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In Salinas, the touchstones for Steinbeck fans are many. The museum includes the old truck he drove while collecting experiences for Travels With Charley.
At the top of the street, a shining beacon to tourists, literary scholars and locals still quite rightly proud of Steinbeck sits the shrine of the city, the National Steinbeck Center. Gearing up for celebrations to mark the 75th anniversary of the publication of Grapes of Wrath, including a Steinbeck Festival May 2 4, the museum and the surrounding Salinas Valley are must see slices of Americana any time of year.
With Steven Spielberg producing Reebok Classic Leather a remake movie version of Grapes of Wrath, interest in the lush valley often called the salad bowl of North America, has never been higher.
Arrangements have been made for my group to tour Doc's Lab and meet a friend of Ricketts, 94 year old Frank Wright. It's whispered later that Wright's was one of the real life inspirations for East of Eden.
from the 1930s in a twist of fate Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath impoverished Depression characters would have enjoyed.
Cannery Row, with the exception of Doc's Lab and the Chinese grocery store, has morphed from a hardscrabble fish processing area into a series of shops, restaurants and hotels. Its gem is the Monterey Bay Aquarium, built on the site of a former sardine cannery. Its 11 main exhibits focus on Monterey Bay fish habitats and Saucony Excursion
Outside city limits, massive fields of celery, lettuce and artichoke stretch as far as the eye can see the same fields where Of Mice and Men's George and Lennie may have laboured.
Hahn Estate can be toured on ATVs and its tasting room is one of the most popular in the Santa Lucia Highlands, a wine region noted for its pinot noir, chardonnay and syrah grapes.
No visit to southern California would be complete without a wine experience. The Salinas Valley offers a huge array of wineries to discover and tour from Hahn Estate, whose fine wines are available in Canada, to smaller, interesting wineries such as Puma Road and Pessagno.
For those wanting to see ocean creatures in the wild, the region offers whale watching expeditions along with more calm kayak or electric boat excursions into places such as the Elkhorn Slough at Moss Landing.
The aquarium's marquee exhibit is the 8 metre high tank for viewing Pacific Ocean marine life such as California giant kelp. There are more than a dozen jelly fish, sharks, otters and octopus. A family friendly interactive zone in the fully accessible aquarium has some 45 hands on displays, while the Mission to the Deep exhibit gives visitors a deep sea exploration experience without getting wet.
I'm walking on Main St., past an abandoned bank and straight into a novel. A John Steinbeck novel, to be precise.
Hikers will not want to miss the awesome beauty of the needle like rock formations at Pinnacles National Park, east of the Salinas Valley. The park offers caves and crevices to explore. But bring a flashlight we didn't and groped along with cell phones providing the only light.
A 30 minute drive toward the Pacific Ocean reveals Monterey and its Cannery Row, where the marine biology lab of Steinbeck pal Ed "Doc" Ricketts still stands. Not always open to the public, the wood frame Doc's Lab survives among more modern buildings, within sight of the world famous Monterey Bay Aquarium built to honour Ricketts' ground breaking scientific work.
The old bank is now an antique shop, selling curios Saucony Vegan Jazz
excursion, for which I accepted our host's offer of an electronic wrist band to ward off sea sickness, we spotted humpback whales, dolphins, walruses and sea lions.
Whale watchers who don't have their sea legs are advised to take morning tours when the ocean is calmer. During my Saucony Cruel World 3
Steinbeck's hometown keeps legacy alive
Indeed, a glass of pinot noir on the Hahn open air patio overlooking its vineyards may be the perfect way to toast this richly satisfying region of California and John Steinbeck, its most famous son.
the deep seas. On display are specimens from Ricketts' Pacific Biological Laboratories.
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