San Luís Obispo Report

Mission Report: San Luís Obispo de Tolosa

Date: 5/8/95

Travel Statictics:

Once again on our ride from La Purisíma to San Luís Obispo we encountered strong headwinds. We had to pedal hard even when we were riding downhill! In spite of the wind we managed to break our record for maximum speed on the trip: 34.5 mph on a steep downhill!


One thing that makes Mission San Luís Obispo unique is its campanario. Usually the campanario is a simple wall with windows cut in it for each bell, and usually this wall stands by itself . Here at San Luís Obispo the campanario is the front wall of one of the Mission's main buildings called the vestibule.

We have learned some interesting things about bells at Missions La Purísima and San Luís Obispo. The job of the bell ringer was taken very seriously. These men, who were often American Indian "neophytes," spent up to 2 years just learning how to ring the bells. This is because there were complicated bell patterns used to wake the mission inhabitants in the morning, call them to mass and announce the beginning of the siesta. The last two bell ringers at San Luís Obispo did this job for over 60 years each!

At La Purísima we learned more about wooden bells. Bells were often made of wood while the Padres waited for new bells to arrive by ship. Usually the metal bells used at the Missions were made in Lima, Peru (which was called "The City of the Bells.")

Here's a funny story that we heard about Mission San Luís Obispo. There once was a padre here named Father Martinez who had some strange ideas. Once when an important Mexican General was visiting, Father Martinez thought of an unusual way to entertain his guest. He summoned the General to the courtyard where he had arranged a chicken parade. Imagine the General's reaction to a frantic procession of squawking hens and roosters!


  1. We were not able to visit the room called the "vestibule." Can you tell us what this room was this room was used for?

Onwards to San Miguel!

--Brian and Matt

Return to the Report Index