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North-South Meet
San Simeon, California
October 3-5, 2008

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 swimming in. 

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 hospitality night. 

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


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Date Last Updated: October 21, 2017
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