Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Underwater Basketweaving

Mission San Antonio de Padua

I took these shots when I drove there in a Model Ford a few years ago. I'd forgotten to mail in my registration for the car meet, which was oversubscribed, so I was on my own for the weekend while the rest of the group were busy dashing here, there and everywhere. Rumor has it that I got the better deal. Thanks to being virtually surrounded by the 165,000 acre Fort Hunter Liggett (the William Randolph Hearst Estate's former "back 40") San Antonio de Padua is probably the most remote Spanish mission in California, nestled in a serene valley that has changed little in more than 200 years. One has to pass through the military base to reach the mission.

While the rest of the group were wandering through the hills around Paso Robles, I journeyed forth to the gates of Ft. Hunter Liggett, 45 minutes away, only to discover that the pouch containing the vehicle registration was not where it should be. After everyone agreed that a middle-aged man driving a 75 year-old car out in the middle of nowhere was moderately suspicious, I beat a prompt retreat under the watchful eyes of the sentries. Upon returning to the hotel, I discovered the registration wedged into the carry-on bag I use while traveling. Thus armed and ready (and possession of both insurance card and driver's license verified), I sallied forth to the gates yet again, prepared for battle only to be waved through without incident (or stopping). The only downside to all this back-and-forth was missing the opportunity to meet the gang at Mission San Miguel de Arcángel, thereby securing a "two-fer" badge of merit for visiting two missions in a single day. That's alright, though, because I stopped at San Miguel often while an undergrad at Uncle Charlie's $ummer Camp, years before San Miguel was severely damaged in an earthquake and largely declared unsafe to enter. I was doing research for my fascinating major at Uncle Charlie's. (I cannot believe that I found a legitimate link for that!)

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