San Simeon to Marina, 111 Miles
“If we take care of the moments, the years will take care of themselves.”
~Maria Edgeworth, Irish author
Me: "Are you okay?"
Me: "When will you be okay?"
QG: "When we get off this road."
Poor quilter Girl. She's riding on the back of the bike on Highway 1, perhaps the most beautiful highway in America, and she's not enjoying it. She imagines us overshooting a turn and flying off into space, until we crash into the surf, four hundred feet below.
Couple that with allergies that flare up with grasses, and she was having one bad afternoon. While mine was most excellent. Of course, I wasn't riding on the back of the bike behind me. I wouldn't like that either.
However, we both enjoyed the morning and early afternoon as we toured the Hearst Castle. We've toured it before, but today we took the Upper Floors Tour, which included Hearst's bedroom, Marion Davies' (his shack up) room, and a number of guest rooms. Some guest rooms featured two beds, so two bathrooms were attached to each bedroom. Hearst's wife said each person should have his own restroom. This was built around the twenties, and even five star hotels had only a bath at the end of the hall.
Along with a fabulous compound (sixteen buildings), the place teems with antiquities including but not limited to art, furniture, statuary, even fireplaces, mantles, columns, and tapestries. Our guide, Larry Crawford (perhaps our best, most knowledgable, most passionate guide of the trip) indicated that one of the reasons Hearst built so many rooms was for a place to put all the antiques. Sheesh.
Hearst bought failing newspapers and turned them around, then got into the Hollywood scene, so the at any given time actors, actresses, producers and directors could be seen riding horseback, swimming in the Neptune pool, or reading in the library. Often Hearst would gather his guests, give them a plethora of costumes, and they would have to produce a play in one hour. He wanted his guests to have fun.
Being a contractor, I marveled at the construction as Julia Morgan, his architect, put this project together. In those days the architect acted as general contractor, procuring products, organizing subcontractors, designing the buildings, and paying the people. The project (although still today unfinished) took fifteen years. One example of the time commitment was the Roman pool, with 3 million tiles from Italy, some with gold leaf. The tile project took twenty tile setters three and a half years to complete. Wow.
The Hearst Castle makes for a great destination museum tour, and one could allow an entire day for three tours, walking around the gardens, and a sunset tour. At twenty-five bucks for the tour and movie- a forty minute very compelling feature- it was a really good value. And the Hearst Castle stood tall above all the other mansions we've toured.
And now, with red eyes and a strong sense of self-preservation, Quilter Girl!
Highway 1 has to be one of the most beautiful roads in the world, I'm sorry I can't enjoy it more. It all started on our honeymoon when we took the road south in a borrowed motorhome. Even though it was a safe vehicle and I was buckled in the seat, I looked out the window and could see the surf pounding way down there. Guardrails? Are you kidding, Highway 1 doesn't bother with those things. This is my fourth trip on this road, you would think I would be okay, but I think it is getting worse. Oh well. Wasn't it Eleanor Roosevelt who said you should do one thing you are afraid of each day. I think I got a week's worth!
It also got colder later in the afternoon so after a nice dinner at Denny's (it was next door), we are back in our room and I am cold. Tomorrow we will see some of Monterey, then head north. On 101.
We go inland tomorrow. See you there.