About a 40 minute drive south led us to Mission San Juan Capistrano. Entering the gates of the Mission was like stepping into a different time and place. The view was mesmerizing. Every color of the rainbow was represented by the flowers and trees. One's mind and spirit were suddenly filled with an unexplainable peace. It is absolutely breath taking. The cool breeze of the Pacific wafted the purple petals of the Jacaranda trees to cover the green grass with a purple mat. The eroded brown adobe walls contrasted with the exposed red brick. The centuries old wooden gates sagged on their hand wrought iron hinges. The ruins of the old original mission rose early skyward in jagged remains. One's imagination filled in the historical scene of a Mass being delivered by the founder Father (Padre') Junipero Serra. The date was November 1,1776. A little history. In 1519 the Spanish conquered the Aztec Indians in central Mexico. This event began the rule of Spain in this part of the New World. In 1542 Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo,a Portuguese navigator sailing in the services of the Spanish Crown discovered the coast of California. Cabrillo landed and mapped the port of San Diego. For the next some 160 years California was largely ignored. Then in the years between 1740 and 1765 Russian fur traders and explorers were coming perilously close to this wilderness outpost of New Spain. As a result the Crown developed a plan to colonize the Coast of California to guard against invasion. It was decided to use the mission system as a vital part of this plan. A small limping Franciscan Priest Father Serra was chosen for the task. Father Serra's first mission was San Diego. San Juan Capistrano was the seventh mission to be founded by Father Serra. By this plan the heavy toll of war in conquering the area was avoided by the peaceful conversion and civilization of the Indians who grew comfortable with their move from living hand to mouth to living in a productive community of agriculture and more. A very useful strategy. There is so much more to the fascinating story of Capistrano and therein lies your task-to discover the story of this critical part of our American History. Let the pictures inspire you to look further. We then drove to Laguna Beach to witness the large contrast of 200 plus years later. We visited the Ritz Carlton overlooking the Pacific and walked its luxurious hallways. We watched scores surfing in the ocean hundreds of feet below us. We browsed the plush shops of Laguna Beach as Rolls Royce's,Ferrari's, Porsche's, 50's hot rods, and beautifully restored classic cars zoomed by in all directions. It was a scene made famous by the Beach Boys! We lunched on a patio overlooking the Pacific at C'est La Vie eating a delicious grilled Salmon salad. Another perfect California Day.

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