Living Here Guide

For classic car buffs, Atascadero is the perfect place to call home

Brad Humphrey of Atascadero is a classic-car enthusiast and a retired Atascadero State Hospital police sergeant.
Brad Humphrey of Atascadero is a classic-car enthusiast and a retired Atascadero State Hospital police sergeant. dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

Brad Humphrey thinks Atascadero has a special untouched charm that many larger cities lack.

“Atascadero just makes me feel happy,” he said. “I’m happy to still be here. It’s just a nice, cleaner, more relaxed place to live.”

Humphrey, 61, is a former journalist and a retired Atascadero State Hospital police sergeant.

His parents, the late Norene and Thurmond Humphrey, moved to Atascadero from Mendota in 1959. He’s lived in town since he was 4 years old and married his high school sweetheart, Valerie. Their two children and five grandchildren all still live in Atascadero.

Humphrey spent his childhood days building forts in Atascadero Creek, playing with neighborhood kids and swimming.

“It seemed like Atascadero was far removed from everywhere else,” he said. “The open fields, which were everywhere, were used as baseball fields. We would stack up bales of hay for a backstop.”

He remembers walking from his house to the city’s former pool, where admission cost 10 cents.

“It was a great place to spend the summer, especially when temperatures soared,” he said.

In the 1970s, Humphrey found a new passion that continues today.

“Gas shot up to 50 cents a gallon. I sold my big-engine Chevy and got a motorcycle,” he said. “Motorcycle-riding is definitely dangerous, but taking a ride when the weather is perfect and scenery is spectacular is one of the pure joys in life.”

But four wheels will do, too.

“It seems like I’ve always had a huge interest in cars,” he added. “As a kid, I played in every car I was allowed to get in.”

ATASCADERO:

Population: 30,879

Key employers:

• Atascadero State Hospital

• City of Atascadero

• Atascadero Unified School District

• Other retailers and hospitality

Community events:

• Colony Days, Oct. 15, 2016

• Winter Wonderland Street Fair, Dec. 9, 2016

• Cruisin’ Weekend, Aug. 19-20, 2016

• Tamale Festival, Jan. 21, 2017

• Brew at the Zoo, April 29, 2017

• Central Coast Cider Festival, May 13, 2017

• Atascadero Lakeside Wine Festival, June 23-25, 2017

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