California, Where We've Been

Hearst Castle & Morro Bay

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Hearst Castle & Morro Bay

September 4, 2022 – September 11, 2022

Hearst Castle

Set high above the shore line, upon a sloping hillside, lies the historic Hearst Castle. It was a collaboration between William Hearst, the owner of the land and Julia Morgan, the first female architect licensed in California. William’s father purchased the land in 1865 after he discovered silver on another property he owned. For many years, the land lay vacant, but was used as a camping destination for the family. William developed a love for the land as a child and in 1919 decided to build “something a little more comfortable up on the hill.”

While William’s father made his money in the pursuit of silver, William went on to develop his media empire of newspapers, magazines, and radio stations.

We parked at the visitor’s center and boarded a bus which took us up to the castle on the hill. The museum wasn’t very busy the day we went. In fact, we were the only ones on the Upstairs Rooms Tour that day. We saw so many awe inspiring sites including the Neptune Pool, that had been built, torn down and rebuilt until it was just had William had imagined it.

The bedrooms were decorated from ceiling to floor with ornate details. Religious art work was hung throughout the castle and painted on the butresses of the study. Original Roman stones dressed the edges of the fireplace. Greek vases and oil lamps added to the decor amongst the many books that filled the library. William Hearst had spared no expense in the construction and design of Hearst Castle.


Morro Bay

Morro Bay is a beautiful place to enjoy the beach, harbor, and marine life. We were awed with a spectacular sunset at the Morro Bay Rock Beach. We packed a picnic and had a sunset dinner on the beach, trying to avoid the seagulls who were eyeing our food. When we went to play in the waves, the seagulls attacked, almost dragging our food containers out to sea. Jaden ran after one of them. It tried to take off with the container in its beak, found it was too heavy, and dropped it in the waves.

On another night, we walked down by the pier and listened to the boats blow their horns in the bay. There were probably hundreds of them docked in the bay for the evening. There were sea lions laying on the rocks in the middle of the bay. They were barking so loudly that they could be heard from the shore and sea otters were playing in the water by the docks.

A little past Morro Bay Rock Beach is another beach that allows dogs to play in the water off leash. I don’t think Quinn enjoyed the waves as much as he did the beach, but there were other much more adventurous dogs swimming and playing fetch in the Pacific.


Downtown Morro Bay is a tourist destination with many restaurants and shops catering to the traveler. We picked up some fresh fish from the fish market, took it home and cooked it up. I’ve never had better cod! They also had shark, shrimp, and several other types of fish, but we didn’t get the chance to try them. It’s on the list for the next time we venture out this way.


South of Morro Bay are the Dinosaur Caves of Pismo Beach. As the waves wash into the caves, they crash against the sides of the caves and echo in the chambers to produce a powerful crashing sound. The smell was just as strong. Mussel shells littered the beach and the smell of decay mixed with sea water was too  overwhelming to stay too long.

Further on we stopped at Avila Valley Barn where we picked up some pumpkin bread, u-picked raspberries, and fresh strawberries. Their store was filled with fresh fruits and vegetables, freshly baked and canned goods. Their homemade boysenberry pies were tempting! They had goats, riding ponies, and chickens that can be fed lettuce by passerby’s. We definitely need to go back. 


Camp San Luis Obispo

Camp San Luis Obispo is open to military guests. There are only 12 RV sites on base and they’re all long enough to fit our 40′ fifth wheel. It was a nice place to stay in between Morro Bay and San Luis Obispo with one caveat. Bring the ant spray! Our first morning there, we were overrun by ants all over the RV- in the pantry, bathroom, tables, counters. Fortunately, they weren’t fire ants, but nobody wants to eat leftover ant for dinner or find them crawling all over their bed.

They don’t allow kids under the age of 16 to go anywhere unsupervised, so that was a disadvantage for letting them go and ride their bikes around the campground or anywhere on base.

Starlink was giving us excellent upload and download and Verizon and AT&T were both 4-5 bars with the cell antenna.