There Should Be An App for This
March 7, 2010
Sunday dawned bright and clear, without even a trace of fog. Could spring be here? Finally?
It did not matter since I was ready to ride and visit the two more difficult of the missions on my list: San Francisco and San Rafael. I had been putting these off as long as possible since I truly hate riding in traffic and generally don’t particularly like being in a city on my motorbike. But it was a bright and clear Sunday morning and I thought that there would be no better time to go. And I was right.
I saddled up with extra layers of clothes and hand warming packets in my gloves. I really like to be comfortable when I ride and I don’t like the cold much any more. (Have you noticed that I am always complaining that it is too hot or too cold on this bike? Well there is hope: I have an air conditioning system on order for it. Someone is working on an app. for that.) I got on Highway 4 which snakes its way through the California Delta and on this bright morning it was a joy to be on it. Everything is so green in California at this time of the year. And what is not green, is bright yellow with wildflowers. It was a joy to be out on such a day and I couldn’t help but think that it will be a while before I-Phone has an application that will take the place of this.
My lovely two lane road eventually changed to multi lane concrete monstrosities as I neared the cities around the San Francisco Bay. I finally had to stop in Berkeley to see if they were still protesting fee hikes in the universities as they had been on Friday. The situation must be really bad to get them out of the head shops. I took the opportunity to get some clothes off as it was 60 degrees, the sun was shining, and it had gotten a bit warm. Besides, without all of that clothes on I could actually turn my head which is a good thing to do in traffic.
So I went over the Bay Bridge and into San Francisco on beautiful Sunday morning. I don’t believe there is a more beautiful city than San Francisco on a good day and it has a lot of good days. I wound around until I found the Mission Dolores or San Francisco de Asis. This mission is buried among other buildings, and services were in progress, so getting good pictures of it was difficult.
This mission was founded in 1776 but had trouble with its Indians from the beginning. It seems they kept running away to have a good time in nearby Yerba Buena, now known as San Francisco. Of course the population of San Francisco climbed with the discovery of gold but by that time only the church remained. It is still there and now called Mission Dolores because of nearby Laguna Dolores. The earthquakes never got it. Fire never got it. It has never been rebuilt by renovators. The church is quite magnificent and probably the best looking church associated with the California missions.
Mission Dolores in San Francisco.
I headed further north and really enjoyed my Sunday morning drive on the hilly streets of San Francisco. I took the Golden Gate Bridge into Marin County and of course the vistas from the bridge were magnificent. It was just a short ride to San Rafael and the mission was easy enough to find. Its church was in use and there was little to the mission besides the church and the chapel. I did get to go into the chapel since it was not being used.
Mission San Rafael Arcangel was founded in 1817 as a place to nurse all of the sick Indians from San Francisco. Apparently all of those visits to Yerba Buena took its toll and this mission was built as place for them to come and dry out. It became popular because of its better climate and eventually became a full-fledged mission. While there were never many buildings at the site, all of them were given to General Vallejo and when it was eventually returned to the church, it was never rebuilt. The new parish church is there now and the chapel and that is about it.
Bell tower at San Rafael
I left San Rafael and headed up across the northern side of the bays to get back home. This made for a quick 225 mile trip and I was back home before 1 PM.
Church at San Rafael
I am down to only two missions left to visit and they are in great locations so it won’t be hard to go visit them. And the weather is clearing. And my wanderlust is back. There is no app that is going to replace that.