Tag Archives: memoir

Vanishing Historical Route 66

cover back-cover


Vanishing Historical Route 66! The pictorial book with 904 color photos from the ‘Mother Road’ has been released. Starting in Chicago and ending at the Santa Monica Pier with 3,000 miles of adventure and nostalgia along the various routes of Highway 66.

I’m so excited to have completed this trip and had the opportunity to capture the Historical Route 66 in film to share. From 1926 to 2016 Route 66 has faithfully served the imagination of Americans and inspired TV Shows and movies. This piece of Americana is not to be missed. But be quick! Route 66 is vanishing before our very eyes. Both paperback and Kindle version in full color!

Route 66 celebrates 90 years of providing America with travel from Chicago to Los Angeles in 2016. Much of nostalgic sights along the route have disappeared and many more are in danger of deterioration. There are many communities across the 8 states that have embraced the spirit of the Historical Route 66. Within these communities there is an American pride that cannot be hidden. The photos I’ve taken along the way are provided to help maintain for future travelers what is here in 2016. I only wish I had taken this trip a decade ago to catch the fever and spirit of what is becoming a Forgotten Historical Route 66. Enjoy the photo journal as I pass through the ‘Mother Road’.

Walk in Confidence – The Paula Coffer Story


   Click image to order paperback book

Available on Amazon in kindle format: Walk in Confidence

Never a victim, always a winner.

BE HERE NOW! Live in just this moment, this day. When you walk out the door don’t look for acceptance, take for granted that you are accepted. Don’t live in a world where you are looking at a timeline that appears impossible. Live in the moment and relish, with gratitude, what you do have and recognize how far you have come. Make plans today for tomorrow but live in the today. Make your life now.

 Life is a series of journeys that take each of down separate paths. Sometimes the path intersects and sometimes it doesn’t. Regardless we must each own our own journey and make a positive difference in this world.

 This is Paula’s journey and the many paths she has traveled to succeed in making this life a positive experience.

 Be strong, be confident, be genuine

I served in Vietnam with the US Navy and retired from the US Army as a Finance Officer. I am traveling the US in a Motorhome towing a Jeep/Kayak and bicycle. I am an author maintaining a travel blog (paulacoffer.com) and have just published a trilogy of books called ‘Afghan Journals’ that are my daily journals while working with the DOD and DOS in Kabul, Afghanistan from 2011 – 2014. I am a parent of 4 adult children that I travel to see often. I transitioned in 1996 and have worked in multiple professions that include being a College Professor, Federal Examiner for NCUA, Anti-Money Laundering Revenue Agent with the IRS, Finance Director at Job Corps and as a Mentor/Advisor to the Ministry of Interior, Afghanistan. As a Soldier I was in the Finance Corps and served in Texas, Germany, Indiana, Korea, Baltimore/Wash DC and DFAS-IN. My hobbies are bicycling, Kayaking, Hiking, traveling, grilling and having fun with friends and family. My life story is published in a book ‘Walk in Confidence”.


Washington State – Summer of 2016

I apologize for not providing a travel blog for so long. Life happens and I got caught up in enjoying being alive and with other people. So forgive me for the length of this posting as I catch up on my summer of traveling in Washington and Oregon.

I left Yosemite after the Memorial Day weekend. This was a most wonderful week in one of America’s treasures. After a near disaster filling up with gas in Redding, CA I picked up a young man hitch-hiking to Portland. He and I enjoyed two days of traveling together. I provided him with a signed copy of Sandbox to Sandbox as his sister traveled a similar journey and perhaps my book could help her.

After depositing Joe at his home in Portland I traveled to the Lewis and Clark Campground and RV Park in North Bonneville, WA. The building itself is much like a museum with many artifacts and publications scattered throughout.

DSC_0198 (2)

This park is managed by my second cousin Janice that I have not seen or heard of for some 54 years. It was a great reunion and I promised to return in August to spend time with her. I did help build a spreadsheet to help her with billing utilities to the monthly occupants. It is nice to share my talent wherever I can.

