How many places of significance do you pass on a daily basis that you never seem to have time to stop at? A friend from Paris laughed as I posed the question. Why are we so different when we travel? We seek out art, architecture, history, wild places, and adventure on vacation but when it surrounds we are so caught up in our daily routine to stop. Admittedly, I have a long commute (100 miles). On my commute, I pass 3 California missions, 2 historic adobes, 1 national park, 1 national forest, countless wineries, and lots of other points of local interest. It took 7 years of thinking, “I need to climb that” before I stopped to hike Chalone Peak. It took 9 1/2 years of looking at the state historic marker for the Mission Soledad for me to put my camera in the car 3 days ahead and commit to stopping on my way home from work. It’s not that I am sitting in a dark basement letting life pass me by. What amazes me is that we are so busy, it’s almost like a switch is thrown when we travel, and we find the time to stop at what interests us. Yet, on a daily basis it takes a Herculean effort to change the routine, the priorities, and the distractions.
I used to stop by Pinnacles National Monument to run or hike, but Chalone Peak was the allusive goal. Somehow, I needed to stop and say today is the day.
I took a day off this spring and decided to take the long way home. Via the Steinbeck House (Salinas, California), the Sargent House (Salinas, California), the Sheriff William Joseph Nesbitt House (Salinas, California), the Mission Nuestra Señora de la Soledad (Soledad, California), the Mission San Miguel Arcangel (San Miguel, California), the Rios-Caledonia Adobe (San Miguel, California), and the Estrella Adobe Church (Paso Robles, California). I promise that it won’t take another 10 years to go back.