In March, I had an opportunity to visit the Silicon Valley area of California. I have visited San Francisco, Napa Valley, Laguna Beach, Los Angeles…, but I never made it to this area. Can I tell you a secret? I was really excited because, as you might recall, in 2016 I wrote a blog post about John Steinbeck’s novel Travels with Charley. This was my opportunity to visit some of the places like Monterey, Cannery Row, Salinas, and… wait for it… The National Steinbeck Center. But, I’m getting ahead of myself so I will start at the beginning of the trip.
Palo Alto and Stanford University
I visited the Stanford University campus for a few days. The first day was rainy so I spent most of the day blissfully working in a Starbucks - writing, enjoying coffee while listening to Jazz. That, my friend, is how to spend a rainy day. The next few days I explored the campus. I found the Rodin sculptures, Hoover Tower, bookstore, and, oh, yeah, did I say, the bookstore. But, the real delight was the food. Oh, my goodness!! TWO different Mediterranean restaurants (Mediterranean Wraps and Oren’s Hummus Shop) that were both fabulous. And then, there was the Italian food at Cafe Pro Bono. There was some desert involved at Cafe Pro Bono. Just sayin’.
The Steinbeck Trail
This was SO worth the early morning wake-up. The rich farming area was just amazing. Monterey was beautiful. Cannery Row was a delightful slice of history and literature mixed together. By the time we made our way to Salinas and found the National Steinbeck Center, I was like a kid going to the amusement park. Once we secured ticket for entry, we watched a movie and made our way through the exhibits. It is like they knew to save the best for last. I turned the last corner, and there it was…Rocinante. Rocinate was exactly like I picture it (sans the books, paper, and typewriter of course), but there was even a model of Charley in the cab of the pick-up truck.
There was a fleeting moment when I was tempted to tell Charley to move over ‘cause we were going to take Rocinate out for another adventure across the United States, but I settled for a coffee mug and a bumper sticker that reads, “I’d rather be driving Rocinante”.