Friday, April 04, 2014

Full Circle

Ironically, we end our mission sojourn at the first mission we visited several years ago.  Sonoma is a favorite destination for us.  The surrounding countryside and the historic town square next to the mission seem to draw us in.  Several years ago we visited the Solano mission and first caught the ambition to visit all 21 of them.  So it is fitting that we should end here.  It was also the last of the Spanish missions to be built.  We stayed at a favorite motel that has very nice garden grounds and a nice facility.  The past few days we have driven through windy winery laden roads and enjoyed shopping and strolling in Healdsburg, Windsor, Geyserville, Calistoga and Sonoma.  Oddly, we don't stop at the wineries, though we do enjoy driving through the vineyard laden hills.  Our final days of Spring break will find us enjoying some time with Ellen in Sacramento.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

'Mission Completed'

Well, as of today we have visited all 21 Spanish Missions.  Our last two were Mission Delores in San Francisco and San Rafael Arcangel.  The San Francisco mission is adjacent to a huge basilica (which is impressive in itself) It features the twenty-one missions in stained glass windows.  The San Rafael Mission is a recently reconstructed replica.  We will still visit the Sonoma Mission again on our way back to Sacramento of Friday.   But having finished our mission hunting by noon, we headed to the Sonoma Coast to enjoy the newly exposed sunshine.  We had a nice drive along Tomales Bay and up to Bodega Bay.  The sun roof on the Scion was open the whole time and we soaked it in.  We are spending the night in Santa Rosa and will explore the area some more tomorrow.  We found a great hike on a nearby 'mountain' to end the day.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Soggy Sight Seeing

"It never rains in California; it pours, man it pours."  Those lyrics never rang truer than today for these tourists that are no strangers to precipitation.  We managed to squeeze in three missions between some pretty serious downpours.  We visited the missions in Santa Cruz, Santa Clara and San Jose (which is actually in Freemont).  The Santa Cruz mission is a minimal presentation of the original, with a small chapel and gift shop.  The Santa Clara mission has been absorbed into the campus of Santa Clara University and tastefully presented.  The Mission San Jose is more typical of the rest with an impressive restored chapel and adjoining museum.  The highlight of the day was actually the food.  For lunch we had unbelievable sandwiches on a toasted 'Dutch crunch' roll at Ike's Sandwich.  Then for dinner, we stumbled upon an authentic Japanese sushi and ramen bar near our SF airport hotel.  The ramen was outstanding, second only to Calvin's ramen bar in Tokyo.  Tomorrow promises to be a drier day, but I'm sure we will not be as impressed with our meals.