Escondido, CA Friday Nov. 21
I have read that shopping is the number one activity of travelers. So, we tried it today. Over-rated.
We drove up to Temecula, a town of less than 2000 people in 1980 and an estimated 106,000 people today. The town began as a Spanish mission settlement, and was run like an autocratic ranch. The Mexican government took away the mission land and passed it over to several large landowners. The U.S. took over the area by treaty, just weeks before gold was discovered at Sutters Mill. Settlers and miners came, the Indians were kicked out to a reservation, and ranching became a big business. I-15 was completed in the early 1980s and development skyrocketed. The area has kept a large portion set aside for agriculture and the Temecula Valley Wine corridor is a major tourist attraction with 38 wineries, and 7 breweries, in the area. The Native Americans now own the largest casino in CA, the Pechanga Casino. A very short history.
The downtown has kept an Old West ambience. We visited the local history museum and besides telling the history of the area, there was a tribute to Erle Stanley Gardner, the author of the Perry Mason books and TV series that ran from 1957 to 1966. Gardner lived in Temecula for 33 years.
We had lunch at a local Mexican restaurant, the Bank, which is in a bank building built in 1912. It had two claims to fame, it stayed open during the Depression and when it was robbed in 1930, the local citizens caught the robbers. After lunch, we spent time shopping, but no purchases were made. We really had nothing particular in mind and nothing new jumped out at us. I did inquire at several stores if they had any locally made Christmas ornaments but other than a few from Germany and Egypt, all ornaments were made in China.
Not being wine drinkers, we made a cursory tour of the wine area and observed numerous wineries, many with large and ostentatious tasting rooms. The parking lots were large, but not terribly busy today. It seemed the weekends were prime times for visitors/buyers.
We were back in time to enjoy some rays in the sun. Tonight is music at the fire pit; solo guitar. A nice way to end the time here. Tomorrow it is off for two days at Joshua Tree National Park.
Ed and Chris Nov. 21 9:45 PM