US1 and Hearst Castle

Trip Start Oct 28, 2008
Trip End Nov 17, 2008

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Flag of United States  , California
Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Woke up to another nice day and got out of Monterey at about 9ish.  HAd a nice chat to a family that spent their honey moon in NZ in the hotel breakfast room which was cool.  They were on a weekend trip from LA and returning down US1.
Headed out of Monterey south on US1 and had a quick drive through of Carmel, lovely town but pretty dead, looks like Veterans Day is being observed today so as a public holiday everyone is sleeping in.  Down the coast and into the better roads for riding ... mile upon mile of curvey roads and amazing views of the rugged coastline.  made sure we had heaps of stops for photos as we only had 80 miles to ride today.  Had a longer stop in Big Sur and checked out the art works ... Jade found a tee shirt for the Big Sur - Jade Festival ... just had to buy it!  The road is awesome, except that it's got a lot of road works on it, and a lot of fire damage .. we hit at least 20 miles of coastline south of Big Sur that was burnt bare from the road to the hill tops .. I suspect this is a lot less picturesque than usual.  The coast is still lovely, but the cliffs, now bare, are slipping a lot and there is a lot of loose crud on the roads, not fun in some of the corners as it gets a little loose.  But we took our time and still got down towards Heast Castle (San Simeone) by lunchtime.  We had a tour booked for tomorrow morning but decided to drop into the Castle visitor center and see if we could get it done this afternoon .. and that was cool, swapped to the 14:40 tour.  Bought lunch at the visitor centre, was edible, just,  but really pretty tasteless and small for the price.  Then on the tour ... the castle is awesome, we did the number 1 tour (experience) which is a genreal look around and it was good.  Pity was that the guide, after telling us that the tour was all about questions and not a 75 minute lecture, spent the next 75 minutes talking constantly .. I think she asked for 2 questions the whole time!   But so long as you stayed towards the outskirts of the tour group it was fine .. the surroundings are amazing .. such an eclectic mix of art, eras and styles, but the buildings and grounds are stunning.  With the sun going down we finished the tour and headed the 3 miles south to the Hotel Area ... which is about all San Simeone is .. 10 hotels 2 restaurants and a beach!  But we had spotted that the Courtesy Inn, as well as being cheap ($49 for 2) also had a pool and a spa ... and after a week on the bike a spa is well worth it!... plenty of spare rooms and clean, kingsize bed and good facilities.  In fact the pool area is stunning, after a nice dinner next door we went for a swim ... the pool and spa are indoor, amazingly clean and wonderful ... can't recommend this place highly enough .. the guy on the counter was friendly and helpful.
Talked to a couple of German guys in the spa, but I think Jade in a bikini was a bit much for them .. they seemed to have problems concentrating.
We're now settled in for the night ... will try for an earlyish start (which means 9am ;)  ) heading south 180miles to LA .. not sure where we'll stop .. mabe Malibu or even closer to the Getty as we want to be there at 10am when it opens on thursday.
P.S.  We tried to make our daily call to Ian (at the grandparent's place, but the cellphone coverage here is non existant ... will accept nothing but emergency calls, not even texts)  we'll have to hope the little guy isn't too sad missing us.  If you read this Grandma please tell him we tried to call!
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