I traveled to La Conner, WA where I enjoyed to sights of the beach, Anacortes, La Conner and Seattle.

La Conner

While here I was joined by Alexis, my daughter. She treated me to a whale watching cruise from Friday Island. What a wonderful experience.

IMG_3004 (2)

I joined Alexis and her childhood friend Libby in Seattle for a hike through Fort Lawton, an old Army Fort, to a lighthouse.

IMG_3027 (2)


During June I worked on completing the photo journal of my Route 66 trip. While the book is expensive on Amazon I did purchase 20 to sell at just $5 over what they cost me. If you are interested in a book portraying Route 66 with 904 color photos on 460 pages then email me and I’ll send you one for $40 + $5 shipping fee. To get a good view of what the interior is like go to Amazon.com and search for Paula Coffer and use the ‘look inside’ feature to read the first chapter.

CoverBack cover

 July found me in Leavenworth, WA. Leavenworth is a Bavarian Village in the mountains of Washington State!

IMG_3039 (2)

I was able to enjoy mountain hikes, lakes and of course the quaint village itself.


While here I visited Alexis again for a parade in Seattle. I just wanted to spend time with her. We had a great day together before I drove back to the quiet mountains of Leavenworth.

IMG_3011 (2)

We also attended International Day or Dragon Fest in downtown Seattle!


DSC_0743 (2)


DSC_0766 (2)

I also learned that Washington State is big on Big Foot! I even caught a glimpse of him in a golf cart!

IMG_3054 (2)

IMG_3055 (3)

July and on into August found me at Long Beach, WA. On the way to Long Beach I was able to visit Mount Saint Helen.

DSC_0797 (2)


Washington State is also home to many Christmas Tree farms. How cool is that?

DSC_0821 (2)

Long Beach hosts many international events. Here is part of the sand sculpture event just a week or so before the huge Kite event.


DSC_0838 (2)


DSC_0846 (2)

DSC_0849 (2)

DSC_0852 (2)




DSC_0886 (2)

DSC_0874 (2)

I was joined in Long Beach by my battle buddy John’s wife Norma. She spent a week with me walking the beach finding sand dollars, ocean fishing for salmon and enjoying RV life. Then we went to the Lewis & Clark Campground & RV Park in North Bonneville before I took her to the Portland Airport for her trip back to Washington DC.





IMG_3110 (2)

We visited Cape Disappointment too.


IMG_3117 (2)

IMG_3135 (2)

Cranberry pickers and separators at the Cranberry Museum


DSC_0054 (2)

DSC_0069 (2)

DSC_0073 (2)

There is just so much to see from Long Beach to Westport, WA. One day in the Jeep I drove over 20 miles along the beach. Eagles, Elk, Driftwood, dead fish, dead Sea Lions. So much to see and so little time!



IMG_1120 (2)



DSC_0903 (2)

DSC_0904 (2)

DSC_0907 (2)

DSC_0910 (2)

DSC_0906 (2)

DSC_0901 (2)

DSC_0912 (2)

DSC_0870 (2)

DSC_0890 (2)

DSC_0898 (2)

DSC_0900 (2)

DSC_0858 (2)



DSC_0939 (2)

During this time I have also begun writing a travel guide to Washington State where I have an imaginary, magical traveling companion named Ralf. Ralf is a wire haired Dachshund. I have been fortunate in that a fellow traveler has a wire haired Dachshund that she has allowed me to photograph. No muss no fuss with a dog that doesn’t belong to me!


In my RV


In my Jeep


Then came the Columbian Gorge and Beacon Rock.



DSC_0076 (2)





DSC_0182 (2)


DSC_0179 (2)

DSC_0175 (2)

DSC_0166 (2)

DSC_0161 (2)



Marina at Hood River

DSC_0150 (2)


Adventurous souls in the wind of the Gorge

DSC_0138 (2)


DSC_0141 (2) DSC_0147 (2)



DSC_0127 (2)

DSC_0146 (2)

Bridge of the Gods


IMG_3153 (2)

Bonneville Dam



Historical Markers gifted to the Lewis & Clark Campground & RV Park



DSC_0188 (2)




DSC_0198 (2)

Pear orchards near Hood River


Then onto Seaside, Oregon for a few weeks before heading south.

