Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Fine Traveling Day

Note to all blogging friends:  We are now houseguests in our daughter's home, so we are not comfortable taking as much time as usaul on the computer in the morning. At home, we take at least an hour with me reading emails and blogs aloud for Suzy while she gathers herself together, and we collaborate on comments. So this week, we'll be just sampling one or two blogs each morning. We still love you guys, and we miss the closer connection.

Our trip from Simi Valley where we visited the Reagan Presidential Library up to our daughter Deb's home in Mountain View was delightful. We crossed to the coast on CA state highway 118 through agricultural land: citrus groves, major nurseries, planted fields, vineyards. Much of 118 is a narrow (two-lanes) and winding farming road, with slow moving vehicles, but we love that kind of road, so it was good.

US 101 heading north is a much more pleasant route - by far - than the much faster inland I-5, and there are much more interesting things and places to see. In King City we stopped at Carl's Jr to buy lunch. Suzy had a coupon for one free grilled chicken salad when you buy one, so that was a no-brainter. We wanted to go to a park somewhere to sit at a picnic table and enjoy the meal. With a little help from a local, we found the old Mission Soledad a few miles off 101 in more farming country.

The full name of the mission was Mission Nuestra Señora Dolorosísima de la Soledad, Our Sorrowful Lady of Solitude, and the statue over the altar reflects that name.

The mission was founded in 1791. Wet winter floods destroyed the church three times over the years and fire also took its toll. The church has not been rebuilt, but the chapel and padres' living quarters have been restored, serving today as a museum and place of inspiration.

The chapel is used one Sunday a month for Mass and occasionally for special celebrations such as weddings. Because of frequent strong winds and little access to water for irrigation, the mission initially was not particularly successful in supporting itself. Most of the missionaries assigned here did not stay long; only one of them stayed long enough to die and be buried in the church, along with the first Spanish Governor of Alta California.

Old adobe ruins and rock foundations remain today of the main church and side buildings.  

For more informtion on the instory of the Mission, check out this website. And for more of our pictures, you can peek into our web album 2010 Mission Soledad.

After lunch and visiting the mission, we moved forward on the back farm roads through fields of broccoli, red and green lettuce. wine grapes, and what we think was asparagus.

In one broccoli field, we saw this moving packing shed. As the broccoli was picked, it was trimmed and packed into boxes that would arrive in food stores in just a few days.

Back on Highway 101 we headed north to arrive in the Bay Area's freeway pattern which, while uncomfortable enough, is nothing compared to the 923 miles of Los Angeles area freeways we battled just a few days earlier. We arrived at Deb's home just before 5pm, found her housekey just where she said it would be, and settled happily into her cozy living room. Deb arrived about an hour later, and suddenly we were deep into welcome family time!

Our Life on Wheels!


  1. I'm glad you made it safely to your daughter's home. Enjoy your visit!

    I like to visit the California missions. I think I've seen most of them, except for Soledad.

    I am always heartened to see crops growing in California. Sometimes it seems like houses and developments are taking over the whole state. But there is still lots of food being raised in central California.

    My favorites used to be seeing the cotton fields along Highway 99, the rice paddies near Sacramento, and of course the orange groves near where we lived in Riverside.

  2. Love the picture of the old barn. All the vegetable fields are cool too. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  3. Sounds like the Benson Bunch is doing fine wending their way through the madness & mayhem of the heavy California manic megopolis. Live long & prosper & may the Force be with you....:))

  4. You're in Mountain View? I believe that is the headquarters of Google, Inc. Now, that would be a place I'd love to tour!

    Thanks for posting the pics of the Mission in Soledad - I missed that one so it was nice to see and read a bit about it.

    Enjoy the time with your family this week!

  5. Jerry, your photos of the mission were outstanding. Great tour of this old historic location.

    We know exactly the Carl's Jr. in King City you were at. We have stopped there a few times on our trips up and down Hwy. 101. We didn't have a coupon though. :(

  6. It's great to see pics of the California agricultural fields and Mission Soledad. Those are parts of the state that I miss. Mountain View is where my late husband worked, and we lived in Cupertino. Your pics are super! Enjoy the family visit.

  7. Your tour was great...and I totally understand not being able to go to the blogosphere as often...I have to pry Den's behind from the computer chair many a day!!


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