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El Camino Real Relics in Santa Barbara

Back during the first half of December 2013, I had traveled out to California to follow the New York Islanders ice hockey club on a trip where they were playing the Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks. While I had wanted to take a road trip like this around the Golden State for a number of years, I also wanted to take in a few things that California had to offer. After all, I was a long way from my home in Upstate New York. Being a history buff as well as a road enthusiast and hockey fan, I decided to check out the Old Mission Santa Barbara along my way from Los Angeles to San Jose on US Highway 101. With missions being a part of California's Spanish history, this had to be a win-win. Upon parking at the mission, I had spotted a few other historic relics that I wasn't quite expecting to see at the mission itself.

Historic El Camino Real marker bell.

Historic Auto Club of Southern California road sign.

You may be wondering what the deal with the bell is, especially if you're not quite familiar with California. There were a number of bells that marked the historic route of the El Camino Real, which followed US 101 and other modern roads between Orange County and Sonoma County. There was a Mission Bell Marker system that has existed on the Historic El Camino Real since 1906, with a bell placed one mile apart along the El Camino Real. Modern renditions of the bells can be found along US 101, plus you can even buy your own El Camino Real bell if you have some cash to spare. The bell in at the Old Mission Santa Barbara is an older bell, complete with an old road sign from the Auto Club of Southern California made of porcelain enamel material.

As for that Spanish mission in Santa Barbara I visited, it is now a great museum to check out. Even Junipero Serra himself would agree. I learned a lot and enjoyed my visit.

The exterior of the Old Mission Santa Barbara.

Inside the courtyard inside the mission.

Fr. Junipero Serra statue.


Sources and Links
1. Conejo Valley Guide - The Story Behind Those Historic El Camino Real Bell Markers on the 101 Freeway
2. California Highways - US Highway 101
3. CalTrafficSigns.com - California Highway Signs 
4. Doug Kerr / Flickr - Mission Santa Barbara Photo Gallery

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