IMG_3080 (3)

Haystack rock


Yosemite May 29, 2016

May 29, 2016

There is such a wonderful feeling when you take a hike through nature. The smell of the woods, the beauty of even the smallest of delicate flowers. This morning I took a short hike near the Yosemite Lakes RV Park. The hike was of medium endurance that reminded me of the hikes Cheryl Korver and I took in Shenandoah. At the end of the hike was a dam and as I neared it I could hear the water falling across the rocks below. At the dam itself I find a group of a dad and his 2 young sons fishing. I’m watching another man stand on the dam fishing for the ‘big one’. I looked at the dad and mentioned that the water must be very cold and he tells me that he carried one of his sons across the damn on his back. “Every bone in my body ached it was so cold.” He tells me. And yet here this guy is standing in the cold swiftly running water casting for more trout. Mind over matter!

I think the thing I’ve most enjoyed about being at this particular campground is the sound of families. Most Thousand Trails parks are older people. This reminds me so very much of when I was a child camping with my parents and grandparents. Children floating on the river squealing or the sound of horse shoes clanking against the post and all combined with the sound of the wind whispering through the trees. I’ll remember Memorial Day weekend 2016 for many years to come as a truly enjoyable time in my life.

Yesterday I was fortunate enough to have a facebook friend drive 2 hours to visit with me for the afternoon. I grilled a salmon filet to mix into the fresh salad with avocado, orange bell pepper and sweet tomatoes. Karen Scot and I spent the afternoon just chatting and enjoying the serenity of my Yosemite campsite.

IMG_2964 (2)

Last night we had a live country band entertain us. I stopped by for a few moments before returning to the campsite where I sat by the river and read a few chapters in my book.

IMG_2938 (2)











IMG_2953 (2)



From across the small South Fork of the Tuolumne River I can see my campsite.


There are many butterflies frolicking among these flowers.


My neighbors invited me to share a beer with them yesterday afternoon and we played a card game called Hand and Foot. Today all but the 80 year old Vietnam Veteran took off to see Yosemite Park in all its grandeur. A perfect day for the trip too as the weather is just great. I asked the ‘stay behind kid’ if he would like to join me for lunch when I noticed that he was still here. He accepted and I grilled a variety of vegetables – okra, bell pepper, zucchini, squash, onion, green beans, new potatoes – and shrimp that I had acquired off the boat while in Crystal River, Florida. Add a wonderful salad with the small avocados, bell peppers, tomatoes – the usual with an avocado dressing. A yummy lunch with an engaging conversation as well as a toast to our fallen comrades in arms.


Yosemite May 27, 2016

May 27, 2016

I woke up this morning, rolled over and looked out my back bedroom window at this quiet river:



Today I tried to reach the heavens and traveled to the Tioga Pass in Yosemite National Park. I packed a picnic lunch with a sandwich and peach, cherries and tangerines. My goal was to have lunch with a friend. It is a scenic 46 mile drive from the turnoff to the pass. Higher and higher I climbed. At 8,000 feet I took a photo of snow piled up beside the roadway. At 9,000 feet I stopped to be thankful for the lake formed by the melting snow and ice. At 9,945 feet I reached the Tioga Pass and I could see the Tioga Peak at 11,526 feet. I can’t get any closer to heaven today.

I parked the Jeep and pulled out my picnic basket. I had packed a beer for lunch but I left it alone because I had to return to the campground some 55 miles away going down the path I had just taken. I did make a toast to my friend Jacque that I came here to have lunch with. I’ve known her since the 5th grade, some 53 years. Usually at New Years and birthdays we would make the call and chat for an hour or so. A couple of times I actually trekked to Lovington, NM to visit with her and her family. Jacque is one of those people that doesn’t know a stranger. She never veered far from Lovington and other than Mexico I don’t think she has ever left the country. But while CP Coker and I went off to the military and then to work Jacque stayed home. CP and I saw the world, much more than we wanted to with Vietnam and then CP had a career in the oil fields overseas and I had my military career. Jacque though raised a couple of generations of children in Lovington. There are many who call her ‘mom’ as she gave them more guidance and time than their own parents did. You could always count on a plate at the table when you went to Jacque’s house because that is just that way it is. Jacque didn’t have a problem letting you know what her opinion was either. A strong willed woman with a generous heart and a loving soul.

