07 May 2008

Wildflower 2008: On the Road

This past weekend, I headed back down to my old stomping grounds on the central coast. Specifically, to Lake San Antonio, for this year's Wildflower Triathlon weekend. Last time I had visited this event, I was 21, in college, and, happy as a clam (drunk) most of the time.

Although it felt familiar heading down there, we did one thing I had never done before...stopped in one of the small towns on the way. Gonzales, to be specific. This town is about 20 minutes or so south of Salinas, and is one of those blink and you miss it type of places. We pulled over to get ice and last minute supplies.

The off the freeway strip mall was anchored by a big, over-air-conditioned supermarket, and bookended by a Dairy Queen and McDonald's. There was, of course, a Starbucks as well. The desolation of the area made me a little sad, on one side, a freeway, and on the other, stillness as far as the eye could see (with mountains in the distance).

As someone who grew up near a large city, these small towns baffle me a bit. What is there to do? Where do people work? In places like these, are they largely dependent on people who are heading to the lakes, or traveling on 101?

I don't know...there was a quaintness, that's for sure. Out in front of the supermarket, there was an old-fashioned horse that you could ride for only a quarter.

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