Trip Start Oct 20, 2006
Trip End Nov 05, 2006

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Flag of United States  , California
Saturday, October 28, 2006

Struggle with the tequila and luggage after being dropped off at the San Diego airport. Who's taking what? is the question.
It seems more logical for me to keep the trophies and UPS them back home (after I get the car rental)
Dennis and Sue take the ship models and tequila. I really trust my boss and his wife... but we are talking about my tequila!
My daughter's flight is scheduled to arrive at 12:30, so I hustle over to get the off site car rental and gently throw the trophies in the back.
We leave the airport and head north. Yep. WE ARE NOW ON A REAL VACATION. TERRA FERMA under our feet and the California wind in our hair.
Short drive up the HWY 5 and it's time for food. Something quick but good. Kary did her homework and says "Rubios Mexican Grill."
Located in a strip mall - I am thinking ok, fast food. Taco Bell.
Once inside I am saying how much can I eat and look at these sauces!
This is my new number one fast food restaurant.    
Today is supposed to be a travel day to get as close to Santa Barbara  as possible. But darn, since it's almost half way between San Diego and Ventura, how can we pass THE Mission San Juan Capistrano? We don't.
We've "done" missions before in Arizona, New Mexico and San Diego, but this is supposed to be impressive.
We get off the expressway at the San Juan Capistrano exit and follow the signs. - Easy for those without a sense of direction.
We see the Mission on the corner in front of us (after passing by some "outlet" stores.) Finding a parking space was also easy - there are a lot near the stores. Out of the car and a quick walk up to the Mission where we hand over the $7 per person admission. 

The Mission San Juan Capistrano is called  the, "The Jewel of the Missions". It was founded in 1776 and  named after missionary Giovanni de Capistrano. We are too early to see the famous swallows that return in March. But the serenity of the gardens and the interiors of the stone buildings are magnaficient. There is a wedding in progress within the walled courtyard, so we are trying not to disturb the proceedings with our whispered comments.
We skipped the 10 minute video (which we should have watched) to wonder around on our own. The painted walls and the doors in the small chapel held our interest, as did the soldiers quarters, the bell towers, stone church and cemetary.

Then on to the "old area" Los Rios historic district which is a short walk across the railroad track. There are at least 30 quaint and artistic houses, located within a few block here that haved stayed private residences, or have been converted to B&B's and shops and restaurants. You'll also find the old jail here. These buildings are an architectural delight.

We decide that taking the train from San Diego to Capistrano and then to Santa Barbara would have been a better idea. No driving, the train station is close to the Mission. B&B's are within walking distance.  This is a great little town to explore, then leave the next morning from the train station, watch the scenery go by and arrive in Santa Barbara. Darn.

Well, back in the car and the traffic and we make it as far as Ventura. Which after Kary's flight from the east coast is far enough. We got a good rate at the Courtyard by Marriott Oxnard Ventura, checked in, thought about dropping the trophies off at Staples as we passed by on our search for a restaurant. Food dictated, so the trophies stay in the trunk.

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