An RV trip in California that includes wild zebras, elephant seals, and a castle….not to mention glorious miles of unspoiled coastline….has to be great, right? Well, we had a fantastic time in San Simeon!
We stayed at the San Simeon State Park in the Washburn campsite, which is off the road and looks out at some beautiful coastal mountains.
It is mid-February and we enjoyed weather in the low 70’s the entire trip….what a pleasant surprise! We have found that camping along the California coast in the fall and winter to be some of our best camping trips…less crowds, clear skies, and great weather! In the evening after dinner, we sat outside enjoying the night sky. Since this is in a fairly remote area, the sky fills with stars. Using a handy iPhone app (Star Walk), you can easily identify constellations and stars. In fact, our app actually identified a satellite that we traced across the sky.
The next day we made our way to Hearst Castle, which Randolph Hearst, the newspaper mogul, built on a hilltop that he used to camp with his family as a boy. He was said to say that there was no where on earth that he’d rather spend a month than there. He started building when he was 56 and never stopped. He actually wanted to start building earlier, when his mother owned the property, but she refused to let him. She said she was afraid he would “go overboard”… I guess she knew her son! 🙂
He filled it with thousands of art and artifacts that he purchased in Europe, so it is now a very interesting museum, with some pieces over 2800 years old.
We have now been on all of the daytime tours, completing the upstairs tour this visit. You visit many of the guest rooms and private rooms of the Hearst’s, including his office and library. They are amazing to see.
Mr. Hearst also had a zoo on the property, which included herds of zebra. After the zoo was closed in 1939, the zebra continued to make the area their home. We were fortunate to see a herd of zebra when we were driving back to our camp site!
We also stopped along the beach to watch the elephant seals…
It was a nice way to spend Valentine’s Day….and I’m more in love with my wife now than when we married, 32 years ago this May!
The next day, we spent the day in San Louis Obispo and Cambria, basically walking, shopping and eating our way through. Of course we had lunch at our favorite place for Santa Maria Tri-Tip, the Firestone Grill. We also stopped by the beautiful San Louis Obispo Mission and the nearby History Center. A church service was in progress and music from the choir was really wonderful to hear.
On the way back to the camp site, we stopped for coffee at Lily’s Coffee. Coffee and ambiance was good.
We were up early the next morning and the 4 hour drive home went by quickly.
We are now looking forward to our next trip to Jackson, in California’s Gold Country!