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ROSEBUD – A tour of Hearst Castle on the road to Big Sur

January 17, 2010

The last week in Los Angeles had been fantastic, but now it was time to get moving.  I was heading from Los Angeles to Big Sur (see Big Sur trip report here).  The weather was overcast and the radar showed bands of rain along the coast. My first stop today was Hearst Castle, William Randolph Hearst’s massive home in San Simeon, CA.  A friend of mine,  who is not a “stop and look at the tourist destinations” type had absolutely insisted that I had to stop and take a tour.

So with that in mind I rode into the entrance and parked near the visitor center.  Of course it started to steadily rain the moment I rolled to a stop.  No matter, I reached under the tank bag and pulled out the rain cover.  Then, I reached into my tail bag and pulled out two garbage bags.  I covered the MotoFizz with one and stuffed my helmet into the other.  I chuckled at seeing the MotoFizz under a Hefty bag.  The rain cover that originally came with the bag disappeared somewhere on the highway within minutes after being installed.  I think every review I’ve read on the net says the same thing.  The MotoFizz raincover sucks!.  I knew I could afford to lose zillions of Hefty garbage bags and not care a whit.

With my gear secured I walked through the rain to the visitor center.   Inside I found the gift shop, information booth, a large kiosk with food and gifts from the Hearst Ranch and a cafeteria.  I wandered into the gift shop looking for post cards and saw this.  How sweet is this?  Can you imagine wearing this fantastic pair of Hearst Castle socks?

For the tree hugger in your life – constructed of 100% (hell, they should be labled 900%) soy. SOY, the environmentally friendly sock! (do not expose to sunlight, do now wash in hot or cold water, do not dry clean, do get wet, do not store next to non-environmentally friendly products,keep away from red meat, fish, and anything not certified 100% California green. This product does not contain Genetically engineered Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH), These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, You get the idea). Somehow I was able to restrain myself from buying several dozen pair.

I purchased my ticket and was lucky enough to board a bus that was immediately leaving.  I got on the bus and then realized I had nowhere to put my riding jacket. Nice, I look like a soggy leather clad muppet. No wonder no one wanted to sit next to me.

The one thing that occurred to me several days later was they kept calling Hearst’s mistress Marion Davies his “girlfriend”. Girlfriend? He was married. So if he was married, he was an adulterer. If he was an adulterer his “girlfriend” was actually his “mistress”. I wish it had occurred to me earlier because I would have asked the tour guide about it. For a more interesting look at Mr. Hearst click here .

Note: The pictures ain’t that great for two reasons.  The first is that when I took my first picture with my Sony Cybershot it was giving me the dreaded blinking dead battery indicator.  So I had to take pictures with my iPhone and try to get a quick Sony picture before the battery died.  The second reason is that the weather sucked and it was grey and dark most of the time.  So here’s what I was able to shoot:

Hearst Castle:

Amazing detail:

Egypt called and wants their stolen goods back.

The Neptune Pool.   The pool took TEN years to build.  It is  still used today by the Hearst family and staff.  Hearst was unhappy with the first version of this pool and had his artichect Julia Morgan rebuild it.  The final version is 104 feet long, 58 feet wide and 95 feet wide at alcove.  It is 3.5 feet deep at the west end, 10 feet at drains and holds 345,000 gallons of water.

iPhone picture above, Sony CyberShot picture below.

Everywhere you look the detail is amazing.

The main dining room.  Hearst had the table made narrow so it would be easy for guests to talk to each other.

Art Deco statues in the movie theater.

This room was amazing.

The Roman Pool at Hearst Castle.  The Roman Pool is decorated from ceiling to floor with 1″ square mosaic tiles. These glass tiles, called smalti, are either colored (mainly blue or orange) or are clear with fused gold inside.  The effect is quite striking.

That is a HAND CARVED, full length, marble pool ladder.

Picture below from Wickmedia.  I hope this gives a better view of how cool the indoor pool is.

One more from Wickmedia.  The diving platform.

The tour was very interesting and it was well worth the stop.   As a bonus, when I got back to the bike the sun started to shine and the roads began to dry.  I fired up the Futura and headed for Big Sur. Big Sur story link here

2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 20, 2011 10:44 am

    Wow! Gorgeous! Thank you for sharing.


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