2009 Ford Flex Road Trip, Stage 2: Mission Accomplished
August 11, 2009
Stage 2 of our Ford Flex Tour de California (and Oregon) brought us to one of California's most remote and unspoiled missions, Mission San Antonio de Padua. To get there you have to take a detour off Highway 101 for some 25 miles until you get to the checkpoint at Fort Hunter-Liggett, an active Army training facility. From there you drive 6 miles through the base to get to the mission. The military checkpoint requires ID, vehicle registration and proof of insurance in order to proceed.
Any California 4th grader can tell you about the missions and how Fray Junipero Serra, a Spanish Franciscan from Catlunya, founded a string of 20-something of them along what was then called Alta California the late 1700's. The idea was to convert the local Indians and colonize the west coast of North America. San Antonio de Padua, the 3rd one built, was founded on July 14, 1771. It's still an active parish that serves 35 families. Admission is free.
About 2 miles south of the mission you'll find the start of Nacimiento-Fergusson Road, a narrow, twisty road that cuts through the Fort and crosses over the mountains to the Pacific Ocean and Highway 1 at Lucia, right in the heart of the most spectacular part of the Big Sur coast. N-F Road is the only crossing over these mountains between San Luis Obispo and Carmel, and every motorcyclist I know talks about it.
I had planned to check it out for myself on this trip, but a brush fire in those mountains closed the road to all but fire personnel. So our side-trip to the mission was an out-and back affair, and we continued up 101 to our stopover in San Francisco.
Fuel consumption, Stage 1, Yorba Linda to San Luis Obispo: 259.7 miles and 13.2 gallons for
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 29,692 miles