Category Archives: Pacific Coast Highway

Pacific Coast Highway May 25, 2016

May 25, 2016

Today was a different kind of day for me. Maybe it’s because Memorial Day is near and I’ve been retrospective or it may be that I’m tiring of traveling these beautiful highways alone without purpose. But I’ve been tearful all day and very melancholy. Being here at the Morgan Hill Thousand Trails RV Park doesn’t help much either. Like many of the Thousand Trails Parks there is no sewer hookups in most of the Park. I don’t mind that as I’m only here a couple of nights but the close proximity of my fellow campers is suffocating. Thousand Trails has adopted a business model of turning more and more of the available camping spots into ‘long term’ occupancy. This means that not only are there fewer slots available for the traveling RV’er but that the people occupying these slots on an annual basis quite often are 1) unable to move their unit due to its condition and/or age or 2) they have a job in the local area and find that living out of their RV is better than an apartment or 3) they want to experience the local area for an extended time and use this slot as a ‘home base’. But in essence what is happening is that some of the parks, in an effort to increase the occupancy rates, are allowing substandard units to sit and the RV park looks much like a rundown trailer park. The long term occupants across the street from me here are what I would term trailer trash type people. From the time they returned to their large Class A RV the F bomb and S word were heard continuously. On top of that the gentleman had several of his buddies present to help him install a new horn. His disappointment that it wasn’t what he ordered was rather apparent and vocal as he kept playing this loud obnoxious horn to show his buddies just how wrong it was. He had wanted Star Wars. I have no idea what that would sound like. This TT RV Park has no internet, no radio (well 2 Spanish stations), no TV and poor cell reception. I find this strange as we are pretty much in a suburban populated area just a few miles from town.

OH well, I did get out and check out a local winery. The problem here is that each winery wants $10 for a flight of 5 wines for a tasting. Then the bottles of wine are $38 to $40 minimum. There must be 20 wineries within a 10 mile radius, maybe more. I can’t afford to attend a tasting at all of them to determine just which wine I would like and purchase. At the Big Red Liquors in Indianapolis near where I live on Geist Reservoir has a wine tasting where the wine distributor is present and has a large variety of wines for you to taste, at no cost, and then you make your purchase based on an informed decision without it costing you. An awesome concept.

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Even the wild turkey liked the vineyard. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw this wild turkey jump into the vineyard and begin to move around. I wasn’t quick enough to get a good photo but if you look just left of center you can see the turkey walking away from me.

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Pacific Coast Highway May 24, 2016

May 24, 2016

The people I’ve met here in California are exceptionally friendly and helpful. They seem proud of where they live and are very supportive. As an example I pull off of the road to get fuel and as I am committed to the drive through lane I see that the diesel is ‘out of order’. So I immediately pull back into the street and make a sharp turn back into the station as the line is on the other side of the pumps. Oops, I didn’t make a sharp enough turn so I have to unhook the Jeep and back up the RV to be able to pull forward. Did I mention that this is an exceptionally busy station in a very populated busy street? Well the guy at the pump had already paid for his gas but couldn’t pull up far enough to fill his tank because I’m blocking his way. I can’t do anything either. He and the girl behind him back up and I pull forward. The young man tells me that he moved but needed to access the pump and I’m too big. He pulls around and backs up to the pump. While I’m fueling up I am also reattaching my Jeep. He and I begin talking and he turns out to be really reasonable and accepting that I screwed up but that I had not much recourse but to do what I did. He wished me well in my travels and off he goes.

So I depart San Simeon State Park with the goal of driving to the Santa Cruz area to stay in the Thousand Trail Park in wine country! This Thousand Trail Park is like most other TT Parks. Overbooked, no sewer, ill maintained and crowded.

The drive up the Pacific Coast Highway was one to remember though. You can only say ‘amazing view’ or ‘what a vista’ just so many times. Each fantastic view tops the last one. I quit taking photos after a while because you just can’t capture everything and the panoramic views are just so amazing. I know, you are asking yourself how I’m driving this motorhome pulling the Jeep around these twisty, curvy roads and still be able to take photos. Well it wasn’t easy!

