Wednesday, March 3, 2010


One of the fun aspects of geocaching is when you get to explore a new area and learn something from that area.  When I went to college, a friend of mine was from Salinas.  I didn't really think much of this except when I would come home along the 101 and drive by Salinas and think, "Oh, that's where so and so lives."  I had the stamina of a college student, but then again, I was, so it was easy to make a 12 hour drive, and be as fresh as a daisy when I was done.

Stopping?  Heck, we'd stop once for lunch, and a couple of times for gas and that was about it.  Today, I don't have the stamina for that kind of driving and although I probably stop less for gas, I do stop more occasionally to smell the roses, enjoy the air and to just plain stretch.  That's where geocaching come in.  It clears my head on those long drives.

Now that I have a reason to drive up the 101 again, Salinas comes into view every time we drive to or from Santa Cruz.  There's also a couple of interesting spots in town that deserved our scrutiny and we stopped this last time to check out some of the architecture and history of Salinas, CA.

Salinas is at the juncture where we leave the 101 to cut over to the coast if we're heading up to Santa Cruz.  On our way back, it's obviously, just the opposite.  We were heading south, toward home and driving through the edge of Salinas when I noticed a couple of caches just west of our intended route pop up on my GPS's screen.  I knew there were a couple of virtual caches near here and was delighted to see that both of them were right here.

This particular virtual had us examining some historic homes along a two block stretch of road in the old town part of Salinas.  The second house was the one that I particularly enjoyed the most because it was the birthplace of John Steinbeck, author of The Grapes of Wrath and The Red Pony, plus many other stories.  I can remember reading The Red Pony in junior high and I believe I ended up reading The Grapes of Wrath in either high school or college, but my memory is a little shaky on that second point.

Unfortunately, the house which is open for tours was closed that early in the morning when we were there, so we couldn't tour the inside of the house, but that will give us another excuse to come back through and stop.  While on this walking tour near Steinbeck's house we also ended up seeing a house that was home to the first female butcher of Salinas and another house where one of the first pharmacists in town lived.  The Tadpole also learned what a "dormer" was when we had to count them on one of the house that this virtual cache took us too.  As he has stated previously, he likes virtuals because you usually learn something while finding them.  I have to concur.

Salinas is obviously very proud of Steinbeck's roots as they have the John Steinbeck Library in town and the National Steinbeck Center which houses the largest collection of John Steinbeck archives in the world.  They should be proud.  Not many cities can be claimed as the hometown of a Pulitzer Prize winner and a Nobel Prize winner.  The other virtual in town we ended up deciding to save for another day.  I'm sure we'll get a similar set of stories from those historic building as well.  Perhaps we'll have more time to explore the Steinbeck Center as well.

Pictures were taken at or near the following geocache:
Historic Homes - by The Plunketts

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1 comment:

RDOwens said...

My knowledge of Salinas is limited to Me and Bobby McGee . . . Somewhere near Salinas, Lord, I let her slip away.