THURSDAY, JULY 31, 2014:

Today I drove 131 miles going north on California Highway 1.



All of the images below are thumbnails and can be clicked on for a larger image.

My first order of business was to visit Hearst Castle.
I got to the visitor center as they were opening up shortly before 9:00AM.
I took two tours of the estate. One of the grand rooms and one of the upstairs suites.
Hearst Castle View from Hearst Castle Hearst Castle's Gothic Study

The video below is 35 minutes long of Hearst Castle.

I began my drive up the Pacific Coast Highway shortly after noon
after I finished up at the Hearst estate.
My first stop along the highway was at Elephant Seal Beach.
Elephant Seal Beach @ California's Pacific Coast Highway Elephant Seal Beach @ California's Pacific Coast Highway California's Pacific Coast Highway

The drive along California's Pacific Coast in stunningly beautiful.
California's Pacific Coast Highway California's Pacific Coast Highway California's Pacific Coast Highway

My last stop on the Highway was at the historic Bixby Bridge.
California's Pacific Coast Highway Bixby Bridge @ California's Pacific Coast Highway Bixby Bridge @ California's Pacific Coast Highway

The video below is 37 minutes long of the California Pacific Coast Highway.

I spent the night in beautiful Monterrey, California.
Monterrey, California Monterrey, California Monterrey, California

The video below is 7 minutes long of Monterey, California.

The video below is 3 minutes long of my accommodations in Monterey, California.

MY DAILY EMAIL SENT ON JULY 31, 2014
Howdy people,

It was a quick 30 mile drive from my hotel in Atascadero over to the Pacific Coast Highway. My first order of business today was Hearst Castle. My first tour left at 9:00 this morning when they opened. The first thing you have to do is take a bus ride up the hill to the mansion.



The bus let us out on top and we met our tour guide for the grand rooms tour. Below is a picture of Hearst Castle. William Randolph Hearst inherited this cattle ranch from his mother when she died. At that time he told his architect that he was tired of sleeping in tents when he visited the ranch and he wanted to "build a little something." This is what they came up with and it took 28 years to complete.



The first room we came to was the reception room. This is where guests would meet before dinner for a cocktail. Hearst insisted that all his guests meet here each evening.



Hearst didn't believe in room service. If you wanted to eat you had to come to the dining room for your meals. While the dining room itself was quite opulent, the china and tableware were very cheap and ordinary.



After dinner you could entertain yourself in the game room.



After this tour was over I took another tour at 10:30 of the upstairs suites. One of the first rooms we visited was the library.



Below is Mr. Hearst's bedroom. He was a very tall man and the bed was made to accommodate him.



And below is his mistress' bedroom. His wife liked the high life in New York City and Hearst fell in love with an actress in California who moved into the mansion.



And below is Hearst's Gothic Study. How he ever got any work done in these confined conditions is amazing.



After the tour is over you are free to walk around the grounds on your own. The grounds are quite spectacular.



Hearst insisted that all power and phone lines be buried under ground, which was unheard of back in the 1920s. But nothing could obstruct the view, which you can see in the picture below.



Below is the Neptune Pool. There is some repair work going on so there isn't any water in it at the moment.



And below is the indoor Roman Pool.



After I finished walking around the grounds I took the bus back down the hill. I had a bite to eat at the visitor center before hitting the road. It was now 12:30 and it was 97 miles to Monterrey where I am spending the night. I didn't make very good time because I was always stopping to take pictures. My first stop was at Elephant Seal Beach.



There were hundreds of these very large seals there. Most of them were just lying there dead to the world. But other were fighting or playing with each other.



While it was a clear and sunny day there were some foggy spots along the coast as I made my way north.



The last time I was out here in the late 90s the Pacific Coast Highway was closed due to a mud slide. I'm glad that was not the case today. This is one of the most beautiful drives in the country.



Below is the Bixby bridge built in 1932.



When I got to Carmel By The Sea traffic completely stopped. It took almost an hour to go a couple miles. When traffic finally started to move I turned off and took the 17-mile drive. This is a scenic drive around the Monterrey Peninsula including the Pebble Beach Golf Course. Unfortunately it was now completely cloudy, very windy and cold. I was also very tired after sitting in the traffic jam. So I spent very little time exploring the drive and headed for the hotel. Below is one of my few stops along the coast, the golf course is on the other side.



I am staying at the Clement right on Cannery Row.



After I checked in I took a walk around Cannery Row.



I placed a take-out order at Johnny Rockets and took the food back to my hotel room for dinner. It was very good.



Tomorrow I will continue my drive along the coast up to San Francisco. I will be in San Francisco for three nights before flying home on Monday.

Sorry for the large number of pictures today but I know you didn't want to miss anything.

Tim




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