In the photos I’ve tried to capture for you a visual of the rugged beauty of the Pacific Coast Highway. The highway is being worked on to be supported with concrete underpinnings over what appears to be a sheer drop-off. I don’t know how this will stand up during an earthquake but I trust the engineers to have resolved that issue. Please enjoy some of the views of this magnificent stretch of highway along the California coast.



I did stop at the ‘Seal and Whale’ beach where I thought I was going to snap this photo of a couple of large rocks out in the ocean that resembled maybe a seal and a whale.


What I found instead was hundreds of seals on the beach! It must be mating season because you could hear this deep throated calling from multiple places on the beach and of course the friendly frolicking of the seals. The photos below will give you an idea of this ‘seal’ beach environment. – Spring Break maybe?


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It was difficult to catch all the lighthouses but I did manage a couple of them.

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From the PCH you can see what appears to be pristine beaches far below the steep and sometimes sheer cliffs of the California shoreline.




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My guess is that the white rock is a product of the salt water drying and leaving salt on the rock over many, many years of cascading waves.

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As you can somewhat tell the PCH has many twists and turns with the speed limit at 20 or 30mph much of the time.





A few bridges are also found on the PCH.


There is a lighthouse on the far right of the second picture. I’m not sure what this was on top of the hill but it certainly looked inviting to me.


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Can you just imagine the wind that these structures must receive? Notice that there are no trees! The power of cropping to see detail is shown in the photos below.

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Hill House up close

Hill House




Pacific Coast Highway May 23, 2016

May 23, 2016

Let’s try this again! I lost a few hours of posting photos and story line this morning but maybe this time will be a charm. So here I sit outdoors at a picnic table munching on fresh California cherries and strawberries with a glass of wine. Yum! This is a tough life but someone has to do it!

I departed Santa Barbara on the CA1 heading north. I’m finding that I’m following the Historic El Camino Real and there are posted signs spaced along the highway. A shepherd’s hook with a bell and then the sign. I’m not sure of the significance of the bell but it must be something of significance.

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As I passed this farm I couldn’t help but think of my son Jeff. This is quite a farming operation.


Of significance though is the drought that California is experiencing. Look at the hillside and the dry grasses and withering trees.

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This large rock had a name of ‘something’ dome, I just can’t remember the exact name. But these type of rock outcroppings are common along this part of the coast.

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I arrived at the San Simeon State Campgrounds and set up the RV before having lunch on the beach. There is a river running just in front of the place I sat to eat lunch and then the ocean just beyond that. Just me and the birds here for lunch though.


With lunch down it is time to visit the Hearst Castle. My first view of the castle some 3 miles from the campground.

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First a little information on the castle. The castle was under constant construction for 28 years and one of the conditions as it was given to the state was that it would never be finished. It will remain as it was in 1951 when Mr. Hearst died. 127 acres and the Castle itself was given to the state of California by the Hearst Corporation so that the public could view the Castle and all its antiquities both inside and outside. Mr. William Randolph Hearst was able to amass a huge collection of centuries old building structures and antiquities after World War 1 when European’s were desperate for cash. This state park is more like a museum rather than a park where children are allowed to run loose and put their hands on everything in sight. I asked about the collection and the origin of the items. There is no catalogue of the collection to help place dates and countries of origin available in the gift shop. Some of the items are from the 13th and 14th centuries and a few of the Egyptian items are thousands of years old. Today you would never be allowed to gather a collection of this sort but the fact that it is on display for the public to view is a plus. I only wish that each item was identified with a placard stating its origin and date of creation.

The first thing we see is the outdoor swimming pool. As you’ll see the pool is being refurbished.  Just look at the detail and the opulence of the lampposts and other outdoor items.









The gardens that surround the Castle are quite breathtaking as marble statues are interspersed everywhere.


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There are many citrus trees on the property.

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It is time for the Grand tour of the first floor entertaining rooms to begin.


We are shown a view of the ‘back yard’! As far as you can see belonged to Mr. Hearst.



A beautiful structure.

