Saturday, July 14, 2012

San Juan Bautista .. Mission Town

The weather said 108 degrees in Merced.  I'm sure I will melt at that temperature, so I called my photographer friend Diane and we headed out to Monterey.  Although this is their foggy season, the 64 degree weather sounded good!!!  Along the way we stopped again at San Juan Bautista Mission.
Much to my surprise, the Federal State Parks has taken over this area.  There was always a small charge to enter the Mission itself, but now they are charging $4.00 to enter ANY of the historic buildings.  The good news is that one of the older hotels is now open for viewing.  The Mission is entirely built of adobe.  These huge columns run the entire length.  Amazingly, when you walk into the building itself, the temperature drops at least 10 degrees!!!  It was as if the air conditioning was on.
Here are the original drawings of the design of the Mission.  There are books from the 1800's as well as accounts written by the Missionaries that lived here.  Unfortunately they weren't very nice to the local Indians ... but that's another story.
You are allowed to enter the sanctuary as well as the chapel.  Yes, I laid down flat on the floor to get this image.  I had Diane keep watch ... we didn't want to be or appear disrespectful, but the light shining on the floor was irresistible for a photographer.
Behind the stable (my personal favorite building) was a long shed used for horseshoeing and equipment storage.  Many plows and crushers were gathered from the surrounding area and stored here.  This one was made and sold in San Francisco by Baker and Hamilton, 13-19 Front Street.
The original "Bucket Brigade" fire wagon, handled by the volunteers, was also stored here.  Each man would wear a loop of heavy fabric that was attached to the wagon (they did not use horses). The front guys pulled forward, the rear guys pulled back to stop.  With all the wood structures, I'm pretty sure most of them burned down!!!
All of the windows in the Chapel area were made from brick with real glass eventually being installed.  Every window sill and door is painted this aqua color to represent water.  This interior courtyard is also full of rose bushes in full bloom.  

Across the  huge courtyard/gathering area stands one of the earliest hotels.  Every room is full of original furniture, beds and clothing.  Here's an early wheelchair.  The original rugs on the floors are amazing and well worn.  
In the parlor area was this piano sitting next to a beautiful fireplace.  In fact, almost every room had a fireplace.  Seems it was a pretty fancy hotel in its day.

It was a quick trip through the Mission because REALLY, we were headed to Monterey.  Once there, we drove around to Asilomar Beach area.  Kinda sunny, kinda foggy, the flowers were in full bloom and the bees busy!!
Most of the local residents were out in force ... looking for handouts ... which they were getting from all the tourists!!
Rather than have the crowds trash the sand dunes on the way to the beach areas, they have installed steps every few hundred feet.  A perfect photo opportunity!!
Out of time, we have to head back home, brainstorming on where our next shoot might be!!!

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