Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Battling the Inland Heat

We got a slow start today. It is still so flipping hot. This is not the Camelot weather we are supposed to have here in Southern California.

We made it worse by heading inland. Instead of the cool moving breeze off the ocean we headed northeast to San Gabriel, CA, near Pasadena to visit the San Gabriel Mission. I am on a quest to see all 21 missions and this is my 8th one.

San Gabriel Mission is the 4th Mission founded in 1771 by Father Junipero Serra. He hoped to turn over mission management to the local Shoshone indians (Gabrielenos) but due to secularization in 1833 it didn't happen. In the 1900s the Claretian missionaries restored the mission and church and continued to reach out into the community with compassion.

This mission, like all of them, is a small city. It contains its own wine press, candle-making, tannery and other provisions. The grounds themselves are a little undermaintained but the simple beauty of the mission shines through.

After soaking up all of the history of the mission we continued to brave the heat and travelled to the LA Arborteum in Arcadia. This 127 acre botanical garden was founded by EJ Baldwin. Who bought the desert land with visions of an oasis. He proceeded to hand plant much of the property and received many of the varieties of plants as gifts from around the world. One distinct feature of the property are the peacocks and peahens that roam freely throughout the park. I was hoping to see one display its feathers but they weren't having it. Perhaps they were too hot as well.

I knew we were in trouble when upon arrival we learned that they were not running a tram today, it seems the roads are under construction.

So we proceeded to start walking in 100+ degree weather around the grounds. Did I mention it's 127 acres of stuff to see. Yea. In triple digit weather with humidity. I think we're high on siteseeing and don't know when to stop. So our first tour was through was African garden. All I remember is desert hot.

20 minutes in and ours collective wagons were a draggin'. My mom soaked her shirt in the water fountain and it was dry in about 15 minutes. Yep. Hot.

So we persevered and went into the tropical garden. It was thick with foliage and a smidgen cooler. Unforunately it came to an end all to fast. We pressed on toward the Queen Anne Cottage, which was also home to Fantasy Island. It's a beautiful victorian home with a lush rose garden and pond nearby. Very beautiful. Still hot.

My mom gave up at this point, flagged down a maintenance man on a golf cart and headed back towards the entrance. Maybe we should have taken heed from the fact that the aboretum was virtually empty upon our arrival.

Dad and I tredged on to see the waterfall. Only we make it there to learn that due to high temperature there is no water. At this point we're parched and wondering if we're going to make it back to the entrance. I have visions of a search and rescue team having to come find us. We'll be on the news as the idiots that trapsed around the gardens in 120 degree weather. It didn't help that none of the water fountains worked. They turned them off. What the heck. We nearly died out there for heaven sakes.

We only ended up seeing about half of it before we gave up. But the grounds are stunning, even though a lot of the plants are dormant or dead in the weather. I can't wait to go back when more is in bloom and it isn't so flipping hot.

We haven't had enough heat we head towards Ontario to have dinner with my cousin Sammy. We're going to meet him at the Ontario Mills Mall. We opt for BJs Pizzeria and the air conditioning. Praise God for air conditioning and water.

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