Friday, 29 July 2016

Big Guy rides the Left Coast - Day Five - El Granada, CA to San Luis Obispo, CA

Day 5 -  380 km - 6 and a half hours (excluding visit to Hearst Castle)

The real Day 5 was a rest day so I will call my next day on the road day 5 to avoid confusion.

After a nice coffee and breakfast I left my friends in El Granada and headed south on picturesque Highway 1. It was a bit moist and misty but I thought the clouds would burn off and I would be immersed in California sunshine. I even turned on both my electric seat and grips.

An hour later and I was freezing - I even started to shiver. Time for the polar fleece! I warmed up a little but had become chilled so it was a bit of a pain! Finally the sun started to peak out and I was warm! I also started taking some photos of the gorgeous sea coast!

I was a bit pressed for time as I had a reservation for Hearst Castle for 3pm and didn't know how accurate the CoDriver app was. As a result, I didn't stop as often as I would like for the incredible number of photo ops but I was pretty happy with the ones I did.
Carmel City Beach

Big wave at Carmel Beach

After consulting my list of 'must sees', I made a detour and went to the beach at Carmel. From my brief visit, I would definitely spend more time there in the future. Lovely shopping area and a nice beach.
Sea Otter State Refuge near Carmel

I don't look that impressed - but I am!
Just outside of Carmel, I stopped at a scenic viewpoint and was rewarded with some more gorgeous views of the ocean.
Big Sur Beach

My BMW parked on the side of the road by Big Sur

Big Sur Selfie

Further down from Carmel is a stretch of the highway that is known as Big Sur. I managed to stay on the road during this part but the scenery was absolutely beautiful.

The next place I decided to visit was Pfeiffer beach. I first went to Pfeiffer National Park but the friendly ranger told me it was a mile down the road. I almost missed it and had to back up the bike past a carful of smiling teen girls but eventually made it to the beach.

The road was basically single track with pullouts - much like Scotland. I finally made it to the beach without too much problem because it was very little traffic. It was $10 to park at the beach but only $5 for my scooter.
Purple tinged sand at Pfeiffer Beach

Pounding surf at Pfeiffer Beach

Not all of Pfeiffer Beach had people around. 

Pfeiffer Beach rocks

Pfeiffer Beach - you can sun, you can relax, but you can't go in the water!

One of the reasons I went to the beach was because it was known as a purple send the beach. Well, the sand had a slight purple tinge to it but it wasn't like great Barney purple. After that I looked around at the beach and watch the surf. Unlike most beaches this when you couldn't swim in or get too close to basically but it was a nice place to just chill out in. Sadly after pay my five dollars to go there, I only spent about five minutes at the beach because I had to press on toward Hearst Castle.
Another Big Sur shot south of Pfeiffer Beach

I continued on and finally made my way to wards the Hearst Castle visitor center. It reminded me a little bit of the Icefield Parkway in the Rockies in that there is a giant Centre which sells tickets and has food and has the gates be for buses that take you up to Hearst Castle. I was early but luckily the girl that at the ticket counter asked me if I want to go right away and of course I said yes so I got in a half an hour early!

The bus tour up to Hearst Castle included an interesting narration by Alex Trebek (of all people - did you know that he is actually Canadian?) who told you about Hearst Castle and the first family. It was interesting and formative. On the way to the bus actually I made a connection with a guy and his daughter who's name is Emily. We chatted on and off before the bus ride and on the bus and I was actually looking forward to doing the tour with them. Unfortunately after the first little bit of the tour they felt that the tour guide behind our tour guide would be better it would be a better choice so I lost contact with them.
Outside Hearst Castle - very beautiful!

Coffered ceiling in Hearst Castle

Um - choir stalls used to decorate rooms in Hearst Castle - what?

Flags representing different families from the Palio in Siena, Italy decorations the Hearst Castle dining room. 

Outside Hearst castle - note the gold statue behind my shoulder. 

Beautiful indoor pool of Hearst Castle. 
My overall impression of Hearst Castle is it's got some interesting stuff in it but it's a bit garish inside.  The outside of the castle is very nice and there are some interesting statues scattered around the grounds. But then there are things like choir stalls that are used as decoration in the house. They belong in a church! And there were some beautiful things such as the tapestries and some of the paintings but it seemed a little , no, it seemed a lot over the top. We did get a good tour of the main rooms in the downs in the main floor but it just doesn't meet the standards of a place in Europe for example,. It all seems a bit disjointed because there are different eras in different styles that are mixed within each room. However he had a lot of money and I guess he could do whatever he wanted with it!
The Brown Butter Cookie Company in Caucus

The cookies were amazing. Unfortunately they only lasted a couple of days. 
After I left the Hearst Castle I continue riding along looking for a couple of places that I had read about. One was a restaurant called Robin's in Cambria but unfortunately I couldn't find it. However I did find the Brown Butter Cookie Company in Cayucos and had some awesome samples… In fact each sample was half a cookie… And I ended up buying six cookies for my trip. The problem is they will be hard to keep with me because they are so darn tasty!

Finally I arrived in the San Luis Obispo. The motel called Los Padres was a nice little family run motel. The woman at the front was friendly although a little distant and she had everything I needed ready for me. She let me park the bike in a carport and gave me all the information about SLO.

Tahoe Crunch Roll at the Naked Fish

Tahoe Crunch Roll description

After settling in I walked to the downtown area and went to the Naked Fish and had some amazing sushi. Some of it was sushi that I had never even heard of before as they had made up their own interesting combinations.

While I was there, a young couple with their daughter was seated outside. We struck up a  conversation and  I found that they were from Fresno. We spoke of several things but what stuck with me was that they had just returned  from Nice a few days before the bombing! We all agreed that the chance of something like Nice happening can't stop you from travelling. It was awful but it was an isolated incident!   I also had a couple of nice beers to accompany the sushi so I was feeling content when I left the sushi restaurant.

Tasters at the Central Coast Brewery Company
From there I went to the Central Coast Brewery Company as I had spotted it on the way to dinner. It was close to my motel which is a good thing because I tried some tasters and some little samples of their stronger IPAs. The place was full of younger people out for a few beers and it seems like the craft brewery culture is quite alive in the San Luis Obispo.

After my tastes of beer, I headed back to the motel and had a really good sleep!


30 Days In Europe said...

What a busy day for you! Well done. I have always wanted to visit Hearst Castle. We drove by on the way to San Fran in 2012 because the family wasn't interested. Boooooooo.....

David Masse said...

Thanks for the tour of the Hearst Castle. I think you are right.

I appreciate the description and now that is one California landmark I can cross of my list.

It's only a question of time until the world sees a Trump Castle built. With all the gilt finery, you'll need suglasses to take the tour. It's odd that though he is remorseless, and seemingly feels no guilt for his bad behaviour, he surrounds himself with gilt interiors. Maybe it's the law of averages finding a quirky way to equilibrium.