I began Take Two from the Carmel Mission on Monday, May 1 (and it was a gorgeous May Day indeed. All is still so green on the Monterey Peninsula.) I rode from Aileen’s house in Carmel to my storage unit in Pacific Grove, by way of the Seventeen Mile Drive, to store my backpack.
Then I rode back to Carmel, again through Pebble Beach, passing by Carmel beach where the water was turquoise blue
and then around one of my favorite spots on Earth, Carmel Point and Stuart’s Cove.
At the Carmel Mission I asked a group of men who were speaking Chinese if one of them would take my picture. I assumed that at least one of them would understand English. Sure enough, one of them emerged as a leader and kindly did so.
The Carmel Mission is also known as Mission San Carlos Borromeo Del Rio Carmelo, as it was moved from the original mission site in Monterey where the San Carlos Cathedral now stands. Serra moved the mission closer to the Carmel River both for the water and because there were more native people living there. Ironically, Carmel Mission was abandoned for a time (most of the natives died) while San Carlos Cathedral, or the Royal Presidio Chapel, has always been in use. Here is the original mission site in Monterey, recently renovated. It’s beautiful inside and out.
Carmel and Pebble Beach are extraordinarily beautiful places, home to the rich and famous. As I rode my bicycle to Salinas on day two, I was struck by one major and highly significant difference between the two places: the former has an abundance of trees
while the latter is sorely lacking in these bastions of beauty and health. The farther east you go in Salinas, the fewer trees you see, until they disappear almost completely within the agricultural zone.
Modern day agriculture is sometimes described as being “industrial” and more like mining than farming. There has always been in me, first as a foodie and later as an environmentalist, a deep desire to grow my own food. To do so in such a way that the surrounding ecology is enhanced rather than diminished would be an honor and a blessing.
As I rode south along East Alisal Street in Salinas and eventually on Old Stage Road, I saw quite a few abandoned greenhouses.
I have been told that these greenhouses used to be flower nurseries but that most of them went out of business because of some trade agreement or other, at which time the country of Colombia became the flower power. Now, years later, these green houses are hot property, due to the fact that the legalization of marijuana is imminent. One has to wonder if the famous “Salad Bowl of America” will eventually become the “Pipe Bowl of America.” I did vote in favor of its legalization, I have to say, mainly because it is being grown in our National Forests, resulting in pollution of streams and rivers with rodenticides and herbicides.
After one night’s stay with a good friend in Salinas, I continued south to Gonzales, this time to dog- and chicken-sit for my friends the Gulartes. Here’s a photo of a beautiful, older home in town; “April showers bring May flowers!”
The infamous Salinas Valley winds have begun and it’s a good thing I’m headed in the right direction! I’m very grateful to have the wind at my back.
Using the Camino Real as a structure for my meanderings is helpful; it gives me a historic and traditional route to follow as a pilgrim. Whether I remain faithful to it remains to be seen–I’m taking this One Day at a Time.
So far the bike is working out great. I now understand the significance of the invention of the wheel as I never did before. I feel that I have suddenly progressed from one stage of evolution to another. Motorists are not necessarily thrilled to have me join them however. I have to be mindful of them to say the least.