Today was an early morning. We had places to go and things to see, including the town or Harmony California, population: 18. We passed that en route. From Santa Maria we drove to Hearst Castle, the former home of William Randolph Hearst, the politician and yellow journalist of the turn of the century. He had grown attached to the California coast during his childhood and in his 50s, upon inheriting his father’s estate, built his Enchanted Hill, today known as Hearst castle. This place was gorgeous. The outside looked like a Spanish fortress, the inside looked like a medieval church, the grounds looked like a Mediterranean garden, and his pool…. Well his pool is probably what heaven looks like. I’m planning on moving in soon. This guy threw all kinds of shindigs at his house over the weekends, inviting famous guests like Walt Disney and Bung Crosby, and two activities were mandatory: dinner and a movie. The movies often starred his girlfriend, who was a famous actress. We all guessed that the movies were probably awful if he made his guests watch him. Oh, and don’t confuse his girlfriend from his wife. She lived in New York while all of this funny business was going on. Crazy stuff. We said he sounded like Jay Gatsby and the Count of Monte Cristo: using lots of money and a big house with an ulterior motive… Though that motive for this guy just seemed to be the desire for attention.
Just a few minutes down the road, we made a pit stop at the elephant seal rookery. Elephant seals are hilarious. They’re just big blobs of blubber they lay around, splash sand on their backs, and occasionally fight each other for the good spots on the beach. Matthew named a few of them, and rooted for them in their little fights.
We kept driving past the beautiful scenery along Big Sur. The cliffs and hills along the coast were so pretty, even if they did make Auntie Brenda and I a little bit carsick. Thank god for Dramamine. Another disclaimer about my photos, again, I have included many pretty pictures of the scenery that are really Google-able, and it pains me a little bit. But they’re pretty….
Next we stopped at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, a scenic overlook between the cliffs and the ocean that included a pretty little waterfall. We walked along the edge of the cliff, which was pretty cool. Matthew found a cool stick to help him walk. From this point, we also were able to successfully maneuver Owen’s selfie stick for the first time. The occasion was met with much approval and applause.
Our next stop was Nepenthe, a famous restaurant in Big Sur. The restaurant had a long wait, but it gave us plenty of time to walk around, stretch our legs, and explore the gift shop, which was practically made for me. It was hippie-ville. I loved it. Everything was either homemade locally or free-trade from somewhere else. I bought some soap, some postcards, and a cool little soapstone jar filled with solid perfume. Super hip. Our meal was worth the wait. We got a great view of the ocean and hills from our table, and the boys and I killed time playing dots. I won, heehee. Just as the game finished, our food arrived. I had a French dip sandwich and a green salad, plus a handful of fries from the basket we shared with the table. Everything was fresh and crisp. Super good.
We left Nepenthe and headed on the 17 Mile Drive in Carmel. Along the drive, we stopped to see seals perched on a giant rock, all barking as the sun started to set. We tried to look for shells but didn’t find anything good. We also stopped to see the lone Cyprus, a famous landmark in California, and also the logo for Pebble Beach. Speaking of Pebble Beach, we also stopped by their lodge to do some souvenir shopping, and also so Justin could see one of the holes at the famous golf course. He dropped his newly purchased golf ball on the green for good luck.
The last stop of the day along our long route to San Francisco was in Monterey for ice cream. We parked the cars and walked down Cannery Row, stopping in a couple gift shops along the way. I got a sweatshirt and Matthew got a pressed penny with a shark on it, so we both scored. I took a few pictures; it was really pretty there at dusk. We each got an ice cream at Nestle and then hopped back on our route to San Francisco. Only two hours from this point!