Sounds like a fairy tale right? But really! We went to Hearst Castle today, saw some (sea) lions, and the Hearst estate actually has zebras, right here in (somewhat) sunny California.
When we left the San Jose Elks Lodge on Monday, we headed south on Hwy 101 and landed at Camp Roberts (Army FamCamp) located just north of San Miguel, CA. Full hookups, and 50 Amp power for only $10 a night. Granted it’s not the nicest park… right next to Hwy 101 with a good number of folks that appear to be parked here for an extended stay based on all the “stuff” around their rigs, but it’s conveniently located and very affordable.
Click the link above for the official national guard website and HERE for the Wikipedia® link which gives the following information:
Camp Roberts is a California National Guard post in central California, located on both sides of the Salinas River in Monterey and San Luis Obispo counties, now run by the California Army National Guard. It is named after Harold W. Roberts, a World War I Medal of Honor recipient. Nearby communities include San Miguel, Heritage Ranch (Lake Nacimiento), Oak Shores (Lake Nacimiento), and Bradley, all unincorporated. The nearest incorporated city is Paso Robles. Camp Roberts is adjacent to Fort Hunter Liggett.
Camp Roberts is host to annual training to almost every California Army National Guard unit and it is also used by the British Army.
Camp Roberts is undergoing major renovations, including demolition of World War II-era barracks, which have been plagued with mice, asbestos insulation, and lead paint. Demolition of nearly all the World War II-era structures facing US Route 101 began in 2012. (ref. Wikipedia®)
We passed the Camp Roberts Historical Museum (←link) which claims to be the largest Army museum in California. It’s only open Thursdays and Saturdays so we didn’t get a chance to check it out. 🙁
Here’s our first view of the Camp Roberts RV Park. It’s a mile or so from the main part of the Army post and located right next to Hwy-101. Surprisingly, not much highway noise though.
On Tuesday morning, we woke up to frost and a little ice on the Silverado… we need to hurry up and head farther south.
Our RV site at the Camp Roberts FamCamp:
We decided to stay a couple nights here at Camp Roberts so we could check out (the somewhat nearby) Hearst Castle and a little bit of the coast on Hwy-1. We drove 57 miles to get to Hearst Castle.
Views of the coast after crossing the mountains (hills) on CA-46:
There were a large number of zebras grazing with the cows near the entrance to the Hearst Castle Visitor Center.
We parked the Silverado in the Visitor Center parking lot and cracked all the windows so little ‘Coach’ would be comfortable. It was a balmy 60° at the most.
We had purchased our tickets online the day prior, $25 pp, So we checked in, got a snack, and got in line for the bus.
The bus takes a 4.2 mile winding road uphill to the Castle.
The bus dropped us off below one of the cottages where we met our tour-guide to start our 90-minute tour.
We read in the literature, and now the tour-guide reiterated that photos are encouraged for personal use, but written permission is required for anything to be published, therefore, in the spirit of compliance; I am only posting pictures of the outside of the castle, the gardens, and the swimming pool out-building. This was also the case on our tour of the Winchester Mystery House (posted HERE) where they only allowed picture-taking outside of the house and in out-buildings.
Click HERE for a link to the Hearst Castle website.
Our tour-guide took us through the estate grounds and then led us into a side door of the castle. What an impressive place… I took lots of pictures, but again, in order to stay in compliance with their policies, I won’t post any inside photos on the blog. But, here’s a few photos of the outside gardens and surrounding area that we took during and after the tour:
There were lots of statues and fountains.
Entrance door to one of the cottages.
The front door to the castle.
The tennis courts (below) were built above an indoor swimming pool.
The indoor swimming pool with the tennis courts on the roof.
We were told that gold was used in the tile work.
If you’d like to see pictures of the inside of the castle, just do a search online… I’ll let others get in trouble (if any) for posting pictures.
After our tour, we boarded the bus again for the long winding trip back down to the visitors center.
View back up to the castle from the access road.
Portion of the 4.2 mile access road to the castle. Only accessible by tour bus.
The visitors center has a nice viewing area of the castle on the hill.
Zoomed-in from the visitors center.
After we got back from the castle, we went back to the parking lot to walk little ‘Coach’ and then went back inside the visitors center to get a little lunch and check out the huge gift shop.
Then we watched the informative 40-minute film in the 5-story tall ‘big screen’ theater.
This was a great “must-see” attraction. I highly recommend it (at least once) if you’re in the area.
After our castle tour, we followed the signs north up Hwy-1 to check out the Elephant Seals:
After taking a hundred pictures (or more) of the seals, we headed back south to the William R. Hearst Memorial State Beach.
We went into the Hearst Ranch Winery and did a little wine tasting.
Then we headed back home to the Camp Roberts FamCamp.
We’re heading on south from here today (Wednesday). Still not sure where we’ll end up… check back to find out what’s next on our adventure….