By, Holly Roe
It’s a beautiful day in Wine Country, the sun is bright and the air is crisp and cool. We are getting ready to go on a jeep tour with Maxx Taxi where owner and operator Jeff Gardner promises it will be a rare and spectacular experience. We begin our journey leaving from Oak Mountain Winery. We continue east on De Portola Rd. heading toward Glen Oaks passing wineries, horses and huge houses. We make a right into the north gate of Glen Oaks Ranch, switch on the 4 wheel drive and start climbing. As we climb the houses get bigger and more extreme and the wildflowers start coming into view. Jeff promises that by the time we get to the top we will be blown away. We continue to go up and up, pine trees and rock formations surround us and the view from the back of the vehicle is already spectacular. We can’t wait to get to the top. The road turns into dirt and Jeff says “where the pavement ends the redneck begins”. The dirt road is a little bumpy and rocky but we don’t care its an adventure. There are a couple big ruts in the road and some of us scream a little. It reminded me of the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland without the falling boulders. This is really cool. The view is getting better and you can see Lake Skinner and all of wine country. It’s really a sight to see. Finally we make it to the top and all I can say is WOW! The view at the top is a 360 degree view of everything. We can see Mt. San Jacinto, Pechanga, Sage, Palomar Mountain and probably the ocean if it wasn’t overcast. There are swallowtail butterflies and dragonflies fluttering by us, seeming to be having as great a time as we are. The native wildflowers are beautiful and the sounds of the buzzing insects are intoxicating. . Jeff pulls out some champagne and we have a toast. He gives us a little description of what we are viewing and about the history of the surrounding area. You definitely want to bring a camera and binoculars. Alas it is time to make the descent down the mountain. It is actually a lot scarier coming down than going up, there are more screams and lots of laughter. We really had a fantastic time.
Maxx Taxi offers three romantic rides. Tour #1 is the Quickie which is the ride we took. A 90 minute ride up the mountain with a champagne toast and one winery for $39. Tour #2 is the Wham Bam, a 5 hour tour which includes the hilltop ride, lunch and a visit to 3 wineries for $109. He also offers a tour called the All-Nighter which is an overnight package that he has in the works.