Thursday, December 25, 2008

December 25 - Madonna Mission Accomplished

With partial clearing

at the Madonna Inn,

the volcanic cones glowering across the across the ranch lands,

Harriet and I breakfast

via the porte-cochere

in the warm and

garish surroundings

(perhaps a mirror to our crazy world),

taking leave and

and hitting the rain-showered road south to Gaviota Gorge

(non-tunnel direction,

merely a bit of rock overhang),

south of the rocky Santa Ynez Mountains (part of the Transverse Ranges), along the Santa Barbara and

and Ventura coasts,

to the Rincon Cliffs.

Beyond, it's over the Oxnard Plain, with views to the Santa Monica Mountains,

up Conejo Grade and into Los Angeles County (where Las Virgines Road beckons toward Malibu Canyon),

across the valleys to Riverside's Jurupa Mountains,

partially desecrated and

decorated (yes that's a mammoth on the extreme right),

to the way-moreso, mammoth-in-it's-own-way Mission Inn.

Lights on, this second eccentric destination is further enlivened, from the entrance arches

and lobby

Christmas tree, through the


geometry of



illuminated palms,

and entrance walkway of the outer courtyard in view from our

first room (contrapuntal pipes will merit a second);

an angel-and-



bespangled colonades,

giant figurine

clock, and


in the inner atrium (Spanish Wing);

to the surreal chapel

(looking out on the relatedly phantasmagoric dark-distant Jurupas),

further illumined foliage (in the back-of-beyond building),

austere above-the-chapel promenade

dome, and

dizzy rotunda of

the northwest quadrant of this very full city block.