D-12 Training for the Portuguese Camino

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Today’s 10-mile walk from the house took me past the Olivas Adobe, an estate once part of the San Buenaventura Mission that after secularization in 1834 ended up in the hands of faithful military servants the Olivas family who had 21 children at this residence. It’s the only adobe in the area and quite a place to visit. They had the annual family day today. Afterwards I passed by the Ventura Marina and went on to the Ventura Harbor. Check out the pics.

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D-13 Training for Portuguese Camino

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Walked 11.4 miles (18 km) in a big loop around Ventura that took me past strawberry and celery fields and a rest at the nearby golf course. Strawberries are picked nearly all through the year at some fields in the area. Workers are hustling here even on a Saturday. Check out these pics:

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D-16 Portuguese Camino Getting Closer

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With 2 weeks to go, I did a nine miler with back pack this morning starting from our Ventura City Hall and Fra Junipero Serra’s statue watching over the city. The surfers were out, pelicans looking for food all around them as I took a break on a bench overlooking the ocean waves gently rolling in–only 3 to 4 footers for the surfers, but they had fun as did I.

Check these pics out, standing in front of City Hall and then looking down the street toward the ocean. The opening scene of the “Way” shoots up to the statue of Fra Serra!

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D-18 Training for the Portuguese Camino

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Yesterday and today were tough days. Yesterday I did 13.5 miles (21 km) with NO backpack. Today only 8.2 mi (but with 20 pounds stuffed into my backpack. A beautiful day as I went by our Ventura Marina. Check out the two photos.

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D-29 Training for Portuguese Camino

Only 29 days until I leave for Lisbon to meet up with Jean. He and I will walk the Portuguese Camino from there. Here I am with Anita who organized a 12-mile walk in Southern California near our goal of Mission San Juan Capistrano.

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Day-53: UC San Diego to Mission San Diego de Alcala

The final 16.7 miles landed me at the Statue of Junipero Serra at the very first of the 21 missions. I was full of emotion as I embraced him–882 miles with lots of mini-experiences that have re-charged me in their own way. I have an AMTRAK ticket back home where I need some time to reflect on all of it. Thanks to all for their support and good wishes–they had their magical effect in the background.

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Day-52: Oceanside to La Jolla (UC San Diego)

Today’s oceanside trek of 26 miles brought me to the UC San Diego campus where our son picked me up just in time–I was pretty tired from the long haul. A dinner at Old Mex Cafe rejuvenated me. The brisk morning started out with breakfast at Angelo’s–you can see Alfonso with an apprehensive stare about the trip coming to an end tomorrow (check out the photo). Neither of us want our adventure to end, but both of us need time to reflect on it all and move on. The route saturated us with so many scenes of beautiful beaches and quaint beach cities (Carlsbad, Encinitas, Del Mar, Solano Beach, etc.) and of course state beaches all on historic route 101, the El Camino.

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Day-51: Oceanside (Motel) to Mission San Luis Rey and Return

A 14.7-mile round trip took me to Mission San Luis Rey via the San Luis Rey Bike Path that ran along the (you guessed it) San Luis Rey River. The low of 38 deg F didn’t deter any cyclists or joggers (or even hikers) from plying their sport. This 18th (of the 21) mission was named after the French King Luis IX (as was St Louis, Missouri) who ruled in the 13th century–and hence called the king of the missions. He was the only French King to be canonized. (I’m standing next to the statue of St. Luis, normally situated above the main altar.) The mission is still undergoing a state-mandated seismic retrofit, due to be completed by Jan ’13. Although mass is now held in the huge Serra Center, one can still visit the old mission and sense its former grandeur. It was built in the shape of a cross (only one other one was as well) and it claims to be the largest of the missions.

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Day-50: San Clemente to Oceanside

Today’s nearly 22 miles was totally coastal taking me past the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant, that’s been shut down indefinitely since Jan 12 due to the release of small amounts of radioactive steam caused by premature wear found on tubes in the steam generators. I included a photo of the iconic containment vessels (aka the Dolly Parton Memorial). The path then continued through the San Onofre State Beach, a scenic coastal canyon park (I included just one of many breathtaking views).

Then a turn under the freeway to the other side led me onto Camp Pendelton. Cyclists can enter with just an ID, but hikers need a military ID. That also means that anyone with a military ID can sponsor a group entry!

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Day-49: Dana Point to Mission San Juan Capistrano and on to San Clemente

Cumulative mileage now stands at 817 mi with only two more missions and 73 more miles to go. From the motel it was only 3.6 mi along a creek (with concrete bed) that actually had water flowing and ducks in the water. Mission San Juan Capistrano was the 7th mission founded by Father Junipero Serra on Nov 1, 1776. Unique among all the missions is the presence of a great stone church ruin caused by an 1812 earthquake. The stone church was started in 1797 and completed in 1806. It was never rebuilt and not structurally stabilized until 2004. So much activity there: no less than three school groups on tour; a funeral mass in the Serra Chapel (which is the only known mission still standing where Fr. Serra celebrated mass–it was completed in 1788); at least four artists busy at heir easel; and a large construction crew building a new entrance. I took the audio tour and found it quite interesting. Wine is purported to have started being produced at this mission, from where it spread to other missions! One can see the outdoor grape press.

After visiting the mission, I returned the same way to Dana Point and then pretty much walked along the ocean beaches to San Clemente. From here it’ll be more oceanfront as I pass San Onofre nuclear power plant and Camp Pendleton.

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