Wednesday, April 30, 2014


Visalia CA (Low 50 Sunny High 89)

Catching up on blog entries while we were recently in the dead zones. We saw the movie Draft Day starring Kevin Costner and Jennifer Garner and many others.

We liked the actors and the previews looked good and the timing was right. We are so glad that we saw this movie. Taking us into the inner workings of a fictional NFL Draft it was well written, well acted, and well paced. They did some neat work with split screens while on the phone, pay attention to a couple of them to see what we mean. They did the draft from many different perspectives; owners, general managers, current players, college players, agents, etc.

We highly recommend this movie, and if you are a NFL fan then we highly, highly recommend it.

We have an awning motor that is on the fritz and a new one should arrive today and it may get put on today. Notice the words "should" and "may" :-) We'll see what happens.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Photos from our trip to Morro Bay and Hearst Castle are now on flickr in the Morro Bay set. All recent photos have been uploaded to

Tuesday, April 29, 2014


Visalia CA (Low 48 Mostly Sunny High 83)

We left Morro Bay yesterday and headed to Visalia California. We really enjoyed our time in Morro Bay and we are planning on visiting again sometime. It was approximately 130 miles to Country Manor Mobile Home Community and RV Park in Visalia. Here is the route we took.

While here we plan to see Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. It is going to be a lot warmer here than in Morro Bay luckily the National Parks are at a higher elevation and thus a lot cooler.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Monday, April 28, 2014


Morro Bay CA (Low 48 Mostly Sunny Currently 54) 
Visalia CA (Abundant Sunshine High 76)

The Morro Bay Kite Festival is held the last weekend of April so we decided to check it out. Here is our campsite with Morro Rock in the distance.

On our way to the festival we stopped and had lunch at Giovanni's Fish Market. The clam chowder there has won the harbor clam chowder contest a number of years in a row and we were really looking forward to it. When we got there a long line awaited us which really got our juices going. Outside there was a bbq oyster kiosk and they offered a free sample and we just had to have one and then more because they were sooooo good. Jo kept our place in line and Bob went and got the oysters. We just knew we were really going to get some good chowder.

We had company in the line, seals on the rocks at the waterfront. Here is a momma and her baby on the rocks.

More seals to keep them and us company.

By this time we ordered and got a clam chowder each and split a halibut tostada order of two small tostadas. This is one time where anticipation must have killed reality. The clam chowder was watered down, our least favorite clam chowder in a long time. The halibut on the tostada was tough, the shell and everything else was just ok.

Being less than satisfied we headed towards Morro Rock

and the Morro Bay Kite Festival. Here is the Kite Festival Pirate.

It was certainly windy enough for the kites.

Here are some kites.

Of course at a festival you have to have a chocolate covered cheesecake on stick and this festival had that vendor. Plus this vendor had what they called an ugly brownie dipped in the same chocolate which also looked good so we got one of those for later. Both were excellent.

This is a good time to bring up the food scene in Morro Bay. As with other tourist havens this place abounds in good places to eat, other than Giovanni's. Frankie and Lola's serves a great breakfast which we had a few times. They have a brulee souffle flambe french toast; brulee (soaked in brulee), souffle (baked), flambe (toasted pecan caramel sauce on top) that is incredible. The omelets and scrambles are also very good.

But the main food thing we will be checking out when near the coast is clam chowder. Right now our favorite place is Ivar's in the Seattle area and none of these rose to that level. The best in town for us was Hofbrau with Tognazzini's Dockside a close second. Hofbrau also had the best fish n chips but again not to the level of Ivar's. The best chowder we had here was the Tuesday special oyster chowder at Dockside.

We are off to Visalia today.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Sunday, April 27, 2014


Morro Bay CA (Low 46 Partly Sunny High 66)

Continuing our tour of the Hearst Castle. After the Grand Rooms Tour and the Upstairs Suites Tour you are free to walk the grounds, visit the Neptune and Roman pools on your own. The Neptune Pool was drained due to the drought which gave them an opportunity to patch the leaks. Here is the drained pool from a distance. We don't have the best of luck with water attractions from this being drained to the Riverwalk in San Antonio being drained for cleaning while we were there.

Here it is up close.

Here is Neptune overlooking his drained pool.

The Roman Pool is an indoor pool.

Here is the diving board.

The flowers on the grounds and the views walking around are impressive.

This concludes our tour of an incredible Castle. Tomorrow we head to Visalia California for a week to see King Canyon and Sequoia National Parks.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Saturday, April 26, 2014


Morro Bay CA (Low 38 Partly Sunny High 60)

Continuing our tour of the Hearst Castle that began with the Grand Rooms Tour. The Upstairs Suites Tour of the Hearst Castle includes areas that guests never saw but we got to see. Every area inside and outside is picturesque, here we are waiting for the tour to begin.

