The second day of our road trip began with the drive from Santa Maria to Hearst Castle, where we had booked a tour of the upper rooms in advance (which we were told is highly advisable). We were a bit early and took the time to get some information about the castle and it’s backgrounds from the panels in the visitor center. I didn’t know that William Randolph Hearst was actually the kid of a rich father that went slightly overboard with his “little something on the hill”, for example. It’s an interesting place!
After Hearst Castle we stopped for lunch at the historic Sebastian store (getting there was a bit difficult because of a bike race that started and ended right there) and had what must have been the biggest sandwich ever. It was huge and Shuwen could only finish half of it – I was hungry, it was delicious, and so I finished mine entirely, but was absolutely stuffed. 🙂
Before hitting the more “serious” part of driving on Highway 1 along the Big Sur coastline we made a brief stop at the Elephant Seal viewing area to digest our lunch, and then – quite unfortunately – drove right into a very persistent fog that lingered right along the shore all day long. We didn’t get to see much of Big Sur on the entire drive. We made a stop at the Limekiln and Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Parks, and some other spots here and there, but with all the fog, it was really no joy. Above the fog, the sun was beating down from a cloudless blue sky so hikes into the open hills farther up north were not really attractive, either.
As we reached Monterey in the evening we briefly drove out of the fog and saw some clouds in the sky that got nicely colored, but there was no real sunset to be enjoyed. It was a very gray day! After getting to our room we headed out for dinner, only to find that the noodle place we had picked closed at 8pm – on a Saturday evening?! We ended up having dinner at a Chinese restaurant, the portion was actually pretty big so we had a nice amount of leftovers to take out. 🙂
Some more information is in the text accompanying the photos in the gallery below.