Saturday, April 27, 2002

San Francisco to Sydney Snapshots - San Luis Obispo

To travel from Monterey to Long Beach via Amtrak or Greyhound meant at least 12 hours of travel and 2-3 hours in transit. So we decided to break our journey in San Luis Obispo and then delay the second leg to visit the San Luis Obispo de Tolosa mission.

One of the nice things about travelling by train or bus, I am able to view the scenery without worrying about running off the road. The previous day I had driven up the 101, pictured on the left, and I didn't notice the gold mustard flowers on the mountain slopes. I was more intent on getting back to Monterey to return the car before the rental company closed.
San Luis Obispo is nestled amongst the mountains - volcanic plugs that remind me of the Warrambungles in north-eastern New South Wales. The town is slowly sprawling beyond the mountains as it becomes a regional "capital" for the area. There are malls set up with shops selling everything from farm equipment to home furnishings and computer hardware and software.

San Luis Obispo remained a small town until the South Pacific Railroad was built. The tourist guide "boasts" that other than the mission, San Luis Obispo also has a university (Calpoly Technical University) and a prison.

The San Luis Obispo de Tolosa Mission was the 5th of 21 missions established by Father Junipera Serra along the Californian coast. After being damaged in the late 19th Century, the mission was rebuilt to resemble an English church, complete with steeple.

In the 1930s the mission was renovated in the original Mission Revival style. The steeple was removed and the belfry, as pictured, was rebuilt.

In the chapel garden is a status of Father Junipera Serra. The mustard plants that cover the countryside have propogated from seed originally sown by Father Serra to show the path between the missions.
The area around the Mission is a paved historical walk with signs indicating the location of old buildings. Included in a small courtyard with this monument depicting the development of the American flag from the Rattlesnake flag to the present Fifty Stars and Stripes.

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