Travel to Big Sur, CA

Whenever I travel, details come out as I try to think of everything from plane to car to directions to meals to pit stops. And then there are the unexpected and often pleasant surprises…

The most recent trip last week caused me to fly through LAX to San Jose’. The airlines are really great allowing me to get on first, and if I arrive at the gate early enough, I can often get the bulkhead seat. This saves me having to walk too far from the restroom to my seat.

Car rental companies are also very supportive of drivers in wheelchairs. I requested a left hand control, and on Friday, prior to a Sunday departure, they confirmed it and had the Toyota Minivan ready for me when I arrived in San Jose’. This was the first time for me to rent a minivan with hand controls, and it worked very well. The reason I chose a minivan was because I could put the wheelchair behind my drivers side seat, and I didn’t need to walk to the back to load and unload my chair. So two thumbs up for that plan. However getting to the rental car counter was quite a distance from Terminal A. I got on the bus, they strapped me in, and the bus rolled about 150 yards, and then they stopped for me to unload. I thought, “you have got to be kidding.” I had to backtrack, cross the street and still roll quite quite a way to get to the counter. When I did get in the car, everything was comfortable to operate for a long distance, and the car felt good. Initially I couldn’t figure out how to operate the cruise control; but, without having an accident I figured it out, and the rest of the first leg of the journey went well.

Twenty-two years ago was my first trip to northern California and my first visit to the Monterrey Bay and Carmel. Since my father was stationed there in WWII, my mother always told me how much he loved that area of the world. And, as I got off Hwy 101 and veered off to Hwy 1, I was moved seeing the expanse of artichokes in Castroville, and then came the rush of great memories visiting our friends Rob and Sharron, who live in Carmel. As I ventured down the coast I got to witness the beauty of the succulents in their wild state and the beautiful yellow, blue and orange wildflowers in the fields. Once again, I am present to the gift it is to witness such dramatic spaces in our world, knowing I am in the presence of our God and His work.

When I got to Eselan, I had reserved a handicap accessible room. And, I was reminded once again how some people’s interpretation of handicap accessible is not always accessible. I could not get to my room by myself. Fortunately, my roommate was an exceptionally generous man, and he made sure I made it to my room when it was time for me to go to bed. I was able to go from my room to the lodge by myself.

Once again I was reminded what calls me to this sacred place, and it is the people. I go because I am so loved and allowed to love others in a deeply profound way. During our sermon on Sunday, Fr. Gary used the statement, THERE IS NO GPS FOR LOVE. I leaned over and whispered in Mary’s ear…. I felt as if I was in the presence of God all week….. What a gift!

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