Day 31 - Mariposa to Port Hueneme, CA

(Editors Note...bad internet for a day and a half in Yosemite puts our fair blog a little ways behind in publishing, but we are soldering on and will play catch up soon!)

Today was a heavy travel day with a spectacular mid-day stop at Hearst Castle to break up the driving.

The start to finish contrast of today's drive is worthy of a quick mention on its own.  We started in a hot valley southwest of Yosemite.  Rugged, isolated, still elevated and crawling with hiker-types.  A cool rustic, western town.  The drive then took us over some moderate mountain passes, then into huge, wide, rolling terrain and then into mid-California flat land that was thick with all kinds of agriculture.  Cattle, vines for raisins, countless wine vineyards, fruit trees, what looked like nut trees, tomatoes, etc.  This state is nothing if not huge and diverse.

The other two noteworthy things are the extreme dry and crazy gas prices.  The drought, all data aside, it extremely obvious on a large scale.  We have driven nearly the entire length of the state, coast and inlands, and EVERYWHERE it is brown, creeks are gone, and lakes and reservoirs are down or completely dry.  El Nino to the rescue?  The other thing is the crazy So. Cal gas market.  They are their own little island in so many ways, but gas went from $3.25 to as high as $4.99 within a couple hour drive and we hear there are $5.00 prices coming up in LA.  I filled up under $4.00 this evening - let's hope we can coast thru So Cal and get to Arizona...

OK, enough of that stuff.  In between the long drive we stopped at Hearst Castle.  Got lots of history related to the unimaginably wealthy William Randolph Hearst and took the Grand Rooms tour, followed by a long self-guided walk around the grounds.  Dude was rich, built himself quite a house, and had a pretty decent collection of art to boot.  It was another setting that isn't easily described, but a for-sure stop if you are ever in the area.

We fought Santa Barbara traffic to get to Port Hueneme for the night, had our first In-N-Out Burger experience.  Solid.  Actually a real good burger.  At the risk of pissing off some really passionate people, however, I think it was built up just a little too much for us.  I sort of expected angels, rainbows and unicorns :-)

On a boat tomorrow to do a little offshore exploring.  I hope you have a good Friday and upcoming weekend.

- Jim

My ladies outside the front door at Hearst Castle, San Simeon, CA.

Out back of the castle.  

Have a seat on the cherub davenport and Mr. Hearst will be along momentarily.

Ready for us all to sit down and have 'vittles!

No caption necessary.

Nice pool, Mr. Hearst.

Rosebuds  Get it?

Ended the day with a stroll along the Pacific.  Yes, they are really still getting along.