Took a while to get going. We went to Albertson's for groceries, then to downtown Morro Bay for brunch. Our plan had been to stop in Santa Barbara to visit some relatives of Gene, but we had not been able to get in touch with them, so we reluctantly scrubbed that part of the plan. That seemed to give us some time, so we back-tracked a bit and went to Hearst Castle.
The castle is built on the top of a hill, and the bus taking us up there had to stop for a flock of African goats called udads. Part of Hearst's private zoo that still remain on the grounds.
William Hearst used to camp on the hilltop near San Simeon when he
was young, but when he got older (and inherited a fortune) he decided he
needed something a little better. So he hired this woman architect and
together they spent 26 years designing, redesigning, and building some
Hearst had spent a fortune already collecting old art in Europe (like whole rooms --- he had a thing for fancy ceilings) and much of it got built into the house. To give and idea of how big it is, Clark Gable (I believe) wanted to sleep in a different bedroom every time he visited. In all, he slept in 40 different bedrooms, and didn't run out of possibilities.
The grounds are gardened with a great variety of plants: trees and flowers. Lush against a background barren, dry hills.
The tour took most of the afternoon. When we got back down to the visitor center, we learned that there was an elephant seal sanctuary a few miles up the coast, so we went to look. We pulled in to the parking lot. There were a lot of seals laying on the beach a long ways off, and we were about to walk over as close as we could when we heard a loud snorting below us. There were two elephant seals sparring in the surf.
After we left we got a call on the phone from one of our people in Santa Barbara. So we were able to set up a quick get-together after all.
We drove in to Santa Barbara and were able to connect with Gabi Cardi and her two-year old daughter, Gianna. We spent a pleasant night visiting, and then just spent the night parked in front of her house,
Next morning her mother, Mari, showed up and we all went out for breakfast (basically turned into brunch) down at the waterfront. We also got a call from Gioia, the other person we wanted to see, and made arrangements to come back Tuesday afternoon to visit with her.
After breakfast, Mari found a place where we could dump our tanks. So we went back, picked up the van, did our duty, and headed to Valencia to catch up with Jean's cousin Holly and her family. Will be spending the weekend in the Los Angeles area. Details on Monday.