Ranch House Restaurant, Gorman CA

I’m a little bit late in getting this written. Last week we traveled up to Fresno to attend Cal Grand Chapter of OES. By the way, California OES has a great new website that went online recently. Take a look at oescal.org for more info on the Order of Eastern Star.

This post is more about the journey than the destination. It’s about 250 miles from San Pedro to Fresno. I am sort of getting used to traveling up and down the state of California. On this trip, we got off to a somewhat late start. We got on the road at about 11AM. The hope is that the traffic will have eased a bit either on the 405 or the 110 through downtown LA. It seems that there is always traffic in LA.

So after about 2 hours of driving we were ready for a stop for lunch. 2 hours into our drive gets us to somewhere on the Grapevine. If you recall from some of my previous posts the Grapevine is a stretch of road between the San Fernando Valley ( aka “The Valley”) and the San Joaquin Valley (aka, Central Valley).

So how did the Grapevine get its name? Common thought is that the name was related to the many switchbacks one had to traverse on early versions of the road. In fact, it was named for the grape vines growing along the canyon. Here is an excerpt from an article about building the roads through the area.

The first white man through this area was a Spanish officer and acting governor of Alta California in 1772, Don Pedro Fages. He noticed an abundance of Cimarron grapes growing wild in the area north of what is now Gorman. He named the place Canada de Las Uvas, or Grapevine Canyon. Grapevines were so prevalent the wagoneers and soldiers had to hack their way through. Wild grapes still grow on the sides of I-5 in the pass. 

Another association of the name Grapevine was established during early highway construction. The engineers had to abandon the original wagon road up the canyon from the valley floor when Grapevine Creek overflowed during a torrential cloudburst in 1914. The highway alignment was rebuilt on the east side of the hill with a series of switchback loops to gain elevation. Thus the appearance of a grapevine.

Here is the pointer to the entire article.

As you can see from the map, the Grapevine is pretty much straightened out on the current I5.


So we decide to stop at a restaurant in Gorman CA named the Ranch House Restaurant. The restaurant is a bit unusual in that it is not a big franchise restaurant like Denny’s, McDonalds, etc. Here’s a picture of the exterior.

2013-10-16 13.15.01


The menu is somewhat similar to what one would see at Denny’s, Typical breakfast menu, lunch menu is burgers, sandwiches. The food that we had was excellent. Service was excellent. Not too crowded. Here’s the review on Yelp.Com

One of the reasons that we stopped here is that Paula remember stopping here back in the fifties. Her father was a part time ranger at Lassen National Park. As soon as school ended for the year. The family would drive from San Pedro up to Lassen. As Paula tells the story, they would get to Gorman in the evening and she had to be wakened so they could get a piece of pie and some coffee. Then they would continue their journey and stop overnight in Bakersfield. Remember this was pre-interstate. Getting to Lassen was a two day trip. Some times they were pulling a small travel trailer. Pulling a trailer over the Grapevine was (and still is) a stressful activity for a passenger car.

Now here is where it gets interesting. We were talking with the waitress. I think that she had been working at the restaurant for many years. She seemed to think that this building was at least the third incarnation of the Ranch House. Earlier versions had to either be moved or demolished to accommodate road construction. According to Paula, the interior of the restaurant is much like how she remembers it from her days as a child going to Lassen with her mother and father.

Until next time,


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