North, South, and some Missions in between

Since I was shifting into a new decade with the approach of my 30th birthday, my wife and I decided to take a little trip we had been talking about for a while. So last Friday morning we jumped in the Cube and headed north on the 101. The plan was to drive straight to Monterey to enjoy the awesome aquarium they had there, but us being us, we didn’t follow the script.

We were cruising at a steady 75mph when Jenny shouted, “there’s a mission in San Luis Obispo, let’s stop!” Now 2 things are important here, 1. We have a goal to visit all of the California missions and 2. We were driving through San Luis Obispo at the time and the exit was fast approaching…

I pulled across multiple lanes of traffic, ignoring the honks, and we made our way to the San Luis Obispo Mission. They were having a 7th and 8th grade Halloween costume dance. I think Junipero Serra would roll over in his grave (which we would see soon enough).

After giving a homeless guy $1 we were back on the 101 and made it another 15 miles before seeing a sign for the San Miguel Mission, so we stopped there too! It was my favorite one, very old, very original, very dusty.

We finally made it to a cool, blustery Monterey around 2:30 and went straight to the aquarium. I’ll spare you all the details, but the jellyfish and sea horses were the best part.

The next morning we headed back south, first stopping at the Carmel Mission (our third in 2 days) which we breezed through because a wedding was about to start. The highlight of this Mission (in a weird, dark way) was that it was the one where Father Serra (who founded all the Missions) died and is buried. After our quick stop we took off down the PCH through Big Sur (which is absolutely beautiful), across some really high bridges and around some seriously windy roads and finally made it to Hearst Castle.

                                                                                                    Wow.

                                                                                  What a house.

                                                            I think I could live there.

I am not a good enough writer to describe Hearst Castle in a manner that would effectively capture what it is like. Go see it for yourself.

Soon enough we were home, having decided to bypass the 2 Missions we would be passing in order to speed up things, and the trip was over. It was a good introduction into my 30’s, but hopefully it’s just the beginning.

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Pacific – Part Four

At long last, part four.

I finished my journey along the Pacific at Neptune’s Net.

Besides having great food, a beautiful view, and a very diverse group of customers, Neptune’s Net is where Jenny and I had lunch on our first date together. Because of that, it will always hold a special place in my heart.

p.s. I had the Fish and Shrimp Basket 🙂

Pacific – Part Two

 

I drove a short way down the PCH (about 100 yards) and pulled off to the side of the road next to a very large rock that stood guarding over the Pacific. The mist was even thicker now, almost to the point of possibly being called rain and even though it was morning, standing there I was taken back to a night in 2006.

I was on tour (still) with a choir from Uganda and we were staying in Camarillo that night. All of the children and adults were being hosted at one very big house. After the children went to bed some of us adults decided to take a drive out to the ocean just for the fun of it, so four of us got into a car and drove to this very spot. One of the staff who was there with me was a girl I had come to love and as we stood there in the moonlight watching the waves crash against the shore I looked over at her and was mesmerized by her beauty. Forget the ocean, forget the starry sky, she was the object that caught my attention.

I didn’t try to hold her hand, I didn’t whisper any sweet words in her ear, I just watched her. Of course, when she turned her blue eyes towards me I quickly turned my head away and glanced out at the Pacific! I was still nervous around her, when she looked my way my heart would begin to pound and I couldn’t think of any words to say. So, I said nothing. I kept everything inside, to myself. It was a cool night and after a few minutes we piled back into the warmth of the car and drove back to the house where we were staying. As I stood there 4 years later I couldn’t help but smile remembering that moment.

That night was just the beginning of things. We both knew how the other felt, we had talked, we had opened our hearts up, but little did I know that we would soon start dating, eventually become engaged and ultimately get married.