California Road Trip Day Eleven : Hearst Castle and Highway 1

We woke up early in Morro Bay and before continuing on our road trip up the Pacific Coast Highway we decided to take one last walk down to Morro Rock and watch the sea otters.

We stopped about an hour up Route 1 at Hearst Castle. Hearst Castle is the most extravgant building I have seen. It has two pools (both in the pics below) the second of which has gold plated tiles and walkway! You approach the Castle (via a shuttle bus) along a long winding road which used to have zoo animals on it and has it’s own airport! At one point they had a Polar Bear in the Zoo and I dread to think of how the poor wee thing coped in the hot Californian hills.

Hearst Castle

Hearst Castle Pool

The Castle itself was incredibly impressive to walk around and the guide was knowledgable and funny. I would have liked to have done it at my own pace but it was only guided tours when we did it (I think it may be different now). Apparantly Hearst Castle was used almost like a holiday home for all of William Randolph Hearst’s guests (many of whom were movie stars). I found it amusing that he didn’t like unmarried couples sharing rooms when he had his mistress in an adjoining room to his!

Hearst Interior

Hearst Castle is worth stopping for. I wasn’t keen to begin with as I wanted to get on with the driving and stop at some beaches but I am so glad we stopped. It took a fair few hours to walk round but it’s time well spent as you learn so much about the Castle and the surrounding area.

After leaving Hearst Castle we carried on a few miles up the road before pulling over to Piedras Blancas’ beach where we could view Elephant Seals. They looked like massive planks of driftwood on the beach and it was actually quite hard to identify them until they moved. In fact, there was one that I was convinced was dead until we eventually saw him flipping sand over his body.

Elephant Seals

Once I’d had my fill of watching the Elephant Seals we got back on the road and soon began to see the scenery we’d associated with the Pacific Coast Highway.

We stopepd for lunch in possibly the best picnic stop in the World; overlooking the cliffs of Route 1, in the boiling heat with views for miles. Who would ever eat indoors on Rout one with views liek the one below?

Pacific Coast Highway

Route 1

We also decided to stop at McWay Falls on the way up to Monterey. McWay Falls is an 80ft waterfall in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, close enough to the Ocean to be called a TideFal. Once parked you take a short walk under Route 1 to reach a viewing point for the Falls.It;s a beautiful little spot and if you drive past here you’re missing out!

McWay Falls

We stopped once more along the Big Sur at Pfeiffer Beachwhich was a little difficult to find (the turn off snaked away behind us) and it was a miel or two down a winding small road to the beach. It was quite busy when we arrived, probably because everyone was there for the sunset but looked like it would be the perfect place to spent a few hours in the sun.

Unfortunately for us our time was limited and we had to get up to Monterey quickly so we drove the last hour up to our Bed and Breakfast (the Jabberwock Inn) where we met up with my cousin again and we all went out for dinner in Monterey.