|Pinnacles National Monument|
Instead, for 4 days we went... um, well we went...Away - let's just call it away. You can't exactly call anything that happens inside the confines of a Thousand Trails "Campground" camping. Meals prepared for you if you like, restrooms cleaned daily, multiple swimming pools, and a convenience store with not a single tent in sight aren't exactly included in the traditional definition of camping. However, sleeping in a real bed and watching movies until early morning with my wife sure beats the inflatable mattress and fluttering tent flaps that ordinarily supplement the Family Camping routine.
**I must digress and assuage any doubt that I retain the outdoors gene. I do. I'm currently planning with a group of men for a 1 week assault on the 200+ mile long John Muir Trail from Yosemite to Mt. Whitney scheduled for some time next summer. I'm fairly certain no restrooms will be found along that trail.**
But as I was saying, my family escaped the Bay Area for nearly 4 days. I slept-in every single day, upon which I found my daughters crowding Bec and I out of our own bed for possibly the first time in my life. We swam in the pool twice, crawled around in caves, and watched a Civil War Reenactment - all spontaneously and with no great thought to schedule (other than the comment "if we don't get moving - the place will be closed before we get there").
We were south of Silicon Valley - just outside of Hollister, CA - a second choice after our Yosemite campground was closed for the Rim Fire spectacle. The campground was in the middle of what I call the California Desert. This corner of the Central Valley is characteristically fertile, providing spectacular yet paradoxical vistas. The bright secondary colors of farms and vineyards are denoted and sustained by the strategic placement of one simple additive - water.
So those were my views on my Sunday morning run. Well, actually it turned into more of a Sunday morning walk, hobble, limp, run, walk, hobble, run...you get the idea. The Plantar Fasciitis that I've been staving off for weeks finally had its way with me. My left foot was sore out of the gate and only grew worse as I went. I only managed 12 miles in about 2 hours and alas, even that has left me in severe pain and off my feet as much as possible for the rest of the day. Packing the truck was interesting. It was a bad run which probably should have been omitted. But as usual, if nothing else, it afforded some beautiful views of California awakening.
|No - you've never heard of Paicines. There is a small store in the distance at the town intersection, which was a "short run" midpoint option for my out and back run. I never even made it that far. The town line was far enough for me.|
|Vineyards on the hillsides|
|Not sure what's growing here. One of the fields was carrots. I couldn't help pulling one of the stray plants along the road - and sure enough. Even this city boy can identify a carrot.|
|The road skirts these fields all the way around to the base of the far hills. Our campground is approx. 2 miles beyond the right side of the picture.|