As I write this, I’m on my last night in a weeklong vacation with the family. My youngest and eldest are camping on the floor beside the bed in their makeshift arrangements: a sleeping bag butterflied beneath with a sheet and cozy blanket on top. My middle is sprawled next to me as I type away on the edge of the king-size, no pullout couch accommodations … a slight snafu in our foray into spontaneity and Priceline frugality.

I let the three of them stay up past their bedtime and enjoy a primetime movie on the cable-equipped flat screen. A few minutes afterward and they were out. We have kept them busy the last week and today was no exception: four missions, a side trip to Morro Bay State Beach and a quick dip in the hotel pool. We can’t oversleep, unfortunately, as tomorrow is our most ambitious day yet: four more missions and possibly the drive home. We’ll see if we make it. At the very least we will have made a dent in our path along the great El Camino Real trail. Our Mission: to see all 21. Well, eventually.

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