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As we walked around we viewed the front entrance which was taken out of service 20 years ago after the 1,000 year old mosaics were refurbished. The wooden eves and decorations you see are Teak.





This mosaic entry was restored by hand over many months.


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The interior is full of tapestries from the 17th century and each piece of furnishings are hundreds of years old.

This is the room behind the main entrance and was used for cocktails each evening from 7 to 9 pm.

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Wood carved ceiling removed from Italy or Spain and reassembled in the Castle as were many other room ceilings.





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At 9pm Mr. Hearst would come out of a door secreted in the Choir stalls to escort his guests to dinner in the dining room. The dining room is designed after an Italian Castle or Palace. A five course meal would be served that would last until about 11:30pm.

Guarding the doors and fireplace.










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 In the gaming room the ceiling is in the process of being restored, one inch at a time with a cotton ball. The person doing the restoration does so on a part time basis as he travels worldwide performing these services to a multitude of museums.








At midnight there would be a movie shown in the theater. A rather opulent theater at that.



Viewing the theater ended the tour but I was able to get more pictures of the garden while waiting for the Upstairs rooms tour.




As we begin the next tour we are shown a cut away of the Castle construction. Steel reinforced concrete to withstand earthquakes is then covered by brick and then plaster to resemble limestone. There are huge areas not completed as Mr. Hearst was still expanding his ‘home’.



The second floor consisted of guest rooms with sitting rooms between them. There is also a library here that was open 24 hours for restless guests. The bookshelves had locked grating over the books, presumably to prevent damage in the event of an earthquake. Some bedrooms were single occupancy while many of the others contained two beds. Those that shared the space with two beds had separate bathrooms. Only same gender couples shared rooms unless you were married.




















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 Mr. Hearst received a copy of each of his newspapers daily and made corrections and provided input prior to their publication. His guests could read them here.

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On the third floor was Mr. Hearst suite of rooms as well as his girlfriends.


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 His private study.



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On the fourth floor are two guest rooms as well as a study room shared by the guests.




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A view of the garden from on high.


As we worked our way down we encountered even more guest quarters. Even a loft was created where a void existed and Mr. Hearst had the idea to accommodate more guests.

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I enjoyed my visit to the Hearst Castle and I hope that you’ve enjoyed the photos of my experience.





Pacific Coast Highway May 22, 2016

May 22, 2016

I diverted off of the Pacific Coast Highway to rest and do some much needed laundry at a Thousand Trails facility near Santa Barbara, CA. The Rancho Oso RV resort is actually a dude ranch type of facility. Two groups of girl scouts invading this quiet and serene environment made for a lively weekend. I’d forgotten just how much noise active little girls make as they are enjoying an outing. My twin daughters are 30 years old now and are much quieter – most of the time.

Here are a few photos of the Ranch Oso RV Resort:

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Longhorn cows

I took a trip to Solvang, a Danish community nestled in the hills near highway 101. Joris you would love this town. Sadly the drought over the past few years has taken its toll on the rivers and lakes here in California. I stopped to view the dam and lake.

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As you can see the shoreline is very high above the water level and there is lots of greenery where water should be.


But Solvang was full of tourists and the traffic was heavy through this quaint little Danish village.

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Not good photos but the little mermaid was present here also.

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Pacific Coast Highway – May 18, 2016

May 18, 2016

I immediately got on Highway 1, the Pacific Coast Highway at the Santa Monica Pier. North I go to spend my summer in Oregon and Washington State.

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Near Malibu beach there are an abundance of vendors braving the weather in the 60’s.

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The waves crash hard, the wind is blowing and the temperatures are cool. I did see quite a few RV’s just parked on the beach and I was tempted but that would have been cold and breezy.


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So I contacted Thousand Trails and arranged for a few nights at the Rancho Oso resort near San Bernardino.

I’m perched on the second row of RV’s looking upon mountains and there are horses here to ride as well as trails in the National Forest to hike.




The tree shadowing my picnic table. I love the colors. The only problem is that it is shedding and dropping ‘tree gum’ on my jeep!

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