I found myself singing this 1940’s song from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical Oklahoma each of the last two mornings as I made my way, slowly, along Monterey County’s G-14:
(My mother was a fan, and so, still, am I.) Everything was just so lovely; the fresh morning air, the blue sky, the sound of birds everywhere, the golden rolling hills, and the majestic green trees. I really do feel that “everything’s going my way” as I continue this journey of faith.
Lake San Antonio has been closed for some years for lack of water, as I mentioned before. They have just this weekend opened up full time for camping and water sports, including fishing, water skiing and the like. It was hot (in the low 90s) when I arrived and it was all I could do to eat my lunch of left over vegetables from the night before and some peanut butter, and then set up my tent under the shade of some smaller oak trees. I tried to take a nap in my tent but it was too hot, so I went down to the camp store and got some ice cold water.
I walked down to the lake and saw a number of house boats anchored in the Marina area.
I put my sneakered feet into the cool water which cooled me down nicely and watched some interesting water birds float and dive on the water. They were black and white and had long, sharp beaks. I wished my birder friends were there to identify them for me. In the brush I had seen some unusual birds that made me think of Roadrunner from the cartoon series. I wonder if that’s what they were.
I had an early dinner of vegetable soup made from dehydrated cabbage, onion, carrot, celery and bell pepper, and a whole can of pinto beans, drizzled with local olive oil I bought at the Lockwood store. Well satisfied, I turned in before dark, as I wanted to get an early start the next morning for I knew that Saturday would be even hotter. Before hitting the ground, though, I took this shot of the sun hitting those golden rolling hills.
I was up and out the next morning by dawn, as planned. I took a shortcut over a hill on a dirt road which saved some climbing and observed the rising sun bringing light to the countryside.
I had a long day of riding, and walking. My bike is turning out to be much like a rideable cart for the transportation of me and my stuff; if a hill has much of an incline I get off and push, or pull, my bike up the hill. There were some big hills yesterday with rewarding views. Here’s Lake San Antonio from a distance:
and on the other side of the road (to the west), Lake Nacimiento.
I past the entrance to Lake Nacimiento without turning in, as I wanted to get to Mission San Miguel before the hottest part of the afternoon. Shortly thereafter I saw this small indication that I had left Monterey County and was entering San Luis Obispo County. For me it was a significant moment! It had taken me a good six weeks to get through my home country!
As I ride along these country roads cars (and other cyclists) zip past quickly, while I toodle along at a snail’s pace. When I pass grazing animals they usually look up and watch me pass with curiosity. What sort of strange animal is this, they wonder. I feel that I am on a different time frame from most people, and one more akin to the animals I see.
I stopped for lunch at a park-like entrance to a private estate on San Marcos Road. They had planted several shade trees and green grass which they maintain beautifully. I was so grateful for a place to sit out of the sun to rest and nourish myself. Someone from the ranch came through the gate and wasn’t in the least surprised nor upset to see me sitting there. I thanked him for the refuge.
Getting to Mission San Miguel was more challenging than I thought it would be from San Marcos Road. To avoid Highway 101 I went under the freeway on a dirt road and then along a trail next to the Salinas River. The trail was sandy, it was hot as you know what, and then I had to go through weeds with sharp foxtails that got into my shoes and socks.
I had to push my bike over the railroad tracks to arrive at last to the wonderful mission. It was like an oasis in a desert–beautiful, and so cool inside! I can only imagine how amazing it must have been to inhabit this compound back in the day when there was nothing even close to it’s comfort and grandiosity anywhere. My appreciation for Junipero Serra and his leadership went up a notch this day.