Sunday, August 26, 2012

Don't Point

As a kid, you learn about the famous historical figures who played a part in your state's history.  In Florida, it's Ponce de Leon, Seminole Indians, and Henry Flagler.  There are lots of counties, cities, roads, and schools labeled with these famous names.  

California has its own set of names which pop-up all over the place.  There is a city, high school, and numerous streets named after John Charles Fremont, former US Senator from California.  Another name that crops up a lot is Junipero Serra.  Serra was a Roman Catholic Father who founded many of the missions throughout California.  In addition to high schools, highways, and parks, there is a 26' concrete statue of Junipero Serra pointing West overlooking highway 280 between San Francisco and San Jose.  Serra is on one knee in an Elvis-like stance.  You can get up to the statue if you stop at the rest area adjacent to the statue.  

Usually when I'm driving by it, I'm on the way to or from work or don't have time to stop.  On the way back from San Jose yesterday, Conery and I stopped to check out Junipero.  We got to the rest area and found that there was a locked gate at the entrance to the path leading up to the statue.  That simply would not do.  Conery walked around one side and found another locked gate.  We went around to the other side and spotted a path up behind one of the rest area buildings.  Knowing that I was going to go up and get a close-up picture of the statue whether he came or not, Conery came with me. :)

Here is Junipero up close and personal.

There is some speculation that he's just pointing West toward the ocean.  Others speculate that he is pointing down at the Mission Trail.

Or he's pointing at you?
The base of the statue has nine sides.  Each side faces a prominent mission whose name is carved into that side.

The view of the Santa Cruz mountains from the statue is pretty remarkable.  We'll have to go back when we can stay longer.

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