Hearst Castle, Monterey and the Big Sur.

It is amazing how when one lives a lifestyle that you forget that other people may not know the vernacular you are using!! For instance I was asked “what is a KOA?”. Never occurred to me that people wouldn’t know. Well it stands for “Kampgrounds of America”, not quite sure why it is not COA but it could be that name was already registered!!

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We left the National Parks and headed west to a place called Greenfield, which is midway between Monterey and Paso Robles on RT101. We needed to access the North and South of RT1, the Pacific Highway, but it is closed in the middle near Gorda because of a landslide that took out 1/2 mile of road.

The drive to Yanks RV Resort was very interesting indeed. I decided to use a California highway (CA198) all the way, but there were warnings that some of the bends were a bit twisty and some of the grades could be steep. As it turned out it was a lovely drive along what was classified as a Scenic Route and there were far bigger lorries than our RV using it.

Don’t go too fast around the corner you may topple over!!
This is a narrow road in the USA. Looks like a UK A road!!
Quite hilly!!
Parked up half way along CA198.
Beautiful scenery.
Must have a cup of tea to calm the nerves!!

Really enjoyed the drive and we arrived at Yanks RV Resort about 2.30pm and wow what a site. It is a new site with concrete pads and very nicely done landscaping.

Lovely site, with concrete pads so easy to level the RV.
Beautiful views and very quiet.

Hearst Castle had to be booked so we booked it for the Saturday. We decided to investigate Monterey and the Big Sur on Friday.

Monterey was busy with the start of the Sea Otter Classic which is one of the largest cycling events in the US, but on the Friday wasn’t too bad and we got into Monterey early in the morning (note to self don’t go into Monterey Saturday/Sunday!!).

We found a meter close to San Carlos Beach which was close to the Coast Guard Pier. On the Pier, especially at the far end was a huge colony of Sea Lions and the noise was tremendous.

San Carlos Beach
The end of the Coast Guard Pier with the Sea Lion colony.
Sea Lions on the rocks on the edge of the pier.
More Sea Lions.
And under the Pier. Picture taken from the Café we had coffee and a cake in.
Water was very clear, here is a jellyfish.
A massive 75 ton boat lift at the dock.
Wouldn’t look bad moored in Burnham-on-Sea!!

We then set off down the coast from Monterey on Route 1, the Pacific Coast Highway, to see the coastline known as the Big Sur. We didn’t quite make the bit where the road is closed but nearly did, and there were some spectacular views on the way.

Low cloud on a headland.
Camera balanced on the car!!
Looks like Cornwall on a sunny day!!
One of the many bridges that cross the inlets on the coast.
At the top of a headland, Anne didn’t like cliff edges.
High up on a cliff, notice the lack of guardrails so don’t go off the edge it is a long way down!!
Point Sur lighthouse “island” (it is connected to the coast by the sandbar). The surf was crashing on the beach.
Pont Sur close up showing Light House and the road to the top cut into the hill on the left. Looks a bit like St Michaels Mount, except no hotel.
The farthest south we drove. The road was closed just beyond the point in the background.
Panoramic view of a beach.

Beautiful drive and lots of pull-ins so you can stop and admire the views, although be careful of drivers in convertible Mustangs and Dodge Chargers who seem to use the road as race track!! Driving back with the sun setting in your face was an interesting experience, definitely needed sunglasses!!

The on Saturday we went to Hearst Castle. Built by William Randolph Hearst, the newspaper magnate, with the help of his architect Julia Morgan it is a spectacular “castle” (more like a French chateau than a castle) perched on a hill with views out over the Pacific coastline. Took him 28 years to get it to its current state, but apparently he never finished his complete dream, as ill health stopped the building work. After his death in 1951, the family obviously thought it cost too much to maintain and gave it, plus some of the surrounding land, to the State of California which it is why it is a California State Park attraction. Mind you they kept the other 82,000 acres so I don’t think they are on the breadline yet!!

Hearst Castle from the bottom of the hill.

Now no amount of photos are going to do this place justice, so I am going to try to give you the essence by choosing a few from the many I took.

The views down the hill to the Pacific are EPIC!!
The buildings are amazing.
The main building, the Casa Grande.
A guest cottage!!
Grounds are full of artefacts from Hearst’s personal collection. Egyptian figures.
The front entrance to the Casa Grande.
It has a fine collection tapestries from all over Europe.
All collected by Randolph Hearst.
And another.
Statues galore.
Many religious paintings.
And the ceilings were also from Europe.
Unfortunately the Jupiter pool was closed for refurbishment. It was leaking badly, and in a state with drought problems this was not good. Imagine swimming in this, it actually has statues in the pool!!
And if the outdoor pool wasn’t good enough for you, how about the indoor one!! That is a diving platform halfway up the arch.
And in case you were wondering all those tiles in and out of the pool are gold leaf!!
Not your average fish pond. The board bottom right, was to allow Hearst’s dachshunds a way out when they fell in the pond.
Another guest cottage with its own patio!!
One of the many fountains with statues.
A door, all gold leaf again!!
Tennis anyone?
One of the many handsome alabaster lamps.

Sorry if I have bored you, but if you ever visit California, you just must visit Hearst “castle”, magnificent doesn’t cut it!!

We took the Sunday off and on the Monday we went back to Monterey. We drove a bit further on and visited a Mission in Carmel (Clint Eastwood country!!). By now you will know the story of the Missions in the Southern USA, established by the Spanish to convert the local people and control the area. Mission San Carlos Borroméo del río Carmelo is no different except that it is probably the best example we have visited, and it was visited by Pope John Paul II in 1987.

The altar.
Mary and baby Jesus in a side chapel.
Plaque commemorating Pope John Paul’s visit.
Living quarters as they were in early days.
Courtyard and bell with plaques showing who was involved in the restoration.
Mission courtyard.
Many plants in the courtyard but these Birds of Paradise flowers were really beautiful.

We then drove back up the coast to Pebble Beach.

Pebble Beach, you can’t quite see the famous golf course as it was a bit foggy.

And then back to Monterey where we had lunch at LouLou’s.

Loulou’s Griddle in the Middle.
Anne ordered Fish & Chips!!
Trawler offloading its catch.
Which was squid (calamari).
Sea Lions sunbathing by keeping their fins out of the water to heat the blood in them.
Does this remind you of someone?
The marina, a few thousand dollars worth of boats.
Think I would quite like to work there.

And then we returned to Yanks RV for our last night there. Lovely campground, one of the best we have been in.

View towards the Pinnacles National Park.
And another
General view of the campground.

Well that is the end of this post. The next day we moved on to San Francisco.









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