Thursday, February 3, 2011

Hernando de Alarcon

Crossing Imperial County – Stop #11

Just up the road from driftwood Charley’s diggings is the Hernando do Alarcon landmark. Pushing the limits of oceanic exploration in 1540, he became the first dude from Yurrup in these parts.

From the album ‘Landmarks of Imperial County’
Though he never connected with the Coronodo expedition at the appointed location, Hernando de Alarcon's mission was hardly a failure.  He proved that Baja California was a peninsula and not an island and brought accurate maps back to Spain in 1541, and discovered the Colorado River.  After going nearly 100 miles up his new discovery and before returning to Spain, he left letters for Coronodo.  Another explorer, Melchior Diaz later picked them up after the Quechan Indians were heard to say, "You've got mail."

Plaque Inscription: State Historical Landmark No. 568 HERNANDO DE ALARCON EXPEDITION, 1540  Alarcon's mission was to provide supplies for Francisco Coronado's expedition in search of the fabled seven cities of Cibola. The Spaniards led by Hernando De Alarcon ascended the Colorado River by boat from the Gulf of California past this point, thereby becoming the first non-indians to sight Alta California on September 5, 1540.

Location: On
Algondes Road
, Hwy 186 (PM 0.4), 0.5 miles South of I-8, 0.4 miles North of Andrade border, Andrade.
Google maps: 32.737977,-114.717865
Hernando is 26 miles from Picacho Mine and best seen prior, along with Pilot Knob.

Here’s a link to a video sample of the song:

Lots of milage a-phayin' this taliking blues to tour groups. 


To imagine this river in 1540 is a pretty hard thing to do
That's the year the Alarcon expedition went on a little river cruise
Sailed up the gulf three ships afloat up from Mexico
Was gonna meet up with Coronado and find the Seven Cities of Gold
(Story was, there was gold lyin’ all around the whole place)

Now the Seven Cites of Gold they thought was kind of like paradise
Jewels and gold and silver, a feast for a Spaniard's eyes
For years they'd search for the king and church, looked everywhere it seemed
But the Seven Cites of Gold was a myth, a Spanish explorer's dream.
(Somebady just made it up)

The great Colorado River was a real tough river to ford
Wild and mean, wouldn't stay in place except for one little gorge
For in the mountains you'd hit the rapids and they would send you tossing
There was only one safe place to go and that was the Yuma crossing.
(Yuma........’nuff said)

On a day in May they made their way and the day of course was sunny
With armor plates and hats of tin, to the Indians they looked funny
Well Alarcon to Indians said "Have you seen Coronado?"
They said "No, but if you come back later, try out our casino."
(Come back in about 460 years)

Alarcon gave up and left a note and floated back to Spain
They never found those cities of gold but wait, lets look again
There's Cocopah casino, Viejas and Paradise I'm told
Spa, Morongo all rise out of the desert looking like cities of gold
(Who knew)

Hernando de Alarcon his mission did one thing
First to this part of California, from Europe you could sing
Hernando you're not a failure don't hang your head in gloom
No fortunes found they're not around you just arrived too soon

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