This Spring season we’ve been having a lot of rain and overcast skies on our slow trip North along the coast of California. Since I’ve been dry camping or boondocking the last two months I’ve been relying almost daily on my Honda generator to keep the batteries topped off. When I purchased the Coach, a 31′ 9″ fifth wheel, it came with two 12 volt Interstate “wet cell” batteries. Three plus years of constant use is starting to take it’s toll. They still charge to a reading of 12.7 volts, but overnight they drain down with very little use. I tested the specific gravity and one of the cells on each battery shows “Good”, not “Very Good”. Since it’s a matter of time, my goal is to baby them for the next month and have them replaced at Sport Land RV in Lolo, Montana. It’s about thirty minutes from Jagger and my homebase.
Visiting The Castle
Today I’m leaving Jagger for a few hours to protect the Coach. He will be cooler here and it’s safer than leaving him in the Workhorse while I’m off to visit Hearst Castle once again. This is my forth visit to the Castle.
William Randolph Hearst began with a dream of a small cottage on a hill in 1915. The mansion that resulted is unbelievable. Imagine a museum that someone built and entertained guests known world wide. It was one of a kind when the Hearst family stayed there and it’s still every bit of that today, one hundred years later.
This visit I chose the “Cottages and Kitchen Tour”, which I have been on before, but so many years ago. Even though I have been here before, I’m still impressed today as I was during my earlier visits over decade ago. Since this is a repeat visit I do however give notice to the smaller details, the art, intricate design and the building layout even for the outer cottages and the kitchen.
This place is absolutely huge. I try imagine all the visitors who were entertained here at the Castle. I wonder what their impression was of the grounds where I now walk.
Behind the scenes, looking around the castle kitchen, I understand the required staff, the organizing, huge amount of food and equipment needed to entertain large groups of Mr. Hearst’s visitors. I once worked in the food service realm in another life. My family owned restaurants and a busy catering business that catered groups up to 1,500 people, both social and corporate events. I also was the Assistant General Manager at the elegant Brentwood Country Club in Los Angeles, California in my early thirties. This all brought back many memories of my own past. Nostalgia now flowing freely through me as I wander the rooms of the castle, at times not even hearing the guide. I snap a few pictures. Some of those I include here and there are links to other photographs I took today and many others I took a decade ago.
After the tour we are allowed to freely to walk the grounds outside and the many patios and nooks to see and experience. It’s a beautiful clear day and you can see all the way to the ocean nearby. This afternoon, with a cool ocean breeze blowing off the ocean, I imagine a plane flying low preparing to land. It happened daily back then. Bringing in news and supplies. Maybe a guest or two for the weekend. I shoot a few photo’s and move on to the bus that will take me back down the mountain to the visitor center, back to my reality.
Back at the Coach, Jagger greets me at the door. He is always so excited to see me even if I’m gone a short time. I will now have my dinner and pack up the Coach. Tomorrow we are moving on to New Brighton State Park located on the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean, just outside of Santa Cruz, California. There I’m meeting up with my friend of many years, Sydney, who will be traveling with Jagger and I as we continue North to Oregon.
Safe Travels…Gary and Jagger