Heading out of Los Angeles was a pain. I hit some heavy traffic on the 101, and immediately kept myself company by remembering that phrase "Driving down the 101, California here we come" from Phantom Planet's song. It was much better when I finally got to the Pacific Coast Highway. I could smell the beach, and see acres of farmlands along the way. I got a text message from my dad while I was driving, saying he wished he could take this portion of the trip with me. It saddened me a bit, and I hope some day in the future, it can be a possibility. I stopped for a bit at Pismo Beach to take in the view of pelicans, right next to these clay tennis courts. I got into a conversation with an elderly man about the area, and about tennis. Next up was San Luis Obispo, which was home of the Bubble Gum Alley, which is, you guessed it, an alley covered with bubble gum contributions from people all over the world. Overall, I really like this little town, and could easily spend a day shopping in all the quirky little shops on Higuera Street and around there. I stopped at Morro Bay next, official home of Morro Rock. This was a picturesque bay town exactly as you would see in the movies, or in a high end luxury car commercial. Very classy, very quaint, and with the prevalent fog, very perfect. I just love all these little coastal towns.
The main attraction for me was, of course, Hearst Castle. Built by newspaper tycoon William Hearst, this is only one of his many estates, and was a palace where he wined and dined the rich and famous (i.e. Charlie Chaplin, Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, etc.) of the 1920's . There are three guest houses, which are mansions by themselves, and a main "castle." It's situated on top of a mountain, right above and away from the fog. My favorite part was most definitely the Neptune Pool, which looks like something straight out of the Roman Empire. What bothered me were all the flies indoors, and I wondered to myself if Hearst had this problem too. The architecture is truly eclectic, taking cues from the great civilizations of the past from the Mediterranean, Egypt, Spain, Italy, and more. The ticket included an IMAX movie about William Hearst and his dream to build this castle. There was a phrase near the end of the film that really stuck with me, "Dreams are meant to be shared." Essentially, by sharing dreams, they become eternal. Follow your heart, pursue your dreams, and in the process, do not just keep them to yourself.
Afterwards, I stayed in a hostel in Cambria called the Bridge Street Inn. It was just $27 for the stay, which got me a bunk bed. The atmosphere is very much like a "Bed & Breakfast", with very nice people running the place, and a great group of people staying there as well. When I got there, they were playing Yahtzee, which I had never bothered to learn until now. Overall, a wonderful place, near the beach, in a charming little town, and I would not hesitate coming here again. Well, I'm writing from the hostel right now, actually, and I'm currently debating if I want to wake up extremely early for a jog on Moonstone Beach. We'll see... This part of the trip up north did not have the legendary scenic routes of Highway 1, that comes later, so tomorrow is going to be an amazing day. Here's hoping for no fog...
Distance: 249.3 miles Average Speed: 54.0 mph Moving Time: 4 hours 36 minutes Total Time: 9 hours 9 minutes Average Mileage: 26.6 mpg