San Juan Bautista, again 

Last Saturday morning I drove the 40 minutes from my cabin in Santa Cruz to the mission town of San Jusn Bautista.

For the past three years and beyond we have made a field trip to the underwhelming Mission San Jose and at the beginning of this year we floated around the idea of visiting a new mission. Our top choice was Mission Dolores in San Francisco, but parking is always an issue.

I have always believed that the best mission within 60 minutes is San Juan Bautista. The journey will take an hour and ten but who would not want to take 60 fourth graders to the mission featured in the best movie of all time (according to the British Film Institution), Hitchcock’s Vertigo. I do remember a fourth graders review of the masterpiece: “Driving and talking and driving and talking and trees!”

Well then they might enjoy the massive three aisled church, the arched colonnade, a part of the original El Camino Real, and of course the local cannabals (the Breens of the Donner Party were early residents).

I arrived early, before the mission opened, and was surprised to learn that a foot race was in progress, the finish line being right on the plaza. The loud pop music blared from the portable speakers, somehow didn’t jive with the California history which surrounded me.

I sat on a picnic bench across the square from the mission and I started to sketch until the mission opened. The sketch that resulted is this post’s featured image.

I then entered the mission and took notes to create a new scavenger hunt for our fourth graders.

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