Oceanside, California. From San Diego we traveled to Mission San Luis Rey, nicknamed “King of Missions.” Established on June 13, 1798, the mission was put under the charge of Father Antonio Peyri. The design of the bell tower and the entrance to the church are prominent features of this structure. When we arrived, Mass was about to begin, so we didn’t spend much time in the church sanctuary. Much of the grounds are being used as a retreat center and beautifully landscaped, but are not accessible for visitors. Viewed from outside the fence, one of the gardens has the oldest pepper tree in California, planted as a seed in 1830. As we entered the cemetery, the skull and crossbones over the entrance archway initiated an unnerving mood that was compounded by the eerie chinking of wind chimes in the distance. Escaping the cemetery, we moved away from the Mission buildings to where the soldiers’ barracks are in the process of excavation. Nearby are trails around the Lavanderia where Mission members both washed their clothes and bathed. The Mission museum focused on several different eras of the mission: the Luiseno Indians who lived in the area prior to the construction of the mission, the Spanish Mission period, the Mexican Secularization period, the American Military station, and the 20th Century Restoration. During the Mexican Secularization period, the Mexican government had taken away the Mission from the Catholic Church. On display was the document that President Lincoln signed in 1865 returning the Mission to the Church.