Friday, May 13, 2011

Ramona Epic #11: Rancho Gaujome (Part 2)

In the last blog I noted that Cave Couts Jr. inherited the property. He is the one that claimed that Helen Hunt Jackson visited here over a period of weeks. He also reported that while she was here he was a partial invalid. Therefore, the adobe was not only the setting of the book, but Couts Jr. was the inspiration for Felipe in the novel. There is controversy over whether Ms. Jackson was actually here or not. However, this location has one advantage over the other rancho in making it fit as the setting in the book. I will mention this below.

From the carriage courtyard one can enter into the inner courtyard. The rooms surround the square-like courtyard. Like I stated in the last blog, the sewing room you see above was added on by Cave Couts Jr. for his wife. In the tour, they take you up there. Just imagine walking through the courtyard and into the room underneath it.This is the room under it. The stairway to the right was added on so one could get up there. The front door entrance they would have used is just past the stairway to the right.This is how it looks from up there looking down on the courtyard.Then looking over towards the chapel.Then turning around and looking out toward the field.Back down below. You can see where you can enter from the carriage courtyard toward the right side in the background.While the other rancho seems to fit the description of the book a little better, Rancho Gaujome does work too. The big advantage Rancho Gaujome has is it matches up better with the geography of the book. It makes more sense for it to be here near San Luis Rey than in Ventura due to the amount of time it would have taken to travel to the areas described in the novel. For example, to travel to Temecula to get the violin and then come back here a day later works. However, to travel from Ventura to Temecula and back in a day is a little more problematic when considering the horse travel for that time period on the routes they would have taken. There are other examples later on in the book like this.

Whether this is the rancho Ms. Jackson used, the other one, or a combination of both is not something I am too concerned with. It seems likely she took some ideas from some rancho and created her own for the book. In any case, this rancho does have a history for being considered a Ramona tourist spot and that is why I covered it.

In closing this one up let me mention a few things. When I went there I took a lot of pictures on that tour, but very little video. The reason being is that on the tour there were families with little kids and strollers. You can hear some of them in the video I did after the tour was over near the carriage courtyard. They were in the way a lot so it would not have worked out very well. Originally, because of this, the video was going to be a partial slide show. I decided against doing that.

Like the other rancho I covered, Rancho Guajome will be coming up again near the end of the series. At that point you will be seeing more of the rooms and other things I missed in this one. I did go back there again for a special occasion that was really fun.

Finally, the tour is good, and you get a lot more history about the place than what I explained here. The only thing I find odd at places like this is where they tell you that a $5 donation is needed to take the tour. It is not the money that bothers me, but the notion of a "forced donation". Just say "a fee" is needed for the tour and I would be okay with that . My guess is there is some loophole used by choosing the word "donation".

Ramona Epic #11: Rancho Guajome (Youtube Version)

Ramona Epic #11: Rancho Guajome (Vimeo Version)

A few other links about the rancho:

The County Of San Diego: Rancho Guajome Adobe

Rancho Guajome: A Legacy Preserved