A Publication of Wichita Eisenhower Airport

California charm of San Luis Obispo California charm of San Luis Obispo

The laid-back California charm of San Luis Obispo

Highway 1 along the Pacific Coast Highway 1 along the Pacific Coast

Highway 1 along the Pacific Coast

San Luis Obispo. Try saying it out loud. Even the name is calming. This low-key California city, midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco on Highway 1, is as chill as it sounds. The locals are so laid back they can’t even be bothered with the full name. They call it SLO, for short. Which is perfect. Slow living is a way of life for the locals — and why you should get there fast.

In a state with no shortage of landmarks, glitz, famous names and places, this is the part of California Californian’s go to when they want to get away. Plan on flying in and then renting a car to really get the most out of your trip. It’s wine country, but of the less touristy variety than Napa or Sonoma. It’s also only five miles from the Pacific, close enough for day trips to Pismo Beach, Avila Beach, and Morro Bay. The drive itself to the coastal towns along Highway 1 offers cinematically beautiful scenery. You’ve seen it before, but only on the silver screen.

Wine is the main attraction in town. Of the top ten things commonly listed as must-dos in San Luis Obispo, visiting the vineyards are seven of them. Tolosa Winery tops the list, promising “unpretentious and value-priced wines set among rolling hillsides.” Then there is Niven Family Wine Estate, offering samples inside an early-20th-century wooden schoolhouse. Rustic is a theme around town. At Chamisal Vineyards, small-lot wines are sipped in a rust-colored barn. All mostly organically grown, of course. Point is this: In SLO, they enjoy the finer things without being pretentious. It’s wine COUNTRY.

Tolosa Winery

Tolosa Winery

Chamisal Vineyards wine

Chamisal Vineyards wine

Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa

Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa

The region is dotted with old missions, including one right in town. Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, founded in 1772 and named for a 13th-century French saint, still stands downtown. It is surrounded by gardens and is so whitewashed it nearly strobes in the sun. You can’t miss it. Follow the ringing bells.

It’s California, so expect eccentricity. You’ll find it in Bubble Gum Alley. The name says it all. It’s an alley festooned with colorful, already chewed gum. Then there is the Madonna Inn, a campy luxury hotel with 110 themed rooms, including Caveman and Floral Fantasy, which is nearly all hot-pink. Even if you don’t stay, it is worth a peek.

Take Your Time
Bubble Gum Alley

Bubble Gum Alley

There is not a bad time of year to be in sunny California, and Thursdays are always a good day in San Luis Obispo. That’s the day the downtown square is turned into a farmer’s market, with live music, food, drinking, and dancing. You might need a nap after, and that’s okay. You’re on vacation, and it's SLO-CAL. You have come here to live a little — or a lot. Take your time.

Farmer’s Market Farmer’s Market

Farmer’s Market

Madonna Inn Madonna Inn

Madonna Inn

WHAT TO DO IN THE AREA

  • Hearst Castle

    Tour Hearst Castle

    Perched just above the cloudline on a hilltop overlooking the nearby village of San Simeon, there is a castle in the sky. It was built for William Randolph Hearst in 1919. Hearst made his fortune in newspapers and was made more famous by his depiction in Citizen Kane. His lavish estate has to be seen, and toured, to be believed.

  • Hit the Beaches

    Hit the Beaches

    There are more than 80 miles of coastline just a few minutes’ drive outside of town. Go surfing, swimming, walk the boardwalk, smell the air, build a sandcastle, or just rent a convertible and take the most breathtaking drive of your life.

  • Field of Light at Sensorio

    See the Lights

    If you go before January, you can experience the Field of Light at Sensorio, in nearby Paso Robles. It’s a multi-acre installation, by artist Bruce Munro, featuring 58,800 fiber optic lights that illuminate the hillsides. You can stroll through (with a glass of wine, of course).

  • 18th annual Cambria Art & Wine Festival

    Explore the Local Art

    With all of its beauty, the area naturally inspires, and lures, artists. The 18th annual Cambria Art & Wine Festival is Jan. 24-26. It’s a three-day celebration of fine wine and original art found on the California Central Coast.

  • TGIF Half Day Wine Tours

    Happy Fridays

    A good way to explore the local vineyards is with the weekly TGIF 1⁄2 Day Wine Tours. You’ll get door-to-door delivery and guided tours of three unique wineries.

Getting Around Getting Around

GETTING THERE

American through PHX* FLY TO Santa Barbara, Bakersfield, Burbank, Monterey, San Jose or San Luis Obispo
*New seasonal route starting Dec. 18

United through DEN FLY TO Santa Barbara, Bakersfield, Burbank, Monterey, San Jose or San Luis Obispo

Southwest through PHX or LAS FLY TO Burbank or San Jose

For more options, see our Flight Guide Flight Guide

End Plane

Non-stop Flights to Destin Florida Non-stop Flights to Destin Florida

A conversation with Scott Schwindaman

Scott Schwindaman is all business, like all the time. He takes several flights a year to trade shows or to build relationships with potential partners domestically and abroad. Vegas. Orlando. England. Japan. He enjoys the work. But flying? Not so much. Travel, meh. “I am like, let’s get there, let’s get the job done, let’s get home,” he says. Wichita is lucky to have a guy like that here. When he gets home, he is either bringing business back with him or ideas on how to improve our region based on what he’s just seen. He’s not your traditional tourist or traditional Eisenhower Air subject. He is on a mission.

