Monday, August 30, 2010

Destination: San Juan Capistrano

We've been having some beautiful weather as of late, so Robert and I decided to take a drive up the coast to San Juan Capistrano. It was a wonderful drive with little traffic and gorgeous views of the coastline. We arrived mid-day and went directly to the mission. I was so impressed. It was magnificient and to think it was founded in 1776 by Father Junipero Serra.

Neither of us brought a tripod, so I balanced my camera on a brick post and set the timer. It was a wonderful day and we sat there for a bit just enjoying our time together.

It wasn't until the end of the day that I realized the white balance on my camera was set to overexpose all my shots. Most of my photos were way too bright, but I did get a few good ones, like this shot of Robert. I took a bunch of posed shots, but this one I liked the best because it was a candid moment. I called to him and he looked up, click!

As you can tell this shot of me that Robert took is way over exposed. I'm kicking myself because I didn't check all of my settings to ensure they were correct. And I even made a comment that my shots looked overexposed, but I didn't think to check the camera. I just figured it was because of the bright sun and time of day. Now I know for next time.

Although it was Sunday, there weren't too many people around. Admission included an audio tour, so people would come in waves and then quickly move on as their audio played. I don't remember what this part of the mission was called, but you don't realize how big it is until you stand next to it. It was a bit overwhelming to think just how grand this mission was in its time.

1811 was the most successful year at the mission when it grew 500,000 pounds of wheat, 303,000 pounds of corn and had 14,000 head of cattle, 16,000 sheep and 740 horses. So yeah, it was very large at one time.

After our tour of the mission we drove up the Coast Hwy. looking for a place for lunch. We stopped at the Salt Creek Grille in Dana Point. I had a stuffed 'blues' burger which was a hamburger stuffed with gorgonzola and topped with blue cheese aioli. Delicious! Robert had a BBQ Chicken Salad which was good, but not as yummy as my burger.

As with all our trips, we never like to take the same route twice. On the way home we took Hwy 74 (Ortega Hwy) to 15 south. The Ortega Hwy. winds through the mountains from San Juan Capistrano to Lake Elisinore Valley. The Ortega Hwy was not very picturesque, but there is a lot of history to it. Construction of the road started in 1929 and it officially opened in 1933.

We stopped at A Country Store and bought sodas and some overpriced elk jerky. Across the street was a biker bar called Hells Kitchen. The sign out front read, "If Barrack Obama is the answer, then how stupid was the question?" Classic.

There is only one viewpoint overlooking Lake Elsinore, but it was so windy and dusty I took only a couple pictures and then jumped back into the car.

Robert and I had a fantastic day and I look forward to going back to the mission and maybe spending a bit more time listening to the audio tour and learning its history. And next time I'll make sure my camera settings are set properly!