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January 09, 2017

Following the Friar – Father Junipero Serra

It was a pleasure to share the day with Joe and Gay of Good Times Rollin who are now in the area for the month of January, and their friends Ron and Carol.  We met up in the Serra Museum parking lot, as this lot is not heavily utilized.  It’s a Sunday and the museum is open, it’s a clear day and the views from the top are spectacular.
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The museum sits adjacent to the first Spanish settlement in Alta California as the Presidio of San Diego on present day Presidio Park, which established the first Spanish expansion into present day California on July 1, 1769, on July 16, 1769 Father Junípero Serra opened a crude church Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcalá - where the brick cross now stands.  Note that the archaeologists are finished with this area and funding is being collected to rebuild the original church.
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However by August the Kumeyaay decided it was time for the Spanish to leave.   After a failed raid on the Spanish, a wooden fort wall was built surrounding the encampment, including the church.  Five years later, both drought and lack of access to the local population, inspired Father Serra to move the Basilica 6 miles east to its present location on the San Diego River.

With Mexican independence from Spain the Spanish abandoned the Presidio site.  After a brief occupation by Mexico the site was literally deconstructed and the materials used to build San Diego, now Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.

Mexican occupation came to an end during the Mexican American War with the defeat of Mexican forces at the present site of Fort Stockton – also deconstructed, this time by the Americans to continue the expansion of San Diego (Old Town SHP).

The materials not used were abandoned, and those recovered are now housed in the Serra Museum.  Tah-dah ... that's why we are here....
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The displays contain the known history of the time period, a mock-up of the Presidio and an original olive press.
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And a shout out to George W. Marston who acquired the historic property, built the museum and then gave it away to the people of San Diego on July 16, 1929, exactly 160 years after Father Serra opened the church.  He was also involved in building Balboa Park, where his home is now a museum and gardens.
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From our parking lot at the museum it’s a figure 8 loop to explore the trails within Presidio Park and a short walk into Old Town for lunch.  To work up an appetite for lunch we’re off to visit Lucy the White Deer.
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I like the isolated trails in Presidio Park, the wide grass fields, the views and the unexpected.
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Here we have the cochineal bug, which produces a red dye.  The dye is superior to any in pre-Columbian Europe.  The group is making the final uphill to visit Lucy.
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As we continue the loop an Iris is in bloom at Inspiration Point.
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As we return to the parking area we pick up the Presidio Historic Trail into Old Town for lunch.
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Fran and I had already figured a fun place to take the group was Cafe Coyote for a well deserved lunch.   It turns out this is the only place that Joe and Gay have already been too … Oops, could have chosen Casa Guadalajara.  Oh well nothing wrong with going to either of the best!
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I was going to follow the Friar to Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcalá, but current mission deserves its own post.

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