein’s Ice Cream Lab is worth the stop.  Although walking around looking at “Farmtiques” was fun, it was the ice cream that transformed this one-time pit stop into a regular mid-trip destination.  The flavors were intense and natural, the texture was rich and creamy.  I had a scoop of the banana cream pie flavor, and it was filled with chunks of banana and pie crust. It didn’t just taste exactly like banana cream pie, but, instead tasted like a very posh, very rich, decadent banana cream pie.

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Back on the Road

Interstate 5 is one of the dullest drives through the central valley.  It feels like endless rolling hills, orchards, fields, and cows.  But then you reach the start of the Grapevine, a steep grade into the rolling hills of the Tehachapi Mountains.  I learned that my mum’s van has a very tinted windshield that gave all of my photos this retro vibe.  My mum was manning the wheel while I day-dreamed about that tasty ice-cream.  I’ll definitely be stopping there again!

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