Monday, October 9, 2017

San Luis Bay Chumash Habitation Site - California Central Coast

We really enjoy finding these ancient sites. Sometimes though, there is an equal amount of disappointment involved. This is one of those places. I had seen an old photo of it (without the pier), but that was all. We had no references, or other clues as to where it was. I have a pretty good idea where many of these sites can be found, but it is still a lot of work.

We basically followed the Pacific Coast Trail along the bluffs for a few miles on foot, and several more by car. We never did find it the first day, but we figured it out that night, and pretty much drove right to it the next morning. 

This is where we went. It all started with a very pleasant view.  Better than that actually, because there was so much more to see than we expected.

This site could easily be thousands of years old. I stopped counting mortars at 75. There were also depressions that I believed to be the remains of many others. Also, no telling how many are under that concrete on the left.


 A look across San Luis bay.

A view from across the bay, back to the mortar site.  Imagine this scene a thousand years ago. Nothing made by modern man would be seen. It would be hundreds of years, before any white person even laid eyes on the area. Now imagine a Chumash village in the area of those buildings above the far pier. There were probably some of village women grinding food in the mortars below it. The village had everything they needed, with no danger of using up all the resources in the area. It was perfect! Right up until the Spanish, Mexicans, and Americans did all they could to wipe them from the face of the earth. Their crime? They were here first...

In one form or another a pier has stood on this spot for well over a hundred years. Every single version contributed to the demise of this important historic cultural area. 

In some cases, they actually reshaped mortars to use as post holes. It amazes me that people would do this without giving so much as a second thought about what they were destroying. (see the square shape inside the round mortar).

 While I'm knee deep in mortars, my wife (who is much more observant than I am), finds some other treasures.


Also, some Cormorants.
This mortar site is just a few feet away from, and below the road. Based on the geography, I'm positive that the related village was very close by. Unfortunately, I'm sure everything was destroyed by construction of the road, and grading of the slope and shelf above it. 


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.