Friday, January 10: After leaving Ventura, I head down the last bit of highway to Los Angeles, coming full circle on my journey. I arrive in L.A. around 5:00, where I meet fellow blogger Rosie, of Wandering Rose fame. I’ll be staying with her for the next two days and nights. We get acquainted and linger over a healthy & delicious dinner at her house with her husband. Later, we take Monty, who Rosie calls her “personal trainer,” out for a walk in her neighborhood.
Rosie mentions that Bob’s Big Boy of Burbank has a classic car show on Friday nights and that I might enjoy it. So off we go to Bob’s, where we mingle with the classic cars and the car owners.
This Bob’s Big Boy was built in 1949 and is the oldest remaining Bob’s Big Boy in America. It was “designed by architect Wayne McAllister, incorporating the 1940s streamline modern style while anticipating the free-form 1950s coffee shop architecture.” The towering Bob’s sign is the building’s most prominent feature.
The restaurant was honored in 1993, receiving the designation as a “State Point of Historical Interest” by the state of California. The current owner (the MacDonald family) acquired control of the restaurant in 1993 and began to restore it to its past glory.
“Car Hop” service was re-introduced on Saturday and Sunday nights. On Friday nights, the classic car show reverberates in the parking lot to the sound of classic rock.
After we walk back to Rosie’s house, I need to sleep. I’m exhausted from my long day of travel and sightseeing. Tomorrow we’re attending a Poets & Writers LIVE event, where we’re hoping to be filled to the brim with inspiration. 🙂
Friday, January 10: After leaving Santa Barbara, I head south to Ventura so I can visit one more of the California missions, Mission San Buenaventura. The mission sits directly on Ventura’s main street, so it’s difficult to believe it was once surrounded by orchards, vineyards, and grain fields.
A reservoir and aqueduct system seven miles long supplied water to the buildings and fields, which extended from the foothills to the Pacific Ocean, making it a garden spot of the missions.
A strong earthquake in 1812 caused a tsunami so large that the padres and Indian neophytes were forced to take shelter on higher ground, although the mission wasn’t destroyed.
Six years later, the padres and their flock had to remove sacred objects from the church and flee into the hills to elude a pirate who was pillaging the Missions, but fortunately was headed off after a “bargaining session” at El Refugio in Santa Barbara.
Another earthquake in 1857 damaged the roof so badly that the red tiles were replaced with shingles. The tile roof was restored during the 1920s. The museum has two old wooden bells, the only ones of their type known in California.
Mission San Buenaventura had been planned as the third in the chain of twenty-one Missions founded by Fray Junipero Serra, but was destined to be the ninth and last founded during his lifetime, and one of six he personally dedicated.
Below is the church at the mission, from Figueroa Plaza.
Around Figueroa Plaza is some fun wall art.
I stand in the middle of East Main Street when no cars are coming to get a picture of the little town of Ventura. It looks like a nice town to linger in, but I have a date to meet Rosie of Wandering Rosie tonight at her home in Los Angeles. She’s kindly invited me to stay for two nights. Tomorrow we’ll attend a day-long inaugural Poets & Writers ((LIVE)) seminar.
Friday, January 10: After leaving the Old Mission Santa Barbara, I head to the 40-acre Santa Barbara Botanic Garden to explore California’s native flora: cacti, redwoods and wildflowers. I take a walk through the arroyo section, which features plants from most ravines, stream sides and forests. I see conifers, including a cross-section of a giant sequoia. I also come across a Japanese “Shinkanan” teahouse and garden.
I walk through the manzanita section, where I find small shrubs and small trees mainly found in California chaparral, a shrubland found primarily in California and in the northern portion of the Baja California peninsula, Mexico. The light is much too bright today, and the gardens too dry, to make for interesting pictures.
I then walk through the desert section, which features species that thrive in the state’s coastal or interior desert regions, such as California fan palm, the only palm tree native to the state.
Finally, I walk along the perimeter of the Meadow section which is representative of California grassland, featuring bunchgrasses such as deergrass.
Overall the garden is pretty dry as California’s been experiencing a drought this winter. Usually winter is the wet season here. This drought is the opposite extreme of what we’ve been experiencing on the east coast. I don’t stay too long because I find it quite disappointing.
I then head to Stearns Wharf. Built in 1872, it’s the West Coast’s oldest continually operating wooden pier. It was once co-owned by actor Jimmy Cagney. Here I wander around the pier and have a lunch of fish tacos with cilantro rice at Moby Dick Restaurant.
Friday, January 10: On my way back to Los Angeles, after spending the night in Arroyo Grande, I stop at the Old Mission Santa Barbara. Father Junipero Serra, a Franciscan missionary, made California history in 1769 when he founded Mission San Diego de Aleala. During the next 54 years, the Spanish padres established a chain of 21 missions in California to convert Native Americans, specifically the Chumash Indians, to Christianity. The missions stretched along the coast from San Diego to Sonoma, Apparently, each mission along the chain was meant to be one day’s walk from the next closest mission.
Santa Barbara was the 10th mission founded, and the first of nine missions founded by Father Fermin Francisco de Lasuen, who became president of the missions in 1785. Santa Barbara is one of the only missions that wasn’t abandoned.
The fountain was built in 1808 along with the adjacent stone lavanderia, or laundromat, which was used by the Native Americans.
The Sacred Garden was originally used as a work area for the Native Americans to learn building trades. The surrounding buildings were used as workshops.
The Cemetery Garden dates from 1789 to the present. It contains the burial sites of early Santa Barbara settlers and Native Americans.
The Skull Carvings placed over the church doors were used to indicate a cemetery location.
The Church’s architecture design was taken from The Ten Books of Architecture, written by the Roman architect Vitruvius around 27 B.C. The artwork displayed is from Mexican artists of the 18th and 19th century.
Economic incentives and curiosity were some of the factors that led to the Chumash joining the commune-like missions. In 1834, the Mexican government secularized the mission, stripping it of its self-sufficiency, and placed the Chumash under civil jurisdiction, leading the buildings and culture to deteriorate. Th Mission was returned to the Franciscans in 1839. The Mexican governor then confiscated the land and the mission was sold. Missionaries were allowed to continue their services.
At different times the mission buildings have been used as a school for boys and as a seminary for those entering the priesthood.
President Abraham Lincoln returned the Mission to the Church in 1865, after California became part of the United States. The Mission continues to thrive today under the ownership and direction of the Franciscan Friars.
The present day museum rooms were originally used as living quarters for missionaries and their guests. Today the rooms display a historical collection of artifacts, most of which are dated from the early mission period.
The original church building was built of adobe, but was expanded as the converts grew. The present church, the fourth and grandest, was completed and dedicated in 1820 after the third was destroyed by the 1812 earthquake. Another large earthquake in 1925 caused extensive damage to the church and friary. Restoration was completed in 1927 and the bell towers reinforced in 1953.
Mission Santa Barbara
Mission Santa Barbara
Mission Santa Barbara
After leaving the Mission, I explore the Botanical Gardens in Santa Barbara.