I woke up around 8. Not completely rested, but enough. I took my time getting ready, and ultimately decided not to try and fit church into my morning. So I went in search of a hiking trail Evan recommended: Bishop's Peak. He said it would be about 45 minutes up, 30 minutes down. Just in case, I packed my bags so I wouldn't have to worry about not checking out in time. If I did return in time, I could come back for another swim or just a shower.
It took a little while to find the trailhead. As it turns out, there were two, but neither clearly marked as the trailhead. There was the "straight up" route, or the scenic route. I opted for the scenic route. Took me a little longer, but I wasn't rushing. Quite a few people were out on the trail, but not so many that it was unpleasantly crowded. Most people either just moved on past me, or I passed them, but I did strike up a conversation with one couple, Allen and Lori. We briefly spoke as they passed me on their way up, and then sat and talked for a little while at the (almost) top vista point. I found out that while they live nearby in Arroyo Grande, but are originally from Garden Grove and Anaheim. Allen even went to Garden Grove High School.
I tried climbing up the rocks to the very top, but ultimately backed off since I wasn't confident that I'd be able to get back down as easily. I met up with Allen and Lori a third of the way back along the trail. I found out that they had worked as florists down in Orange County, were Christians, and that they had retired early and elected to move out here. I shouldn't have been, but I was amazed at how God kept putting encouraging people in my path this weekend. When we returned to the trailhead, Allen and Lori gave me a ride back to my car since I had needed to park further down the hill. We exchanged contact info and extended invites for the other to visit in the future. Hard to explain, but I feel like God had a clear purpose in me meeting them.
I arrived back to my car at 11:52. Checkout would have been at noon at the hotel. Praise God for the instinct to pack up.
From there, I drove over to Apple Farm Inn & Restaurant, a recommended place to eat in the AAA Tourbook. I had deliberately wanted to avoid chain restaurants on this trip, another oddity. Normally I don't care where I eat. But this time I was craving different experiences. I had the salmon scramble, which was delicious except for the annoying texture of the onions cooked into the eggs. I walked around for a little bit afterward, but there wasn't much to see, so I stopped for gas and got on the freeway to head home. I had thought about driving out to Pismo Beach, about 15 miles away, but decided to heed the wisdom I had been given when planning my first big road trip with Road Trip America: save something for another trip. I had gotten out of this what I needed to.
I stopped in at another winery for a tasting on my way home. Bianchi Winery, very good selections, but I decided I had purchased enough wine on this trip, so didn't buy any bottles. I enjoyed talking to the girl (I forget her name) working the tasting bar. I found out something interesting: bottles opened for tasting can only stick around for two days. So after the second day, employees are allowed to take home whatever's unopened. At first that sounded like a bummer for the winery and a huge advantage to the employees, but then she explained that it actually gets the wine out more (the idea being that employees take it home and share it with friends and family) rather than just having to be dumped down the drain. Another interesting fact: only 1 oz can legally be poured into a glass for each tasting. I didn't find out the exact reason why (risk of intoxicating drivers possibly?), but I did learn that it's a personal liability to the employee, not a liability to the winery.
As I headed home, I started to realize something. I am home too much. Back at D&T, the travel admittedly wore on me (forgetting where the thermostat is means you travel too much), but it was a good variety of life for me. Now I sleep in my house almost every night except for when I travel to Orange County. And having my tonsils out over Christmas left me housebound way too long. Back at FPU, my roommate Phillip talked about how he needed to get off campus at least every three days, even if it was to the gas station across the street for a slurpee. I thought he was crazy. Now I realize the wisdom in his statement. I need to make a concerted effort to get away from home for a night or two every now and then. I have started to resent my house instead of seeing it for the blessing God has entrusted to me. I think that's where the itch to rent it out and move was originating.
Coming home, I felt more refreshed. I listened to some music, prayed out loud, and also got in a few more chapters of All the President's Men via audiobook, which I am determined to eventually finish. A very insightful historical account, but I now know that I like fiction because there is a controlled quantity of characters and I do better keeping people straight.
I don't have a solution for my work frustrations, but at least I felt capable of coming back to work. I will need a longer vacation soon, but this will help me hang in there for awhile longer. I am going to figure out my next steps somehow.
It was also nice to get back somewhat early in the day so that I was able to get a load of laundry done, blog about this awesome weekend, and buy some groceries.