Harmony Borax Works

The story of our time in DVNP continues here…

After  spending time on the sand dunes , we drove to see  The Harmony Borax Works, an historic mining site where the famous 20-mule Team wagon began their grueling  165 mile   (264 km) journey south to the Mojave railroad depot. This place is an outside  museum  with lots of information.

Twenty mule Teams is the symbol of the Borax industry. A mineral found in soil, plants and even our bodies. It can be used as a laundry booster and many other uses. Harmony Borax works was the central feature in the opening of Death Valley. The first discovery was made in 1881. It was transported via 20 mule team. The plant shut down in 1928. Borax was also found in other countries.

You probably know a little bit more about borax if you read all the panels I shared with you.  It is hot , very hot in Death Valley, so we will move on to another spot and enjoy the AC in the car  for a few minutes ! Our next stop is The Badwater Salt Flat and it will be the topic  ( with photos of course) of my next post.

Thank you ! Have a great WE.

 

Salt Creek interpretive trail.

Death Valley National Park was the highlight of my trip in California in 2017. The first evening we  enjoyed was  a spectacular sunset.

The next morning, we were up early and ready to explore this vast area. The salt creek trail has a boardwalk that allow us to visit the salt marsh.

It was amazing to see the rare pupfish in the creek. Their lifespan is one year or less. So these tiny fish are in a hurry to feed and breed.   Pupfish got their name because they seemed as playful as puppies. They live in temperature ranges from 0 to 100C ( 32F to 212 F). They can live in water 3 times as salty as the ocean. They have been around for 20,000 years. Pupfish are desert survivors.

It was fun to see little lizards and see how fast they move.

We needed to get going with our visit as there is so much to see in DVNP.

More from our exploration in the park on my next post.

Thanks for reading !

On the road to…

I have done a few road trips. Some with my whole family ( when our kids were still quite young and later when they were teenagers). Now I go on road trip with my husband. We plan the trip together. We decide where we should stop for visit.  I usually  book the accommodation.  My husband is the driver and with the help of the GPS, we get where we want.

On this road trip, we had plan to visit Death Valley National Park as we were already in California. I did not know much about this National Park but I was very curious to discover this very special place.

We booked a room in Stovepipe Wells village. It just happen that the hotel was very close to the Mesquite Flat  Sand  Dunes.  It made it easy to go at sunset and  again early in the morning. One  experience I will never forget. If you have been to a desert you will know the feeling of walking on sand and climbing sand dunes. I had been to a sand dune in France in 2015  but this was totally different than what I saw in DVNP.

I will share a few pictures and let you get the feeling of it. The first picture was taken early in the morning   (7:50 ) when there were very few people on the dunes. We did not stay very long that day because we knew we would come back later and we had so many other places to see.

That night, it was almost full moon and many people wanted to see it from the dune. Because the temperature was cooler in the evening than during the day , it was a good time to explore.  But  Death Valley is known for warm, very warm temperature. Even for us with a visit  in March, the temperature went up to 101 F (over 38C).

I really wanted to go on the biggest dunes and the only way we could do it easily was to get up early and go right away before wasting any time. It was the best decision for us  as we were able to climb all the biggest dunes and take photos with almost nobody in it.

We stayed on the dunes for almost one hour and a half. It was a great feeling to walk bare feet . I am happy I did not see the desert sidewinder snake ( I only saw the trace ).

The Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes are at the northern end of the valley floor and are nearly surrounded by mountains on all sides. Due to their easy access from the road and the overall proximity of Death Valley to  Hollywood , these dunes have been used to film  sand dune scenes for several movies including films in the  Star Wars series. The largest dune is called Star Dune and is relatively stable and stationary because it is at a point where the various winds that shape the dunes converge. The depth of the sand at its crest is 130–140 feet (40–43 m) but this is small compared to other dunes in the area that have sand depths of up to 600–700 feet (180–210 m) deep.

Thanks for reading  and  for writing  a comment.  I will  write more on DVNP and share other places we visited.  Now that summer is here, I might not post  every week.

THANK YOU.

 

 

 

Mission San Buenaventura

Hello readers… another post on our visit to the Spanish Missions in California.

Finally, it was the day  were going to visit  Mission San Buenaventura, Mission by the Sea. Named  for Saint Bonaventure, a 13th century Franciscan cardinal and renowned philosopher. The  very last mission  we were going to see – of the 21st of all the Spanish Missions in California. Here is the front of the church seen from the other side of the street. The church has 5 bells, the oldest dating to 1781.

