Arts & Literature Travel

Family Road Trip Day 2: Of Mice, Men & Museums

Salinas, Calif. – Day two of our California road trip included an 8:00 a.m. continental breakfast at the hotel. So we pretty much left as hungry as we woke up, but at least we had a mini-waffle and coffee to tide us over until lunch.

We got gas in our Kia, mainly out of habit and the gas consumer mindset of “what if I get stuck and I need my heater and I don’t have enough gas and I freeze to death.” That’s literally what I think as I pass the last known gas station while on a road trip. It was still further than our personal car would have made it without getting gas, this would have been our second tank. We were barely over half a tank down on the Niro.

Our plan was to visit the National Steinbeck Center right when it opened so we could see it and also be on our way to hit the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco before it closed later that day, without rushing.

We had a little time to kill before the 10:00 opening time, so we headed out to see the sights, and by sights I mean roadside attractions.

First stop . . . the “Rodeo Hats of the Salinas Fairgrounds.” They are meant to look like someone tossed their hat out and it is headed toward the ground. In theory the hats are pretty cool. They look pretty cool too; however, the neighborhood hasn’t aged well, and we did not want to wake the person sleeping underneath the art, so it was a quick trip.

Second stop . . . we drove 10 miles away to visit Castroville, to take a picture in front of a giant artichoke, because, well, because why not? It was pretty amazing to drive through all that farm land and to see the techniques farmers use in the field. The machines they use to bag lettuce right after they pull it from the ground is impressive. Wash your lettuce folks! We were sure to take a picture in front of the artichoke up close (below) so you can’t tell what we are standing in front of. We’re so funny.

Standing in Front of Things: The Giant Artichoke

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Standing in front of other cool things.

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Third stop . . .  we drove another five miles or so to see the Scrap Metal Motorcycle Art in Moss Landing. They were actually pretty cool. I really didn’t know what to expect, but they were huge motorcycles and just neat to see. We took pictures of the boys in front for scale (above). The horseshoe motorcycle was my favorite.

We did all that driving and still made it back in time to be in the doors of the Steinbeck museum right at 10:00. What a cool place. We learned all about his life and what started his career in writing. We listened to “Of Mice and Men” on an audio book as we drove through the area, so the boys were familiar with him and his writing style, and what they didn’t know they were able to read about in the exhibits.

Of Mice & Museums I – @steinbeckcenter

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We left the Steinbeck museum and headed to lunch. We walked to a brewery down the street, Monterey Coast Brewing, and had a beer with lunch. The beer was petty good and Atticus loved the fried artichokes.

On to San Francisco . . . but first, a stop in Colma, which is a modern day necropolis. We thought it was going to be a small town, but it was right outside San Francisco, so a little bit bigger than we imagined. There really are cemeteries everywhere. There was a really cool episode of the podcast 99% Invisible that got us interested in stopping there in the first place. It sounded so interesting. It was. Whit was a little put off by the car lots next to the cemeteries, but I guess that’s just modern day life and death in Colma. We did have to stop at the Olivet Cemetery to visit Clown Alley. It is a part if the cemetery reserved for circus performers. The boys thought they were going to be creeped out, but it was actually pretty interesting.

Then to The Walt Disney Family Museum . . . if you love Walt Disney and you’re in San Francisco I highly recommend it. It was really interesting and I think my favorite part was the wall with all the messages of love and thanks that the world put out when Walt Disney died. You can really see the affect he had on people around the world. That, and the chairs out on the mall. You can either lounge or sit up, or do a little balancing act between both.

Chairs in front of Walt Disney Family Museum

Whales under Golden Gate

We left the Walt Disney Family Museum and drove down to Crissy Field. What a beautiful place that is. We actually saw whales under the Golden Gate Bridge (above). Everyone was in watching in amazement. You could tell it wasn’t a common occurrence since there were so many locals making their way to the fields and docks to take pictures. It was lovely to watch.

We checked in to the Fairmont San Francisco. Pretty fancy-schmancy for us, but we used our Disney Vacation Club membership to secure ourselves a room in the center of nob hill. We hit up Tony’s Pizza for a slice as big as your head and then a quick walk through Chinatown at night to the hotel to finally relax in bed.

FOUND: One (1) heart, well-used.

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What an action packed day that was. SO busy. I’m tired just thinking about it. Day three was going to be exploring San Francisco on foot, and we needed our rest.

Nighty night.

Read more about our road trip:

Day 1

Day 3

Trix, aka Tricia, works in restaurant management at a place you love. She is a connoisseur of language(s), traveler of the world and a damn fine cook. She wrote for Babble and UpTake Travel, back in the day.

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