Thursday, December 08, 2005

Steinbeck in Salinas, Soledad and San Miguel

Today and yesterday have been traveling in the the Great California Central Valley. The Central Valley is indeed centered on agriculture. Eight of California's 15 top producing agricultural counties are in the Central Valley, and of the top seven, only one (Monterey) is not encompassed in the area from San Joaquin to Kern. This area is not only the most productive in California, it is widely considered the most productive in the world. It's not just agriculture this area is rich in, it's also culture. So we did a cultural tour today Starting with the National Steinbeck Center.

The street outside the center is almost as colorful as the characters in a Steinbeck book.

Inside the displays were great this one was showing East of Eden with James Dean.

This area was patterned after Grapes of Wrath

The next exhibit was Canney Row. Scrabble Queen loved this quote....

And the Boiler Pipe room

Travels with Charley perhaps the inspiration for travels with a muse.

"Steinbeck decided to take their pet poodle, Charley, on the 10,000 mile journey. Travels With Charley can best be appreciated as an act of courage.

The journey began on September 23, 1960. Steinbeck joined Elaine and her relatives in Amarillo, Texas, in time for Thanksgiving 1960. They returned to New York in January 1961.

The manuscript of Charley was in progress by early February 1961, and was written in part in the West Indies on Barbados and completed in New York. It was published mid-summer 1961 and became one of the largest commercial successes of Steinbeck's career."

I loved the inside of Steinbeck's Musemobile

Soledad is south of Salinas and the Steinbeck Center - beautiful wine country.

The Mission Nuestra Señora de la Soledad (Our Lady of Solitude). I love the rough doors different but as beautiful as the blue doors at San Juan Bautista.

"In its beautiful but lonely location many miles from any town this mission more than any other looks just as it did in early Spanish times. Entirely of adobe construction, Soledad Mission fell completely into ruin after its forced abandonment.

Recent rebuilding projects have recreated one side of the quadrangle, as well as the old chapel. Location of the church which washed away in a flood has been found, the tile floor intact. An interesting museum is housed in the rebuilt rooms."

I guess I've see a lot John Huston movies and enjoy the doorway shots.

The road that linked the missions, pueblos, and presidios in early California was called El Camino Real. While typically called "The King's Highway" the term "camino real" is more usually used to denote a crude road, almost a trail, used mostly by wagons. The El Camino Real is marked by symbols like the one here a mission bell supported by a staff in the shape of a Franciscan walking stick

The stubs of adobe walls still mark the exact locations of the remainder of the old quadrangle. Irrigation water and loving care are being used to turn the area into a beautiful garden (can't see it here in the background), as excavation work proceeds.

Next was Mission San Miguel Arcángel. This mission is undergoing a large amount of rebuilding.

Even this large crucifix rests in an overgrown and fenced off courtyard.

The entrance is still very picturesque and though rough I really enjoyed this view. We did not go in since we were ready to hit basecamp.

We did take one picture to go as we were leaving.

Scrabble Score Scrabble Queen 327 - the contender not accepting defeat gracefully 272

Quote of the Day ~
"Writers are a little below clowns and a little above trained seals." ~ John Steinbeck

The Grapes of Wrath (1939) won the Pulitzer Prize.

John Steinbeck was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962 “...for his realistic as well as imaginative writings, distinguished by a sympathetic humor and a keen social perception.”

1 comment:

gulfgreen said...

1962 Nobel Prize
Acceptance Speech
Literature is as old as speech. It grew out of human need for it and it has not changed except to become more needed. The skalds, the bards, the writers are not separate and exclusive. From the beginning, their functions, their duties, their responsibilities have been decreed by our species...the writer is delegated to declare and to celebrate man's proven capacity for greatness of heart and spirit - for gallantry in defeat, for courage, compassion and love. In the endless war against weakness and despair, these are the bright rally flags of hope and of emulation. I hold that a writer who does not passionately believe in the perfectibility of man has no dedication nor any membership in literature.


©Paul Viel