The first church was destroyed by a fire , the second was abandoned during construction. The present church was not completed before 1809 and was almost completely destroyed  by earthquakes and tidal waves in 1812. another earthquake damaged the church in 1925 and was repaired in 1950.

This Mission is located in Ventura.  On Easter Sunday March 31, 1782, Father Serra  raised a cross and celebrated Mass to found his 9th and final mission.  He died  two years later before the founding of Mission  Santa Barbara.

 

At each of the missions, we see a statue of Fr. Junipero Serra.

We visited the garden with a beautiful fountain.

In  the church, lots of restoration was underway .

It might be odd that we wanted to see all the missions  as we are not people going to church and we are not Americans.  As I often said they are nice places to see with lots of history . It gave us a good reason to stop in all the cities  where there is a mission.

The very first mission we visited was in March 2013. It was  Mission  San Juan Capistrano.  On that day, I had  purchased a  postcard showing the location of the 21 missions in California. Soon after  we made  plans to see more of them.   The last one we visited  was on February  20, 2017.  I am quite certain that many people living in California have not visited them all. If you read this and found it interesting, let me know. And I hope you still continue to read my blog on different places I visit.

Thank you .

 

 

 

Mission Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara  was the tenth mission founded (December 4,1786).  Three adobe churches  were built but the third one was destroyed by an earthquake in 1812. The present church was built in 1815 and completed in 1820. Another earthquake damaged the church. Restoration work was completed in 1927. Santa Barbara is the only mission in the California chain remaining under control of the Franciscans without interruption from the day of its founding until the present time.

This Mission is also called “Queen of the Missions” and was named for Saint Barbara,   a legendary martyred  church  figure of the 3rd century. The Neoclassical facade is inspired  by 1st century B.C. architecture of Marcus Vitruvius Pollio.

The fountain  built in 1808 along with the adjacent stone  “lavandaria” which was used by Native Americans.

The day we visited it was another  wet day  but most of the tour was inside. We watched a 18  minutes video and then went quickly in the cemetery garden.

We enjoyed the artwork  displayed in the church. Some of the interior detailing were patterned after an ancient Roman temple. It was difficult to take good photos in the church as there was not much light.

There were many things to look at in the museum. There was lots to read and great info.

And of course, there was a gift shop. Notice the beautiful handmaid decoration on the wall.

Another photo taken outside the mission.

It was another good visit and then we drove some more to get to Ventura where we would visit the very last mission on our list.

Thanks again for your visit.

 

La Purísima Concepción

The day after we visited Santa Inés, we were lucky that the storm was almost over. We went to Lompoc to see  Mission La Purísima Concepción.  The  11th of the 21 Mission  was named for Mary, the mother of Jesus.  It was founded on December 8, 1787 by Father Fermin de Lasuén This  Mission was destroyed   by an earthquake in 1812 and rebuilt in a different site in 1813.  It was  rebuilt again between 1934-1942.  Today,  La Purísima Concepción  is  a State Historic Park  where volunteers demonstrate what mission life used to be. It has over 20 buildings   and is the most fully restored mission in California. Rooms are furnished as they would have been in the 1820’s.

It was- in my opinion- one of the best Mission we visited ( as we only had 2 more to see after that one). We were lucky to see some docents in  period costumes. We enjoyed it very much. The buildings, the garden,  the animals, the information, the nice lady in the gift shop and the exhibits in the Visitor center.

La Purísima Concepción  is a “living history” museum and  the site is used for reenactments. To share my visit the text will be short, I will rather let the pictures tell the story of what we saw.

I think you would also  enjoy  visiting this Mission. I hope you can go one day. Thank you for your visit and comment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa

The very next day ( after visiting two  Missions) we visited another mission. more.      We were in San Luis Obispo  ( aka  SLO ). The Mission occupies a full city block in downtown  SLO. It is one of the few early missions never to be relocated. This mission is often called “The Prince of Missions ” and was named for a 13th century French saint, the Bishop of Toulouse.

This mission was the 5th  and was founded in September 1772 by Father Serra.          The present building was built between 1794  and 1794 and was restored in 1933.

It was built in an area known as La Cañada de Los Osos, the canyon of the Bears because of the concentration of grizzly bears in the area.  In the museum we find Indian artifacts, glassware, documents and pictures from days gone by. We enjoyed very much to see the garden with beautiful magnolia and some fruit trees.

The church was very nice with beautiful drawings on walls.

We have now only 4 more Missions to visit. Thanks for reading. and many thanks also for leaving a short comment.