Sunday, December 31, 2006

Mission San Antonio de Padua

We had a full Saturday. We decided to go to the Mission of San Antonia De Padua. The drive promised to be a long nine hours. We picked up the "J", who couldn't pass up this great opportunity to be stuck in a car with us for over 9 hours, and we were off. We stopped in Paso Robles (full name: El Paso de los Robles) for an early lunch since we didn't expect to find any place to eat further on (this turned out to be an incorrect assumption since we passed several eating establishments after that). We ate at the wonderful Wilson's Restaurant, established in 1948 and decorated in 1970's Porn Chic.

After our satisfying and filling meal, we headed toward the Mission. The mission is located inside the Fort Hunter Liggett Military Reservation. The mission is the furthest from the beaten path being about 16 miles east of highway 101. San Antonio de Padua is a nice mission. Set in a beautiful area of the central coast, there were many opportunities for pictures.

After our customary visit to the mission store, we walked around the active mission and explored the surrounding grounds. The mission brought water from the hills using an aqueduct. the aqueduct fed water under a mill where a water-wheel turned a grinding stone. The wife was walking by the mill house when another visitor started turning the water wheel. The wife, praying with a new rosary she had bought in the mission store, was surprised by the noise of the turning grind wheel. She came around the corner with a wide-eyed expression. I pointed out the water-wheel to her which ended her religious experience. HA!

In front of the mission were displayed two ship's mast heads that were donated to the missions by sailors. No one knows how old they are or what their history is. They do look old and I am sure they are well traveled. Who knows what wonderful things these heads have witnessed.
We have to appologize to the "J". The night before she had suggested we pack a picnic lunch which we poo-poo-ed thinking that there wouldn't be anywhere to stop and eat. It turns out that the Mission had picnic tables shaded by oaks nearby and a picnic would have been great - Sorry "J"!

After leaving the mission we stopped by the Hacienda - a hotel that originally was William Randolph Hearst's hunting lodge. The restaurant/bar was closed which was disappointing since we were looking forward to something to drink. As we drove away the eagle-eyed wife saw some vending machine in the distance and we quenched out thirsts. The vending machines were outside the fort's barber shop/store/post office. The strange thing was that several of the signs were in English and Arabic. Odd.

We had so much fun on this trip that I am going to split the post in two. Part two will describe the drive on the Nacimiento-Ferguson road, the drive down the PCH, and a visit to Harmony, CA.

To Be Continued ...

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