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San Diego 2011
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San Diego 2011

Original Article and Photographs by Kenneth A. Larson © 2011 - 2013

We got off on time for once and headed south on I-5. We stopped for a few minutes at a Vista Pointjust south of San Onofre, but the view was just more coastline, nothing significant. We also stopped at Aliso Creek Rest Area which was undergoing a
major rebuilding. Unlike the two rest areas we encountered last month on the way to Sequoia National Park, this was open while under construction with restroom trailers. Having been robbed by a California Highway Pirate (CHP) the last time I drove I-8, I exited I-805 early and took surface streets approaching Mission San Diego from the back. Construction at Aliso Creek Rest Area
Construction at Aliso Creek Rest Area.

We had visited Mission San Diego de Alcala many times but it had been a while and I wanted updated photos. Mission San Diego, founded 1769, was the first Spanish Mission founded in AltaCalifornia. This is the second location for the Mission which was originally located on PresidioHill above Old Town. The Priests wanted to be away from Mission San Diego de Alcala
Mission San Diego de Alcala
the bad influences of the soldiers at the Presidio, so they moved to the current location. After an attack on the Mission, it moved back tothe Presidio for a time, then returned here to stay. Today there is a church, garden, several buildings containing the museum, and an archeological dig. It is still an active church. We stayed about an hour and continued on to El Cajon, staying on surface streets which gave a more personal view of the area.

Several years earlier I had noticed a museum in El Cajon but couldn't stop then. Somehow I found it again and we spend about an hour at the Olaf Wieghorst Museum and Western Heritage Center. Olaf spent time in the cavalry after arriving from Denmark, then worked with the mounted police in New York. There he painted artworks on the doors of the Olaf Wieghorst Museum and Western Heritage Center
Olaf Wieghorst Museum and Western Heritage Center.
stalls and some small commissions, but otherwise didn't start his painting career until he retired to El Cajon. In El Cajon he bought a house which has been moved to this site and established a successful career as a western artist. His art usually featured scenes from his life with horses and his art was valued by celebrities such as John Wayne. Olaf made cameo appearances in two John Wayne movies. I had never heard of Olaf before but we enjoyed viewing the gallery of art for sale and wandering through the cactus garden surrounding the house.

We then followed back roads to Alpine, a small but growing community about 30 miles east of SanDiego. My best friend lives in Alpine so we have visited this quiet town several times. We visitedwith my friend, had a nice lunch at a small Mexican Restaurant in town, and took photos of Queen of Angels Church. Although a new church has recently been built, the older, Queen of Angels Church
Queen of Angels Church
smaller, churchremains. I first noticed the original church a few years earlier and was intrigued by the Gaudi-esque design. We took a few photos and returned to my friend's house and visited the rest of the day.

Sunday I returned to Queen of Angels Church for Mass and spent the rest of the morning visiting with my friend. About noon we said our goodbyes and took more scenic back roads, bypassing I-8, to Highway 79.

Highway 79 travels north through California landscape and through Cuyamaca Ranch State Park. In 2003 a major wildfire burned much

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park from Desert View Park.
of this area and signs of the fire are still evident. We stopped a few minutes at Desert View Park with a spectacular view out over Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, the largest state park in California. We have twice canceled a trip to this beautiful desert wonderland, but eventually we hope to make it. We looked down in anticipation before heading on.

Before long we reached the tourist town of Julian. We were planning to drive through quickly and make a quick stop at the museum and buy a pie, but had the misfortune to come during Apple Days. Julian celebrates Apple Days throughout October and the town was filled with people coming to buy apple pies and cyder at Mom's Pie Shop, shop for antiques and other wares, enjoy good food, and all the things people do during Apple Days.
Stage Line Museum
Stage Line Museum.
We visited the Julian Pioneer Museum with many artifacts and a lace collection of which they are proud. Adjacent is the Julian Historical Society Office in its old school house, Grosskopf House, and Stage Line Museum. It took just a little longer in Julian than we planned because of the crowds, but the pie was worth it.

After Julian we had two more quick stops. Highway 79 goes right past Asistencia Santa Ysabel so we stopped to see if anything had changed since our last visit. It hadn't. It was just as peaceful as the previous time. Santa Ysabel is an outlying extension Mission to Mission San Diego, established in 1818 to serve the people further inland. While not as well known as the main Missions along the coast, the Asistencias might have become full Missions had the mission era continued. We stayed only a few minutes and continued to Asistencia San Antonio de Pala just off Highway 76. Mission Pale, as it is often called, was established in 1816 as a sub-Mission to Mission San Luis Rey about 20 miles west. Pala is the only Mission to have served a Native American population from its founding. Pala is also the most developed and best preserved of the Asistencias, of which there were once dozens in California. It seemed closed but I wasn't planning to stay long so I took a few photos and continued west and north arriving home just before dark. Asistencia Santa Ysabel
Asistencia Santa Ysabel

Marker to Lake Henshaw Properties.

Asistencia San Antonio de Pala

It was a good trip. I visited my best friend, three Missions, four small museums, and other points of interest. I managed to by-pass 50 miles of I-8 and the evil CHP and still got where I was going.

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This page last updated: Saturday, 06-Jul-2013 05:49:18 EDT

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