|ARIZONA AND CALIFORNIA - 02/01/2009|
Day 2 - Arroyo Grande, CA to Camarillo, CA - 259 miles
The main purpose of today's ride was twofold. First was a trip to the Hearst Castle and then to a spot a few miles up the coast where Elephant Seals are plentiful and can be found sunning on the beach in droves. KC is a huge fan of animals of any kind so there was no way we were going to miss that! Since she couldn't be with us on the trip we took plenty of photos.
First though, the Hearst Castle ...
We rode from Arroyo Grande to the castle at San Simeon in near record time! We blistered down the roads in a very "Spirited" fashion. When we pulled in the parking lot AGirl came flying off her bike and yelled something about riding hard paying dividends or something. She started yanking stuff of her bike. She threw me the cover for the bike I was riding and said she'd run up and get the tickets. I asked her what the rush was and she said, "We only have 7 minutes until the bus leaves!" I looked at the clock on my bike again, laughed and said, "You mean an hour and 7 minutes, right?" Now it was her turn to look confused, so I simply said, "Time Zone." San Simeon is an hour behind Phoenix and she didn't set her clock back. So, after a good laugh, we spent the next hour browsing around the visitor center ;) It was a GREAT ride though!
As a little background, the Hearst Castle is a magnificent group of structures built on one of the more prominent hills in the area. The original estate encompassed 250,000 acres. William Randolph Hearst reportedly spent a great deal of time on the estate and when his mother died and he inherited the property in 1919 he began construction of the castle. Mr. Hearst never lived to see his structure complete however. Due to ill health he stopped living there in 1947 and eventually died in 1951.
There are presently 5 tours of the castle, each showing a different area. We took Tour 3 which included the North Wing and the guest house Casa del Monte.
As can be expected the photographs below do not do the structure justice at all, it is one of those places you have to see to believe. Some of my photographs are slightly blurry because a bus is taken to travel from the visitor center to the castle itself. The road is not that smooth and the bus doesn't stop so I did what I could shooting out the bus window. Additionally flash photography was not allowed inside the castle so I had to shoot at a reduced shutter speed hand held. Those shots are not always as sharp as I'd like either.
AGirl took a lot more photographs in and around the Hearst Castle than I did. If you want to see more photos the page on her web site is Here.
As I mentioned above, after we visited the Hearst Castle we continued a few miles north to see the Elephant Seals lounging on the beach. Seeing several thousand 5,000 pound Elephant Seals lounging on the beach is a sight to behold. I assure you that even though they look dead in the photos that they are very much alive. They would occasionally slide down into the water for a splash or use their flippers to throw some sand on top of themselves. They are amazing animals.
There were a few Ground Squirrels around as well. One of them had a pretty good racket going. When people walked along the fence he would dash out and sit right in front of them with his little paws crossed. He had this sad look on his face like he would do just about anything for a bite to eat. After he got fed, which was normally the case every time someone walked by, he would dash back under the fence until someone else walked into his territory. There were a couple of others that dashed in and out of their hole in a sand dune, but they weren't as friendly as the moocher.
I also took a number of photos of the coast itself simply because it is such a beautiful place. Here are a few of them:
We then continued on south down the coast along Highway 1, stopping again at Morro Bay for a couple of photos ....
and then continuing on south to San Luis Obispo for some fuel for the bikes and ourselves. We had a late lunch at the Big Sky Cafe in San Luis Obispo and then continued on south along the coast through Santa Barbara to our motel in Camarillo, CA. We unloaded the bikes, had some late supper, and then called it a day. A magnificent day I might add. Unforgetable scenery, fantastic weather, and the company of good friends. The only damper was having had to leave part of our group back in Phoenix. We missed you KC, you would have loved it!