Greetings from Monterey, California. After we conclude our stay here at the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey Pines RV Park, we are heading to San Francisco for almost a week before heading up to Fortuna, California.
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay in King City, California. We stayed at San Lorenzo Regional Park along the Salinas River. It was rustic but had everything we needed. An added bonus was that it is home to the Agricultural and Rural Life Museum which consists of the Main Exhibit Barn, housing mid 1800’s to early 1900’s cars, wagons and trucks along with displays depicting farm life in the area. Also on the grounds are the Spreckel’s House, the La Gloria Schoolhouse, King City Train Depot and Blacksmith Shop. The Spreckel’s House was originally located on the Spreckel’s Sugar Company Ranch and was moved to San Lorenzo Park in 1980. It depicts life in the early 1900’s on a central coast farm and all the items, with a few exceptions, were original to the house to include all of the kitchen items, the bathtub and even a child’s wicker potty-chair. I especially enjoyed the La Gloria School House and the contents inside. It was built in 1873 and was used all the way until the early 1960’s by the town of Gonzales as a one-room schoolhouse for grades Kindergarten through 6th grade. It also contained mostly original items to include all the desks, teacher’s table and books.
We did a bit of bike riding and walking around the area but King city wasn’t conducive to long treks. We visited Pinnacles National Monument and hiked a few of their trails and we especially liked the Bear Gulch Cave and Reservoir. The park is east of Salinas Valley and it is named Pinnacle’s National Monument because of the spectacular remains of an ancient volcano. There are deep, narrow gorges, which form the caves, and everywhere you look you see boulders toppled from above and wedged among the rock walls. We brought along a picnic lunch and enjoyed it overlooking Bear Gulch Reservoir.
Another day we drove to Camp Roberts, about 40 miles south of where we are staying. There were two reasons we wanted to visit there, the primary one being that my dad, Jerry Tucker, had served there when he was in the Army before, during and after the Cuban Missile Crisis and secondarily because we wanted to check out the base and campground there. The base was constructed in the late 1940’s and opened in March of 1941. The base was named after Harold W. Roberts, a WW I tank driver from San Francisco who had died in France and had been awarded the Medal of Honor. Today, Camp Roberts is the only military post named for an enlisted person. It has been closed and opened many times since 1941 and today it is used as California Army National Guard component training and mobilization facility. Many of the original buildings are still there, although they have been condemned and are slowly disintegrating….what a shame.
After visiting there most of the morning and early afternoon we decided to tour Mission San Miguel. It looks much the same as it did when it was founded in 1797 although it did suffer some damage from a 2003 earthquake. It is a wonderful representation of Mission and Indian life prior to 1834. We also visited Rios-Caledonia Adobe, which used to be a part of Mission San Miguel but them became a private home, stage stop, doctor’s office and even a school over the years.
We spent another of our days in the King City area visiting another mission in the chain of 21 California missions. The original Soledad Mission is in ruins but there is a move afoot to restore it to its original splendor. The new mission is only used for services once a month but the buildings serve as representation of what mission life was like in the late 1700’s. Later that day we visited a local winery, Paraiso, and had a wonderful experience. The views from the winery were gorgeous and we had a nice chat with a couple from L.A. (who were trying to escape Carmaggedon), they had just left San Francisco and gave us a few ideas for our visit. Life is Good…..