So I set out my picnic to share with Jacque because this is as close as I can get to having lunch with her.  9,945 feet elevation, close to heaven and Jacque. I was in Albuquerque and considered taking the side trip to Lovington but the 900+ mile round trip did not appeal to me. I tried to call her and left a voice message but I didn’t get to hear her voice.

As I sit there with Jacque though I can just hear her say in her quick way “Well Paula Coffer I finally stopped smoking so you can just shut up”. Heck for 30 years I’ve been trying to get her to quit! We chatted about Lovington and my cousin Pam. We talked about how Bob’s business was doing in the current economy and where the kids are and what they are doing. Yea, even her ex-husbands came into the conversation as we rehashed from the last conversation we had. Jacque tells me she has to go and I thank her for her time and let her know how much I appreciated her sharing lunch with me. I’ll miss my childhood friend Jacque Ludecke Dennis as she goes to harass Saint Peter and surround herself with a more divine family. Rest in Peace Jacque, you’ve had a hard life and deserve heavens bounty.


Tioga Peak


My view for lunch. Pure unspoiled snow.


The cold and wind must affect how these trees grow.

DSC_0620 DSC_0621


8,000 Feet Elevation


9,000 Feet Elevation.



Again the scenic vistas were just overwhelming! The beauty of nature is always in season.

DSC_0598 (2)







Crystal clear pristine ice cold Tenaya Lake.



Check out the tree growing out of the middle of this dome.











Yosemite May 26, 2016

May 26, 2016

I was up early and on the road by 0800. With the Santa Cruz wine country in my rear view mirror I leave the Pacific Coast Highway and begin my journey to Yosemite National Park. This park is on my daughter Alexis’ bucket list and once I arrived and toured a part of it I could understand why. I almost think that this park is more impressive than Yellowstone National Park. Mary Eileen I wish you were here with me to see the grandeur of this park. There are no geysers like Old Faithful but there are a plethora of water falls and scenic views that challenge what is seen in Yellowstone. There was a fire here in the somewhat recent past as huge burned areas are seen on the mountainside.

The ride up to Yosemite was via back roads with much beauty in their own right. I’ve tried (unsuccessfully) to capture some of the beauty of the flowers growing along the narrow and winding road climbing to 6,000+ elevations. For much of the drive I was following the John Muir route. 



DSC_0548 (2)




 In this photo you can see the burned out trees on the mountaintop but look at the blooming roadside trees/bushes.

DSC_0550 (2)

I couldn’t really capture the beauty of the flowers covering the mountainside. It appears as if they are mountain lilac or something similar. A beautiful purple blanket covering the steep roadside incline.

DSC_0552DSC_0544 (2)

I arrived at the Thousand Trails Yosemite Lakes RV Park, checked in and set up the RV before heading to Yosemite National Park and Forest. I was determined to see what I could as I only had reservations for one night and the young girl at the check-in told me that there were no openings for additional nights. So I encounter a Park Ranger trying to catch speeders near the intersection of highways 120 and 140. I was wearing my Vietnam Veteran hat and he lets me know that he was a Marine infantryman in Vietnam during 1967. I asked him what he would do if he only had one afternoon to enjoy Yosemite Park. He recommended the Valley route as there were more waterfalls and other sights to view. The pass had just been opened and not much was happening up there except that you were at 10,000+ elevation. So off to the Valley route I go as another park visitor begins to ask him questions also.

Oh, this RV park has no Cell service and WiFi only at the lodge. I’m ok with that as this RV park is like the places I remember going as a child. I’m sitting directly on the river with a full hook-up and enjoying the sounds of birds and the breeze whispering through the trees while I sit and watch the clear water laden with trout.

