Monday, September 25, 2017

Hearst Castle - Central Coast - San Simeon Ca

For those of you who have never been here, it really is a castle. Some say it was complete folly. Call it what you will, but it is amazing. I won't waste your time with a page full of information about the castle, or relating to William Randolph Hearst and his publishing empire. I will give you a couple of links to those things. Also, do you remember Patty Hearst, and/or the Symbionese Liberation Army? Please don't feel pressured to follow the links! 

Links: Hearst Castle website.  
W.R. Hearst (Wikipedia)
Symbionese Liberation Army and Patty Hearst (Wikipedia)
Many more photos are here. Most of them taken in areas not available on the public tours.

La Cuesta Encantada (The Enchanted Castle)
In today's dollars, this place cost more than a half billion dollars to build. It is 90,000 square feet in size, has 56 bedrooms, 61 bathrooms, and 19 entertaining rooms. It also had the largest private zoo in the world, and over 100 acres of gardens. The wharf was built so ships could deliver building materials, and supplies to the site.

In my last post I pointed this place out. It was on the top of a hill in the distance. This is the opposite view. San Simeon Point is the land form in the upper right hand corner of this photo. The trail I was on, starts from the wharf (to the right of this golden lady's head), continues around the bay to the actual point, and then around the other side. The very little town of San Simeon was to the right of the wharf. Hearst built the wharf, the town, and planted every tree in sight. The castle is large enough to have 11 different tours available.

The golden lady is to the left of the stairs.

The Neptune Pool. 
One of the tour guides told me that people currently working here, are allowed to use this pool on "special" occasions. The pool is a bit over the top for my liking, but it sure is beautiful. There are many alabaster statues and sculptures around the property. Most of these photos were taken in the middle of the day, with very challenging lighting.  If you want really good photos of this place, there are probably a million of them you can access on Google. I'm sure I have better photos to replace some of these, but I can't find them.

Taken at distance with my phone. Not making excuses, just telling you why it sucks!

My favorite photo of the whole batch. It's peeking at us.

Ready, Aim...

Just because some people don't believe that woodpeckers like palm trees.

Stellar Jay
Pretty common in the west


Friday, September 15, 2017

A Tale of Two Bridges - Pismo Beach CA

This post is about side by side bridges in Pismo Beach. The coast road was the only thru-road on this part of the coast. The railroad bridge was built in 1909, and the road bridge in 1911. A little bit of history that won't be with us for much longer.

Old Coast Road Bridge
aka "The Bello Street Bridge" or "The Pismo Creek Bridge"

Railroad engineers made sure that the tracks would be laid on the most level ground possible, and take the path of least resistance. Many years later when auto roads were being constructed, they took advantage of the work that RR engineers had already done. As a result, the early roads were usually built very close to existing railroad routes. These two bridges are a good example of this. 

The railroad tracks on the left, and the coastal road on the right. To those of you that have traveled on Pacific Coast Highway (Route 1), or the Hwy 101, along the coast; can you imagine using this little road?

Not much of a road now. I'm looking for some historic photos of what it looked like back then.

 The 1911 coast road bridge

Those of you that have been around here for a long time, know that I would usually take some photos while walking across the bridge. Not this time! It is really rotting away. 

It's not much of a bridge anymore, but it does make a good trellis. 

If you look closely, especially in the upper left side, you can clearly see that this bridge is going to collapse one of these days.

Say what? That doesn't sound very refreshing.

Old Coast RR Bridge

This RR line is still in use.



Wednesday, August 30, 2017

San Simeon Point Trail - California Central Coast

In addition to Moonstone Beach and Cambria (my last post), there are many more amazing things to see and experience along Hwy 1 (pacific coast highway). One of those things is the San Simeon Point Trail. Despite being right across the highway from the visitor center for the William Randolph Hearst Castle, this great trail is rarely visited. 
 The trail, pier, and what is left of the little town of San Simeon, is now part of W.R. Hearst SP.

Taken from the trail, this photo shows the little state park. Hearst Castle can also be seen in the upper left hand corner. If you are ever in this area, you MUST see the castle. 

From the parking lot, you turn right at the base of the wharf. 

 At this point, the trail leaves the beach

 obligatory b&w

Sometimes the trail gets a bit close to the cliff edge

and sometimes the trail erodes down the cliff

 at the point

 around the point

Initially, I couldn't see the steer on the right, and for a very tense second or two, I totally thought the one on the left was a bear! 

  • About four miles north on hwy 1, is the Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery. Older posts here.
  • About one mile further on hwy 1, is Piedras Blancas Light House.
  • Hearst Castle is right across the road (hwy 1). I will post something on this place soon.
  • About 7 miles south on hwy 1, is Moonstone Beach/Cambria (from my last post).
  • Morro Bay/Morro Rock is about 30 miles south on hwy 1) also a must see. Old post here.
  • The 150 mile coastline from here to Monterey is gorgeous. Further, the 25.-30 mile stretch in the Big Sur area, is quite possibly the most beautiful and rugged coastline in the country (if not the world). At this moment hwy 1 is closed in the Big Sur area due to a major landslide.