As with any good relationship, living with California is one part joy and one part compromise. The trade off for living in a place with unique beauty and sheer grandeur around every corner is that there are also 10 people at every vista, full hotels at even the remotest destinations, and traffic where you least expect it.
But frankly, I can compromise. We've driven down the Central Coast several times...in all seasons...and we ALWAYS pull over at the same stops and stare in wonder.
Unfortunately, the crowds also mean that spontaneity is a bit tough...so our spur-of-the-moment decision to visit Hearst Castle was tough to arrange. But a little extra Friday-evening web searching and hotel calling set us up for a memorable Saturday/Sunday drive.
Our Route took us south along Route 1, through Carmel and Big Sur to Cambria. There was plenty of rocky vistas, EXTRA blue water, and the occasional fog for dramatic effect.
I did snap a few playful driving shots. Fun with smoke (well...fog) and mirrors I say :)
As we approached San Simeon, we turned off into the always-popular Elephant Seal wildlife area. This time of year, its the older males that are hanging out and doing a lot of male bonding. In other words, they sleep mostly, and wake up to bump chests and wrestle in the water.
There was a lot of other critter activity as well...especially at the vistas where people ignore the Do Not Feed the Animals signs. (OK, the cute kitty was at the plant nursery we visited.)
Our main destination was Hearst Castle in San Simeon, a glorious tribute to grand European hill-top mansions with a healthy dosage of ego thrown. We took Tours 3 and 4 this trip, but you will see many of the same views as our last visit :) Hearst Castle NEVER disappoints.
Our furthest point south was Cambria, where we stayed the night at the comfy Pelican Cove Inn, which is situated along Moonstone Beach. We had a wonderful seafood dinner, and some relaxing walks along the shore as the fog rolled in.