Schwindaman is President and CEO of Lubrication Engineers, where he started near the bottom in 1981 and worked his way to the top by 2007. Since then, he has recast the company from being primarily a manufacturer of lubricants to a service provider, helping plants to keep their moving parts up and running through regular service and training, successfully expanding the business. He is also vice president of Alpha BioSystems, Inc., a small upstart that manufactures all-natural, nontoxic products for improving soil health. He is a past chairman of the board of the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce and is a current executive on the board of the Greater Wichita Partnership, where he was key in the formation of two Wichita business initiatives: The Entrepreneurial Task Force and the e2e Accelerator / Incubator.

Oh, and he breeds Clydesdales. Interesting guy. You never know who you will be sitting next to on a plane.

Lubrication Engineering Manufacturing Facility Lubrication Engineering Manufacturing Facility

Lubrication Engineering manufacturing facility in Wichita

quote

I don’t know why anyone would use anything but Wichita if you live in this area

Scott Schwindaman

So, you don’t like to fly? How do you handle that, as you travel so much?

I tend to fly first class, so that does make it a little bit better. I always have a laptop, but I tell you I am not one of those people that pulls that out on a plane. That's a moment where I have a little downtime and nobody can call the cell phone, nobody can bother me. I use that time really to just gather my thoughts and strategy about the meeting I am going to, to kind of map that out in my head. I am not the guy sitting there pounding on a laptop. I am just relaxing and pondering life.

How often are you at ICT?

I probably fly through there 20-25 times a year. I like the convenience of the airport. The groups that think they have to drive to Kansas City, Oklahoma City, Tulsa – I think if they would really sit down and calculate the cost, they would find that there really is no savings there. Sure, your ticket prices from time to time might be slightly cheaper, but by the time you add up your time and fuel, I don't know why anyone would use anything but Wichita if you live in this area.

What do you think about the airport?

The thing that the citizens of this area have got to recognize is how impactful our airport is to a first-time visitor. I hear it all of the time from international travelers, as we sell worldwide and they fly in to see our facilities. That is such a great front door. What we really need to do now is continue that advancement down the corridor of Highway 54 as you go into the city.

You’re heavily involved in civic and business groups. What is something this city can do to grow?

I am not a tear CenturyII down guy.I am not a keep Century II guy, either. What we need to look at is how we can get conventions to the city that are truly conventions. When I go to a convention, usually I am in a city for three or four days. I am not standing in that booth the whole time. I am out walking the city. I am looking at the city in a way like, okay, if we ever needed a facility, would this city fit the culture of Lubrication Engineers. We don't get the C-level executives into our city to truly see all the things that we have. Thank God we've got the airport, and it looks really good, but we have got to continue to advance so we can bring in those bigger conventions.

Business Dinner in South Korea Business Dinner in South Korea

Scott at business dinner in South Korea

Scott's thoughts on growing Wichita Scott's thoughts on growing Wichita
Scott's thoughts on growing Wichita
Business Dinner in South Korea

Lubircation Engineering convention booth

What are we missing to make that happen?

It is strictly a space issue. We probably would have to look at more hotels, too. We don't have to be the huge convention center, but we've got to have a usable space that people can fit a convention into. I had a convention in K.C. two years ago, and this particular group wanted to see our facility in Wichita. We leased a bus and had about 80 people come to Wichita, including the executive director of that group. They really wanted to come to Wichita, but when they started looking at what we had, and at our convention space, they said it just wouldn’t work. And I hate that. They loved the city. They looked around and said, my gosh, this is great. People would love to come here. Your river, everything about it. We just don't have the space. I hate it when I hear that. It really bothers me.

You run a successful business. That takes a lot of time and energy. You also mentor and sit on boards in Wichita. Why is that important to you?

I love Wichita, it is my hometown. It is where I was born and raised. I think we are a hidden gem for manufacturing. I brought a Japanese firm here, and we built a facility for them in Maize last year. I have numerous other countries that I am talking to that really want to move their facility out of the East Coast or Chicago area down here because it just makes a lot more sense for them. I think I have been very fortunate. I started as a lab technician. Who would have dreamed that I would have owned this business? So I always feel that I have to help other people. I had a great group of mentors around me that directed and guided me, and I am just trying to pay back a part of that to others who are trying to improve and grow. Being able to read an article in the paper when someone becomes successful, and I played a very small part in directing them down that path, that's my definition of success.

Finally, the Clydesdales. How did you get into that?

We are one of the top Clydesdale breeders in the United States. We breed black Clydesdale, which is a recessive gene. You've really got to understand the pedigrees to produce those types of horses. It goes back to my entrepreneurial ways. I started doing that 20 years ago. When I went to a show, the black horses, if they even placed, they were right at the bottom, compared to the bay colored horses. So I started studying pedigrees, and what we could do to improve breeding the black genetics. I think we have been successful. We have a world-class stallion. When you tell me I can't do something, that's when I dig in to figure out how to do it.

Scott and his Clydesdale Scott and his Clydesdale

Scott and his Clydesdale

End Plane

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Credits

Editor Valerie Wise, Wichita Airport Authority
Creative Agency Greteman Group
Creative Director Sonia Greteman
Art Director Meghan Wolfe
Contributing Writer Barry Owens
Photography Visit SLO CAL, Tolosa Winery, Chamisal Vineyards,
Kirstin McLatchie, Matthew Dillon, Stan Shebs,
Serena Munro, Forever Stoked Gallery,
Scott Schwindaman, Lubrication Engineers

Eisenhower Air is published for the traveling public by the Wichita Airport Authority. We welcome your comments and suggestions. Please direct them to Valerie Wise at vwise@wichita.gov. We also encourage you to share articles through social media and email. Help us spread the word about the good things happening at our airport.

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