Hearst Castle and A Message For My Kids

October 7, 2012

Day 15

One of the wonderful things about traveling, is that with cell phones, email, and instant messaging, family is never far away.  Last night, I had long phone conversations with both Kailin and Justin.  It’s good to hear their voices and to have the assurance that all is well with both of them.  My conversation with Justin began like this:

Justin:  “Where are you?”

Me:  “Bakersfield, CA”

Justin: “Oh, you’re back on the west coast.  Now, how many days have you been gone?”

Me:  “14”

Justin:  “Oh, Wow!”

Our breakfast conversation was very similar to my conversation with Justin.  We reminisced on how, two weeks ago today, as Dad so aptly put it; “We were struggling to get away,” then all eyes turned to me.  Again, no matter.  Packing takes time – lots of time.

Breakfast consisted of muffins, left-over egg scramble, coffee and lattes……they never get old.  My after breakfast trip to WinCo, solved all my food crisis problems.  We are now well stocked with bread, bacon, hashbrowns, butter toffee peanuts, and all the other necessities of rv life.

Today’s destination was Hearst Castle in San Simeon, CA.  We drove past oil wells and farms – almond, olive, cotton, rice, pistachio, and probably several other that were unidentifiable at 60 mph.

An oil field

As we got closer to the coast, the farms ceased and the vineyards began.  The area around San Simeon (Paso Robles to Cambria) has become a mecca for small winery’s.  I was last here about 32 years ago.  So much has changed –  the hillsides are now full of homes, there is definitely more traffic and a lot more people.

We drove very briefly on Coast Highway 1, right next to the ocean.  This short drive was totally unpopulated.  And, thanks to the Hearst families gift to the state of California, of 13 miles of coastline, this unmarred vista from Hearst Castle will be preserved…..forever……as it should be.

Hearst Castle

At Hearst Castle, we took the Grand Rooms Tour, which is suggested for first time visitors.  We went into the main “house,” and saw the living room, dining room, billiards room, and theater.  These rooms were so much more than their name implies.  They were splendid museums, each one more beautiful than the previous.

Palm trees

The grounds were so pretty and so well done.  We saw the two pools – one indoor and one outside.

Neptune pool

The Boys enjoying the art on the Castle grounds

One of the guest cottages

It was a glimpse into the past, so eloquently preserved that it was easy to imagine what it must have been like to have been a guest of the Hearst’s.

The home is a work of art, a work of passion, and the vision of a client and the architect who made the dream a reality.  They worked in tandem for 28 years, refining this “project.”  The goal – to create a place not just for him, but for guests to come, unwind, rejuvenate and enjoy one of the most beautiful places imaginable.

Tile work at the Neptune Pool

Tile work at the entrance to the Castle

The architect who worked with Mr. Hearst was a woman, Julia Morgan.  The year they began this project was 1921, and for 28 years they collaborated on this dream.  Julia Morgan was an American, born in New York.  She trained in France at the Ecole Nationale where she had to quite forcefully assert herself to gain acceptance into the university.  The opportunities for women were not so good, at the turn of the century.  She was 47 when Hearst hired her to design a “little place for him on the family ranch at San Simeon.”

Politics and other details of this person’s life aside, I was very taken by the story of Hearst Castle.  In its creation is a message:  Do what you love and in turn, love what you do.  Pursue your dreams with a thoughtful passion.  Be a steward of the earth.  In this construction, trees were left in place and the buildings built around them.  Those that needed to move were moved.  He loved the land and the site pays homage to that spirit.

I wished with all my heart that my kids could be with me today.  They both would have loved to see the castle, hear the story, and take in the beautiful view.  I have attempted to expose my kids to viewpoints that encompass vision, perseverance, and thoughtfulness.  So Kailin and Justin, we need to add this to the itinerary on our trip to Roswell.

This wonderful day ended with campground location drama, so I will just skip that bit of trauma.  We stayed in Morro Bay at a park a block or so off the ocean.  We didn’t have a view, but we could hear the sea lions.

I found myself needing comfort food, so it was wonderful creamy corn chowder for dinner.  I’ll end by saying, the troop are tired; it’s been a long trip.

Miles driven:  179 miles

Today’s gas price:  $4.49 – yes, that’s $1.00 more than we have been paying

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