After I returned from my whirlwind trip to Yosemite Park I stopped and spoke with the team at the check in to see if I could obtain additional nights here at the park. Wouldn’t you know it, I am now staying here until the 31st. I had not thought before about driving with all those rushing to return home on Monday for work on Tuesday. But this is such a nice environment and the people I have next to me are so nice that I’m very pleased to have been able to get an extended stay.  Now I’ll be able to get in some hiking and a trip to the highest elevation.

As you enter Yosemite you are first struck by the burned area. I can’t help but think a careless smoker caused this devastation by flicking their cigarette out the window. Sorry, just my thought.






The waterfall comes from very high up and just cascades down the different paths in the hard rock formations.






DSC_0568 (2)

DSC_0570 (2)



DSC_0576 (2)

Before arriving at Yosemite I passed a small herd of deer grazing beside a dam. This deer has really fuzzy antlers.

DSC_0577 (2)


DSC_0582 (2)


The Yosemite Lodge. I think the best way to see these major national parks is to plan in advance to make reservations to stay in the National Park. I’m flying by the seat of my pants and being spontaneous as to where I am. But if I had someone else traveling with me a plan could be created and followed.





This lady was photographing something below the bridge and just wouldn’t move. Finally I took the photo anyway and then the next one is the other side of the bridge where the cascading waterfall continues.






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.

 DSC_0543 (2)

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.

DSC_0542 (2)

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?


DSC_0516 (2)

DSC_0509 (2)

DSC_0510 (2)


DSC_0513 (2)

DSC_0517 (2)

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

DSC_0519 (2)

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




DSC_0526 (2)

DSC_0528 (2)

DSC_0530 (2)

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.

DSC_0531 (2)

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.


DSC_0540 (3)

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.

DSC_0540 (3)

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.

DSC_0313 (2) DSC_0311 (2) 

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.

DSC_0317 (2)

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.

DSC_0318 (2)

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.

DSC_0321 (2)

DSC_0321 (3)

DSC_0322 (2)

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.


DSC_0494 (2)



DSC_0341 (2)


DSC_0343 (2)


DSC_0349 (2)

DSC_0385 (2)


There are many citrus trees on the property.

DSC_0487 (2)



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.

DSC_0389 (2)

DSC_0345 (2)

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.


These Egyptian items are thousands of years old.DSC_0346 (2)

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.

DSC_0358 (2)




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





DSC_0364 (2)

DSC_0365 (2)

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.










DSC_0375 (3)

 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.




















DSC_0415 (2)



DSC_0418 (2)



DSC_0421 (2)


DSC_0423 (2)

 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.

DSC_0424 (2)




DSC_0428 (2)

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


DSC_0430 (2)


DSC_0432 (2)


DSC_0434 (2)



DSC_0440 (2)






 His private study.



DSC_0447 (2)


DSC_0449 (3)

DSC_0449 (4)

DSC_0450 (2)






DSC_0456 (2)


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




DSC_0463 DSC_0464 (2)

DSC_0465 (2) DSC_0466





DSC_0471 (2)

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.

 DSC_0479 (2)


DSC_0481 (2)


DSC_0483 (2)

DSC_0484 (2)


DSC_0475 (2)

DSC_0476 (2)

DSC_0477 (2)

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:

DSC_0268 (2)

DSC_0267 (2)

DSC_0269 (2)

DSC_0270 (2)

DSC_0309 (2)

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.

 DSC_0272 (2)


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.

DSC_0292 (2)

DSC_0294 (2)

DSC_0296 (2)

DSC_0295 (2)

DSC_0298 (2)

DSC_0299 (2)

DSC_0301 (2)

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

DSC_0275 (2)

DSC_0276 (2)

DSC_0277 (2)

DSC_0279 (2)

DSC_0281 (2)

DSC_0282 (2)

DSC_0283 (2)

DSC_0285 (2)

DSC_0287 (2)

DSC_0288 (2)

DSC_0291 (2)

DSC_0274 (2)