This year the 2008 North-South Meet was
held in beautiful, tranquil San Simeon, home of the historic Hearst
Castle. Our caravan from the valley included Linda and Rob Leonard,
Craig Chally and his mom Mary, Gary Sisk and Jim, and Glenn and I.
After a brief stop in Solvang for lunch we continued our journey
arriving at our new home away from home, the Sands by the Sea motel.
Since many of us had signed up to attend the Hearst Castle night tour,
we had a quick dinner then on to the castle.
Never having seen this or any other
castle before, I have to admit I was more than a little excited. But I
did have some initial trepidation over the 300 stairs we were about to
climb. However, the castle proved to be everything I dreamed it would
be, and more. Cavernous rooms with antiques galore dating back
centuries, music rooms and game rooms with elaborately designed ceilings
and walls adorned with stunning tapestries and a dining room with the
longest table I have ever seen.
One room that stuck out for me was Mr.
Hearst’s library where he spent most of his time. The ceiling of the
room with its many arches was hand painted in an intricate myriad of
patterns that took over a period of twenty years to complete.
The piece de resistance of the tour
turned out to be the two breathtakingly magnificent pools on the
property. The outside pool was a work of art with stately Roman columns
and colorful mosaic tiles. It looked too ethereal to even think of
The inside pool, originally a salt water
pool, was dark and mysterious with 24 carat gold inlaid in the tile
floor. The pool was later changed to a chlorinated freshwater pool
after the salt water corroded the original plumbing.
If you have never seen the castle I
strongly recommend you do so, but with one bit of advice, see it in the
winter! To keep the fabrics, paintings, and tapestries from fading they
almost hermetically seal the castle with the exception of the doors
opening to allow guests in and out, therefore, rendering it quite hot
and uncomfortably stuffy inside.
The following day we were on our own.
We cruised in our Caddy to Cambria and enjoyed this picturesque and
charming little town. We watched artisans craft stained glass and
admired shops that featured gorgeous wood furniture crafted by the
locals. What amazing craftsmanship!! After heading to the gourmet
fudge shop for some sweet treats we headed back to the hotel where an
impromptu car show was being held in the parking lot.
While admiring our own cars a group of
old Model T Ford roadsters pulled up to share in our appreciation of
fine cars. We enjoyed looking at their classics and sharing stories of
each others adventures traveling up north, as they were also there on a
meet with their group.
The annual banquet was held at a cozy
restaurant called Moonstone. Situated on a bluff with an astounding
view of the pacific, we enjoyed a spectacular sundown. Moonstone sits
on several acres of land with lush, indigenous plants, trees, and cactus
with the most exotic desert flowers. We all enjoyed cocktail hour
chatting, laughing and taking in the landscape. Dinner came and it was
absolutely delicious. A meal well enjoyed. As our northern
counterparts are very casual folks, speeches were brief, and a few
awards were handed out including a SoCal T-shirt to Chris Stark for
being the first to identify the 1953 Studillac in the September Crest &
Wings. Then it was back to the “wine” at the hotel for our last
Early Sunday morning I heard the roar of
our mighty engines being warmed up. As usual it was bright and early
that everyone said their good-byes and were on their way home…another
awesome north-south get-together! But the story does not end here.
Linda, Rob, Glenn, and I had another day of adventure ahead of us as we
were staying until Monday.
use the San Simeon location as a “home
base” as they return for a few months each winter to give birth and
breed. They spend a few weeks in the summer molting and resting before
returning to the sea.
Back in “Rose” I had the ride of my
life as Rob carefully and skillfully maneuvered the winding mountain
road toward Big Sur. About half way to there we stopped at Ragged
Point. The views from the bluffs were breathtaking and there were
romantic walking trails to enjoy the scenery. Ragged Point Resort and
Inn had a quaint outdoor café where butterflies flitted around as I
enjoyed the best turkey sandwich I think I have ever had. After lunch
we did some exploring and carefully peeked in and got a glimpse of some
of the guest rooms with the most amazing views. The price is a little
steep there, but the ambiance and views are well worth it.
For our final destination we headed
back to Cambria to visit Nitt Witt Ridge. Art Beal, a local trash
hauler, built a three level fantasy environment from materials and trash
in Cambria. With some of the building materials literally scavenged
from Hearst Castle “cast-offs”, Nitt Witt Ridge took on the moniker of
the “Poor Man’s Hearst Castle.”
The building is a time capsule of
earlier decades because Beal never threw anything away. The cabinet
drawers and closets contain: his clothing, old letters, newspaper
clippings, calendars, food tins, bedding, and more. All are on display
for visitors. Although we admired the anomaly from the street, we did
not take the tour - mainly due to the oddity’s dilapidated appearance
and the thought that possibly some critters may be lurking inside.
Viewing from the street was enough for me!
After a full day of adventure and
thoroughly exhausted, we returned to the hotel. Another great
north-south! See you next year……
by Sheri Roberts