We begin with the Doge's Suite, to stay in this suite amongst all the other lodging meant that you had arrived according to one guest. The suite was broken up into three main areas; men's bedroom, sitting area, women's bedroom. Here is the men's bedroom, note both the ceiling and the Madonna above the fireplace, continuing those themes throughout the house.

Here is the sitting area.

The women's bedroom.

There were also guest bedrooms, here is one of the many guest bedrooms.

Great views as you walk along the upper level.

As you walk to the library in the hallway the paneling is choir chairs with the chairs removed.

The library is impressive.

Then it is off to the third floor, the private residence of William Randolph Hearst that no guests ever saw. Here is his closet.

His bedroom.

A Madonna in his bedroom.

His significant other was the actress Marion Davis. Here is her closet.

Her bedroom.

Then it was off to his study, where he conducted business while there. This was his spot, not even Marion intruded here.

We end with a very interesting story. Throughout the construction the design of the Castle changed. When Hearst decided he needed more guest bedrooms the architect Julia Morgan created these two story bedrooms with a bathroom and a bedroom loft above the sitting area out of what originally was open light wells. Here is the bedroom.

Taken from the sitting area back to the loft bedroom.

The bathroom in the duplex bedroom. Hearst had two major requirements when building and designing the house; electricity and indoor plumbing. The bathrooms were all modern even though built in 1919.

This concludes your Upper Suites Tour. Next entry will be our self guided tour of the Neptune Pool, the grounds, the Roman Pool, etc.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Friday, April 25, 2014


Morro Bay CA (Low 48 Clouds and Rain High 62)

We toured the famous Hearst Castle and we have to say it is amazing. Neither words or pictures do justice to the magnificence that is Hearst Castle. The story behind the Castle is just as compelling. William Randolph Hearst, grandfather of Patty Hearst, built "La Cuesta Encantada" or Enchanted Hill better known as Hearst Castle on the old Camp Hill site. Camp Hill is where the Hearst family when William was a boy used to camp. William's father George bought the land after a very interesting journey to become a rich man.

George Hearst left Missouri in 1850 to seek his fortune in the California gold rush. For almost 10 years he was a decent prospector but not the very rich one he would become. Then he heard about the mining near Virginia City Nevada. He bought into what would eventually become the Comstock Lode, a huge amount of silver. George figures into the story because the silver was in the ore and not readily discernible as silver. The Indians had a name for George, roughly one who the land speaks to, and George said the rocks were speaking to him. So he loaded 38 tons of ore on mules and headed almost 300 miles to San Francisco over the Sierras in winter to have it smelted. Turns out it was very rich in silver and he made a small fortune on that trip alone. This started the silver rush in the area.

George used the money he made from mining to buy a lot of land along the central California coast. It was near the small town of San Simeon that they would trek up to the hill and camp, thereby the name Camp Hill. It was near this spot that his son William Randolph built his Castle. Here is Hearst Castle from the Visitor's Center.

There is so much to see we decided to break our visit into a few blog entries. This one deals with the Grand Rooms Tour, or La Casa Grande, the Big House. Here we are outside waiting for the tour to begin at the front door.

A number of themes will be prevalent throughout the tour, the first one deals with Mary the Mother of God and Jesus her child, aka Madonna and Child. Since this was a Mediterranean style house and since Madonna artwork was huge at that time she is everywhere. Here is a carving above the front door.

Not a bad view waiting for the tour to begin is it?

We didn't enter through the front door because this tile floor is extremely old.

Here is the Assembly Room where guests would mingle prior to the evening dinner.

Another theme throughout the house is the incredible ceilings. Here is the ceiling in the Assembly Room.

Yet another theme is the use of choir chairs from old churches used as paneling. Here are the choir chairs in the Assembly Room.

William only joined the group in the Assembly Room when it was time for dining. He would leave his office area on an upper floor and take the elevator to the ground floor and enter the Assembly Room via a secret door surprising his guests. From the Assembly Room he would lead them in to the Dining Room, or what they called the Refectory.

A closeup of the table and the tapestry on the wall.

Choir chairs were also used as paneling in the Refectory.

The Refectory ceiling.

A Madonna in the Refectory.

Then it was off to the Morning Room.

Then to the Billiards Room.

Note the ceiling and the tile. These ceilings have darkened over time and some are being restored as we write this. With a cotton ball and a cleaning solution a conservationist has a full time job in just one of the rooms for the next few years.

Then it was off to the largest room in Hearst Castle, surprisingly it was the movie theater.

We hope you enjoyed the tour as much as we did. If you ever get the chance to visit Hearst Castle we highly recommend it.

Next we will detail he Upstairs Suites Tour taking you to places that guests of William Randolph Hearst never saw.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo