After packing up the vans, we left Lake Santa Margarita on a beautiful clear morning and headed up Highway 1. Through Morrow Bay and the small town of Harmony, we stopped off in Cambria for gas and supplies. This is where we would begin to experience what it was like to be a Tiger owner - especially an Astro Tiger owner. People want to know about the van, what it is, is it custom? One of my favorite things about traveling anywhere is getting to know people along the way. The Tiger is a great social tool!
I picked up some amazing day old bread, a baguette, and some granola from a little French bakery and we were on our way to Hearst Castle. I'll admit, I didn't know much about the place, but I love history and it was a highly recommended stop so I willingly volunteered to be a tourista for the day.
Hearst Castle was built by and for William Randolph Hearst with the help of his architect Julia Morgan. Hearst was a gazillionaire who loved art and as the story goes would purchase many random pieces, sometimes entire historic structures, and call Morgan up and say 'you need to incorporate this'. She must have been driven mad, but it seems their professional relationship in building the property never soured. The property was the home to many lavish Hollywood parties, and continues to be a small getaway for the Hearst family today. Hearst wanted his property to be turned into an art college after his death, but the California University system turned it down, so it was then donated to the state parks system which maintains it today.
We went on two small tours, the guest houses and the kitchen area, then roamed around the gardens and pools. What an amazing property. The Neptune pool is so beautiful and inviting...you can jump in if you want to pay the $600 fine. Apparently someone had already jumped in that day! One of the security guards told us about the Best Buddies Challenge, in which participants get to swim in the pool. I thought for sure it would be on my list next year, but it seems while everyone gets to participate in the BBQ at the Castle after the ride, only those who raise $4000 or more get to actually swim. I have a hard enough time raising money for the MS Bike Ride I do every year so swimming in the pool will just have to wait.
This place is beyond lavish, if you ever have a chance to go I recommend taking the tour. The kitchen was huge and the art was amazing. It would have been nice to just take an artwork tour of the place because you really had hardly any time to get the full experience.
After the Castle we continued up the PCH, stopping to check out the Elephant Seals. Some were lazily sleeping, while others were angry. They were pretty entertaining to watch. This was where we began to see a trend; the trend of the RV Rentals. Apparently there must be some ad running at the travel offices in Europe because all up and down this section of the PCH we ran into Germans, Italians, and Brits all in rental RV's. Scary.
Our destination for the day was Big Sur and the Riverside campground. We very slowly wound our way up the highway, enjoying the views and pulling in to camp near dusk.