Friday, 9 January 2015

Have A Seat


It looks exactly like an old Ford truck bench seat that was pulled out of a vehicle and mounted to a sidewalk in Morro Bay.

As if you would sit on the missing stuffing and kinda sink in a bit.


Except that the bench is hard as a rock.

Well done, bench designer.


Monday, 5 January 2015

Montana de Oro Bluff Trail


The Bluff Trail is a long stretch of coastal path inside the Montana de Oro State Park.



There are benches along the way.

Perfect breakfast spot.

For the olallieberry cream cheese muffin we picked up at Linn's in Cambria the day before. 



This dude thought we made an incredible selection.



So we shared a few crumbs.



Love this door in the rock or bridge connecting two rocks or a window in the waves.

See the trees in the distance that seem to be a continuation of the slope.



Never get tired of staring at the sea.



Or listening to the crash of surf against the rocks.



Check out the picnic table.

Wow.



What a view and you are surrounded by water on three sides.



Further down the trail, the docents told us to check out the blow hole as it was quite active that day.



Foam and sharp rocks.



And the sweet couple.


Docents at Montana de Oro.

Thanks for the tips!




Saturday, 3 January 2015

Montana de Oro, Environmental Campsite #2

This was our view, every morning, when we unzipped our tent and looked outside.



It is a bit of an effort to get there but well worth the time and energy. We reserved the space online for our trip in December. Made sure to arrive during daylight. Parking is down below with directions to hike up the hill and get to the campsite. 

No running water. But you get an outhouse and a picnic bench.


Parking space for the two campsites.
No one showed up for #1 so we had the mountain to ourselves.

Dropped my backpack on the table and stood out on the trail
to take photos as I spun around in a circle.

This is the trail that brought us up to our campsite.

Outhouse.

Picnic table.

More woods.

We heard coyotes howl. We saw birds. We listened to the sound of waves slapping the coast below us.

We smiled and waved to 4 hikers over the course of 4 days --- very limited foot traffic.

But did see fresh hoof prints on the trail when we got back to our campsite each night.

The time of day brought new surprises.

Early morning spider webs.


Sun setting behind the trees.


Without the flash, our tent below….


…looked like this (even with a lantern on inside the tent!).


 Every morning, we saw the sun rise.


 And then we decided between oatmeal or soup for breakfast!


And hopped on the trail for another adventure.

Because down the hill, if you crossed the street, you would be on this path (I am looking back towards our campground mountain):


That would lead you to the Pacific Ocean.


With a view of Morro Rock in the distance!


Grab your gear and head on out….



Thursday, 1 January 2015

Happy New Year


Here is hoping that 2015 is colorful and balanced and healthy!!!!






Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Neptune's Pool is on my Bucket List

I have wanted to swim in this pool since the first time I visited Hearst Castle.

Not sure how old I was.

But the desire to do so is just as strong today!

Right now, the beautiful pool is going through a restoration project and the website states: the Neptune Pool was drained in order to perform maintenance projects on the plumbing and the tile work, as well as conservation work on the marble statuary.

Blah blah blah this just means that it will be in better shape when I dive in at some future date.

Yes, only employees can swim (and then just a few times during the summer months) and yes, there is a hiring freeze at the castle right now.*

No problem, I will not be deterred.

Some day I plan to swim in this pool. When the construction is done. When it is full of water again.








Fingers crossed, I will get an opportunity!



* How do I know all this? It is common knowledge if you search the internet and I grilled the ticket taker, the bus driver and just about every employee I could get my hands on last week, for verification.




Monday, 29 December 2014

Hearst Castle


High up on a hill in San Simeon California is a castle.


At the bottom is a huge parking lot, gift shop and an auditorium to watch a movie called 'Enchanted Castle'.

There are ticket booths and decisions to be made about which tour to take:  Evening Tour (sold out), Grand Rooms Tour (fabulous, would suggest to every first-time visitor), Upstairs Suites Tour (the one we chose on this trip) and finally the Cottages & Kitchen Tour.

And then there is a 15-minute bus ride to the top, to see the castle.

Surprisingly, Alex Trebek's voice comes through the speaker on the bus.

Telling us not to bring food, even gum, aboard and then presents interesting facts about the grounds and the castle.

He does not do this in the form of a question.



Our tour guide, Peter, was quite clear about keeping us all in line, DO NOT TOUCH ANYTHING and STAY ON THE GRAY CARPET inside the house, at all times.

Which was hard to do because we are all so busy staring staring staring that you forget where your feet are at any given moment.



Busy looking forward and up and around and zooming…..so much to see.



The picture below was taken from the balcony above bent over backward and staring up.

Love the elephant.


PASS THROUGH QUICKLY and DON'T BLOCK DOORWAYS.

Ok Peter, but even the doorways are rich with detail and demand a glance or photo or two.







William Randolph's bedroom.



His library. The ornate soffits on the ceiling provide incredible acoustics.





His books.



My favorite room on the tour.

His home office.

Every day, a messenger drove up from Los Angeles (later a messenger flew up) with a copy of his newspapers.



Grandiose entrance.



The guest cottages. Seriously?





Had to remind myself to look down occasionally.

This mosaic is one of my favorite shots from the tour.



A glimpse of the indoor pool. 


Then back on the bus to drive past enclosures built for animals -- such as grizzly bears, lions, tigers, monkeys and elephants.

Because frankly if one is going to live in a castle it only makes sense to have a zoo on the premises.

During the movie and the tour, we learned that Hearst chose this particular site for his castle because he spent time there with his father, camping and horseback riding on the mountain when he was a child and then did so in later years with his wife and sons.

When he tired of tents, he built himself a castle.

Cool.

And so apropos that we left the grounds and headed back to our campsite!